Like most states, Ohio drivers must purchase certain types and levels of car insurance coverage in order to legally drive. Ohio law imposes stiff penalties on motorists caught driving without insurance, which can include fines, loss of driving privileges and even confiscation of their vehicles. Before you get behind the wheel in Ohio, find out how much car insurance the law requires and the penalties you could face if you do not comply.


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Minimum insurance required in Ohio

Ohio law requires all drivers to carry minimum levels of liability car insurance coverage, including:

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

Uninsured motorist coverage must be offered but can be declined in writing.

Bear in mind that the minimum amount of car insurance required in your state might not provide the levels of coverage you need. For example, many new automobiles cost between $40,000 and $50,000. If you are at fault for an accident, your costs could easily exceed the minimum amount required by Ohio law, and you would be responsible for paying that amount out of pocket.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Ohio

Ohio has two ways to determine if you are driving without car insurance. If a law enforcement officer pulls you over in a traffic stop, they will ask for proof of car insurance. Or, if you cancel your insurance coverage, your insurance company will report it to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

If you receive a ticket for not carrying insurance in Ohio, you could face multiple penalties, including:

First offense

If you are caught driving without car insurance, you will likely lose your driver’s license, license plates and vehicle registration until you obtain coverage. You will also be asked to pay a $100 reinstatement fee, and, if you fail to surrender your driver’s license, license plates or vehicle registration, you’ll be asked to pay an additional $50 fee.

Ohio will only restore your driving privileges once you pay all fees assessed by the court and provide proof of insurance. If the state finds that you have violated the license suspension, it will confiscate your license plates for 30 days.

Second offense

Drivers caught driving without insurance a second time face a one-year driver’s license suspension and a $300 reinstatement fee, in addition to surrendering their driver’s license, license plates and vehicle registration.

If you violate the license suspension, the state will confiscate your car and license plates for 60 days.

Third offense and beyond

After three or more offenses, Ohio law states that you must surrender your license for two years and pay a $600 reinstatement fee. The state can also seize your vehicle, sell it and bar you from registering another vehicle for five years.

Getting into an accident without insurance in Ohio

If you drive in Ohio without insurance and get into an accident, you will likely receive a citation for driving without insurance and face the previously outlined penalties. If you caused the accident, you will also face additional financial consequences.

Ohio is a tort, or at-fault, state, which means that at-fault drivers are financially responsible for any bodily injuries and property damage they cause, oftentimes a substantial amount of money. If you are unable to pay out of pocket, the other party may sue you, which can threaten your assets, such as your home or other investments.

Frequently asked questions

    • When shopping for car insurance, you might want to look for providers that offer the best combination of coverage options, customer service, discounts, financial strength and price. One or more of these factors may be more important to you, so do a little research on companies to see who you should get quotes from, then compare those quotes to see which company is the right fit for you. To get started, you might want to check out Bankrate’s picks for the best car insurance companies in Ohio.
    • Ohio has strict insurance fraud laws. Under Ohio law, insurance fraud can include filing a false claim, filing a claim for automobile damages that the policyholder intentionally caused, inflating the value of a stolen vehicle or providing false information about one’s address, driving record or other application details. If you are caught, the state can levy serious charges, ranging from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, depending on the dollar amount of the alleged fraud.
    • Based on Bankrate’s research, Ohio drivers pay an average annual car insurance premium of $1,200 for full coverage and $336 for minimum coverage. By comparison, the national average cost of car insurance is $1,771 for full coverage and $545 for minimum coverage.

      These average rates may not reflect the price you will actually pay for car insurance. Insurers set rates based on several factors, such as your annual mileage, driving record, location, vehicle type and the types and amounts of coverage you choose. The best way to determine how much you might pay for car insurance is to obtain quotes from several car insurance companies for the same coverage types and levels.