Learn everything you need to know to make smart decisions about buying car insurance in Ohio. We outline average car insurance rates by ZIP code and offer recommendations for how much coverage you need. We also provide details about Ohio car insurance laws.
The average car insurance rate in Ohio is $771 a year – only Maine has a lower average annual rate. The severity and frequency of claims in your neighborhood, your driving record, the type of car you drive, your credit and other factors are used by insurance companies to figure out how much you pay. That’s why the price for the same coverage can vary significantly among insurance companies — and why you should compare rates. For example, $1,393 is the highest rate among six carriers for Toledo ZIP code 43611. That’s nearly three times as much as the lowest ($502). To get an idea of what rates are for your area, enter a ZIP code to see the average premium for that location. You will also see the highest and lowest rates from the six major carriers surveyed. This way you can tell if your quotes are too high and if you should keep shopping for a lower rate.
Cheap car insurance in Ohio
Ohio car insurance requirements
State law requires the following coverages:
Minimum bodily injury liability
Minimum property damage liability
Ohio car insurance laws mandate that drivers carry minimum liability coverage limits of 25/50/25 on their vehicle. Buying the state required limits to drive is definitely the cheapest way to go. Everyone likes to save money, but buying cheap car insurance may not be the wisest option for many drivers. Your assets and savings are in jeopardy if you get into an accident and only have minimum coverage.
It does cost more to buy more protection, but as you’ll see in the chart below, additional coverage is typically affordable. Increasing your insurance from the state minimum to full coverage with a $1,000 deductible costs, on average, $656 more, or $55 a month.
Average annual rate
Liability Only – state minimum
Liability Only - 50/100/50 BI/PD
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD $1,000 Comp/Collision deductible
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD $500 Comp/Collision deductible
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD $250 Comp/Collision deductible
*The table shows the average annual rate of 10 ZIP codes in the state from the following carriers, in no particular order: Progressive, Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide, GEICO and Farmers. Data was provided for CarInsurance.com by Quadrant Information Services.
Recommended car insurance coverage
The cheapest car insurance isn’t always the best car insurance if you have a home and other assets. State minimum coverage often isn’t enough to shield your assets from lawsuits.
Your savings and house can be taken or your wages garnished to pay for damage you cause in an accident if your insurance can’t cover the whole bill. Even minor accidents can add up to major bills and exceed minimum liability insurance pay outs. For instance, let’s say you have $25,000 in bodily injury liability insurance. If you then cause an accident that costs $55,000, you’re on the hook for $30,000. Your assets may be seized to cover the expenses if you can’t pay it.
We recommend you buy more insurance than is required to legally drive a car in your state, especially if you have savings and assets. The more money you have, the more likely you are to be sued following a car accident should your insurance be insufficient to cover all the expenses. If your net worth is:
less than $50,000, choose at least 50/100/50
between $50,000 and $100,000, choose at least 100/300/100
more than $100,000, choose at least 250/500/100
If you're leasing or financing your car, you must get coverage of 100/300/100 or higher.
Collision and comprehensive
Collision coverage pays for damage to your car after an accident that you cause. Comprehensive insurance pays to replace stolen cars and for damages from vandalism, flooding, hail, fire and animal strikes. If your car is:
less than 10 years old, you should strongly consider buying collision and comprehensive.
more than 10 years old, only buy collision and comprehensive if your car is worth $3,000 or more, if you couldn’t afford to replace your car if it’s wrecked, or if you just want more protection on your policy.
Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage pays for damages if you’re hit by a driver with no insurance or a driver with coverage that’s insufficient to pay for your repairs and medical expenses. It's optional, but with one out of eight drivers uninsured, it's a wise move. We recommend buying coverage that mirrors your liability amounts.
Medical coverage (MedPay)
Medical payments coverage can help pay for the medical or funeral expenses of covered drivers and passengers after an accident, regardless of fault, up to $25,000. In most states, including Ohio, it's an optional addition to your car insurance policy. MedPay does the following:
Covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses
Pays for expenses after health insurance limits are exceeded
Offers additional protection to insured drivers who are hit by a car while walking or biking
If you and your passengers:
Don’t have health insurance, or have a plan that doesn’t cover car accidents or has low limits, we recommend that you add medical coverage of at least $5,000 to your car insurance policy.
Do have health insurance, it’s still a good idea to have medical coverage if you want the best protection in your policy, as it can pay out after your health benefits are maxed out.
If you don’t own your car outright and have an accident, gap insurance pays the difference between the cash value of your car and the current outstanding balance on your loan or lease.
If you’re financing your car, your car is less than one year old and you’ve put less than 20 percent down on it, you should buy gap insurance. If not, you don’t need gap insurance.
If you’re leasing your car, it’s a good idea to buy gap insurance if you aren’t already required to in your lease agreement.
If you own your car outright, you don’t need gap insurance.
Car insurance companies in Ohio
Scores are based on Insure.com’s “Best Insurance Companies” customer review survey of 3,700 customers. Companies not in the top 10 of market share do not qualify. All scores are out of 100.
Best car insurance companies in Ohio
Best customer service:
Allstate – 91.8
Nationwide – 90.4
American Family – 89.9
Geico – 88.7
Best claims service:
Liberty Mutual – 96
Progressive – 92.5
State Farm – 91.8
Nationwide – 91.6
Best value for the price:
American Family – 89.7
Erie – 88.8
Progressive – 86.3
State Farm – 84.6
Nationwide – 83.2
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Largest car insurance companies in Ohio
Direct premiums written
Market share %
Overall Customer Review Ranking
State Farm Group
Progressive Insurance Group
Allstate Insurance Group
Grange Mutual Casualty Pool
Erie Insurance Group
American Family Insurance Group
Source: A.M. Best market share rankings are based on direct premiums written in 2015.
Customer review rankings based on Insure.com's 2016 "Best Insurance Companies" survey of 3,700 customers. Scores out of 100.
Ohio car insurance laws and resources
Credit score: Making sure your credit is used correctly
Some car insurance companies in Ohio use credit scores when calculating your rate. Companies that use credit scores develop their own credit scoring model that relies on information in your credit report. Ask your insurer if it uses this practice, and if so, you can request that it re-check your credit score annually. Additionally, if you find an error on your credit report and have it corrected, you can ask your car insurance company to recalculate your rates.
Tickets and accidents and your car insurance
Car insurance companies usually review your driving record (often called a “driver abstract”) when renewing your policy. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) sends insurance companies only your record from the past three years, but convictions never come off an Ohio driving record. However, most insurance companies only charge you higher car insurance rates for accidents and tickets for up to three to five years. To get a copy of your record, visit the BMV website.
Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan (OAIP)
If you have a poor driving record and can’t find an insurance company to sell you a policy, you can use the Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan (OAIP) as a last resort. The group is comprised of major carriers and is required by state law to sell you liability insurance. You must buy at least the state minimum, but you are free to purchase higher liability limits if you want. Because all OAIP policies are for high-risk drivers, who tend to get into more accidents and file more claims, you will pay steep car insurance rates. You can stay on an OAIP policy for three years. However, as soon as you’re able to buy a standard policy, you can do so.
To buy an OAIP policy, you must have an insurance agent file an application on your behalf. You will then be assigned to one of the companies in the OAIP pool. For more information call the Ohio Auto Plan at (614) 221-2596.
Discount for seniors
If you are age 60 to 70, you can get a car insurance discount if you pass an accident-prevention course approved by the BMV. You must give your insurance company the certificate proving you passed the course. You will then get a discount of 2 to 15 percent off the liability portion of your coverage for three years.
Comparative negligence law
Ohio’s comparative negligence law says the responsibility, or fault, for an accident can be shared. It helps determine how much you can collect from the other driver or the insurance company.
So how can fault be shared in an accident? Let’s say the other driver crashed into you and even got a ticket. That still doesn’t mean the other driver was completely at fault. Under the comparative negligence law, if you could have “reasonably” done anything to avoid the accident, you may be found partially responsible. That also means you may have to share the car repair and medical costs.
If you are 50 percent or less at fault, you can receive compensation from the other driver’s insurer. If you are more than 50 percent to blame for an accident, you can’t recover anything.
Let’s look at an example. When you file a claim against the other driver, the insurance company will determine if you should share the blame. This is done by asking you questions about your speed, if you were wearing a seat belt or not and so on. If the insurance adjuster deems that the accident or some of the damage or injuries could have been avoided if you were more careful, he or she will split the blame between you and the other driver.
If the adjuster decides the other driver was 80 percent at fault, this would be called 80/20. Under this instance, let’s say the damage to your car was $1,000. The other driver’s insurer would pay 80 percent of your damage, or $800. Because the other driver’s share of the negligence was more than 50 percent, you would not owe anything for his or her damages.
HOW MUCH IS CAR INSURANCE IN OHIO?The average car insurance rate in Ohio is:
$771 per year
2nd least expensive state in the U.S.
Comparative negligence Insurance Law
Ohio’s comparative negligence law says the responsibility, or fault, for an accident can be shared. It helps determine how much you can collect from the other driver or the insurance company. If you are 50 percent or less at fault, you can receive compensation from the other driver’s insurer. If you are more than 50 percent to blame for an accident, you can’t recover anything.
DRIVING IN Ohio
In our independent study of the best and worst states for driving, Ohio was the
12TH WORST STATE
42% percent of roads are in poor or mediocre condition
13.5% of the drivers on the roads are uninsured
8.7 traffic-related deaths per 100,000 population
2.8% of the average annual median household income is spent on car insurance
41 hours of commuter delay per year in Cincinnati, the state's most congested city