Ohio Increases Minimum Auto Insurance Limits — But What If Drivers Don’t Buy It?

by Staff | February 19th, 2013

The amount of minimum automobile liability coverage required in Ohio will be increased to $25,000.00 per person for personal injury and $25,000 for property damage.  This is coverage you buy to protect someone you hit and injure.  The new law does NOT require you to carry coverage to protect yourself against someone else’s bad driving.  This new law takes effect in March but has a grace period until December 22, 2013.

How does this new law protect you?  Maybe not as much as you might think.  As of 2011, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles estimated that 11% of licensed drivers in Ohio had NO coverage whatsoever on their cars, in spite of the state minimum laws requiring at least $12,500.00 in personal injury coverage and $7,500.00 in property damage coverage.  About 400,000 drivers had state minimum coverage, or about 5% of Ohio’s licensed drivers.  Since the cost of coverage is based upon, among other things, where you live, your age, driving history, accident history and credit score, no one really knows what the cost of this new coverage will be, but it is safe to say it will be more expensive.

So the odds are that there will be more drivers on Ohio’s roads without insurance on their vehicles.  This eventuality makes your own coverage more important.  Your own carrier likely offers coverage, known as UMI – under or uninsured coverage — that protects you from someone who has no insurance coverage or who doesn’t have enough to protect you if you are injured in an auto accident.  It is critical to purchase as much UMI coverage as you can and shop around to see which Ohio carriers offer the most UMI coverage.  The cost of that UMI coverage is relatively low in relation to the rest of the policy.  If you would like us to review your policy, please give us a call.

Authored by: Personal Injury and Trial Attorney Ellen McCarthy