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Ohio Auto Insurance Requirements

In the state of Ohio, as in nearly every state across the country, auto insurance is required of every driver. In order to have a vehicle registered and out on the road in Ohio, a car owner must meet the state's requirements for minimum auto liability insurance coverage. There are baseline levels of liability protection mandated by the state, but there are also multiple ways to meet Ohio state standards for liability coverage. Many drivers do choose to carry far more than the required minimum levels of coverage, but auto liability insurance is the foundation of every Ohio car insurance policy.

Liability Insurance Requirements in Ohio

According to state auto insurance law, liability insurance is necessary for all drivers in the state of Ohio. Every Ohio auto liability has three basic parts-the first two dealing with the cost of injuries to other drivers and passengers of other vehicles involved in at-fault accidents, and the third dedicated to meeting personal property damage expenses related to such collisions. The state mandates a minimum $12,500/$25,000/$7,500 liability policy [1]. The three numbers represent the minimum acceptable levels of liability coverage for each of the three areas of a split Ohio liability policy.

The first part of such a policy is the bodily injury liability portion for the other driver or first injured victim of an at-fault accident. Like all liability coverage, this insurance protection is only paid out in liability circumstances, and only goes to pay the costs associated with expenses incurred by the driver and passengers of the other car, not the covered (at-fault) driver. All Ohio drivers must have at least $12,500 in coverage for this area of their liability policy per state law. Similarly, $25,000 in bodily injury coverage is set aside as a minimum for bodily injury or death to two or more parties in an at-fault accident.

The third and final portion of liability coverage is earmarked for property damage compensation. It includes monetary damage to cars and also to other pieces of property. Once again, it is only for the other vehicle and not for the covered vehicle itself. The state minimum as mentioned above for property damage liability insurance is $7,500.

Meeting OH Auto Insurance Requirements

The first and most common way of meeting Ohio state standards for auto liability insurance is to simply carry a liability policy with at least the required levels of coverage from a licensed insurer legally able to provide coverage in-state. This is far and away the method most residents choose; there are other ways to satisfy Ohio liability insurance requirements, but the majority of state residents do not have the kind of financial solvency to choose any of them.

Nevertheless, there are alternate ways to satisfy these requirements, although each of them is related in two important ways. All of the alternative options represent essentially a choice to self-insure; and all of them require the individual choosing them to demonstrate his or her own financial responsibility. Ohio is a so-called "financial responsibility" state, meaning each driver is required to demonstrate financial responsibility when it comes to auto insurance. In the case of choosing to self-insure in one way or another, residents have to be able to demonstrate that they have the capital necessary to meet the minimum state-mandated obligations if a liability situation should arise.

The first alternative to an Ohio auto liability policy is to obtain a $30,000 bond from an authorized surety or insurance company. The second is to keep a certificate or proof of financial responsibility issued the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and signed by a qualified insurance agent. Alternately, a certificate can be issued by the Ohio BMV stating that the individual has cash or bonds in the amount of $30,000 in deposit with the state treasurer of Ohio. A slightly different certificate of bond is also available in the amount of $30,000, to be signed by at least two other individuals aside from the insured, each of whom must possess property with positive equity of at least $60,000. Finally, a business owner or individual can get a certificate of self-insurance issued by the Ohio BMV in cases where the individual or business is the title owner to more than 25 motor vehicles registered with the state [1].

Optional Auto Coverage in Ohio

Beyond auto liability insurance, there are no state requirements for further areas of car insurance coverage. Any additional protection will be bought at the discretion of the individual policy holder. The only exception of note is in cases where the covered vehicle is either leased or financed through a bank or other institution. In these cases, the covered policy holder must also carry comprehensive and collision insurance to protect the investment of those holding a lien on the vehicle. But even in cases where comprehensive and collision are optional, they are still worth considering if the vehicle in question is still worth a fair amount of money.

However, the value of the vehicle should be taken into close consideration (and by value, generally we mean the fair market value). Collision and comprehensive coverage on an auto insurance policy are generally limited to the fair market value of the covered vehicle. So if you total your five-year-old sedan, you will only be compensated in the amount it might cost to purchase that five-year-old sedan on the open market (less deductible, of course). This can make carrying comprehensive and collision a much less attractive option as the car gets older. Certainly once it reaches about four or five years of age, it is time to begin considering cutting out this part of your policy, because you simply may not be getting the return you would need to get to justify the premium.

Another very common elective coverage available to Ohio drivers is uninsured and underinsured motorist protection. These are actually two separate options, but most drivers elect to purchase them together. If you are getting to the point with your current vehicle when you are looking at cutting out your comprehensive and collision, perhaps you might think of taking the premium savings and reinvesting it in this area of coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage has bodily injury and property damage portions for accidents you might get into where the negligent driver carries no liability insurance; and underinsured coverage simply pays out for the excess costs of an accident caused by another driver whose liability insurance is insufficient to cover all costs.

Other special endorsements you may consider adding to your Ohio auto insurance policy include medical payments coverage and non owned vehicle insurance. The specifics of the policy every driver comes up with will vary according to individual needs and budgetary limits. Consult with any licensed Ohio auto insurance provider for details on all the endorsements available to you.

Every driver in Ohio must carry personal liability insurance or be able to demonstrate personal financial responsibility allowing them to forego this minimum coverage requirement. As a consumer and a car owner, it serves your best interest to check into all the options you have for your Ohio car insurance policy. Knowing your options can help you design the right policy.

 

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