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Finding low cost auto insurance in Ohio should be fairly straightforward in the Internet Age, but with so many companies promising the lowest premiums, the task is much more challenging than most people expect. At PennyGeeks, we decided to make the process easier by evaluating the insurance rates of several leading providers in The Buckeye State.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Ohio
The most effective way to score the cheapest car insurance rates in Ohio is to conduct a side-by-side comparison of quotes from different providers. Below, you’ll find the results of our comparison study:
|Liberty Mutual||Safe Drivers|
|USAA||Drivers in the Military|
|Esurance||Drivers Who Pay Their Premiums Upfront|
|State Farm||Senior Drivers|
Best Car Insurance Companies in Ohio
Looking at policyholder reviews and complaint data, our Geeks were able to rank the best insurance companies in Ohio. The following table provides a summary of our findings:
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Ohio
The minimum car insurance liability limits in Ohio are as follows:
- For Bodily Injury To One Individual: $25,000
- For Bodily Injury Per Accident: $50,000
- For Damage To Property: $25,000
Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance in Ohio
Driving without insurance in the state of Ohio isn’t just illegal, it could result in serious penalties that will impact your ability to travel and find affordable coverage. If you’re stopped by authorities – whether it’s at a checkpoint or due to a traffic violation – law enforcement officers can, and will, request to see proof that your vehicle is insured up to the state’s minimum liability limits.
If your vehicle isn’t insured, penalties can include:
- Suspension of your vehicle’s plates and registration;
- Loss of your driving privileges for up to 2 years;
- SR-22 filing requirements;
- Fines to be determined by the courts; and
- Reinstatement and restoration fees up to $160 ($360 for your second offense, $660 for your third or subsequent offense).
Ohio Car Insurance FAQs
What Terms Should I Know Before Buying Car Insurance in Ohio?
Don’t pull the trigger on a new auto insurance policy without first understanding exactly what your new plan covers. Use our guide below for definitions of the most common auto insurance terms you’ll see when shopping for coverage:
Act of God: While most accidents are caused by reckless, distracted or drunk drivers, sometimes it’s Mother Nature behind the wheel. Insurers use the term “act of God” to classify damage caused by any event that isn’t a crash, such as an earthquake, fire, or protest. These forms of property damage aren’t covered under a basic policy. Instead, you will need to purchase Comprehensive Coverage, a type of insurance designed to give you a safety net in the worst-case scenario.
Adjuster: In an ideal world, you would be able to file your claim and collect your compensation the next day, but rampant insurance fraud has put insurers on high alert. A claims adjuster is someone employed by your provider to investigate, validate, and settle claims. He/she will look at evidence such as the official police accident report, photographs from the scene, and eye witness accounts to ensure each party involved is compensated fairly.
Declarations Page: The opening salvo of your auto insurance policy document summarizes vital information about your coverage, including details about your insurance limits and premiums.
Premium: How much you’ll be required to pay to maintain your coverage. Providers will often give you the option to pay either on a monthly basis or cover the full costs for the year at the beginning of the policy period.
What Are the SR-22 Filing Requirements in Ohio?
Traffic violations can result in severe penalties, including obligations to fulfill SR-22 filing requirements. An SR-22 is a form/certificate proving you, as an individual, are insured up to the state’s mandated liability limits. Typically, you would only be required to insure your vehicle, but committing offenses that result in the suspension of your license will result in requirements to fulfill this obligation before your driving privileges are restored.
You must find a provider offering this type of insurance who is also willing to file the SR-22 form/certificate with Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles on your behalf. Be warned: If you let your insurance lapse or end your coverage for any reason, your insurer is required by law to inform the Bureau your insurance has ended. If are no longer insured, your license and registration could be suspended. You will also have to start the SR-22 filing process from scratch.
What Are Some Important Ohio Traffic Laws?
Ohio Drunk Driving Laws
Between 2003 to 2012, nearly 3,700 people were killed in auto accidents involving at least one drunk driver in Ohio, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 accidents in the country involve someone who is under the influence. To combat this plight of road deaths, the state’s traffic code imposes strict penalties on anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more (0.02% for under 21 motorists, and 0.04% for motorists operating commercial vehicles). These include:
- Up to 6 months in prison (up to a year for serial offenders);
- Up to $1,000 in fines (up to $10,000 for repeat rulebreakers);
- 3-year license suspension (possible permanent driving ban for subsequent offenses); and
- Ignition Interlock Device installed in vehicle (for third and subsequent offenses).
An Ignition Interlock Device immobilizes your vehicle until you have completed a breathalyzer test and registered under the limit. If you the fail the test, your car won’t start and you will have to wait until the lockout period has expired before you can try again.
Ohio Seatbelt Laws
Wearing a seatbelt will reduce your chances of sustaining a fatal injury while on the road. By law, front seat passengers and drivers in the state are required to buckle up at all times while the vehicle is moving. Children aged 15 or younger must wear a seat belt or make use of a safety or booster seat even when sitting in the rear seats.
If you are caught travelling without a seatbelt – or officers discover the younger passengers in your vehicle are unbuckled – you could be fined up to $75.
Ohio Car Safety Seat Laws
A child car seat is designed to form a protective barrier between your little one and impact forces in a crash. By law, children under the age of 4 or who weigh less than 40lbs, must be restrained in an appropriate safety seat at all times while your vehicle is moving. Kids between ages 4 and 8, and shorter than 5-feet tall, must be seated in a booster seat. Children between ages 8 and 15 must always wear a safety belt. Remember: You, as the driver, are responsible for the safety of any minors in your car.
Ohio Distracted Driving Laws
Cellphones have become one of the most important items in our lives. But this useful gadget is also a portal to countless distractions. It’s estimated that 9 people are fatally injured every day in accidents involving drivers who weren’t paying attention to the road.
If you’re caught using your cellphone while driving, you could be fined and may receive points on your license. However, you are allowed to use your cellphone if you are making an emergency call to law enforcement, healthcare providers, or the fire department.
Am I a “High-Risk Driver?”
If you’re branded as a high-risk driver, you’re wearing the insurance world’s version of the scarlet letter. Not only does this label make it difficult to purchase a policy, you will also have to pay more for basic features than most other motorists. You could be categorized as a high-risk driver if you:
- Are a newly-licensed, inexperienced, or teen driver;
- Let your coverage to lapse in the past;
- Caused a serious accident(s);
- Were caught driving without insurance;
- Were convicted for driving under the influence; or
- Have a bad credit rating.
Can My Provider Cancel My Policy in Ohio?
The insurance industry functions – and turns a profit – by evaluating risk and adjusting rates, policy features, and other components of your coverage to reflect these risks. In certain situations, a provider will choose to cancel your policy rather than take on the liability of insuring you or your vehicle.
During the first two months of your coverage, your provider may choose to cancel your policy for nearly any reason. However, after this initial period is over, your carrier can still cancel your insurance policy if you:
- Lied about anything in order to obtain insurance;
- Missed payments on your premium;
- Used your vehicle commit criminal acts (illegal street racing, theft, etc.);
- Are convicted for reckless driving at least three times within a three-month period; or
- Are caught and convicted for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When Might a Car Insurance Company Deny My Claim?
1. You Claimed Loss That Isn’t Covered by Your Policy
Your policy and its individual features cover certain types of loss. For example, a basic policy meeting the state’s minimum liability limits in Ohio would kick in to pay for part of any expenses related to injuries and property damage sustained in an accident with another motorist or object. However, if your car is damaged by a rampaging wildfire, your claim to cover repair costs would be denied because this type of loss is not listed on your policy. It’s important to understand what your auto insurance does and does not cover so that you don’t go through the arduous process of filing your claim only to discover you won’t be compensated.
2. You Took Too Long to File Your Claim
As soon as you are involved in an accident, the clock starts running. Insurers set strict time limits for motorists wishing to file claims. If this window has elapsed, you won’t be able to dip into your coverage to pay for your medical bill or repairs and your claim will be denied. Don’t drag your heels in the aftermath of a crash – the quicker you contact your insurer, the sooner you can secure compensation.
3. You Were Drinking or Using Drugs
Claims adjusters are meticulous when investigating your claim. If the official police report on the accident reveals that you were under the influence and over the limit, your provider will see this as a sign that you were at fault. In most situations, your claim will be denied.
4. You Missed Payments
Maintaining an insurance policy hinges on your ability to pay your premium on time. If you missed a payment, your coverage will either be cancelled by your provider or frozen until you have transferred the necessary funds. If you are involved in accident before resolving this outstanding payment, your insurer will deny your claim.
5. You Didn’t Seek Medical Treatment
When you file your claim, you want to present an accurate assessment of your medical costs. Seeking treatment for injuries sustained in an accident, however minor, will ensure that aren’t blindsided by additional costs once you have already been paid out.
What Is Ohio’s License Points System?
If you’re caught violating traffic laws, you could receive points on your license. These demerits will put you at risk of losing your driving privileges. But not all infractions are created equal. Points are dolled out in proportion to the severity of your transgressions. For example, if you’re caught speeding 10mph above the posted limit on a residential road, you will only receive 2 demerits. If officers spot you travelling 30mph over the limit, you’ll receive 4 points.
Points for a given violation are erased automatically after 2 years. If you accumulate 12 points or more, your driver’s license could be suspended or revoked for six months. To reinstate your driving privileges after the suspension period has lapsed, you will need to complete a driver’s education class, present proof of insurance to the relevant department, and retake your driver’s test.