Updated on 06.20.16

Car Insurance in Ohio

Vanessa Clark

Four quotes. Twenty-five minutes. $350 savings.

If you live in Ohio and you’re a car owner, consider yourself lucky, because Ohioans enjoy some of the lowest auto insurance premiums in the country. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners estimated that Ohio drivers pay $177 less for auto insurance than the national average — and over $800 less a year than somewhere like Florida or California. According to my research, though, the savings don’t have to stop there. You could shave even more off your monthly rate simply by shopping around.

I received four quotes from various insurance companies in Ohio for minimum coverage and most of the rates were competitive to each other, varying only by a small percentage. But one company quoted me nearly twice as much. Of all my quotes, the $430 quote from State Farm was the cheapest. However, that doesn’t mean that State Farm will be the cheapest option for you, too.

Each insurer determines its premiums based on factors such as age, driving history, make and year of vehicle, and how many miles per year you will drive. The only way to find cheap car insurance that fits your budget is to shop around. It’s a bit time-intensive, but honestly not too bad. I was able to find all my quotes online and I could fully customize them to see how different coverage options impacted my premiums in real-time. It made it very simple to see exactly what I could add to subtract to save money or get better coverage.

Since they were all online, it was fairly easy to get quotes — each one took about 6 minutes and I was done in about 25 minutes. I didn’t run into anything that prevented me from quickly seeing what I needed to make an informed decision and never even had to talk to an agent on the phone. When you’re ready to get your quotes just make sure you know the make, model, and configuration of your vehicle beforehand; you’ll need that info to get the quote. (And if your record is less than perfect, brush up your driving history as well.)

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

Our Top 4 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Ohio

I began my search with four companies who met my criteria for high quality companies — I checked their JD Power ratings and their financial stability to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time with second-rate providers.

Insurer My quote
State Farm $430
Progressive $440
American Family $463
Nationwide $819

Even if they have lower premiums, there is no use having insurance from providers that are not in superior and excellent financial standing. To me, at least, it’s not worth saving a few dollars now, but knowing I’m setting myself up for less than great customer service down the line. After all, the only time I’m going to be dealing with my auto insurance company is when I’ve been in an accident — and I’m pretty sure I’ll be plenty stressed already. That’s why I chose companies with top scores from A.M. Best and JD Power. A.M. Best doesn’t directly measure customer service, but they’re a financial strength rating agency that assesses a company’s long-term stability; if a company isn’t financially stable, it’s going to be much more painful to try to get your claims paid for than if they’ve got plenty of funds to pay out. JD Power is a global leader in auto insurance customer satisfaction tests who directly measure how happy customers are. Between the two criteria, I trust that these four companies will deliver on their value if I ever need them to.

After comparing my quotes, I found that my options were pretty competitive. State Farm and Progressive were the cheapest for me: $430 and $440 respectively. Nationwide’s quote was the most expensive option because they didn’t allow me to opt-out of additional comprehensive and collision coverage. So, as you can see, the quote isn’t exactly comparable simply because I couldn’t choose the minimum coverage. If you are looking for more than the minimum, however, Nationwide might be more competitive.

The companies that did allow me to get the minimum amount of coverage had negligible differences in their premiums. Each company also offers discounts: if you bundle other insurances together, for example you’ll pay less. Even though State Farm’s quote was initially lowest, Progressive will take $15 off your six month premium if you pay it in full. If I do that, I can save $30 a year, which actually brings the annual cost $20 under State Farm’s quote. Progressive is the best car insurance for me (and the least expensive) simply because it offers the exact same amount of coverage as the others, but with a more competitive rate. If I didn’t have enough money to pay the premium up front, I’d go with State Farm.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

It’s not just your risk as a driver that insurers are looking at when they’re giving you a quote — nor is it even just your credit risk. There’s a controversial tactic called price optimization at work here: insurance companies gather big data on potential and existing customers and use it to determine how willing you’d be to swallow a rate hike. According to a study by Earnix, 45 percent of large insurance companies analyze an incredible amount of your personal data (like credit scores, web shopping habits, and social media activity) with a proprietary algorithm that decides how likely you are to look for better deals. If they think you could handle it, and wouldn’t leave them for a different company, there’ll hike your rate. That allows providers to charge you just enough to maximize profit, but also to keep you from being suspicious.

Even if you think an insurance company is only using your immediate information — age, gender, car make and model, driving history — most of these companies are mining data to find your habits and are gouging individuals who aren’t taking the time to suss out their options. It’s incredibly important to shop for a policy every couple of years and to beware of price optimization, as it’s so widely used that it’s likely it can directly impact your chances of receiving the most competitive rate. I know I’ll be shopping around in the next year for better insurance rates!

Fifteen states have addressed (and banned) price optimization, but unfortunately, Ohio is not one of them. That said, it’s up to you, a driver in Ohio, to make sure that you aren’t paying more than you should simply because big data says you might not get too mad about it.

Ohio’s Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

Ohio law requires liability insurance in the following amount: $25,000 for injuries or death, per person; $50,000 total for injuries or death to two people or more in any one accident; and $25,000 for property damage in an accident. All other coverages are optional.

The Best Car Insurance Isn’t Just Cheap Car Insurance

Getting more than the state minimum requirement might be more expensive in the short term, but it can really save you a lot of money (and heartache) if the worst happens. Let’s take a look at two important stats:

  • On average drivers have an accident every 17.9 years — and I’m probably not an exception.
  • The average cost of an accident that causes a disabling, but nonfatal injury is $81K. And if I injured multiple people, I could easily expect the damages to exceed $100K.

If you opt into additional coverage that isn’t required by law, it will absolutely increase your premiums, but I believe it’s worth it to make sure you are completely protected while on the road. Coverage is so inexpensive in Ohio, though, that incredible coverage here will cost less than subpar coverage in other parts of the country like California, New York, or Florida.

In my opinion, adding about $200 per year for comprehensive and collision insurance (with a $500 deductible) is worth the peace of mind. Over 18 years, that $200 becomes an extra $3,600, which is way less than the $55,000 I’d be responsible if I permanently injured while maintaining only the minimum coverage. So while I could save some money with cheap car insurance in the short term, opting into better coverage is a much safer idea for me. It doesn’t just give me better peace of mind, it also keeps my savings account protected. I know I’m not immune to being involved in one of the nearly 300,000 accidents a year.

What Happens If I’m Caught Without Insurance?

When proof of insurance is required, failure to show or provide proof of insurance will lead to penalties that include:

  • Loss of driving privileges. This will require payment of a reinstatement fee in order to regain your privilege to drive.
  • Suspension of plates and registration.
  • Mandatory requirement of SR-22 filing. SR-22 insurance is a type of proof of insurance usually filed by your insurance carrier, guaranteeing that you will remain insured for a specific period of time and it can be costly.

Every insurance provider I got a quote from asked whether I had submitted the SR-22 form because if so, they would have raised my rates. It’s really not worth driving in Ohio without insurance, not just because you’d be on the hook for all the damages in an accident, but getting caught messes up your chances of landing a good rate. To keep yourself in the running for cheap car insurance avoid any violations that’ll lead to a suspended license.

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

Beat the Average Premium: 9 Ways to Snag Cheap Car Insurance

There are just about as many ways to cut the costs of your insurance as there are reasons your rate will definitely be different than mine. Check out The Simple Dollar’s tips for ways you can squeeze every possible penny out of your (probably) already low rate.

Nine Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance


Why is Ohio car insurance so low?

What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
United States $139
Ohio $114
Youngstown $104
Toledo $102
Columbus $98
Cincinnati $97
Cleveland $96
Akron $94
Dayton $92
Hamilton $91
Canton $89
Springfield $86
Kettering $84
Lorain $81
Parma $83
Source Quadrant

It pays to be from Ohio! We pay the fourth-lowest insurance rate in the country. The biggest reason for this is because the insurance market in Ohio is saturated and competitive. Only Illinois has more companies that sell insurance than Ohio. There are more companies vying for our attention, so we get to demand a lower rate. Another reason might be that Ohio has many safe drivers; a state’s average is usually dictated by how many claims are filed and how expensive they are. Ohio insurance companies also heavily weight driving and claims history, and clearly preference safe drivers by giving them much better rates.

What if I’m not a full-time resident?

There’s nothing specific that says you should expect varying rates if you’re not a full-time resident of Ohio. That being said, there’s a 30-day grace period for new residents to register for an Ohio driver’s license. However, with the rates being as low as they are in Ohio, any sane person would want to be registered in Ohio sooner rather than later to be able to qualify for these premiums!

An Expert’s Perspective

I asked the legal team at Larson Law, a firm that specializes in injury cases for their take on how which insurance company makes the claims process easier. Here’s Bryan A. Larson’s take:

Are certain auto insurance companies easier to work with than others?

The insurance industry spends millions of dollars on advertising campaigns to try to put you at ease through the insurance process. Some ad campaigns try to suggest that real and legitimate claims do not even exist. They may use a cute little salamander-type creature or a middle-aged woman in white pants who repetitively appears in a number of settings. They may try to convince you that they are your “good neighbor” or that “you are in good hands” or that their claims process is “fast, fair, and friendly.” However, do not be deceived.

The best advice is to get competent, qualified representation as soon as possible after an accident occurs. Do not talk to the insurance company about your injuries other than to tell them that you hurt and that you intend to get medical care. Competent legal counsel can help you through every aspect of the claims process and handle the details for you while you concentrate on getting better. Generally there won’t be any charge involved unless they happen to produce a result for you.

You may be an individual who wants to do everything for yourself and are convinced that no harm will come by your attempting to do so. However, I can’t stress enough how risky that course of action can be. Most insurance companies will try to make the claims process seem “easy.” They do so because they want to keep you in their hands and out of the hands of someone who has your best interests in mind. Remember, an “easy” process does not always mean one that works out for your best interest.

The Bottom Line

Because Ohio boasts some of the best rates in the country, you can get a great deal for incredible coverage beyond the minimums. The best way to receive the most competitive rate is to shop around, so shop around!

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Simple Share Buttons
Simple Share Buttons