Car Insurance in Ohio: Requirements

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Minimum car insurance in Ohio

Liability insurance is essential coverage. It pays for damage and injuries you cause others. You can be sued if your insurance doesn't cover all the damage. That's why it's often wise to buy more than the state minimum auto insurance.

Ohio minimum liability insurance:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 property damage per accident

This is written as 25/50/25.

Minimum uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage:

Uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) are not required in Ohio. These coverage types pay for your injuries caused a driver with no liability insurance or not enough.

More: Cheap car insurance in Ohio

Other auto insurance options

Collision and comprehensive coverage: These cover damage to your own car. Liability insurance does not. Collision and comprehensive coverage will pay for damage from problems such as hitting an animal, hail, flood, fire, vandalism, falling objects and explosions.

Comprehensive insurance also covers the theft of your vehicle if it's stolen and not recovered. The maximum insurance payout for a theft claim is the value of your vehicle minus the deductible you chose.

Rental reimbursement: If your vehicle is in the shop due to an accident, this pays for a rental car.

Medical payments (MedPay) coverage pays for injuries to you and your passengers no matter who caused the accident. It is not required in Ohio. 

You must show an insurance ID card (or other proof of financial responsibility) when:

  • Law enforcement requests it
  • You renew vehicle registration

Penalties for not having car insurance in Ohio

  • First offense: impoundment of license and Class F suspension of the person's license or permit. A Class F suspension is lifted when you meet the conditions of financial responsibility.
  • Subsequent offenses within five years of the violation: your vehicle is impounded and operating privileges are again suspended. Impoundment of license and Class C suspension of license for one year.
  • If, within five years, your license is impounded two or more times and operating privileges are suspended: Class B suspension of license or permit for two years.

Source: Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

Consumer complaints against auto insurance companies

Each state's department of insurance handles and tracks complaints against insurance companies that operate in the state. Shown below are national complaint ratios for the largest auto insurance companies in Ohio. The ratios show complaints relative to a company's size.

Ohio auto insurance complaints comparison

Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs (OVI) laws in Ohio

First offense

The first OVI offense is a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio. If you are convicted of an OVI and you have a low BAC (between .08 and .17) or were under the influence of drugs, you may get:

  • A $375 to $1,075 fine.
  • Three days in jail or Driver Intervention Program, up to six months.
  • License suspension for one to three years; may be reduced to half if you take an Underage Drinking Program; the court may grant driving privileges after 15 days.
  • The court may impose a restricted plate if it grants you limited driving privileges.
  • If the court grants unlimited driving privileges, you will be required to install an ignition interlock.

If your BAC is high for your first OVI offense (equal or greater to .17) or if you have refused a chemical test within the past 20 years, you may face:

  • A $375 to $1,075 fine.
  • Six days in jail or three days in jail and up to six months in a Driver Intervention Program.
  • License suspension for one to three years; may be reduced to half with an Underage Drinking Program; the court may grant driving privileges after 15 days.
  • Restricted plates are required for limited driving privileges.
  • If the court grants unlimited driving privileges, you will be required to install an ignition interlock.

Second offense

The second offense is a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio. If you are convicted of a second OVI in 10 years and you have a low BAC test or were under the influence of drugs, you may face:

  • A $525 to $1,625 fine.
  • 10 days in jail or five days in jail and 18 days house arrest and/or Continuous Alcohol Monitoring for up to six months.
  • Mandatory alcohol/drug assessment and recommended treatment.
  • License suspension between one to seven years; the court may grant driving privileges after 45 days.
  • Restricted driving plates are optional.
  • If the offense is alcohol related, an ignition interlock is required; optional if drug related.

If your BAC is high for your first OVI offense (equal or greater to .17) or if you have refused a chemical test within the past 20 years, you may face:

  • A $525 to $1,625 fine.
  • 20 days in jail or 10 days in jail with 36 days of house arrest and/or Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (up to six months).
  • Mandatory alcohol/drug assessment and recommended treatment.
  • Restricted plates for high-test is mandatory; optional if for chemical test refusal.
  • If the driving offense is alcohol related, an ignition interlock is required; optional if drug related.
  • Your vehicle may be immobilized for 90 days.

Third offense

The third offense in 10 years is an unclassified misdemeanor. If you are convicted and have a low BAC test (between .08 and .17) or were under the influence of drugs, you may face:

  • An $850 to $2,750 fine.
  • 30 days in jail or 15 days jail and 55 days house arrest and/or Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (up to one year).
  • Mandatory alcohol/drug addiction program.
  • License suspension two to 12 years (minimum may be reduced to one year), court may grant driving privileges after 180 days.
  • Restricted driving plate is required.
  • If the driving offense is alcohol related, an ignition interlock is required; optional if drug related.
  • You may have to forfeit your vehicle.

If your BAC is high for your first OVI offense (equal or greater to .17) or if you have refused a chemical test within the past 20 years, you may face:

  • An $850 to $2,750 fine.
  • 60 days in jail or 30 days in jail and 110 days of house arrest and/or Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (up to one year).
  • Mandatory alcohol/drug addiction program.
  • License suspension for two to 12 years (minimum may be reduced to one year); court may grant driving privileges after 180 days.
  • Restricted driving plates required.
  • If the driving offense is alcohol related, an ignition interlock is required; optional if drug related.
  • You may have to forfeit your vehicle.

Subsequent offenses

If you are convicted of a fourth and fifth OVI offense within 10 years, it is a fourth-degree felony in Ohio. Sixth and subsequent offenses within 20 years are fourth-degree felonies. If you have plead guilty of an OVI felony in the past, no matter when it took place, the violation is a third-degree felony.

If convicted of subsequent offenses, the potential penalties and fines are more severe, including:

  • Up to $10,500 in fines.
  • Up to five years in prison.
  • Lifetime license suspension.

OVI penalty source: Judge Jennifer P. Weiler of the Garfield Heights Municipal Courts and the National Conference of State Legislatures

Distracted driving laws in Ohio

Prohibits drivers from using hand-held cell phone while driving

No

All cellphone ban

No

All cellphone use banned for novice drivers

Drivers under 18

Text messaging ban while driving

All drivers

Source: Governors Highway Safety Association


Updated June 18, 2018

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