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ODPS Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Ohio Financial Responsibility Law

ODPS | BMV | Citizens Advisory Committee

If You Don't Have Vehicle Insurance, You Can't Drive in Ohio!

In Ohio, it is illegal to drive any motor vehicle without insurance or other financial responsibility (FR) proof. It is also illegal for any motor vehicle owner to allow anyone else to drive the owner's vehicle without FR proof.

Section 4509.101 of the Ohio Revised Code prohibits an individual from operating a motor vehicle in Ohio without maintaining proof of FR continuously throughout the registration period with respect to that vehicle, or in the case of a driver who is not the owner, with respect to that driver's operation of that vehicle. The law requires financial responsibility in the minimum amount of $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of one individual in any one accident, $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more individuals in any one accident, and $25,000 for injury to the property of others in any one accident.

Section 4501:1-2-02 of the Ohio Administrative Code has been amended to permit proof of financial responsibility (insurance) by electronic means. Beginning July 24, 2014 insurance companies may now provide proof of financial responsibility identification card(s) in electronic format for display on smart phones, tablets, and other electronic devices. As with all forms of proof of financial responsibility (insurance), law enforcement officers, courts, and all other authorities should exercise their own best judgment as to whether the proof provided is legitimate and reliable.

For More Financial Responsibility Information Contact:
Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Compliance Unit
P.O. Box 16583
Columbus, Ohio 43216-6583
(614) 752-7700

ODPS | BMV | Contact with the Committee

To Comply with Financial Responsibility Requirements

Individuals must maintain one of the following to comply with the FR requirements:

          • A motorist liability insurance policy.  Insurance cards are issued by an insurer to the policy holder for each motor vehicle insured under a motor vehicle liability insurance policy;
          • A $30,000 bond issued by an authorized surety or insurance company;
          • A certificate of proof of financial responsibility signed by an insurance agent on a form prescribed by the Ohio BMV;
          • A certificate issued by the BMV, after proper application and approval, indicating that money or a government bond in the amount of $30,000 is on deposit with the Ohio State Treasurer;
          • A certificate of bond issued by the BMV, after proper application and approval, in the amount of $30,000 signed by two individuals who own real estate having equity of at least $60,000;
          • A certificate of self-insurance issued by the BMV, after proper application and approval, to those with more than 25 motor vehicles registered in their name or a company's name.
ODPS | Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Random Verification

Ohio law requires verification of proof of financial responsibility whenever a person is "randomly selected" by the BMV and requested to provide such verification.  This process includes the mailing of letters to a random selection 5% of registered Ohio vehicle and noncommercial truck owners.  Approximately 5,400 notices are generated per week or 280,000 notices annually.

The BMV is required to send written notice by regular mail to the owner of each vehicle randomly selected, informing the owner that proof showing financial responsibility coverage was in effect on the date specified must be submitted within 21 days of the mailing of the notice.  This notification is sent to the person at the person's last known address as shown on the records of the BMV.

The owner may submit evidence to show that the vehicle is exempt because the vehicle:

          • Is used on a seasonal basis only and the date specified is out of season for that vehicle;
          • Is inoperable and has been out of service for a period of at least 30 days immediately prior to the selection date or;
          • Is exempt for any other reason as approved by the Registrar.

The Random Selection Program is administered by a subsidiary office of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles located in Hudson, Ohio.

For this program only, correspondence should be addressed to:
Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 209
Hudson, OH 44236-0209

Call 1-877-315-6605 with questions.

ODPS | BMV | Contact with the Committee

Verification of Proof of Financial Responsibility

Ohio's FR law requires every applicant for registration of a motor vehicle and every applicant for a driver's license, or the renewal of such license, to sign a statement indicating that the applicant maintains, or has maintained proof of financial responsibility at the time of application, and the applicant will not operate a motor vehicle in Ohio without maintaining proof of financial responsibility.

Proof of financial responsibility is required to be verified under the following circumstances:

ODPS | BMV | Contact with the Committee

Violator Penalties

Failure to provide proof of financial responsibility, when required, will result in the following civil penalties imposed by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles:
          • Loss of driving privileges for a maximum of 2 years;
          • Suspension of license plates and vehicle registration;
          • Requirement to pay reinstatement fees ranging from $150 (first violation) to $650 (third or subsequent violation);
          • Requirement to file insurance continuously in the form of an SR-22 or bond for a 3-5 year period, depending upon offense;
          • Immobilization of the vehicle and confiscation of plates for 30-60 days for violating an FR suspension.  Third and subsequent offenses could result in vehicle forfeiture and a 5-year suspension of vehicle registrations.

Driving privileges cannot be restored until all requirements of the suspension have been met. Registration priveleges may be restored upon payment of the required reinstatement fee and filing of the SR-22 or bond.

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Limited Driving Privileges

During a first-time non-compliance suspension, an individual does not apply to the court for driving privileges. Driving privileges will be restored upon payment of the reinstatement fee and filing of insurance with the Bureau in the form of an SR-22 or bond, provided no other suspensions are in effect.

Limited driving privileges may be granted by the court during the term of a second or third/subsequent non-compliance suspension. Before petitioning the court for privileges, a suspended individual must file insurance with the BMV in the form of an SR-22 or bond and pay the reinstatement fee to the BMV. Some courts may allow the individual to utilize a payment plan for the reinstatement fee. A second non-compliance suspension requires a 15-day waiting period before driving privileges can be granted. A third or subsequent non-compliance suspension requires a 30-day waiting period. The individual should apply to the local court having jurisdiction over his/her place of residence, or to the court having jurisdiction over the traffic offense that resulted in the non-compliance suspension. A court is not required to grant limited privileges and may decline to do so based upon the individual's driving record and other factors.


Ways to Provide Satisfactory Proof of Financial Responsibility

When law enforcement officers request FR proof and the motorist cannot provide satisfactory proof at such time, they are given a notice explaining the options to provide such proof:
          • Sending a copy (document displaying satisfactory evidence of FR) when paying the fine;
          • Bringing FR proof when appearing in traffic court;
          • Sending FR proof when requested by the BMV.

Failure to comply with proof of FR will initiate a suspension process through the BMV. Failure to respond to a Notice of Suspension will result in an individual’s driving and registration privileges being suspended, even if the individual was properly insured at the time of the traffic stop.

ODPS | BMV | Contact with the Committee

When Involved In An Automobile Crash

If you are involved in an auto crash without insurance or other FR proof, additional penalties may apply. You may have a security suspension for two years or more and a judgment suspension for an indefinite period until the judgment is settled.

If you are involved in a crash in which any party is injured or property damages exceed $400, and the other party was not insured, you may file a BMV Crash Report (form BMV 3303). This is regardless of who was at fault. You should contact your insurance agent as soon as possible.  This form is not the same as the report taken by law enforcement officers at the crash scene. 

You should have your mechanic document any damage to your vehicle, and your insurance company attest to your insurance coverage. Also supply as much information as you have on the other party such as name, Social Security number, address, driver license number, plate number, make and model of car. If the other party is not insured, a letter of suspension will be sent to them. Additionally, if the BMV receives a State Crash Report (BMV 3303) that indicates other individuals as being uninsured, and the report also lists personal injury, or property damage in the amount of $400.01 or greater, a security suspension for damages will be placed on all uninsured driver/owner's driving records until a payment agreement or full payment for the damages is made, or until a judgment is received showing the uninsured driver/owner was not at fault in the accident.

ODPS | Bureau of Motor Vehicles

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