Ohio Car Insurance Requirements
In Ohio it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle, or allow others to drive yours, without some sort of proof of financial responsibility. Drivers must purchase a liability car insurance policy unless they choose one of the other options they are eligible for. Those other options include:
- leaving a cash deposit of $30,000, or purchasing an equivalent state bond, with the state treasurer’s office
- posting a $30,000 bond with a state licensed bonding company
- posting a real estate bond with two or more bondholders with Ohio real estate (property must have a combined equity of at least $60,000)
- self insuring (must register a minimum of 25 vehicles in the same name)
Most Ohio drivers will choose the liability insurance option simply because it’s the cheapest and easiest of the five. If you choose to purchase insurance you must get a policy that provides the following minimum coverages:
- $12,500 per accident to pay for one person’s injuries or death
- $25,000 per accident to pay for the injuries or death of two or more people
- $7500 per accident to pay for property damage you cause
Ohio’s minimum coverages are very low when compared to most other states. As such, industry experts often recommend drivers raise those minimums at least several times over. It doesn’t cost that much extra, yet the added protection could be a godsend if you’re ever sued after an accident.
Maintaining Your Documentation
Whether you choose a cheap car insurance policy or one of the other options, you are legally required to maintain the proper documentation. Insurance companies should issue you an ID card, declarations page, and insurance binder. If you’ve chosen to secure bonds you should receive certificates of those bonds. Cash deposits and the self-insurance option should provide you with documentation from the state.
In either case, proof of your financial responsibility must be carried in your vehicle at all times. You are required by law to show the proof to a police officer upon request. Not carrying the documents in your car can result in a citation and fine.
If you’re unable to prove to a court you were in compliance with the state’s financial responsibility law even though you could not produce documents for police officer, you’ll be met with a minimum 90-day registration and license suspension. Repeat offenders could be subject to suspensions of up to two years.
If you’re caught driving without some sort of protection, or if you have an accident, you can expect license and registration suspensions to be accompanied by a stiff fines. You’ll also be subject to higher insurance premiums for several years into the future.