Last updated on August 7th, 2023
If you’re like most people, you’ve always carried proof of insurance and registration in your glove box without giving it a second thought. Most state legislatures mandate auto insurance coverage, and for good reason. Read on to learn more about the insurance coverage law in Ohio state.
The primary reason for requiring auto insurance coverage is the danger that an uninsured driver poses to others. This is the reason why almost every state requires liability insurance, but only some states require their drivers to purchase insurance that protects them against their own injuries.
Governments require individuals to pay for the harm that they cause to others, including damages caused by bad driving. Were this not the case, driving a car would be an act that few people would risk.
A requirement to “pay for the damages you cause,” while fair-sounding, would be next to meaningless without insurance. Car accidents can be very expensive, and most people simply cannot afford to pay car accident damages. It is for this reason that auto insurance companies exist—to allow a driver to pay, not for the financial consequences of an accident, but for the risk of having an accident, regardless of whether one actually occurs.
In this way, the right of the government to require people to pay for the damages they cause to others translates into the right to require drivers to purchase auto insurance. Good drivers get peace of mind, bad drivers get insurance companies to clean up their messes, insurance companies make a profit, injured parties get compensated, and everyone is happy.
Why was the “Obamacare” health insurance purchase requirement declared unconstitutional, while states are still free to require drivers to carry auto insurance? A possible answer is that purchasing health insurance protects you while purchasing auto liability insurance protects other people whom you might carelessly injure. Notwithstanding, the use of “no-fault” auto insurance, which is the standard in a dozen states, tends to contradict this reasoning.
States typically require some or all of the following types of auto insurance:
If drivers share fault for the accident, who is the “at-fault” driver? In this context, a driver is “at fault” to the degree of their percentage of fault for the accident. A driver can still be partially at fault even if the accident was mostly the other driver’s fault.
Automobile leasing companies typically require you to maintain more than the legal minimum level of insurance coverage on their vehicle. This is because they own the vehicle and wish to protect their investment. While state law does not mandate additional coverage, the contract between you and the leasing company may include this requirement. Ultimately, it is the state law that will enforce the lease contract if any insurance coverage dispute arises.
Auto insurance is, of course, available in every state. Two states, however, allow alternatives to auto insurance—Virginia and New Hampshire. Virginia drivers may pay an uninsured motor vehicle fee of $500 to the state government. This fee does not come with any insurance coverage. In New Hampshire, drivers can post cash bonds.
In both states, drivers remain liable for damages they cause.
Under the federal McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, insurance regulation is delegated to the states. This is why there is no federal regulation of insurance, and each state can enact the laws and regulatory schemes that it deems necessary to protect its citizens.
Without auto insurance, someone injured by an at-fault driver would pay the price out of their own pocket, or in the form of uncompensated injury or property damage, and/or loss of life. The policy of state governments to go as far as possible to place the burden of an accident upon the one who caused it serves as an incentive to drive carefully, keeping the roads safer for everyone. Contact the Ohio Tiger for more information about the Insurance Coverage Law and start with a free consultation.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, please fill out the form below for your free consultation or call us at 1.937.222.2222
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