Oklahoma business insurance

Starting a business in Oklahoma is an exciting endeavor. Before you do so, make sure you're protected with the right business insurance. Find out what's required and what's recommended.

Oklahoma State Capitol Building and Flag

The Sooner State might be called that because the sooner you visit, the happier you’ll be. Oklahoma boasts about 12 million acres of forests and about 34 million acres of farms1. And its capital city is roughly equidistant from New York and Los Angeles, encapsulating Oklahoma’s central position geographically and culturally.2,3

Oklahoma is a leading agricultural power in the US and has niche markets in rare resources, like helium and iodine. According to its 2020 Small Business Association Profile, it’s more than an “OK” incubator for businesses, with over half the workforce (52.2%) working for small firms.But to get in on that action, you’ll need insurance.

Oklahoma business insurance requirements

Personal and business insurance matters in Oklahoma are both governed by the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID). The OID develops and enforces insurance regulations, but also funds civil servants’ pension funds, among other responsibilities.5

In Oklahoma, like in most other states in the country, there are two main forms of insurance required by law if a company or business fits into a certain criteria (more on this below):

  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Auto liability insurance

However, in order to thrive in the Sooner State with your company, you’ll likely want to secure liability coverages beyond these minimums. We’ll detail these in later sections below, but first, let’s take a look at workers’ comp and auto insurance!

Oklahoma workers’ compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation matters in Oklahoma are presided over jointly by the OID and the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC). The WCC oversees workers’ comp claims in accordance with Title 85A of Oklahoma Statutes.6

If your business in Oklahoma employs one or more workers, it may need to cover them with workers’ comp. Exemptions to the near-universal coverage include:

  • Government employees covered federally
  • Real estate agents or brokers working on commission
  • Agricultural workers for firms with payrolls under $100,000 annually
  • Family employees in family businesses with fewer than 5 employees
  • Independent contractors whose work is not closely controlled by bosses

Failure to provide proof of workers’ comp for covered employees can result in serious consequences. Namely, your business may be subject to fines of up to $1,000 dollars per day that coverage is lapsed, in addition to court-ordered work seizure.6

If your Oklahoma business doesn’t have full-time or part-time employees, none of this applies.

Auto insurance for businesses

In order to operate a vehicle in Oklahoma, you need to carry auto insurance. That means that if your business uses vehicles for work, they’ll need to be insured.

However, you may not need to have a special commercial auto policy; if you use a personal vehicle for work purposes only incidentally (like getting to and from job sites), your personal coverage may suffice. If the car is owned by or essential to the business (like being used for product deliveries), you probably need a commercial policy. Let’s look at two examples.

Ryan is a wedding DJ who uses a small van to carry his equipment to each venue. As he does not transport people or products and only uses his vehicle to drive to gigs, his personal auto policy should be sufficient.

Mary is a florist and uses her van to deliver her arrangements all over town. Not only is the delivery an essential part of her business but she also transports her products. In this case, Mary needs an additional commercial auto policy to protect her.

We always recommend talking to your auto insurance provider to make sure you’re fully covered.

In any case, minimum required liability coverages in Oklahoma are:7

  • $25,000 in bodily injury protection per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury protection per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage protection per accident

Other types of Oklahoma business insurance

Many businesses in Oklahoma will satisfy all their legal obligations for insurance by acquiring workers’ comp for their employees and auto insurance for their vehicles. But if you want to set your business up for success, you’ll want additional protection.

Most Oklahoma businesses can benefit from one or more of the following:

  • General liability insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Inland marine insurance (aka equipment insurance)
  • Commercial property insurance

In some cases, one or more of these forms of insurance may be required, in addition to and regardless of your workers’ comp and auto insurance. And even if they aren’t legally required, clients may demand or prefer that you carry them.

At the end of the day, comprehensive business insurance can provide competitive advantages and create safeguards for your business.

General liability insurance in Oklahoma

If your Oklahoma business runs the risk of bodily injury or property damage to clients or other third parties, you almost certainly should carry general liability insurance. This is especially true for fields that involve risky activities and workplaces, like the many heavy and sharp parts in motion on a construction or demolition site.

But accidents can happen anywhere—it’s better to be safe than sorry by getting some sort of commercial general liability insurance policy.

If a third party (such as a client or bystander) is harmed because of your work or workplace, they may sue you. If this happens, general liability can provide investigation and defense, as well as pay for (some or all of) damages and settlements.

In particular, general liability covers third-party claims related to:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Personal and advertising injury

Importantly, it doesn’t cover your own (first-party) property. To protect the tools you use to provide the services your clients need, you should strongly consider inland marine insurance. Like insurance goes, the name doesn’t make sense for what it covers. That’s why we call it Business Equipment Protection insurance – it’s insurance for your equipment. Best of all, with Thimble you get blanket coverage which means all your tools and gear are protected, not just the ones lined itemed.

Professional liability insurance in Oklahoma

If your Oklahoma business relies upon expert services or advice, there’s a good chance you’ll benefit from professional liability insurance.

No matter how diligent you are in your work, there’s always a chance that your client may feel otherwise. For instance, they may allege that a mistake you made or some other (perceived) failure on your part caused them financial loss.

In cases like these, third-party claims of financial loss as a result of your professional services (or lack thereof), they may sue. And professional liability coverage can:

  • Provide investigation and defense
  • Pay for damages awarded to the third party
  • Pay for settlements reached with the third party

In some cases, a profession might be legally required to carry a form of professional liability insurance. But even if you aren’t required to have it, it’s a great investment that can protect you from the financial harm that a client’s claims can cause—whether or not they are warranted!

How to get Oklahoma business insurance

The kinds of business insurance you’ll need depend heavily on whether you have employees and how you use your vehicles for work (particularly if your business owns the vehicles). If your business has employees and you use your cars for work purposes, then you are likely required to carry workers’ comp and/or auto insurance. If you have an office, retail shop, or physical location you may also need commercial property insurance.

As a business owner you want to focus on growing your business. That’s where general and professional liability come in. They help protect you from claims that could take valuable time and resources away from growing your business.

Here at Thimble, we’ve revolutionized insurance for small businesses. We offer on-demand general and professional liability coverage that you can customize to your exact needs and means. Buy insurance by the hour, day, or month; your policy with Thimble works when you do, saving you money so you can focus on building your Oklahoma venture.

Click “Get a Quote,” breeze through a few quick questions, and then review the quote! From there, you can purchase with one final click. All of this can be done in less than 60 seconds. After that, you’ll know you have the coverage your Sooner State business needs to thrive.

Sources:

  1. U.S. News & World Report. 10 Things to Know About Oklahoma. 
  2. U.S. News & World Report. 10 Things to Know About Oklahoma. 
  3. U.S. News & World Report. 10 Things to Know About Oklahoma. 
  4. U.S. Office of Small Business Administration. Oklahoma Small Business Economic Profile. 
  5. Oklahoma Insurance Department. About OID
  6. State of Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. Guide for Employers
  7. Oklahoma Insurance Department. Auto Insurance: Common Myths

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

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