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What are state minimums for car insurance in Ohio?

Things to remember...

  • You don’t need insurance if you have a $30,000 surety bond in Ohio
  • You lose your license for as many as two years if you are caught driving without insurance
  • Insurance rates in Ohio are among the least expensive in the country

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Ohio lawmakers want you to be safe on the roads, so they require you carry at least a minimum amount of insurance coverage. If you don’t have insurance, you must be able to prove you have another form of financial responsibility in the form of a bond.

The purpose of this kind of financial coverage is to protect the financial life of all involved. You know how much it costs to repair a small issue with your car if it’s not covered by warranty.

Imagine how much it’ll cost to repair your car if you hit another vehicle. It’s exorbitant and often reaches into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Financial responsibility in a car accident is imperative. You must be able to afford to pay the damages, the medical bills, and the repairs. If you are the at-fault driver in an accident, the person you hit might decide to sue you for damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Having an insurance policy to cover the cost of this is the only way to protect your personal wealth.

If you’re not driving with insurance yet, it’s time to learn how to get the best rates, how to shop for insurance, and why it’s so important to compare rates. Compare rates with our FREE quote tool above today! 

Table of Contents

Minimum Insurance Requirements in Ohio

All Ohio drivers must carry liability insurance. The amount is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage and $25,000 in property damage coverage.

If you fail to carry this kind of insurance, you’re driving illegally.

You must prove you have at least this kind of coverage when you register your car with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and you may not allow anyone without their own insurance coverage to drive your vehicle legally.

Financial Responsibility in Lieu of Car Insurance

If you choose not to purchase a car insurance policy in Ohio, you do have another option. You can purchase a bond from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in the amount of $30,000. You may also have a surety bond in this amount with an authorized company.

This deposit is recorded by the Treasurer of the State, and it’s used in case you are ever involved in an accident. The other bond option is a real estate bond.

It must be signed by you and another individual in the amount of $30,000, and you must have at least $60,000 in real estate equity in your name to use this alternative.

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What if my car is paid off or what if I owe money on my car to the lender?

One thing all Ohio drivers must consider is the ownership of their vehicle. If you own your car outright, you might assume you get to choose how much insurance you want to purchase to cover your car. You are correct.

You are not required to carry any coverage other than the bare minimum if you don’t owe anything on your car. It’s yours, and it’s your decision to carry only the minimum amount of coverage.

If you lease your car or you are financing it through a lender, you will not be able to purchase only the minimum required coverage.

Your lender gets the final say in the type of insurance coverage your car carries, and it must be full coverage. The lender is still the owner of your vehicle if you’re making payments, and they want to know their investment is protected.

If you lease or finance and you allow your insurance policy to lapse, your lender sends you a notice in the mail. The notice provides a date by which you must have a valid insurance policy on hand.

If you fail to purchase the correct insurance by the deadline in the notice sent to you, the lender purchases a car insurance policy for the car and you become responsible for paying that premium. Lenders don’t shop around for the best rates.

Can I get in trouble if I don’t have insurance?

Yes. If you don’t have insurance and you’re caught driving, you face preset fines and penalties as well as additional fines and penalties the court decides to add to your current penalties.

First-time offenders are required by law to pay a $160 fee to restore your license after a mandatory suspension. The suspension does not have a set timeframe.

It’s suspended until you prove you have an insurance policy. The court may also impose jail time, probation, additional fines, or any other penalty they see fit in the circumstance.

If you decide to allow your policy to lapse a second time, you must pay $360 to restore your suspended license. This time it’s suspended for one year. The court does allow you to apply for special driving privileges 15 days after your license is suspended.

Third-time offenders must pay $660 to restore your license after it’s been suspended for two years. Special driving privileges are available, but they cannot be issued until the suspension is in effect for 30 days.

Tips to Lower Your Car Insurance Expense

The number one reason people forgo car insurance in Ohio is cost. It’s an expense most drivers never use, and they don’t see a reason to continue paying for something that does them no good.

As you can see, it’s far more expensive to drive without a valid insurance policy with at least the minimum requirements than it is to just pay the monthly premium. To find the best insurance rates in Ohio, you should take advantage of a few savings tips.

Check your credit report for mistakes. Drivers are given rate quotes based on several factors that help insurance companies determine how risky it is to insure a person.

If you have bad credit, you look like an irresponsible driver to the company. It’s imperative you check your credit report for mistakes you can fix prior to shopping around for insurance so you can raise your score.

Your driving record is also important. If it’s bad, you can’t do anything about it. However, you should know what your driving history can do to the quotes you receive. The other great tip you should apply is the discount tip.

Ask for discounts that apply to your life and your current situation. Multi-car discounts retired driving discounts, safe driving discounts, and many other discounts are available to help you find affordable insurance. Don’t miss out on a FREE auto quote with our comparison tool below!


  1. http://bmv.ohio.gov/dl-mandatory-insurance.aspx
  2. http://www.nasdaq.com/article/car-insurance-for-your-paidoff-car-cm263681
  3. http://www.nasdaq.com/article/how-much-coverage-does-a-leased-car-need-cm219840
  4. http://www.publicsafety.ohio.gov/links/bmv3101.pdf
  5. https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action

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