The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. To help readers understand how insurance affects their finances, we have licensed insurance professionals on staff who have spent a combined 47 years in the auto, home and life insurance industries. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation of . Our content is backed by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed entity (NPN: 19966249). For more information, please see our .
All car owners in Ohio are required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. This helps ensure drivers have a baseline amount of financial protection in the event of an accident, though it’s possible to choose higher policy limits than required by the state. Bankrate covers the Ohio minimum car insurance requirements and shares everything else you need to know as an Ohio driver.
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 and minimum coverage requirements 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 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 requirements 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 average premiums. 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 for everyone involved.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Ohio
The penalties for driving without minimum car insurance in Ohio are serious. Any driver that is caught not complying with Ohio insurance laws 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 to demonstrate proof that they have proper insurance going forward, and which will typically be required for three to five years, depending on the offense.
Additional auto insurance coverage options in Ohio
Although Ohio auto insurance requirements have a minimum coverage requirement, most drivers in Ohio choose to purchase even more coverage for extra financial 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 $303 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 $131 per year.
- Gap insurance: Gap insurance may be a beneficial coverage for drivers who lease or finance a new vehicle. 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
The best car insurance company in Ohio will depend on each driver’s individual needs, coverage selections and priorities. For example, a driver who wants to personalize their car insurance policy with numerous optional coverage will want something very different from a driver who wants only basic coverage. Understanding what you want most from your car insurance company can help narrow down a list of potential insurance carriers to explore.
Based on Bankrate’s extensive analysis of average premiums throughout the state, the cheapest car insurance companies in Ohio are USAA, Erie and State Farm for minimum coverage insurance. Hastings Mutual, USAA and Geico offered the cheapest average premiums for full coverage insurance among the companies we studied.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that your individual rates may vary. Insurance companies in Ohio can use factors like ZIP code, age, credit score, driving record and more to calculate a driver’s premium.
The average cost of car insurance in Ohio is $1,200 per year for full coverage and $336 per year for minimum coverage. Ohio drivers pay some of the cheapest car insurance premiums throughout the country, on average. For comparison, the national average cost of a full coverage policy is $1,771 per year and $545 per year for minimum coverage.