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What does “basic” car insurance cover in Ohio?

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Car insurance is a whole new world of terms and meanings. Just knowing what the minimum requirements are in Ohio might not be enough. What exactly do the minimum coverages get you? What do they mean?

Here are the Ohio minimum requirements in insurance lingo:

  • You MUST get Bodily Injury Liability Coverage. The minimum level of coverage is $25,000 per person injured and $50,000 for all persons injured in an accident.
  • You MUST get Property Damage Liability of a minimum of $25,000.

Break it Down for Me -- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

First, let’s take the Bodily Injury coverage. In Ohio, the driver who causes the accident is responsible for the medical bills related to the incident; this goes for both their own injuries and that of others involved in the accident.

In other words, the $25,000/$50,000 of Bodily Injury Liability coverage will be used to cover expenses of those you caused injury to. Insurance providers will structure your coverage in this way: “$25,000/$50,000.” The first number indicates that if only one person was injured (besides yourself) your insurance will cover up to $25,000 in expenses for them individually. The second number indicates the max coverage ($50,000) for if more than one individual was injured.

Bodily Injury Liability will cover both immediate and follow-up medical expenses, legal fees, loss of income, pain and suffering, and/or funeral costs for those involved--up to your coverage limit. If the accident leads to further expenses beyond these limits, you will personally be responsible for covering those. In addition, it may be used to cover some of your own legal fees (if sued; depending on the insurance company), but it does NOT cover your own medical expenses that may have resulted from the incident. Your own health/medical insurance will have to cover you.

Break it Down for Me -- Property Damage Liability

Second, you have the required amount of “Property Damage Liability.” Property damage liability coverage helps to pay for any damage done to another’s personal property. Most obviously, someone else’s car is often damaged in an accident. BUT, other types of property are sometimes involved--e.g. hitting a patio, porch, or mailbox. Your property limit is the max amount that your insurance will pay out to cover the other person’s personal property. As before, the person at fault or who caused the accident is the one whose insurance will cover the damage. So, if you are at fault, it covers their related damages but does NOT cover your own vehicle.

But...what about my car?!

If you’re like some of us and have a name and all for your set of wheels, you are probably concerned about what would happen if your ‘baby’ was in accident. If you want to cover your own car and reduce your financial risk in other ways, here are some other types of coverage and their definitions (below). Keep in mind the tradeoff is always more coverage (lower risk) but higher premiums (increased cost for the insurance) for you.

  • Collision – covers accident-related repairs or replacement of your own vehicle
  • Comprehensive – more extensive coverage of non-accident related damages to your car (e.g. caused by hail, theft, fire, water/flood, glass breaks, animal close encounters, etc.)
  • Uninsured/underinsured – covers your own damages when not at fault, but caused by a driver who doesn't’ have their own insurance or whose insurance isn’t enough to cover the full damage repair costs (can have bodily and property damage elements)
  • Medical payment – covers you and your passengers’ medical/funeral expenses, if you are at fault; think of this one as having your pal’s back if they are riding with you during an accident

Photos in order of appearance: Pixabay

Krista Doyle