Even though it is illegal in the State of Ohio to drive without insurance, there are still many drivers out on the road without the State minimum coverage. If you are involved in an accident, there are one of several scenarios you can choose in an attempt to recover your losses. First, you can seek to recover the damages against the car owner personally. Second, you can seek to recover damages against the driver personally. And third, you can file a claim with your insurance company under an uninsured/underinsured policy, if it is available.
Ohio law requires drivers who purchase automobile insurance to demonstrate Financial Responsibility to have at least $12,500 of Bodily Injury or Death Liability Coverage per person ($25,000 for 2 or more persons), as well as $7,500 of Property Damage Liability Coverage for any one accident. However, many times accidents result in damages that exceed those minimum coverage limits. If the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are exceeded, then the at-fault driver may be personally responsible to pay the difference not covered by the automobile insurance policy.
If the driver didn’t have the funds to pay for the damages, they could face legal action and long-term debts. If the car owner’s child was driving a car that was underinsured and was in an accident, the child would be held responsible for any damages and could face significant debt. The driver and the driver’s family could end up paying for one accident for the rest of their life! The Department strongly encourages consumers to talk with their insurance agent to discuss the risks of only getting the bare minimum levels of insurance.
Ohio's financial responsibility law went into effect in October, 1953 and was revised as of October 20, 1995. This law requires all drivers in the state to be able to pay for the damage they cause with their automobiles, either with insurance policies, surety bonds or cash deposits with the state. Most people choose to satisfy this law by purchasing auto insurance from private companies. If you choose this method, you must conform to several other laws as well.
Ohio Revised Code section 4509.101 states that all drivers in the state who purchase auto insurance must do so with certain minimum liability limits. As of January 1, 2011, these limits are $12,500 per person injured in an accident with $25,000 aggregate limit for all injured people and $7,500 for property damage you cause. You may purchase limits higher than these for additional premiums.