Ohio, birthplace of presidents and astronauts, is a great place to go for a drive. But more than one in 10 residents lack auto insurance, making the roads a bit risky. Read on to find how you can protect yourself against uninsured drivers in the Buckeye State.
Ohio Vehicle Insurance Requirements
Ohio is trying to crack down on uninsured drivers, so if you don't have insurance already, now is the time to get covered. In addition to issuing stiffer penalties for driving without insurance, the state now conducts random auto-insurance verification checks to catch drivers who aren't in compliance.
Who Needs Vehicle Insurance in Ohio?
Anyone with a vehicle registered in Ohio must have proof of insurance to drive legally on state roads.
Carrying Proof of Insurance
Registering a vehicle in Ohio requires proof of insurance, which can be on an insurance card or an electronic device.
Proof of insurance is also required:
- In a car crash that causes injury, death or property damage greater than $400
- When a police officer asks for it at a traffic stop
The BMV also selects 5 percent of registered vehicle owners each year to write and ask for provide proof of insurance. If you receive such a letter, you have 21 days to send back proof of insurance.
What Ohio Requires for Auto Insurance
Ohio drivers are required to carry at least these minimum levels of liability coverage:
- $25,000 for injury or death, per person
- $50,000 total for injuries or death to two or more people in a single accident
- $25,000 for property damage
Alternatives to Insurance in Ohio
Don't want to get auto insurance? You can post a $30,000 bond per car or truck with the state as an alternative.
If you've are a high-risk driver having trouble obtaining insurance on the open market, the Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan may be able to help. Any Ohio insurance agent can assist with the application.
What Happens If You Drive Without Car Insurance in Ohio?
If you're caught driving without insurance, whether you've been pulled over by a police officer or contacted at random by the BMV, you may face the following penalties:
- Fines up to $300
- Suspended driver's license
- Suspended license plates and registration
- A mandatory SR22 filing for up to three years
The SR22 form is a guarantee of coverage from an insurance company licensed in Ohio. Once an SR22 is filed, drivers are classified as high-risk by insurance companies and their auto insurance costs go up.
How Much Vehicle Insurance Do You Need in Ohio?
In Ohio, as in other states, you consider buying more auto insurance coverage than the state requires. Because more than one in 10 Ohio drivers lack insurance, having extra coverage on a car can help pay for repairs and medical expenses if the other driver is at fault.
Ohio Lack Vehicle Insurance? 13.5% National Average: 12.6 %
Among the other types of extra coverage in Ohio are collision insurance (which pays for repair or replacement of your car if it's in an accident) and comprehensive (which pays for theft, fire, natural disasters and colliding with a deer or other animals). Lenders usually require you to carry both types to secure a car loan on a new vehicle.
Uninsured (and underinsured) motorist coverage will kick in if you're involved with a hit-and-run driver or one who has no coverage or not enough.
Experts also suggest you get liability insurance of $100,000 or more per injury and $300,000 per accident, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
For more on the insurance you may need to protect yourself, see MoneyGeek's Car Insurance 101.
Teen Drivers in Ohio
As the parent or guardian, you are responsible for your teen driver in Ohio. Since the rates for young, inexperienced drivers are inevitably higher, the Ohio Department of Insurance suggests comparison shopping for coverage and raising your deductible to get a lower premium.
Ohio Car Insurance: The Difference a Teen Makes
Median annual price change for families with a teen driver on their policy:$1,269 increase This is a difference of 106%.
Average annual premium increase if your teen gets a speeding ticket while driving 11-15 mph over the speed limit:
Discounts for Teens in Ohio
Impact on annual premium with Good Student and Defensive Driving discounts:$215 saved
Compare Ohio Care Insurance Quotes
When looking for an affordable auto insurance policy, do some comparison shopping: Rates may vary more than you think:
Ohio Premiums: Mustang vs. Minivan
Do insurers consider sports cars a more risky choice for teens than sedans and minivans? Definitely, according to industry insiders — and premium rates reflect it.
Average premium for two 2014
Average premium for two 2008
Town and Country Limiteds
Annual benefit of minivans:
College Students in Ohio
The Ohio Department of Insurance recommends that college students take these steps:
Ohio College Students vs. Teen Drivers
Median annual premium change with a college student vs. high school driver$572 decrease This is a decrease of 21%.
Compare Annual Premiums for Ohio Insurers
Each year, take a look at your policy before it renews to see whether you could get a better deal. Here are the average premiums for a married couple with a 19-year-old college student in Ohio.
Distance Discount: Savings for Ohio College Drivers
You may realize a small savings on your family's premium if your student lives 150+ miles away from home and doesn't have access to a car.
Average premium for a 19-year-old male
- $2,450 at home
- $2,169 at school
- $281 in savings
Average premium for a 19-year-old female
- $2,146 at home
- $1,869 at school
- $277 in savings
Ohio College Drivers: Mustangs vs. Minivans
Since insurers associate sports cars with speeding, your premium will be lower if your college student drives a sedan or minivan.
2014 Mustang GTs (2)$2,732
2008 Town and Country Limited minivans (2)$1,876
Annual benefit of minivans
Military Drivers in Ohio
The 7,200 active-duty military personnel living in the state and 866,000 veterans in the Buckeye State of Ohio should shop for discounts on auto insurance before buying a policy. Ohio already has one of the lowest rates in the country on auto insurance, but there's still no reason not to compare to save money. Before calling insurance companies or asking for quotes online, get all your financial records together and determine how much insurance coverage you need. Review the state-required minimum coverage here.
Ohio military residents who are currently in state must follow the normal vehicle registration process that applies to everyone. Non-resident military members in Ohio are not required to register their vehicles in the state so long as there is a valid registration from another state. Records and registration renewals through the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles can be completed online.
Ohio Service Members:
How the Vehicle You Drive Affects Your Premium
SUVs and pickups are more likely to be in rollover crashes than other vehicles, according to the Insurance Information Institute, but our research showed a recent model sports car drives up your premium more than an older model SUV.
Military Drivers: A Comparison of Premium Ranges by Driver Age and Vehicle
Age-Based Savings for Ohio
Median auto insurance
for service members:
Compare Average Premiums Available to Ohio Military Personnel
When you're in the market for auto insurance, it pays to do some comparison shopping. Check out the average annual rates you can get in Ohio.
Seniors in Ohio
Ohio doesn't explicitly require its car insurance companies to give discounts to older drivers, but AARP indicates that they do anyway after the completion of a good driver course.
Undocumented Workers in Ohio
Since 2013, undocumented immigrants have been able to get a temporary license in Ohio if they have lived there for at least a year and can show either a valid passport or an ID from their consulate. At the federal level, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before they turned 16 can also get licenses under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, provided they are students or have graduated high school, haven't committed a crime and meet the residency requirements set out in the program. Having a driver's license is a prerequisite for car insurance, so the next step is to register the vehicle and get it insured.
Ridesharing Insurance in Ohio: An Evolving Issue
Uber, Lyft and other "ridesharing" companies are slowly rolling out service across Ohio as the state legislature mulls additional regulations on the service. By law, ridesharing companies must cover the state's basic auto insurance requirements and maintain records for at least two years. The state also requires drivers to be insured even while waiting for a ride request to come through.
You'll want to talk with your insurance agent. Personal auto policies don't cover driving for hire, so you may need to purchase ridesharing insurance.
Car Accidents in Ohio: How to File a Claim
The Ohio Department of Insurance recommends taking these steps after an accident:
- Call the police if there is any injury or death.
- Exchange insurance information with all involved drivers.
- Write down the make, model and license plate of each vehicle.
- File Crash Report Form BMV 3303 with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles for any accident involving injury or more than $400 in property damage.
- Contact the insurance company as quickly as possible.
- Keep all records and correspondence regarding the crash claim.
Driver Safety: How Does Ohio Rank?
Ohio ranks below the national average both in highway fatalities and alcohol-related road deaths, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. But state safety officials are concerned about the high rate of teens who die in car crashes and are taking steps to reverse the number.
"One of the single best laws we have prohibits drivers under 18 from using any electronic wireless device while they're on the road," says spokeswoman Valerie Luptak of Ohio Driver Training. "No talking, reading or texting while driving. We've had that in place almost four years now. The threat of losing your license over sending a text makes a big difference in changing behavior and following safe driving habits."
To further protect teen drivers, the state has set a driving curfew from midnight to 6 a.m. for drivers 18 and younger unless they're going to a job or driving home from one, Luptak says. In addition, teen drivers can lose their license if they drop out of school or are habitually absent.
Ohio Driver Safety Ranking
The driver safety table shows the different safety factors that contribute to your state's overall safety rank (in the green box). The overall safety ranking and the National Ranking column scores in each category (including crash fatality rates) are from safest to most dangerous, with 1st being the safest and 51st the least safe.
How did we create the safety rankings?
We created a traffic safety ranking of all US states plus the District of Columbia by combining data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. We looked at fatality rates by distance traveled as well as by population and gave more weight to behaviors that were riskier and preventable (i.e., drunk driving, not using a seat belt), as well as to accidents that involved more than one party (i.e., multi-vehicle).
|Driver Safety Profile||Number of Fatalities||Fatality Rate
The fatality rate is the rate per one billion vehicle miles traveled, except for pedestrian and bicyclist fatality measures, which are per measured per a population of 100,000.
Rankings are in order of safest to least safe. A state with the lowest fatality rate would be the safest, and thus ranked #1.
|Drunk Driving-Related Fatalities||267||2.37||6th|
|Passenger Vehicle Unrestrained Fatalities||352||3.12||22nd|
|Unhelmeted Motorcycle Fatalities||87||0.77||31st|
|Multiple Vehicle Fatalities||442||3.92||18th|
|Total Vehicle Fatalities||989||8.77||9th|
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Ohio: Protecting You from Injury on the Road
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety gives Ohio a yellow "caution" rating for gaps in optimal traffic safety laws. It urges the state to require all motorcyclists to wear helmets, for example, and to pass laws enabling police and the highway patrol to pull over cars where people aren't buckled up.
On the public education front, Ohio Driver Safety prepares safety videos and training materials to help save lives among teen drivers. It also leads safety campaigns around bicycle safety, impaired driving, rural driving, snowmobiles/ATVs and winter driving, among other things, according to Luptak.
Statewide efforts to increase highway safety and curb drunk driving are also bearing fruit, she says: fatal car crashes in Ohio over the last year are now 10 percent lower than the national average.
Safe Driving Laws - Ohio
|Mandatory seatbelts||Required of driver and all front-seat passengers. $30 fine.|
|Child passenger safety||Kids 8 and younger must ride in safety seats, unless at least 4'9″.|
|Driving under the influence (DUI)||Referred to as an OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence) in Ohio.||You can be arrested for a DUI if you have 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (the federal limit). Penalties include up to six months in jail and fines of $1,000 for the first DUI and increase for subsequent convictions.|
|Ignition interlock after DUI||Partial||Required after third offense.|
|Talking on cell or texting while driving||Partial||Texting banned. Drivers under 18 may not use cell phones.|
|Protections for young drivers||No driving from midnight to 6 a.m. unless for work or with a parent. Drivers under 18 can transport only one non-family member.|
|Motorcycle helmet law||Partial||Eyewear protection required. Helmets required for all drivers, as well as riders 18 and under and people who have had their license less than a year.|
|Bicycle helmet law||No statewide law.|
Car Insurance Resources for Ohio Residents
Auto insurance toolkit, consumer rights and auto-insurance publications.
Handbook for new drivers preparing to take the state's licensing test.
Consumer guide to comparison shopping for auto insurance, types of coverage, available discounts and contact information for the Ohio Department of Insurance.
Ohio law outlines specific levels of coverage to register a vehicle, outline in this consumer resource produced by the state's Department of Insurance.
Guide to the consequences for driving without insurance, including penalties and fines.