Home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ohio is a top destination for the genre’s headbanging enthusiasts. But if you’re nabbed driving without car insurance, you’d better get ready to face the music because local authorities take a no-holds-barred approach toward errant motorists breaking the state’s mandatory insurance laws.
Much like other parts of the U.S., Ohio’s Department of Transport requires all drivers to purchase and maintain a car insurance policy meeting state-specific minimum coverage limits. In Ohio, you must purchase at least:
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 in damage to property coverage
This basic policy will ensure that you have the financial means to cover damages sustained by the other parties involved in an accident you caused. These features will not protect you against financial loss and more often than not, these limits will fall short reimbursing others in more severe crashes.
Many motorists choose to invest in additional features – such as collision insurance, comprehensive coverage, and uninsured motorist protection – to safeguard themselves against extreme financial loss in an accident.
In this blog, we will explore and explain:
- The penalties for driving without auto insurance
- SR-22 filing requirements
- Fault states
- Uninsured motorist coverage
When you are pulled over on Ohio’s public roads, law enforcement officers will demand to see proof your vehicle is insured up to the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. If you cannot produce evidence of a current policy or your car is not insured, you could face the penalties outlined below.
Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Ohio
Driving without coverage in the state is not only illegal but can also result in long-term increases in your future policy’s rates. If you are caught violating the state’s insurance laws, your license and vehicle’s registration may be suspended for up to 2 years; you may have to fulfill SR-22 filing requirements for a period of 3 years; you could be fined (the amount is dictated by the courts); and you will have to fork over between $160 to $660 to reinstate your driving privileges.
FAQs About Driving Without Auto Insurance in Ohio
What Are the SR-22 Filing Requirements in Ohio?
If your license is suspended in Ohio, you will first have to fulfil the state’s SR-22 filing requirements before your driving privileges are restored. But what is an SR-22?
This document is a type of form/certificate filed by your insurer on your behalf. It shows that you – as an individual rather than just your vehicle – are insured up to the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. To meet the requirements for this certificate, you will have to purchase what is known as “SR-22 insurance”. Unlike standard policies which cover just a single vehicle, this type of insurance will protect you regardless of what vehicle you are driving. Unsurprisingly, due to its all-inclusive nature, this policy will cost you more than most other forms of coverage.
You will have to maintain unbroken SR-22 coverage for up to 3 years. If you let your insurance lapse for any reason – such as cancellation of your policy or due to missed payments – your provider is required to inform Ohio’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles that you are no longer insured. The kicker: You will have to restart the SR-22 filing process from square one.
Is Ohio a Fault State?
Yes. In Ohio, the at-fault driver – the motorist responsible for causing the accident – can be held liable for any damages sustained by the other parties involve. A claims adjuster belonging to the insurance company will investigate the accident to help determine who was at-fault. Typically, the proportion of blame is shared and assigned to each driver in the form of a percentage point.
While in some cases, it may be clear that one driver was wholly responsible for the crash, in most cases, fault will be shared among all the motorists involved. For example, a reckless driver rear-ended your vehicle on the highway while making a dangerous lane change. However, evidence shows that you were talking on your cellphone and could’ve taken steps to avoid the accident if you were concentrating on the road. The claims adjuster may decide you were 25% responsible for the crash taking place and could be held liable for this percentage of the overall damages.
Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Available in Ohio?
It’s estimated that nearly 14% of the country’s drivers hit the road without adequate coverage. As a result, your risk of crashing into another motorist who does not have the financial means to compensate you for your loss is far higher than you may have expected.
Fortunately, insurers now offer uninsured motorist coverage to help safeguard your finances after an accident. If you’re involved in a collision with an at-fault driver who is uninsured, this addon will kick in to reimburse you for damages you sustained. There are three main types of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in Ohio:
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage: This feature will reimburse you for any property damage to your vehicle caused by an uninsured motorist. However, if you have or plan to purchase collision coverage, we recommend increasing your existing limits instead as this core addon already covers any damage sustained in accidents involving other vehicles, objects, and even potholes.
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage: Even minor injuries can cost thousands of dollars to treat. This policy feature will kick in reimburse you for any medical costs for treating injuries you, or anyone else in your vehicle, sustained in a collision caused by an uninsured motorist.
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage: You don’t only need to worry about the uninsured, the underinsured – those who purchase coverage that will inevitably fall short– pose just as much of a threat to your bank account as those hitting the road with no coverage at all. This policy will reimburse you for damages when the at-fault driver’s insurance policy runs dry, ensuring you have the funds necessary to get back on the road.