Ohio drivers, consider yourselves lucky. In a report on car insurance costs, Ohio had the 40th-lowest average expenditure out of 50 states and the District of Columbia. The great news is you could shave even more off your monthly rate simply by shopping around.
The Simple Dollar explored four quotes from various insurance companies in Ohio for minimum coverage. Three of the rates were competitive, varying only by a small percentage. But one company quoted nearly twice as much. Of all the quotes, the $610 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 the 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 you can typically find all your quotes online and can customize them to see how different coverage options affect premium prices. It makes it very simple to see exactly what you could add or subtract to save money or get better coverage.
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 driving record is less than perfect, brush up on your driving history, as well).
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Our Top 4 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Ohio
These companies have great J.D. Power ratings, and their financial stability shows that they are all first-rate providers.
Even if they have lower premiums, there is no use having insurance from providers that are not in superior and excellent financial standing. After all, the only time you’re going to be dealing with your auto insurance company is when you’ve been in an accident. That’s why you should choose companies with top scores from A.M. Best and J.D. Power. A.M. Best is a financial-strength rating agency that assesses a company’s long-term stability. If a company isn’t financially stable, it’s probably going to be much more painful to try to get your claims paid than it would be if the company had a high financial-strength rating and plenty of money for claims. J.D. Power is a global leader in auto insurance customer satisfaction ratings. Between the financial strength and customer satisfaction criteria, these four companies will deliver on their value if you ever need them to.
After comparing all the quotes, the options were pretty competitive. State Farm and Progressive were the cheapest: $610 and $768, respectively. Nationwide’s quote was the most expensive option because it doesn’t allow you to opt out of additional comprehensive and collision coverage. So, as you can see, the quote isn’t exactly comparable simply because you couldn’t choose the equivalent minimum coverage. If you are looking for more than the minimum, however, Nationwide might be more competitive.
The companies that do allow you 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.
Ohio’s Minimum Coverage Requirements for 2020
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.
Getting more than the state minimum requirement might be more expensive in the short term, but it can 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.
- The average cost of an accident that causes a disabling but nonfatal injury is $93,800. And if you injured multiple people, you could easily expect the damages to exceed $100,000.
If you opt for additional coverage that isn’t required by law, it will absolutely increase your premium, but 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 there will cost less than subpar coverage in other parts of the country like California, New York or Florida.
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 you’d owe if you permanently injured someone while maintaining only the minimum coverage. So, while you could save some money with cheap car insurance in the short term, opting into better coverage is a much safer idea. It doesn’t just give you more peace of mind — it also keeps your savings account protected. No one is immune to being involved in one of the nearly 300,000 accidents a year.
When proof of insurance is required, failure to show or provide proof of insurance will lead to penalties that include:
- Loss of driving privilege. 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, described in the next section.
It’s not worth it to drive without insurance — not just because you’d be on the hook for all the damages in an accident, but because legal violations mess 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.
Why are Ohio rates so low?
It pays to be from Ohio! Residents 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 your attention, which results in lower rates. 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 weigh driving and claims history, and clearly prefer safe drivers by giving them much better rates.
What if I’m not a full-time Ohio 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.
Where in Ohio is car insurance the cheapest?
According to a 2017 study, auto insurance is cheapest for safe drivers in the cities of Fremont and Findlay. The study uses the model of a 40-year-old woman with a clean driving record and no car insurance claims as the ideal “safe driver.” The study identified Youngstown and Toledo as the most expensive cities for auto insurance in Ohio. Factors affecting the study’s conclusions include driving patterns, population density and local economic conditions.
What is SR-22 insurance?
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. It is the result of having a bad driving history, and it can be costly.
What is no-fault insurance?
No-fault insurance is a type of policy where each company pays the injury costs of its own policyholders. If an injury occurs, it can be treated right away rather than waiting to figure out who is at fault and who is responsible for payment. There are 13 states that have no-fault insurance laws for the injury portion of auto insurance. Though Ohio is not one of these states, three neighbors, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Kentucky, do have these laws.
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 they would be to swallow a rate hike. Many 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, they’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 using only your age, gender, car make/model and your driving history, most of these companies are mining data to discover your habits and are gouging individuals who aren’t taking the time to investigate their options. It’s incredibly important to shop for a policy every couple of years and to beware of price optimization because it’s so widely used that it’s likely it can directly impact your chances of receiving the most competitive rate.
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.
Three demographic groups, in particular, are known to benefit from calling around for quotes. Those with good driving records bring insurance companies more than they put out. This makes them valuable commodities. Those who have bad credit should consider checking their insurance options with every 50-point rise in credit score. Those who are young will qualify for lower rates as they pass out of risky age pools. Birthdays that fall in the middle of a year are a perfect time to call around for a lower rate. Good students have a bonus of even more discounts.
Best Auto Insurance in Ohio
To recap, the Simple Dollar has chosen these four as the top providers: