Oklahoma ‘No Pay, No Play’ Law Goes into Effect Nov. 1

Uninsured motorists who crash their cars in Oklahoma will no longer be able to collect damages for pain and suffering starting next week, when a new “no pay, no play” vehicle  insurance law goes into effect.

Under the law, which takes effect Nov. 1, uninsured drivers will still be able to recover economic damages for medical costs, property damage and loss of income. But they will be barred from receiving payment for pain and suffering, even if they did not cause the crash in which they were hurt.

The measure, which was endorsed by state Insurance Commissioner John Doak and signed into law in May, mirrors legislation in a handful of other states aimed at discouraging motorists from driving uninsured. The Insurance Research Council (IRC) has estimated that about 1 in 4 Oklahoma motorists are not insured, a significantly higher share than the national average of 1 in 7.

Insurers and other proponents say “no pay, no play” laws provide a disincentive to drive without coverage and help keep premiums low for motorists who obey the law by reducing insurer costs, making it easier for drivers to find affordable Oklahoma auto insurance.

“We believe this new law will help stabilize… rates for all drivers in Oklahoma by encouraging more drivers to comply with the state’s” legal requirements, John Lucido, state executive director for Farmers Insurance, said in a news release this week.

Critics, meanwhile, contend that such laws punish low-income drivers who flout the law only because they cannot afford coverage.

Exceptions exist under the new law for cases in which an at-fault driver is found guilty of being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs at the time of the crash, intentionally causing the accident or fleeing the scene and for motorists who unknowingly become uninsured because their coverage is canceled due to nonpayment of premiums.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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