Ohio Car Insurance Laws

Ohio state symbolsMotorists in Ohio must abide by the state's Financial Responsibility (FR) law in order to operate an automobile legally, which states that a motor vehicle must either be covered by auto insurance policies or another form of financial responsibility accepted and recognized by the state. It is also against the law for a vehicle owner to allow another driver to operate the owner's automobile without proof of FR.

To comply with the state's Financial Responsibility requirements a motorist may purchase a car insurance policy with the minimum limits prescribed by the state. Drivers that choose to satisfy the state FR law with automobile policies must purchase coverage consisting of liability limits of no less than the following:
  • $12,500 for bodily injury per person
  • $25,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $7,500 for property damage
Motorists that are caught and convicted of operating an automobile without Ohio auto insurance coverage can have driving privileges suspended for 90 days, up to one year for repeat offenders, have license plates and/or vehicles impounded, and the offender will be responsible for any court costs.

Following a conviction, in order to get driving privileges and license plates reinstated, the motorist must pay a reinstatement fee of $75 and up to $500 for repeat offenses, prove financial responsibility, have an agent or insurer file an SR-22 (financial responsibility form) with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and pay an impound fee to get the automobile back if it was impounded.

In addition to being financially responsible for bodily injury and/or property damage that a motorist may cause as a result of a traffic accident, drivers are also required to carry proof of insurance or FR (identification card) at all times; this documentation will be needed when requested by a law enforcement officer for a traffic violation or safety check. An identification card may also be needed in court if a motorist receives a traffic ticket or is involved in a traffic accident. The BMV is also allowed to verify automobile coverage and may randomly request identification cards.
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The Ohio Guide to Automobile Insurance recommends always keeping proof of coverage in the vehicle at all times in a place accessible to anyone who operates the automobile. The alternatives allowed in lieu of an automobile policy are a certificate issued by the BMV showing that cash or a government bond has been deposited with the state treasurer, a certificate of bond issued by the BMV in the amount of $30,000 signed by two individuals that own real estate with equity of no less than $60,000 or a $30,000 bond issued by an authorized surety or insurance company.

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