Each state has its own specific requirements for car insurance, but like most other states, Ohio requires that all drivers carry some form of insurance that guarantees the financial responsibility of the driver in the case of an auto collision. If the idea of a monthly payment doesn’t resonate with you as a driver, the state of Ohio will allow you to legally drive if you can show proof of “financial responsibility,” or proof that you can, indeed, provide sufficient funds out of your own pocket to meet the minimum liability amounts if you are involved in an accident.
Ohio auto insurance requirements include the following:
- $12,500 in bodily liability coverage for every person
- $25,000 in bodily liability coverage for every accident
- $7,500 in property damage coverage for every accident
These are just the minimums that are required by the state of Ohio, but drivers can (and probably should) choose to carry more coverage for extra security. Oftentimes, the bare minimum isn’t enough to cover all of the damage that occurs. Especially in Ohio, which is known as an “at-fault” state, drivers who are found to be at-fault in an accident can be held liable for the entire payment of damages. This means that if you are unfortunately caught in a serious accident, damages can easily exceed the minimum insurance requirements, which would put you on the line for additional costs that you’d have to pay without any assistance.
In addition to the minimum liability, drivers may also choose to purchase Ohio uninsured motorist coverage in order to further protect themselves against damages in the event of an accident with a driver who has no insurance. Without this protection, getting into an accident with an uninsured motorist means that you’d be responsible for all of your own medical bills and repairs to your vehicle.
As a driver, you must be aware that it is illegal to drive in Ohio without insurance, and if you get caught, you will likely get a citation and may have to appear in court to show that you have purchased appropriate insurance coverage. You would also be in risk of license suspension, and each additional citation for subsequent offenses will result in lengthier suspension times. In order to have your license reinstated, you will have to file an SR22 form that shows your proof of insurance or proof of financial responsibility. This may also be accompanied by the payment of a penalty.
Typical penalties include a 90-day license and vehicle registration suspension, in addition to a $150 fine for the first offense. A second offense will lead to a $300 fine, and any subsequent offenses can lead to a two-year license and vehicle registration suspension and a $650 fine.
Carrying auto insurance is the law in Ohio, but this requirement was put in place to protect you, the driver, against damages if you are in an accident, whether or not you’re at fault. Last year, there were 290,216 traffic accidents recorded across the state, which led to 1,015 deaths. This number was the lowest on record, but until the number reaches zero, that means that there will still be risks on the road. It is important to practice safe driving habits and to carry the proper insurance coverage to protect yourself against accidents and the recklessness of other drivers on the road.