Ohio’s Financial Responsibility Law in Effect; Will Higher Auto Insurance Rates Follow?

January 7, 2014

While Ohio has traditionally had some of the lowest auto insurance premium rates in the country, going forward some Ohioans may see their rates rising. That’s because an increase in the state’s minimum limit of coverage for financial responsibility went into effect on Dec. 22, according to the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII).

Still, the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) shows that in 2011 Ohioans paid $620 on average for auto insurance while the national average premium was $797. The Ohio Insurance Department reported that the state had the ninth lowest average auto insurance premiums that year.

Following are the changes in minimum coverage a motorist must carry in order to maintain valid proof of financial responsibility, according to the OII:

Type of injury FR minimum limits prior to 12/22/13 New minimum FR limits as of 12/22/13
Bodily injury or death of one person per accident $12,500 $25,000
Bodily injury or death of multiple persons per accident $25,000 $50,000
Property damage per accident $7,500 $25,000

Ohio’s previous minimum auto insurance liability limits, which had been in effect since 1969, were the lowest in the nation, the OII reported. The increases set Ohio’s minimum limits at the same levels as 38 other states.

The OII noted that under Ohio’s financial responsibility law no motorist is required to buy auto liability insurance. However, the law requires drivers to be insured or have other arrangements to pay for injuries or damages they may cause. Such as:

  • An auto liability insurance policy at least at state minimum limits
  • A surety bond issued by an authorized surety or insurance company, or
  • A certificate issued by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) indicating that money or government bonds is on deposit with the Treasurer of the State

Sources: Ohio Department of Insurance, Ohio Insurance Institute

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