Drivers in the Buckeye State are fortunate – their auto insurance rates are among the cheapest in the country. According to Insure.com, the 2011 average annual premium for auto insurance rates for Ohioans is $1,152, while the national average is $1,561.
Ohio’s mandatory auto insurance laws
Ohio residents are required to obey Ohio’s Financial Responsibility (FR) Law, which states that drivers must be able to prove financial responsibility in the event of an accident, if the driver is shown to be at fault.
The simplest way to prove evidence of FR is by buying an Ohio auto insurance policy that meets the minimum liability requirements and showing your insurance card at the time of registering your vehicle, or at any time you are stopped by an Ohio law enforcement officer.
Another way to meet Ohio’s FR law is by showing a certificate of Proof of Financial Responsibility. This form is available online at the website for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
According to Ohio law, the minimum amounts of liability insurance that meet the FR law requirements are:
- $12,500 – bodily injury, one person
- $25,000 – bodily injury, per accident
- $7,500 – property damage
The minimum liability limits required under Ohio auto insurance laws are relatively low, as a matter of fact, in comparison with the rest of the states in the country, the bodily injury liability limits are among the lowest. The liability minimum coverage for property damage is the second lowest in the U.S.
Discuss your needs with your Ohio auto insurance company or agent, because while the costs of living and medical care continue to increase, auto insurance requirements in the Buckeye State have not kept up. So while it is understandable that one might not wish to purchase more coverage than required by law, the minimum coverage may not give you the protection you need in the event of an accident.
Who is covered
In the state of Ohio, your auto insurance policy covers you and any licensed drivers in your family who live with you.
Carry enough insurance to protect your assets
To protect your property and assets, consider their value in the event that you would be found at fault in an automobile accident, if you do not have adequate auto insurance coverage. Again, discuss your needs with an agent. Having additional coverage could protect you and your assets in the event of a serious car crash. If you do not have adequate coverage in Ohio, the law allows the innocent party or parties in an automobile accident to sue you for any of your assets in order to recover the costs of damages.
Ohio auto insurance companies also offer additional protection through coverage not extended in state-required minimums. These types of insurance provide safeguards for you and your family in the event of a car crash. Some of these auto policy options include uninsured/underinsured motorist ((UM/UIM) and comprehensive and collision coverage. Discuss these options with a licensed Ohio auto insurance company or agent.
As many as 15% of Ohio drivers break the FR law. And in some parts of the state the percentage is higher. Consider this fact too—insured drivers who carry only the minimum required insurance may have enough insurance to be legal, but not enough to pay for serious injuries that are likely to be sustained in a serious car crash.
Who is liable
The state of Ohio follows a tort liability system. This means that the driver who causes a car accident is responsible for paying for the costs of any injuries sustained by others, including medical costs, pain, suffering and loss of wages. As a tort state, there are no restrictions on lawsuits. The person found to be at fault in an accident would be responsible for all the claims of bodily injury and property damage of all passengers in both cars.
Discounts for older drivers
To qualify for the discount, you must:
- Be between the ages of 60 and 70 and pass an accident prevention course
- Provide the insurance company with proof that you have passed the course (certificate).
- Have a satisfactory driving record for the previous three years
Having trouble finding auto insurance?
If your driving record is so poor that no insurance company will insure you, an agent can take your application for the Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan. This plan is required by state law to guarantee you the opportunity to buy liability coverage. The Auto Plan will place your insurance with a company at rates which could be higher than even the high-risk companies.
While the Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan guarantees you liability coverage, again, rates may be high. For further information, call the Ohio Auto Plan at 614-221-2596.
Penalties for driving uninsured
If you drive in the state of Ohio without the mandated minimum coverage, you may face the revocation of your driver’s license for up to ninety days. Additional penalties may include impounding your automobile and suspending the tags, not to mention ticket fees, administrative costs and a reinstatement fee.
Sample Ohio automobile insurance rates
More information, including sample auto insurance rates, is available at the Ohio Department of Insurance website. Use the Automobile Insurance Sample Premium Calculator to determine rates specific to you, where you live, how you use your car and the coverages you require.