Every state in the U.S. has mandatory auto insurance laws. In some states you must carry what other states consider “optional coverages,” such as personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). While in others, there are several legal alternatives to carrying auto insurance. Ohio is one of these states.
In the state of Ohio, financial responsibility (FR) is the law. All Ohio drivers must carry minimum liability auto insurance in the amount of $12,500 bodily injury per person, $25,000 bodily injury for two or more people, and 7,500 for property damage (12.5/25/7.5). If you choose not to carry insurance, you must obtain a surety bond of $30,000 issued by any authorized surety company, a BMV bond secured by real estate equity of at least $60,000, or a BMV certificate for money or government bonds in the amount of $30,000 on deposit with the State Treasurer.
Because the state of Ohio follows a tort system, the Ohio Department of Insurance and most insurance companies suggest carrying higher coverages than the bare minimum. A tort system works like this: if you are involved in an accident, someone must be found to be the cause or fault of the accident. The person deemed at fault is responsible for all damages resulting from the accident. Damages are handled through the at-fault person’s insurance company. If you do not have auto insurance coverage, you will have to pay the difference out of pocket. To be on the safe side, insurance companies suggest carrying at least $100,000 for bodily injury and $300,000 per accident.
Ohio has the 7th largest number of drivers on the road in the U.S. This means the state is home to roughly 7,656,362 drivers. Of these drivers, a whopping 16 percent do not have insurance. As a result, many Ohio drivers also carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). The suggested minimum amount of UM/UIM coverage is $50,000.
If you get caught driving without insurance or proof of financial responsibility, you will lose your license for 90 days for a first offense. Second offenses carry a penalty of one year license suspension. Multiple offenders will lose their license plates and registration indefinitely. In addition to license suspension for a first offense, you will have to pay a reinstatement fee of anywhere from $75-$500. You will have to purchase a form of high-risk auto insurance called “special FR coverage” for 3-5 years and your vehicle may be impounded or sold. The same penalties apply for allowing your auto insurance to lapse.
To purchase Ohio auto insurance, all you have to do is call several auto insurance agents to shop and compare. You can also compare rates online by requesting an online quote either directly through top insurance companies or an online quoting service. If you want to save on auto insurance without skimping on coverage, ask about discounts. You might be surprised. Insurance companies offer safety feature discounts, safe driver discounts, multi-policy discounts, 55 and retired discounts, discounts for good grades, and even discounts for being a non-smoker.