Insights on Insurance:Ohio is raising its minimum liability requirements for auto insurance

For the first time in 44 years, Ohio is elevating its minimum liability coverage for drivers. This will lead to higher premiums for those Ohio drivers who carry only minimum coverage, but will likely lead to lower auto insurance premiums in the future for everyone else.

Under the current Ohio Financial Responsibility Laws, owners of vehicles in Ohio must carry insurance liability coverage that will pay up to $12,500 per person to cover injuries and medical costs, up to $25,000 per accident, and up to $7,500 property damage per accident. The new requirements double the injury liability and more than triple the property damage liability limits. The new requirements call for $25,000 injury per person, and up to $50,000 per accident. The property damage liability coverage must be at least $25,000 to cover damage to the other driver’s vehicle or any other property damaged as a result of your negligence. The changes in the law have no effect on the Physical Damage coverages for the owner’s vehicle, only those which apply to the other vehicle.

The new law brings Ohio more in line with other states, most of which have at least or higher minimum coverage than Ohio’s proposed limits. When you consider the current values of automobiles compared to 1969 vehicles, along with the cost of automobile repairs, medical costs for injuries, lost wages, and ‘pain and suffering’ issues, the previous legal financial limits have been woefully inadequate. It has been estimated that at least 15% of Ohio drivers are without insurance at any given moment of time. The closer you are to a big city, the greater the likelihood for you to have an undesirable encounter with an uninsured vehicle.

The new law is slated to take effect in March, however there is a nine-month grace period, meaning that the higher minimum policy coverages will take effect on the first renewal date following December 22nd.

David Carlson

President, Euclid Public Library Trustees; President, Euclid Rotary Club; Treasurer/Past Chairman, Euclid Chamber of Commerce; Owner, Nationwide Insurance Agency

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 1:28 PM, 03.20.2013