What Happens When You Drive Without Insurance in Ohio?

Whenever you get behind the wheel of a car, the safety of you and your passengers is a priority—one of the best ways to ensure that safety is with the right car insurance.

How do you choose the right insurance?

Each state has its own set of laws regarding who can drive a car. And to legally drive a car in any state, you must meet that state’s financial responsibility laws.

For some states, the financial responsibility law is the only regulation you need to know. However, this is not the case for the state of Ohio.

The Ohio state minimum car insurance laws say that having proof of insurance is mandatory.

Keep reading to learn about Ohio state minimum car insurance and the penalties of driving without insurance in Ohio. 

What to Know About Car Insurance in Ohio

Required Ohio State Minimum Car Insurance Coverage

According to Ohio legislation, the following is said regarding motor vehicles and insurance: 

(1) No person shall operate, or permit the operation of, a motor vehicle in this state, unless proof of financial responsibility is maintained continuously throughout the registration period with respect to that vehicle, or, in the case of a driver who is not the owner, with respect to that driver’s operation of that vehicle.

(a) A person may demonstrate proof of financial responsibility under this section by presenting to the traffic violations bureau, court, registrar, or peace officer any of the following documents or a copy of the documents:

(iii) A policy of liability insurance, a declaration page of a policy of liability insurance, or liability bond, if the policy or bond complies with section 4509.20 or sections 4509.49 to 4509.61 of the Revised Code.

The takeaway: You are legally required to have proof of financial responsibility, like a liability insurance policy, to drive your car or someone else’s car.

Where will I be asked for proof of financial responsibility?

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles says that you must be able to show proof of insurance at any traffic stops, accidents, and inspections of your vehicle.

What is Ohio state’s minimum car insurance coverage?

The minimum coverage that Ohio state requires is 25/50. In other words, your minimum insurance policy must cover:

  • $25,000 for injury to a single person
  • $50,000 for injury to two or more
  • $25,000 for any property damage from the accident

Keep in mind that these are just the minimum requirements. You can certainly purchase more coverage to protect you, your passengers, and property.

Owned vs. Leased Cars: Is There a Difference?

The legislation that we shared above states that the owner of a motor vehicle in Ohio must provide proof of insurance.

Let’s say, however, you’re driving a car that you don’t own, like a leased car.

Despite the lack of ownership, the person driving the car must be able to provide proof of insurance, even if they don’t own the car. 

Is There a Penalty For Driving Without Insurance in Ohio?

There are several penalties for driving without insurance in Ohio.

In the past, Ohio had a “Random Selection Program.” If randomly selected, an individual would have to show proof of insurance. If they were unable to, they would receive a random selection suspension. However, as of House Bill 62, which went into effect on July 3, 2019, this program is no longer in place.

Currently, the types of suspensions one might receive if unable to prove insurance coverage in Ohio include:

  • Non-compliance suspension
  • Judgment Suspension
  • Security Suspension

First Non-Compliance Offense

A non-compliance suspension is given “when the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) is notified that a driver failed to show proof of insurance.”

As a result, a person’s driver’s license is suspended. In addition, the driver’s commercial licenses or temporary permits may be suspended.

What do you do after you get a non-compliance suspension?

Once received, a license will be suspended until certain requirements are fulfilled.

To reinstate a suspended license, you must:

  • File for and carry a certificate of insurance, also known as an SR-22/bond, for up to three years.
  • Pay any necessary reinstatement fees. The typical fee for the first non-compliance offense is $100-$150.

Second Non-Compliance Offense

If a person commits a second offense within five years after the first offense, a second non-compliance offense is administered, similar to the first offense.

However, unlike a first offense, a second offense results in a mandatory one-year suspension.

To reinstate a suspended license after a second offense, you must:

  • Serve the one-year suspension.
  • Carry a certificate of insurance, or SR-22/bond, for five years.
  • Pay any necessary reinstatement fees. The typical fee for a non-compliance second offense is $350.

Additional Offenses

Much like a second offense, additional offenses within five years results in a more severe suspension.

A third offense will result in a two-year suspension. Like the initial offense, you will still be required to carry a certificate of insurance for five years and pay any fees. 

What Happens if You Get Into An Accident Without Insurance?

In addition to non-compliance suspensions, there are other types of insurance-related suspensions.

These suspensions include judgment and security suspensions.

There are several moving factors that are considered before a judgment or security suspension is issued.

In the next section, we’ll break down a scenario where an individual may receive a judgment or security citation as a consequence of a car accident that was their fault.

If You Are Found at Fault: Security vs. Judgment Suspension

Let’s say an individual is driving a car without insurance and ends up in an accident. In this accident, this individual is found at fault for causing the accident and any resulting damage.

So, what are the consequences this person might receive in this scenario?

This person will likely receive a non-compliance suspension because they didn’t have proof of insurance to provide at the accident scene. The details of that suspension will depend on their offense history. 

Even more, there are additional suspensions they might receive, depending on what damage they caused.

A judgment suspension is issued as a result of a lawsuit for car accident damages. Until one or more of the reinstatement requirements are met, a judgment suspension will stand.

Reinstatement requirements for a judgment suspension include:

  • Either a payment agreement or release from the claimant of the lawsuit.
  • A journal entry from a court of law.
  • Bankruptcy discharge or petition.

In addition to a judgment suspension, this individual may also receive a security suspension.

The main difference between a judgment and security suspension is that a security suspension is based on the cost of the property damage.

For example, if the individual caused $400 or more in property damage or personal injury, then they receive a suspension.

The reinstatement requirements for a security suspension are:

  • Serving a suspension of up to two years.
  • Submitting either a payment agreement or release from payment from all involved parties for the damage.
  • File a deposit payment with the Ohio BMV, or
  • Provide proof of a bankruptcy discharge or petition.

In the end, each accident is assessed on a case by case basis. Even if you’re not at fault, you may get a suspension if you can’t provide proof of insurance at the accident.

Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI)

In Ohio, an individual is at risk of suspension if they are found operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Typically, a first offense of operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) results in a first offense suspension.

To have your license reinstated, you are required to serve the suspension term determined by the court and pay the reinstatement fee.

Most importantly, at the end of your suspension, you must provide proof of current insurance. 

Get a Free Quote For the Right Car Insurance Policy For You

It is better to be safely covered than to regret not having enough coverage later.

That’s why at Insura, we recommend a minimum limit of $100,00/$300,000 liability limits and $100,000 in property damage.

Typically, in Ohio, drivers choose the legally required minimum coverage, believing this is the best and cheapest option; however, this is not necessarily true.

Many don’t realize that the minimum 25/50 coverage will only cover the corresponding damage. 

If you were involved in an accident, your insurance only pays up to the coverage limit you selected—the legally required 25/50. At this point, you are required to pay the rest out of pocket.

We want to help clients understand more about their insurance and find the best coverage for their needs.

Get a free quote on a car insurance policy with Insura today! Contact our team at 614-500-4147 or online.