Here’s what Ohio drivers need to know about getting affordable car insurance.
From the Kentucky border to the Great Lakes, from Cincinnati chili to Cleveland rock and roll, Ohioans are known for state pride, Midwestern hardiness and highways. That’s right — Ohio’s proximity to major cities in the Northeast, Midwest and South makes it a driving hub, and the Buckeye State’s busy interstates and roadways make that finding affordable and extensive auto insurance is a priority for Ohioans.
When it comes to buying car insurance, Ohio is one of the states with lower average costs. In 2015, the average annual cost of car insurance in Ohio was $788.56, well below the national average of $1,009.38. That said, how much you pay for car insurance will depend on the carrier, as well as individual factors like zip-code, age, driving history, credit score, and the make and model of car you drive.
There are also some state-specific car insurance considerations for Ohio drivers: The state’s minimum insurance requirements require each Ohio driver to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, although most Ohio drivers should consider setting their limits well above the state minimums.
And depending on where in Ohio you are, you may be at risk for tornadoes, lake effect snowstorms and even earthquakes, all of which can leave your vehicle with serious damage. That’s why Ohio drivers should consider coverage that protects their vehicles in case of damage from extreme weather.
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According to a 2017 report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, in 2015, the average annual cost of car insurance in Ohio was $788.56, which was significantly lower than the average cost of car insurance in the U.S. that year,which was $1,009.38. Here’s that information broken down by the average cost of different types of coverage in Ohio vs. the entire U.S.
|Insurance Company||J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction Rating||Market Share||A.M. Best Rating|
|Berkshire Hathaway (GEICO)||857||7.16%||A++|
Methodology: These five insurers represent the largest auto insurers operating in the state of Ohio, according to the NAIC. The claims satisfaction ratings are according to J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.
Coverage and claims: State Farm - State Farm stands out as an affordable auto insurance carrier with above-average claims satisfaction ratings. As far as coverage options go, State Farm has all the basic auto insurance coverage most drivers will need as well as a few non-standard options, like insurance for rideshare drivers who drive for services like Uber, Lyft or Juno.
Low rates and discounts: GEICO - A provider made ubiquitous by its unavoidable advertising campaigns, GEICO is also known for offering cheap rates and a wide array of discounts, including discounts for car features like an anti-theft system, discounts for safe driving and discounts for belonging to certain organizations. Its numerous ways to save mean that most drivers will qualify for at least some discounts with GEICO. GEICO also offers discounts for any federal employees, the company’s original clientele.
Digital tools: Allstate - Every major insurance provider has a website, but some are better than others. Allstate’s site is easy to use and well-designed, the online quoting tool is intuitive and simple and the site even has extra features like quizzes. There’s also the Allstate app for smartphones, which lets drivers report and follow claims, take photos of damage, and contact an Allstate representative. The Allstate app even includes cheap gas finder and a parking space reminder.
Teen drivers: Nationwide - Teens and young adults are notoriously expensive to insure, because auto insurance providers view them as high-risk due to their age and inexperience. But some carriers are friendlier to young drivers than others. Nationwide offers savings opportunities like a good student discount and accident forgiveness for teens, which guarantees your rates won’t go up if your teen has an accident.
Most U.S. states require drivers to have a minimum amount of car insurance. In many states, including Ohio, the state law stipulates that drivers must have liability coverage while other types of coverage required in some other states, like personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, are optional. Here’s a closer look:
Remember, Ohio state minimum insurance requirements are just a starting place when it comes to car insurance. Having your coverage limits set at the bare minimum can leave you unprotected in the event of an accident.
Say you cause an accident resulting in $50,000 worth of damage. If your coverage limit is set at the state’s required amount, $25,000, you’ll be personally on the hook for the other $25,000. Or if you’re in an accident caused by a driver without insurance and you don’t have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage because it’s optional in Ohio — you would be financially on the hook even though they’re the one who caused the crash.
And only having liability coverage means damage to your own car or truck wouldn’t be covered. To insure your vehicle is protected, you should include comprehensive and collision coverage in your policy. And if you lease or finance a car, your lessor or lienholder will likely require you to add comp and collision to your car insurance policy.
Ohio’s state requirements mandate that drivers carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, but as the state minimums are a starting point for insurance, not an ending point. In order to adequately protect yourself and your vehicle, you should consider adding other types of coverage.
Snowstorms, tornadoes and earthquakes are natural disasters some Ohioans may have to deal with, depending on where in the state they live. That’s why Ohio drivers should consider comprehensive coverage, which covers damage to your vehicle from extreme weather and falling objects — like if a snow-covered branch crashes through your windshield.
Ohio is what’s called an “at-fault” car insurance state, meaning that, after an accident, the driver who was responsible for the crash is also financially responsible for any damage or injuries they caused. (As opposed to a no-fault state, where you get compensation for injuries through your own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault.)
In no-fault states, drivers are required to have personal injury protection to cover their own medical expenses in case of an accident, but in an at-fault state like Ohio, any damage or injuries would be covered by the at-fault party’s liability insurance.
You must be able to show proof of insurance in Ohio during any vehicle inspection stop or traffic citation. If you're caught driving without proof of insurance, you may lose your license until you can prove that you’re insured. You may also have to pay a fine in order to reinstate your license. If you have an accident in Ohio and you don’t have insurance, you risk losing your license for up to two years.
Anna Swartz is a Managing Editor at Policygenius in New York City, and an expert in auto insurance. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic, writing about news and culture. Her work has appeared in The Dodo, AOL, HuffPost, Salon and Heeb.
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