Nearly every state requires car owners to carry auto insurance, and most states have required minimum values for different policies. In Ohio, it is illegal to drive any motor vehicle without insurance or other proof of financial responsibility (FR).
It is also illegal for any motor vehicle owner to allow another person to drive the owner’s vehicle without FR proof. To comply with Ohio’s FR requirements, individuals must maintain insurance or get a bond.
Minimum Coverage in Ohio
If a person purchases automobile insurance, the state requires the person to purchase Bodily Injury Liability Coverage as well as Property Damage Liability Coverage. In Ohio, the required minimum for Bodily Injury Liability Coverage is currently $25,000 per person injured in any one accident and $50,000 for all persons injured in any one accident. The required minimum for Property Damage Liability Coverage is $25,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.
Why does your insurance agent tell you that minimum amounts are not enough? It all depends on how much personal risk you are willing to take. Insurance is meant to protect your current and future assets. If you do not have enough car insurance to cover damages caused to people or property when you have an accident, then you might get sued for the additional costs.
What are Your Assets?
The value of your assets (what you may have to lose in the event you cause an accident) may help you determine the amount of coverage you should carry. Having additional coverage could protect you and your assets in the event of a serious accident. If you do not have adequate coverage, the law allows the victim to take any assets that you may have in order to cover the costs of any damages that occur.
If the damage in the accident exceeds an amount greater than your policy limits, you would be held legally responsible to pay for any damages that your insurance does not cover, including medical costs, costs to repair any property damage and legal costs for any court proceedings that may take place because of the accident. To pay for the damages, your home, car and other assets could be taken away from you. Your present and future wages could be garnished.
Be sure to remember that liability insurance doesn’t pay for damages to your own car, nor does it pay for your own medical expenses if you’re injured in an accident. It covers damage you cause to other vehicles and property, as well as medical expenses for those you injure.
And, those minimum amounts may not be enough to cover even minor accidents. The Insurance Information Institute recommends that you carry at least $100,000 of bodily injury protection per person and $300,000 per accident (known as 100/300/100).
How Much Coverage do I need?
You’re on the hook when costs exceed your coverage limits. That’s why many people opt for policies that cover more than required minimums, particularly if they have assets that can be seized to pay for repairs and medical care. When deciding how much coverage you need, make sure you’re covered for an amount equal to the total value of your assets.