State of Ohio Insurance Requirements

What is Financial Responsibility?

In Ohio, it is illegal to drive any motor vehicle without insurance or other proof of financial responsibility (FR). It is also illegal for ny motor vehicle owner to allow another person to drive the owner’s vehicle without FR proof. To comply with Ohio’s FR  requirements, individuals must maintain insurance or get a bond. Both types of coverage are described on this tip sheet.

If I obtain insurance, what is required?

Ohio law requires the following for insurance coverage:

• If a person purchases automobile insurance, the state requires the person to purchase Bodily Injury Liability Coverage as well as Property Damage Liability Coverage.
• A motor vehicle liability insurance policy. Insurance cards are issued by an insurer to the policyholder for each motor vehicle insured under a motor vehicle liability insurance policy.
• A certificate of proof of financial responsibility on a form prescribed by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

If I purchase auto insurance to demonstrate Financial Responsibility, what are the minimum coverage requirements in Ohio?

In Ohio the required minimum for Bodily Injury Liability Coverage is currently $25,000 per person injured in any one accident and $50,000 for all persons injured in any one accident. The required minimum for Property Damage Liability Coverage is $25,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.

Why should I get more coverage than the minimum?

The value of your assets (what you may have to lose in the event you cause an accident) may help you determine the amount of coverage you should carry. Having additional coverage could protect you and your assets in the event of a serious accident. If you do not have adequate coverage, the law allows the victim to take any assets that you may have in order tocover the costs of any damages that occur.

Your insurance should cover you up to the amount of the policy limits. If the damage in the accident exceeds an amount greater than your policy limits, you would be held legally responsible to pay for any damages that your insurance does not cover, including medical costs, costs to repair any property damage and legal costs for any court proceedings that may take place because of the accident. To pay for the damages, your home, car and other assets could be taken away from you. Your present and future wages could be garnished. If your child was driving a car that was underinsured and was in an accident, they too would be held responsible for any damages and could face significant debt. You and your family could end up paying for one accident for the rest of your life!

I have very limited income and can only afford minimum coverage.

What can I do?

Ohio has the 13th lowest auto insurance rates in the country. Call around to several different companies and get quotes from them. More than likely you will be able to find a company that can provide more than the minimum coverage for your budget.

If I want to get a bond or post collateral instead of purchasing insurance, what is required?

Ohio law allows for the following alternatives to automobile insurance:

• A certificate issued by the BMV, after proper application and approval, indicating that money or government bonds in the amount of $30,000 is on deposit with the office of the Treasurer of the State of Ohio.
• A certificate of bond issued by the BMV, after proper application and approval, in the amount of $30,000 signed by two individuals who own real estate having equity of at least $60,000.
• A certificate of self-insurance issued by the BMV, after proper application and approval, to those with more than 25 motor vehicles registered in their name or a company’s name.

• A $30,000 bond issued by an authorized surety or insurance company.


Questions or concerns?

The Ohio Department of Insurance regulates agents and companies that are licensed to sell insurance in our state. The Department’s Consumer Services representatives can answer your insurance questions and investigate your complaints about an insurance company or agent, contact the Department at 1-800-686-1526.

RANDOM SELECTION PROGRAM

Ohio’s Financial Responsibility Act prohibits vehicle owners from operating or allowing the operation of their vehicle without insurance. One method of verifying that a vehicle owner maintains insurance is through the Random Selection Program. The BMV randomly selects 5,400 registered vehicles per week to provide proof of insurance for a selected date. Letters notifying the owner of the random selection are mailed to the address on file for the owner. A random selection suspension occurs if a vehicle owner fails to provide proof of insurance.

In order to cancel a random selection suspension, the individual must provide proof of liability insurance coverage listing the selected vehicle in effect for the requested verification date. The individual may submit a copy of his or her automobile insurance policy declarations page, insurance identification card or a letter on insurance company letterhead and signed by the agent indicating liability insurance was in effect.

The BMV’s subsidiary office in Hudson, Ohio, administers the initial phase of this program. That office can be reached at:

BMV Insurance Processing Center
P.O. Box 209
Hudson, OH 44236-0209
1-877-315-6605

Jump to Reinstatement Requirements.

Ohio Revised Code: 4509.101 4507.212

RANDOM SELECTION-EXEMPTIONS

If a vehicle owner provides clear evidence that he or she customarily maintains insurance, then the individual may be exempt if one of the following are applicable:

The vehicle owner first must provide proof that he or she customarily maintains insurance. Acceptable proof would be an insurance card, declarations page or letter from the insurer on the agent’s or company’s letterhead. The proof of coverage must include the start and end dates of the coverage, policy number and list the vehicle selected. Exemptions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Inoperable Vehicle

The proof of insurance provided must cover dates shortly before the vehicle became inoperable. If the vehicle was inoperable, the BMV will accept the following as proof:

  • Signed statement from an auto shop on company letterhead stating the vehicle was inoperable for the minimum 30-day period prior to the selection date
  • Repair bill or estimate dated at least 30 days, but less than 90 days, before the selection date
  • Dated receipts for the types of parts that would make a vehicle inoperable
  • Signed statement from a law enforcement official or warning letter stating that parked, inoperable vehicles must have valid license plates, in addition to documentation indicating inoperability

The BMV will not accept the following documentation:

  • Statement from a business whose existence cannot be verified
  • Affidavits from the owner stating it was inoperable
  • Statements that someone other than a certified mechanic repaired the vehicle at home, unless accompanied by receipts for parts to repair

Seasonal Vehicle

If the vehicle is only used at certain times of the year, the owner must provide a letter from his or her insurance agent stating the vehicle has a history of being driven seasonally and is only insured when in use.

Not at Fault for Lack of Financial Responsibility

If the owner was not at fault for lack of financial responsibility, the BMV must receive documentation to support it. For example, the vehicle was awarded to the other party in a divorce settlement.

Excusable Neglect

The lapse in insurance was caused by an event that is unlikely to occur again. For example, the vehicle owner was hospitalized at the time the insurance bill was due.

Vehicle was Sold or Traded-In

If the vehicle was sold or traded prior to the date of random selection, the individual must submit one of the following as proof:

  • A copy, front and back, of the notarized title as proof of the sale
  • A copy of the sales contract of the new vehicle showing the trade-in
  • A notarized statement listing the date of the sale and the name of the buyer

Stored Vehicle

If the vehicle is stored, you must submit a receipt from a paid storage facility for exemption from the financial responsibility requirement.

Active-Duty Military

If the owner is in the military, the owner must be stationed outside of Ohio. The individual must submit a copy of his or her orders or other official documentation in order to be exempted.

Incarcerated Individuals

If the owner is incarcerated, he or she will need to submit a letter from the correctional facility or other official documentation. If the registration is renewed during the incarceration, then the vehicle will be considered to be in use by a family member or other individual and will not be exempted.

Ohio Revised Code: 4509.101

REINSTATEMENT REQUIREMENTS

A random selection suspension will stand until the owner meets the following requirements:

  • Carry a certificate of insurance (SR-22/bond) for three years
  • Pay a reinstatement fee

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SR-22

An SR-22 is a filing on a person's drivers license number that the Secretary of State monitors through an insurance policy. Failure to pay the insurance by the due date will suspend the person's license that had an SR-22 filed.



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