From Ashtabula to Zanesville, Akron to Toledo, Canton to Sandusky, Ohio has thousands of miles of roadways. They’ll take you from downtown Springfield to the shores of Lake Erie and the Allegheny Plateaus. They’re used by nearly 8 million licensed drivers, who each put in an average of 9,700 miles a year. Along the way, those drivers are involved in thousands of traffic accidents every year, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the Buckeye State, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to Ohio’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.
Ohio state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines and jail time. Under Ohio’s tort system, you may also be liable for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damages (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering.
The bare minimum car insurance requirement for Ohio drivers is:
$25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
$50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
$25,000 property damage liability
Penalties for Failure to Carry Ohio Auto Insurance
You are required by law to carry proof of Ohio car insurance in your car and show it if a law enforcement officer asks to see it. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties. A first offense can result in the loss of your driver’s license for 90 days, and 1 year for second offense. After a second offense, your license plates and registration can be revoked and you can be charged reinstatement fees ranging from $75 to $500. In addition, your vehicle can be impounded and sold at auction.
The state of Ohio performs random insurance verification checks by mail that require you to provide proof of coverage within 21 days of receipt of a request.
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Ohio Car Insurance Premiums
Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the Ohio Department of Insurance. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:
The type of car you are insuring
Prior auto insurance coverage
How much you drive
Your driving record
Your marital status
Your geographic location
How long you’ve been driving
Whether or not you use your car for business
Ohio also allows insurers to consider your credit rating to determine your premium.
How to Get the Cheapest Ohio Car Insurance Policy
You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:
Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
Eliminate unnecessary coverage
Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer
New Ohio Driving Laws
Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in Ohio. The following laws have recently been enacted in Ohio and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.
There is a ban on texting for all Ohio drivers.
There is a ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers.