Slow your roll. Before you take your new set of wheels out on the town, you need to get yourself set up with car insurance. In Ohio, it is illegal to drive any vehicle without first obtaining insurance and having proof thereof. You also need insurance if you are driving someone else’s vehicle. If not, you can be ticketed, or worse...if you’re in an accident without coverage, you will be personally liable for damages. Ouch!
Ohio law has the minimum requirements listed below. You can always get more coverage if you want. Also, if this is your first rodeo with insurance, don’t worry. The insurance sites will clearly outline various “levels” of coverage, what they mean, and what they will cost you. More coverage = more cost. But, more coverage also means you are less likely to be left with bills you have to pay yourself after an accident.
The minimum requirements:
- 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.
These ensure that anyone and anything harmed in an accident are covered. You must get insurance for each vehicle you own and have proof of the policy with you. So, be sure you get a hard copy to put in your glovebox or an electronic copy to keep on your phone at all times. Or, even better, have both available for if you ever get pulled over or are in an accident.
Why would I get more coverage than the minimum?
You may opt to pay for more than the minimum coverage levels. Having additional coverage protects you and your assets in the event of a serious accident. If you have something terrible happen to you or cause serious damage to someone else or their property and your coverage level is not enough to repair the damages, the law allows the victims to go after your other assets (e.g. other vehicles, home, land, etc.) in order to cover the damage. It is even possible for your wages to be “garnished” each month (a portion taken out) to cover the victim’s costs. So, you must weigh the pros and cons yourself for the increased costs now for more coverage versus the risk of owing more later in the event of a major accident.
Savings Pro Tip: There are a plethora of insurance providers. So, take the time to call around and explore your options. You can easily get quotes within minutes online as well. You should also compare quotes every few years to ensure you are getting the best deal.
Some other ways to reduce your insurance costs:
- Have a clean driving record (no tickets or accidents)
- Increase your deductible (e.g. from $500 to $1000) -- this is how much you must pay first before your insurance covers the remaining amount
- Drop collision and/or comprehensive insurance if you drive a beater. These are used to cover replacement costs of your car. If these costs are fairly low, you may choose to not cover replacements costs for your own car by not paying for collision/comprehensive coverage.
- Search for discounts -- “good student,” defensive driving certificate, through your company or an organization you belong to, etc.
- Lower your liability limits (see above for the pros/cons)
To learn more about getting car insurance, check out this blog post with all the deets.
Photos in order of appearance: Unsplash