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Is Ohio a no-fault car insurance state?

Here's what you need to know...
  • In the state of Ohio, it’s illegal for anyone who owns a car to drive it without at least mandatory insurance
  • You’re required to carry $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and $50,000 per accident in liability coverage
  • Ohio operates under a tort system where insurance claims must be filed against the at-fault driver’s policy
  • Ohio does not have a no-fault system because fault determines which insurer will pay for injury expenses
  • Policyholders have the option to purchase medical payments coverage to pay for their medical bills regardless of fault

Terms like no fault and auto insurance don’t sound like they go together, so when you hear that some states operate under a no-fault auto insurance system, it can take you by surprise.

Since one of the first things that an insurer does when you file a claim is determine fault, it doesn’t seem like it makes much sense that there are state laws that prevent victims from collecting from at-fault drivers.

If you live in Ohio, you might wonder if you have to learn about no-fault requirements and how this unique system works. Luckily for you, there aren’t any no-fault or limited tort laws in the Buckeye State.

Still, it can be helpful to learn what it means when someone says Ohio has a fault-based auto insurance system in place.

If you live in Ohio and want to ensure you have adequate auto insurance, start comparing auto insurance rates by entering your ZIP code above!

What is no-fault car insurance?

A no-fault auto insurance system is one where fault isn’t used to determine which insurer will pay for medical bills when drivers or passengers are injured in a car accident.

Instead of filing a third-party claim against another driver’s liability coverage, drivers in no-fault states will collect first-party no-fault benefits to pay for their medical bills.

Currently, there are 12 different states that have introduced some type of modified no-fault system to the insurance law. In states with strict forms of no-fault requirements, drivers have no right to sue if they’re injured in an accident.

Since drivers do have limited rights to sue for pain and suffering in most states, it’s more common to see limited tort systems.

Is Ohio a no-fault state?

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Ohio operates under a tort system rather than a modified no-fault system.

You don’t have to worry about learning how to navigate the complications posed by a no-fault system and filing a first-party claim.

Ohio holds at-fault drivers responsible for their legal liability when they are negligent behind the wheel.

That’s why tort systems are often called fault-based systems. When you live in a tort state like Ohio, fault allocation will be used to determine which carrier will pay for medical bills after there’s a personal injury.

Since being negligent in an accident is considered a wrongful act, drivers who are at fault for the loss will be held legally liable. When you’re liable, your third-party liability coverage will pay.

You can’t legally drive your vehicle without insurance or an acceptable form of Financial Responsibility in Ohio. Since most people don’t want to deposit $30,000 just to drive legally, the most popular way to comply with the state’s Financial Responsibility requirements is to buy liability insurance.

Mandatory auto insurance coverage requirements in the state include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability — Pays for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering when you’re at-fault for someone else’s injuries
  • Property Damage Liability — Pays to repair someone else’s car or other types of property when you’re liable for the accident

Penalties for Failure to Prove Coverage

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If you don’t purchase the required limits from a carrier licensed in Ohio, you could be penalized by the state. When you don’t carry proof of insurance with you at all times and your coverage isn’t active, you could be assessed for monetary and non-monetary penalties.

Any of these penalties get worse when you’re convicted of driving without insurance more than once. Penalties in Ohio include:

  • First Offense– The driver will lose their license for a mandatory period of 90 days
  • Second Offense — The driver will lose their license for a mandatory period of one year
  • Third Offense — The DMV will confiscate the license plates and suspend the registration of the vehicle so that it can’t be driven

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Not only do you have to worry about losing your license and your registration, but you also have to pay fines and reinstatement fees between $75 and $100 to stay in good standing with the courts and the DMV. If you drive without tags, your car can be impounded for a prolonged period.

All offenders must pay high-risk insurance rates for having prior lapses.

Legal Ramifications of an Accident

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There are pros and cons to living in a state with tort insurance laws. It’s the at-fault driver who pays for all damages associated with the accident.

Ohio enacted a comparative negligence law in 1980 where victims can collect benefits easier when they are partially at fault for the accident.

Under the law, victims can recover money to pay for their damages or medical treatment if they’re less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. Under the old law, you couldn’t recover anything if you were allocated even a small percentage of fault.

It’s also possible for victims to pursue compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering. They can do this in one of three ways:

  • by filing a claim under their own insurance if they carry first-party benefits
  • by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance (third-party claim)
  • by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in court and letting their insurer defend them

Auto Insurance in Ohio

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You must buy minimum limits of the mandatory coverage when you’re purchasing a policy in Ohio. All insurance companies that are licensed to sell insurance in the state must offer compulsory insurance limits.

The mandatory limits in Ohio are as follows:

  • $25,000 per person in Bodily Injury Liability
  • $50,000 per accident in Bodily Injury Liability
  • $25,000 per accident in Property Damage Liability

You can also purchase other types of first-party coverage that will help you recover after a loss. First-party coverage isn’t required in Ohio because it’s not a no-fault state.

The optional coverage may help you pay for your medical bills or to pay for repairs. Here are the options to consider purchasing:

  • Medical Payments — Pays for your immediate medical expenses regardless of who is liable for the accident
  • Uninsured Motorist — Pays for your medical bills and lost income if someone with no insurance hits you
  • Towing and Labor =- Pays for towing, gas delivery, tire changes, etc.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement — Pays up to a limit for a rental car if you’re in an accident and the car is being repaired
  • Comprehensive — Pays for repairs up to the car’s Actual Cash Value if it’s damaged in a non-moving loss like fire, theft, or vandalism
  • Collision — Pays for repairs if you’re in a collision or rollover accident

In no-fault states, all vehicle owners have to buy Personal Injury Protection to cover reasonable medical expenses and other things like lost income.

Since Ohio is not a no-fault state, you won’t have the option to buy the first-party PIP coverage that’s available elsewhere. You can, however, purchase a different type of coverage.

Finding the Best Car Insurance Coverage in Ohio

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The best way to find the best insurance in Ohio is to shop around at least every six months. Be sure to compare premiums through at least three to four companies to find the right coverage limits at the right price.

You can also look for the following discounts to lower your base premiums:

  • Good Driver
  • Good Student
  • Multi-line
  • Multi-car
  • Anti-theft
  • Driver education

You must legally carry auto insurance if you register a car in your name. No-fault coverage isn’t available in Ohio, but you must have what’s required by law.

The best way to find a good deal on your coverage is to enter your zip code in a rate comparison tool online.

Try our FREE online quote tool and compare three to four policies right now! Enter your ZIP code below to find the best auto insurance rates for you!

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