What is the penalty for driving without insurance in Ohio?

The penalties for driving without car insurance in OH escalate with each offense and include license suspension and $360 for reinstatement. Ohio driving without auto insurance laws are serious and should be followed.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • The fine for driving without insurance one time is $160
  • Any Ohio resident caught driving without insurance a second time will automatically lose his/her license for one year
  • Ohio courts retain the right to add any additional penalties and fines to the automatic suspension and reinstatement fees they issue

Ohio is a state in which mandatory insurance is necessary if you want to register your vehicle. Some people try to get around it by paying for insurance long enough to register their car and then canceling it or allowing it to lapse, but it doesn’t work that way.

You must have Ohio car insurance as per state law, and it must meet at the least the minimum state requirement to be considered legal. If you fail to purchase insurance for your vehicle, you face severe consequences.

The state requires all drivers carry a minimum policy, but there are additional laws in place for different personal situations.

Getting to know what kind of insurance coverage you’re required to have versus what kind of coverage you need as well as how to find the most affordable insurance is paramount for any Ohio driver. In every state it is important to know the penalties for driving without insurance.

By asking for discounts and shopping around for rates, you stand a better chance at purchasing a great insurance policy for less than you imagined. Enter your ZIP code into our free comparison tool above to shop around for the best rate for the car insurance you need.

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Ohio

The state requires everyone with a registered vehicle to carry insurance.

The minimum requirements in Ohio include:

  • $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 total bodily coverage injury per accident
  • $25,000 property damage coverage per accident

It’s required to protect you and the other drivers involved in an accident you cause. The financial impact of a car accident can be substantial.

Even if it’s not a major accident and no one is seriously injured, just the cost of repairs for the cars involved can escalate quickly into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Insurance Requirements for Cars You Don’t Own

Even if you own your car, you might not really own it if you’re making payments. You never own a leased car. You’re borrowing it from the dealer for a pre-determined number of years and turning it in at the end of that timeframe.

A financed vehicle could one day be yours if you keep it long enough to make the final payment, but it belongs to the lender until that day arrives.

If you are making payments on your vehicle, it belongs to the lender. The lender has a unique set of insurance requirements all car owners must abide by. Leased and financed vehicles must be fully covered.

If you fail to provide full coverage, your lender will send a warning and then issue an insurance policy in your name for the vehicle. It’s the policy they choose, which means it’s not always the policy you want or can afford.

Insurance Requirements for Cars Without a Lien

If you own your car outright, you are free to decide how much insurance coverage you want or need. You are not required to provide full coverage, but you must still maintain at least the minimum coverage.

If you’re pulled over and cannot provide the proper proof of insurance, you will be issued fines and other penalties.

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What is the penalty for driving without car insurance in Ohio?

If you’re caught driving without insurance in Ohio, you face severe penalties. The first time you’re caught driving without insurance, your license and registration are suspended until you can prove you have insurance and until you pay $160 to the court to reinstate both.

The court may also decide to impose additional fines. These fines could include jail time, probation, or monetary fines.

The second time you’re caught, the penalties escalate quickly.

  • Your license is automatically suspended for one full year without any driving privileges for a full 15 days.
  • After the 15 days are up, you can apply to have certain driving privileges through the court. For example, if you have a job and cannot get to or from work without driving, you might apply for work-related driving privileges.
  • The cost to restore your license at the end of the year is $360.
  • The court retains the right to issue additional fines and penalties.

If you drive without insurance a third time, the court automatically suspends your license for two full years.

You can apply for special driving privileges once the first 30 days expires. Once your license is eligible for reinstatement at the end of two years, you must pay $660 to restore your right to drive. The court could also impose more severe penalties and fines if a judge chooses.

Tips for Finding Good Car Insurance

Now that you know how expensive it is to drive without insurance, you’ll want to shop around for good rates and get quotes from multiple insurance companies. Before you start, check your credit score. 

Anyone with a low credit score is considered a risky driver who pays higher premiums. You might know you have excellent credit, but there could be mistakes on your report that lower your score.

Check the report, fix mistakes, and then shop for insurance.

Be sure to assess your personal situation. If you are retired, ask car insurance companies what kind of discount you get for not being on the road as much. If you are in the military, ask about discounts.

If you are going to insure more than one car, be sure the insurance company is offering you a multi-vehicle discount. You can save money utilizing all the discounts you’re eligible for, but it’s something many drivers are unaware of.

Compare car insurance quotes to find the best savings possible. Enter your ZIP code into our free comparison tool below and see which company looks right for you.

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