If you’re a driver in Ohio, you’ve hopefully spent some time comparing auto insurance policies. Though, if you have, you may have wound up with more questions than answers.
Shopping for the perfect coverage through the right company–and meeting state requirements–can be tricky. So, we are here today to help your process along.
As you have probably figured already, comparing auto insurance options is much more than just looking at price tags and picking the cheapest option. You need to look at all aspects of the policy, from the types of coverage offered, to the deductibles and limits on each. And don’t forget each company’s customer satisfaction ratings.
You’re in luck, though! We combined our efforts and did the legwork for you. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know in order to compare the best auto insurance policies in Ohio. When you’re done, you’ll have a clear idea of what your requirements are to drive in the state. You’ll also know exactly how to choose the perfect policy for you based on what’s offered in your state and which company is truly “best.”
With that said, let’s get started.
Table of Contents:
Compare Car Insurance Plans in Ohio
Our Top Five Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Ohio
As with most states, Ohio drivers have plenty of options for auto insurance companies. Choosing the right one, however, can be tricky.
While you shop, it’s important to keep in mind that your premiums will vary greatly depending on a number of personal factors. These include your exact location within the state, the car(s) you drive, your driving history, your age and marital status, and even your credit score.
After combing through the consumer ratings available and doing our own research on each company, here are our top five picks for auto insurance providers in Ohio:
- Best Overall Satisfaction: Cincinnati Insurance
- Best Customer Service: USAA (if you’re a member)
- Lowest Premiums: Grange Mutual
- Great If You Have a Perfect Record: Ohio Mutual
- Best If You Have a Less-Than-Perfect Record: Merchants Auto Group
Ohio Auto Insurance Requirements
Each state has their own unique laws regarding the type and amount of auto insurance coverage that drivers are legally required to carry. Here is a look at the requirements in order to drive in the state of Ohio. These include both bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage.
Bodily injury liability coverage pays for injuries incurred by someone else as a result of an accident for which you are deemed at-fault. In Ohio, the minimum liability coverage required is $25,000 for one person. You are required to carry a policy that also covers a minimum of $50,000 in personal injury liability if more than one person is injured in a single accident. If this happens, the injured parties will divide the payout accordingly, up to the total maximum.
Because your insurance company will only pay up to the maximum, regardless of whether two people are injured or 12, it is worth considering additional coverage beyond the state required minimum. If your policy doesn’t cover all of the injuries sustained by others in your at-fault accident, it’s likely that you’ll be sued. If you have assets–like equity in your home, for example–you could potentially lose them.
Property damage liability coverage pays for damages sustained to vehicles, buildings, structures, and other objects from an accident for which you are deemed at-fault. This coverage even pays for things like road signs and light posts. In Ohio, you’re required to carry a minimum of $25,000 in coverage for property damage in your chosen auto policy.
When picking the policy that best suits you, you aren’t bound by these limits. You can certainly choose coverage that includes higher limits on bodily injury, property damage, or both. You can also include things like comprehensive and collision coverage, which protect your vehicle even if you’re at-fault or if it’s damaged in some other way (such as being stolen, broken into, or swiped by a hit-and-run driver).
Just keep in mind that the numbers below are the required minimums, in order to legally drive in the Buckeye State:
|Bodily Damage Liability|
|Death or injury of one person in any one accident||$25,000 minimum|
|Death or injury of 2+ people in any one accident||$50,000 minimum|
|Property Damage Liability||$25,000 minimum|
If you don’t want to purchase an auto insurance policy that meets the state minimum requirements, for whatever reason, you do have the choice to opt out.
In the state of Ohio, you have a few options.
- You can obtain a certificate from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), validating that you have money or government bonds of $30,000 on deposit with the office of the Treasurer of the State of Ohio. This certificate requires both application and approval.
- You can obtain a certificate of bond, also issued by the Ohio BMV, in an amount of at least $30,000 that is signed by two individuals who own real estate that has equity of at least $60,000. This certificate requires both application and approval.
- Lastly, you can obtain a bond issued by an insurance company or other authorized surety, in the amount of $30,000.
Keep in mind that even if you go this “self-insured” route, you are still putting your assets at risk. If you have an at-fault accident that causes serious damages or injuries–or you simply hit an extremely high-dollar car–you can easily be sued for the things that you own.
Expenses related to an accident can add up quickly. Auto insurance is a safe, affordable way of preventing this.
So, what happens if you don’t carry the state-mandated minimum auto insurance coverage, or otherwise obtain one of the certificates/bonds mentioned above in lieu of a policy? Well, the penalties can be steep. After all, failing to carry a valid policy at all times while driving in the state makes you an uninsured driver; this is illegal.
If you are stopped for a citation or get in a car accident and are convicted of failing to provide proof of adequate coverage (or proof of approved opt-out), you will be subject to a non-compliance suspension of your license. (If you simply don’t have your insurance card on you at the time but do have legal coverage, you can bring this proof to court and have the suspension dismissed.)
In order to lift the non-compliance suspension the first time, you’ll need to complete two requirements:
- Pay a reinstatement fee ($100)
- Carry an SR-22 certificate for three years
The second time you’re convicted of a non-compliance offense in a five-year period, the penalties get a bit steeper. In order to lift this second suspension, you’ll need to:
- Serve a one-year suspension
- Carry an SR-22 certificate for five years
- Pay a reinstatement fee ($300)
The third time you’re found guilty of non-compliance in a five-year period, you can expect your penalties to get more severe. This time around, you will have to:
- Serve a two-year suspension
- Carry an SR-22 certificate for five years
- Pay a reinstatement fee ($500)
Random Selection Program
The state of Ohio has a unique method of auto insurance verification. It has implemented the Random Selection Program. They select 5,400 random, registered vehicles each week from across the state, who are then required to show proof of insurance for a specified date.
Drivers of the selected vehicles will be mailed a letter notifying them of their selection, as well as the date for which they need to prove adequate insurance coverage. Failing to provide this proof, or failing to have coverage for the date requested, will result in a random selection suspension.
If you are convicted of a random selection suspension, you will be subject to the same reinstatement requirements as those with a first-time non-compliance conviction. You’ll need to:
- Carry an SR-22 certificate for three years, and
- Pay a reinstatement fee ($100)
Once you do both of these, your license will be reinstated.
There are a few exceptions to the proof requirement through the Random Selection Program. These are if:
- the vehicle was inoperable at the time
- the vehicle is only operated seasonally and the date in question was outside of this seasonal timeframe
- the lapse of financial responsibility was due to excusable neglect, and caused by circumstances that are unlikely to occur again
- the vehicle was sold or traded in
- someone other than the vehicle’s driver or owner was at fault for the lapse in financial responsibility, through no fault of the driver/owner in question
To learn more about the Random Selection Program, you can visit the BMV’s page here.
SR-22 and FR-44
If you’re convicted of specific driving offenses, such as the non-compliance offenses mentioned above, you’ll likely be ticketed and fined. You may also have your license and ability to drive suspended. On top of that, though, you’ll earn yourself an SR-22 certification requirement.
If your license is suspended due to inability to maintain adequate auto insurance coverage in Ohio, obtaining an SR-22 will be a condition of your reinstatement. This is not an insurance policy on its own–instead, the certificate simply affirms (from your auto insurance company) that you do have valid coverage in the state as a high-risk driver.
Unfortunately, the simple act of filing for this form will all-but-guarantee a considerable spike in your insurance premiums. The longer you hold the certificate, the longer your premiums will be higher-than-normal.
The best way to avoid this “high-risk” notation–and the added cost it entails–is to be a safe driver who maintains legal coverage at all times.
Proof of Insurance
Simply holding a valid insurance policy on your vehicle isn’t enough. You also need to carry proof of this coverage with you, every time you get behind the wheel.
As Ohio drivers are allowed to opt out of minimum coverage–instead “self-insuring”–you’ll either need to be able to provide proof of coverage or proof of your bond/certificate from the Ohio BMV. These will need to be presented any time you’re pulled over or in an accident, or in the case of a random selection as mentioned above. If you’re unable to provide such, you’ll likely be ticketed for failure to provide proof of coverage.
As mentioned above, if you do have coverage but simply don’t have it on-hand when needed, you can usually get the citation (and potential suspension) dismissed. Simply take the proof to the court and they’ll clear out the penalty–though you might have to pay a lesser amount in court processing fees.
So, where do you get this proof? Well, most insurance companies will automatically provide you with hard copies of your insurance cards, at the start of your policy and as it renews. They may also provide you with a PDF link, so you can print your own copies at home.
Some insurance companies also have mobile apps, so you can pull up your proof of coverage on the spot, any time. However, it’s still wise to carry a hard copy in your vehicle at all times–if the app is down or your phone’s battery dies, you won’t be able to pull up the insurance card when requested.
Your insurance card will contain a number of identifying details. These include your name and address, the policy number and dates that it’s valid, vehicles covered by the policy, and the contact information for your insurance company.
Average Cost of Coverage in Ohio
So, how much can you expect to pay for state-minimum auto insurance in the state of Ohio? Well, as always, the answer is: it depends.
Taking a look at the information provided by QuoteWizard, we found that the average total cost of annual premiums in the Buckeye State is $682.70. This is actually one of the lowest averages among the other 49 states. And it’s well below the national average of $866.31.
We can break that average down further, though. In Ohio, drivers spend an average of $388.88 on liability coverage alone (the state minimum coverage that we’ve been talking about here). In addition to that, though, they also spent an average of $260.20 on collision coverage and an average of $117.58 on comprehensive coverage for their vehicles.
Of course, your own policy premiums could certainly vary from these numbers, as they are simply an average. Your own factors as an individual and as a driver will impact how much you pay for coverage. As will the actual policy and company you choose.
Cheapest Car Insurance in Ohio
When talking about auto insurance, it’s tricky to ask which company is the “cheapest.” After all, the company that offers the most affordable coverage for your perfect-record, perfect-credit grandfather probably won’t be the one that offers the most affordable coverage for your twice-cited, sports car-driving teenager.
However, we took the time to compare some of the most popular companies in Ohio. We wanted to see how they really measure up against one another. We leveled the playing field by using the same test subject for all of our quote-seeking: he’s a single, 30 year-old male with a clean driving record and Good credit rating. He lives in Cortland and drives a 2013 Chevy Malibu.
Here’s a look at how our insurance providers measured up:
|Insurance Company||Annual Premium|
|Merchants Insurance Group||$22|
Now, let’s take a look at how our guy would fare change if he lived further north–say, in Cincinnati.
Let’s take a look at how our guy’s premiums would fare if he lived in Kettering instead.
|Insurance Company||Annual Premium|
|Merchants Insurance Group||$25|
His premiums changed slightly with certain insurance companies, but remained the same on average. Since Ohio is one of the lowest-cost states for auto coverage, it’s not too surprising that the difference in premiums from city-to-city is minimal.
Cost of Auto Insurance in Ohio
Of course, you shouldn’t expect one single answer to a question like,”How much does auto insurance cost in Ohio?” Depending on your own personal variables, there are literally hundreds of possibilities. In Ohio, these factors include:
- Marital status
- Driving history
- Vehicle(s) driven
- Whether you own or rent your home
- How many miles you drive each year
- The amount of coverage desired
- Your credit score
There’s no quick way to answer how much your insurance will cost without having all of your personal information first. However, you can expect to pay somewhere around the average state premium of $683 (or an average of $389 for state minimum coverage).
Let’s take this a step further, though, and see if we can narrow these numbers down even more. That way, you can get a better idea of what you can expect to pay for your own policy.
In order to do so, we took four different sample driver profiles and pitted them against one another. Each has their own unique profile and, because of this, receives a different quote for their premiums. This way, we can see how each of their histories, habits, and personal information affects the cost of their auto insurance.
Each of the sample profiles we looked at live within ZIP code 45215, in Cincinnati. Keep in mind that other cities within the state could have higher or lower premiums, just based on the area.
Little Timmy is a exactly what you would envision when you think of a young, high-risk driver. He is a 22 years-old and still in college. He has Fair credit and drives around in a 2012 Chevrolet Impala that he financed. Little Timmy has a bit of a lead foot, with two recent speeding tickets to show for it. However, he doesn’t have any accidents. He drives an average of about 15,000 miles a year, and rents an apartment across town.
Meet John and Jane Smith, your average 42 year-old parents. They have a mortgage on their modest home, both graduated college, and they drive a 2011 Chevrolet Equinox (paid off) as well as a 2014 Toyota Sienna (financed). They drive their kids around for an average of about 16,000 miles a year. Both have good credit scores, but Jane did accidentally rear-end someone a couple of years ago (a very minor incident).
Next, we have Straight-Laced Sally. She is 35, owns a 2010 Toyota Camry, and drives close to 10,000 miles a year. She owns her condo, has a bachelor’s degree, and boasts a perfect driving record–she hasn’t had an accident or traffic ticket in over a decade! As you can probably guess, her credit is also Excellent.
Last but not least, we have Grandpa Joe. He’s 65, drives a ‘98 Civic somewhere around 8,000 miles a year, and owns his home. He has a clean driving record and a good credit score.
No, none of these profiles is likely to be a perfect match for you, but you can probably relate more to one than the others. So, let’s see how they each measure up to one another when we seek out some insurance quotes for basic liability coverage in Ohio.
|Little Timmy||John & Jane Smith||Straight-Laced Sally||Grandpa Joe|
|Merchants Insurance Group||$34/mo||$47||$22||$21|
|The General||$178||$100||$68||not given|
As you may have predicted, a history of accidents and citations seems to have more of an impact on these premiums than any other factor. This seems to be followed by one’s credit score and age.
Ohio’s Unique Car Insurance Rules
There are a few insurance rules in Ohio that will impact your premiums in either direction.
Drivers in Ohio can take advantage of a number of discounts from their auto insurance company. These include:
- Safe driver discounts
- Good student discounts
- Anti-theft device discounts
- Multi-car discounts
The insurance company you choose to purchase a policy from will determine whether these discounts are available to you. However, the majority of companies in Ohio will offer most, if not all, of them.
Credit Plays a Role
In many states, insurance providers will look at an insurance industry-specific credit score when determining your insurability and the premiums they will charge. If you are insured in Ohio, expect to be quoted based on your creditworthiness.
For drivers in the state, credit history will play a factor in determining both their approval coverage and the premium costs they’ll pay. Depending on the credit history you’ve built over the years, this may be a good thing or a bad thing for your budget!
Location Is, Too
Location doesn’t play as significant a factor in Ohio as it may in other states, but it will impact your premiums. Living in a rural part of the state will likely mean much lower premiums than if you lived in the heart of Northern Ohio.
You can expect your locale to be less important than your driving record, personal factors, and credit history, but just know that it’s still a part of the calculation.
If you have trouble getting approved for the state-required minimum coverage ($25,000/$50,000/$25,000) in Ohio, you may be eligible to get help from the state-sponsored insurance program. This program was designed for high-risk drivers who may find it difficult to get access to adequate coverage on the voluntary market.
This program is called the Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan (or OAIP). It isn’t an insurance policy in and of itself, however; it’s an organization of multiple insurance companies that takes high-risk drivers who otherwise aren’t eligible. They collectively share the risk of providing them coverage.
Your policy, premiums, etc. will all be managed by the individual insurance company once you’ve been assigned, not OAIP. Keep in mind that you also cannot request a certain company. And your premiums are still likely to be quite high. The purpose of the program isn’t to obtain low-cost insurance, though–it’s to simply get you approved for any insurance.
In order to qualify, you’ll need to meet a few requirements. These include having a valid driver’s license, living in Ohio, and having a vehicle that is (or will be) registered in Ohio. You also much show proof that you’ve attempted to obtain coverage on the voluntary market within the last 60 days, but were rejected.
To find out more and learn if you qualify for OAIP, visit this page.
Top Car Insurance Companies in Ohio
Wondering which auto insurance companies are the most popular in the state? Here’s a look at seven of the top providers which, combined, hold 65% of the total market in Ohio:
Now, you might be curious as to how each of these companies measures up in customer satisfaction. Well, we took a look at scores and ratings from two of the most popular ratings bureaus, A.M. Best and JD Power, for these top seven insurance providers in the state, to answer that question.
It’s interesting to note that while JD Power conducted a few state-specific auto insurance surveys, they didn’t do one for Ohio. Instead, there’s a study based on the “North Central” area of the country, which includes the Buckeye State.
State Farm is the largest auto insurance market shareholder in the state, insuring 18.9% of Ohio drivers. Here’s what its customers think:
- A.M. Best: “A++” rating
- JD Power: #10 in the North Central region with a 3-star overall satisfaction rating
Progressive is the second-largest insurer in Ohio, snagging an 11.4% market share.
- A.M. Best: “A+” rating
- JD Power: #15 in the North Central region with a 3-star overall satisfaction rating
Nationwide is the third-largest insurer in Ohio, holding an 11.2% market share.
- A.M. Best: “A+” rating
- JD Power: #6 in the North Central region with a 3-star overall satisfaction rating
Allstate brings up the fourth spot, insuring 9.9% of the state.
- A.M. Best: “A+” rating
- JD Power: #14 in the North Central region with a 3-star overall satisfaction rating
Grange Mutual is the fifth-largest insurer in Ohio, holding a 6.2% market share.
- A.M. Best: “A-” rating
- JD Power: #12 in the North Central region with a 3-star overall satisfaction rating
Next up is Liberty Mutual. They are the sixth-largest insurer in Ohio with a 3.8% market share.
- A.M. Best: “A” rating
- JD Power: #18 in the North Central region with a 2-star overall satisfaction rating
Last on our list is GEICO, as the seventh-largest insurer in Ohio. They hold a 3.6% market share in the state.
- A.M. Best: “A++” rating
- JD Power: #7 in the North Central region with a 3-star overall satisfaction rating
If you want to learn more, the state of Ohio has created a helpful webpage dedicated to insurance. It’s not limited to auto coverage, but you’re sure to find many of the resources you need–and answers to your questions–by browsing the site.
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