“My only option is bankruptcy,” Lawmakers hoping for change after Oklahoma ranks at the top of list for uninsured motorists, most expensive rates

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OKLAHOMA - It may not seem fair, but your credit score has more of an impact on your car insurance rate than your driving record.

Oklahoma ranks at the top of the list for uninsured motorists as well as most expensive rates, but lawmakers are hoping to change that.

He's only 22, but Matt Kaihlanen is dealing with much more than what meets the eye.

It is obvious he's been through some trauma.

He is an amputee and, at such a young age, he's had to make some tough decisions

"It's the leg or your life, basically,” he said.

But, it doesn't end there.

"Right now, my only option is bankruptcy,” he said. “I don't know what else to do. I don't have $800,000, and that was a couple of year ago. I think, now, we're up into the millions."

At 19, Kaihlanen was in a motorcycle accident that eventually took his leg.

He was fully insured and had both auto and medical insurance.

However, it wasn't enough.

As a result, his credit score took a plunge, and now it's not enough.

He can barely afford liability insurance for his 30-year-old truck, and insurance agents tell him his credit score is to blame.

"They said ‘Most kids your age have a better credit score and, because of that, they get cheaper rates,’” he said. “This is out of my control."

Lawmakers are trying to change that.

"I'd like to find some way to make the system a little more fair and more transparent at a minimum,” said Senator Rob Standridge.

An interim study at the capitol is looking into the issue after a nationwide investigation by Consumer Reports magazine uncovered the huge impact it has on Oklahoma's uninsured motorists rate and people like Kaihlanen.

"They claim that it helps predict the frequency with which consumers will file a claim, but that's really unproven,” said Consumer Reports Advocacy Director Charles Bell. “These are secret credit scores. Consumers can't get access to the scores insurance companies are using."

However, you can see how it impacts rates.

A driver with poor credit but with a clean driving record will pay nearly $3,900 for coverage.

Someone with excellent credit with a DWI will pay about $2,200 for the same coverage.

"It's a lot of stress,” Kaihlanen said. “Every day, I wake up and it's like, man, I owe a lot money. Am I ever going to get this taken care of? Am I ever going to get under it? Am I ever going to get on my feet - or foot, in this case? It's tough."

Standridge said insurance companies who use the method most are large online providers.

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