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Ohio Car Insurance Laws

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In 2020, Ohio law enforcement reported 9,352 distracted driving violations, charged 25,624 drivers with operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) and investigated 54,662 crashes. There were more than 1,200 deaths on Ohio roadways in 2020 according to data from Ohio State Highway Patrol.

All drivers in Ohio are legally required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Having insurance is important because it keeps drivers safe and protects against common liabilities. Keep reading to learn more about Ohio car insurance laws.

Car insurance laws in Ohio

Ohio car insurance laws are fairly standard. But whether you are a current Ohio driver, or are preparing to move to the state, understanding the auto insurance laws is beneficial. Here are the notable Ohio insurance laws:

  • Driving without insurance is illegal. Driving without insurance is illegal in the state of Ohio and getting caught doing so can lead to some heavy consequences.
  • Drivers must carry minimum coverage insurance. All drivers in Ohio must meet the state’s minimum insurance requirement, which is 25/50/25. Driving with less coverage than the state minimum amount is illegal and can result in license suspension.
  • It is illegal to lend your car to someone who is uninsured. In Ohio, you cannot let a friend or family member borrow your vehicle if they are uninsured. Every driver must have some type of insurance or proof of financial responsibility in order to operate a vehicle, even if they do not own a car themselves.
  • Drivers must carry proof of insurance at all times. Drivers in Ohio are legally required to be able to produce proof of insurance whenever requested meaning that they must always have that proof in their vehicle. Drivers are required to show proof of insurance when requested by law enforcement during a traffic stop, at the scene of an accident and in traffic court.

Liability insurance in Ohio

Liability insurance is required by Ohio state law. Ohio auto insurance requirements are abbreviated as 25/50/25, which includes the following:

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

Drivers who purchase minimum coverage car insurance in Ohio will pay the lowest premium. However, opting for liability-only coverage is not a recommended strategy for getting cheap insurance. Car accidents can be costly, and there is no guarantee that minimum coverage insurance will cover the full cost of an accident.

For example, imagine you cause an accident and the other driver gets rushed to the hospital with multiple injuries. Minimum coverage insurance would only cover $25,000 in medical bills and legal costs. If the other driver ended up with $70,000 in medical bills, you would be responsible for paying the other $45,000 out of pocket.

Ohio drivers should also consider the fact that minimum coverage insurance does not include any coverage for their vehicle. Using the example above, if your vehicle sustained $10,000 worth of damage in the accident, you would be responsible for the cost of repairs in full.

Is Ohio a no fault state?

No, Ohio is not a no-fault state. Ohio is considered to be a fault state, also called a tort state. While no-fault states mean that a driver’s insurance company pays their costs and expenses regardless of who caused the accident, a fault state (like Ohio) means that the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays those costs.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Ohio

The penalties for driving without minimum car insurance in Ohio are serious. Any driver that is caught without insurance will automatically have their license suspended. Here are the consequences of driving without insurance in Ohio:

  • First offense: The driver’s license will be suspended until they can show proof of insurance. The driver must pay a $100 reinstatement fee to get their license back.
  • Second offense: The driver’s license will be suspended for one year and they must pay a $300 reinstatement fee to get their license back.
  • Third offense and beyond: The driver’s license will be suspended for two years and they must pay a $600 reinstatement fee to get their license back.

Drivers who fail to surrender their driver’s license are charged a $50 fee. Additionally, all drivers who are caught driving without insurance are required to purchase an SR-22 certificate which will stay on their record for three or five years, depending on the offense.

Additional auto insurance coverage options in Ohio

Most drivers in Ohio choose to purchase coverage beyond the state minimum requirements for extra protection. Here are some additional auto insurance coverage options that are available in Ohio:

  • Collision insurance: Collision insurance pays to repair vehicle damage after a covered accident. This policy also covers accidents with stationary objects. In Ohio, the average cost of collision insurance is around $297 per year for full coverage.
  • Comprehensive insurance: Comprehensive insurance pays to repair vehicle damage stemming from non-accident situations, like falling objects, fire or theft. In Ohio, the average cost of comprehensive insurance is about $128 per year.
  • Gap insurance: Gap insurance is a beneficial coverage for drivers who lease or finance their vehicles. If your car is totaled after a covered accident, gap insurance will pay out the difference between the car’s value and the balance remaining on your loan.
  • Roadside assistance: Roadside assistance is a popular add-on coverage that provides basic car repairs, towing, extrication, fuel delivery, lockout services, battery replacement and more. This coverage is available from most insurance companies.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company in Ohio?

The best car insurance company in Ohio varies because it is different for every driver. Every driver has unique needs and preferences when it comes to car insurance. Drivers in Ohio should shop around and compare providers before choosing an insurance company.

What is the cheapest car insurance in Ohio?

Ohio drivers have several options when it comes to affordable auto insurance. The cheapest car insurance companies in Ohio are Geico, Erie and Auto-owners. However, car insurance rates are personalized. Insurance companies use factors like ZIP code, age, credit score and claims history to determine how much a driver will pay.

How much does car insurance cost in Ohio?

Car insurance in Ohio is cheaper than the national average. In Ohio, the average full coverage policy costs $1,119 per year and the average minimum coverage policy costs $321 per year. For comparison, the average full coverage insurance policy in the United States costs $1,738 per year.

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth Rivelli is a contributing insurance writer for Bankrate and has years of experience writing for insurance domains such as The Simple Dollar, and NextAdvisor, among others