The Oklahoma legislature in 36 O.S. § 4803 has adopted a statutory version of a fire policy sometimes referred to as the “New York Standard Fire Policy”. The statute requires all insurance companies issuing homeowners’ policies in Oklahoma to have the minimum coverage required by the statute unless special approval has been received from the insurance commissioner allowing them to sell something less than the minimum requirement. Typically, obtaining the commissioner’s approval for a nonstandard policy form is difficult unless the insurer is enlarging or expanding the available coverage.

Section 4803 provides for many of the defenses that are normally used by insurers in denying claims.  Fraud by insureds upon Oklahoma insurance companies is a valid concern.  There is provision for denial for fraud or concealment on the part of the insured. The statute also provides that bills, currency, deeds, evidences of debt, money, or securities are not covered by the insurance policy unless specifically provided by the insurance contract.

The statutory insurance policy provides there is no coverage for certain types of perils such as military invasions, rebellions, insurrections, civil war, neglect on the part of the insured to use all reasonable means to save and preserve property, and further that the insurer is not responsible for theft losses.

The statute sets minimum time periods in which the policy can be cancelled and the type of notice that must be given to an insured as well as a mortgage company before coverage is actually cancelled. In the event of a claim, it requires the insureds to tender a proof of loss within 60 days of the event and allows the mortgage company to submit the proof of loss if the policy holder does not take timely action.

The statute also makes provisions Oklahoma insurance attorneys use in taking examinations under oath, inspection of damaged property, and require preparation of a complete inventory detailing the quantities, cost, and actual cash value of the items claimed.

Most homeowners’ policies provide more coverage than the statutory minimum. For instance, the typical homeowners’ policy will have coverage for theft, wind storm, liability coverage, and contain other clauses that give greater protection to a homeowner than the statutory framework enacted many years ago.  Questions about the minimum required coverages under a homeowners’ policy should be reviewed by a competent attorney knowledgeable about Oklahoma insurance laws.