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Last updated: August 25, 2023

Driving Without Insurance in Ohio

Learn about the penalties for not carrying liability coverage in the Buckeye State.

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Nationally, 12 percent of drivers lack car insurance, according to the most recent data from the Insurance Research Council. In Ohio, that number is slightly higher than average at 13 percent. Even though the insurance requirements are minimal — since the state only mandates that drivers carry liability coverage — not everyone complies.

But if you’re caught driving without insurance in Ohio, you could face a license suspension, reinstatement fees, and a loss of your license plate and vehicle registration. You’ll also have to carry an SR-22 form, which makes insurance more expensive when you reenroll. Let’s dive into more detail.

Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Ohio

The penalties for driving without insurance in Ohio are as follows, according to the state’s Revised Code and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).12

Offense number License suspension Restricted license Lose license plate and vehicle registration Reinstatement fees SR-22 time frame Deputy registrar fee
First Until requirements are met Until requirements are met Until requirements are met $100 Three years $10
Second within five years One year After at least 15 days of suspension Until requirements are met $300 Five years $10
Third and subsequent within five years Two years After at least 30 days of suspension Until requirements are met $600 Five years $10


Wherever you’re driving, carry proof of insurance, whether it’s digital in an app or a paper identification card. If you face a traffic stop, be ready to show your proof to the officer.


An SR-22 form proves you have the minimum insurance coverage required. Your insurance company will file it with the BMV once you reinstate your insurance. If you’re convicted of driving without insurance, you’ll need an SR-22 to reinstate your license, even if you live in a different state or don’t own a car.3

Having an SR-22 tells insurance companies you are a high-risk driver, so expect to face higher rates for either three or five years, depending on how many offenses you’ve accumulated.

Getting Insurance After a Lapse in Coverage

Finding car insurance after a gap in coverage will prove more difficult than if you had continuous coverage or a clean driving record. You’ll have to request quotes from multiple companies and find one that will accept you despite your SR-22 status. However, if you can’t find an insurer that will take you on as a customer, there is an alternative, thanks to a state-run program called the Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan. We’ll explain more later.

Before you opt for that last resort, compare quotes from different companies. The process of buying new insurance will be the same as if you had continuous coverage. The only difference is you may have more difficulty finding a provider that is willing to cover you.

How to Appeal Your Fine

What happens if you are charged with driving without car insurance in Ohio but you aren’t guilty? If that’s the case, you can plead not guilty, which requires either appearing in court to enter your plea in person or entering your plea in writing. Typically, an attorney handles the latter, but you can do it yourself with your contact information and case number.

From there, the court will notify you of your trial date by mail. If you don’t show up, it will issue a warrant for your arrest and suspend your driving privileges. Bring the following items to your court date:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Driver’s license
  • Proof of ownership, like a new car title
  • Funds for any potential fines

During the trial, the prosecutor representing the state of Ohio will try to convince the court that you committed the violation beyond a reasonable doubt. You or an attorney will have a chance to defend yourself and present evidence. Then the judge will determine if you are guilty or not and issue penalties accordingly.4

More Car Insurance Laws in Ohio

Here’s additional relevant legal information you should know as an Ohio driver.

Minimum Required Coverage

The minimum coverage the state requires is as follows:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury liability coverage per person, $50,000 per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage liability coverage per accident5

Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan

If you can’t find an insurance provider that will cover you, you can use the state’s Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan to buy liability coverage. Be aware that rates will be higher — even more expensive than rates from companies that cover high-risk drivers. To enroll, call 614-221-2596.6


You need proof of insurance to register your car in Ohio. For a new registration, bring the following documents to a deputy registrar license agency:

  • Certificate or Title or Memorandum of Title
  • E-check, if the vehicle is to be registered in an e-check county
  • Lease agreement/power of attorney documents for vehicle leases
  • Ohio driver’s license, state identification, or proof of Social Security number
  • Signed Proof of Financial Responsibility statement
  • Tax ID number (if the car is titled in a business name)

Find an agency at

You’ll need to renew your registration 90 days before it expires. To do so, you’ll need to bring all of the above documents except the title.


To find out more about registering your car in Ohio, call 844-644-6268 or use the live chat tool at You can also schedule an appointment online via


If you’re driving in Ohio, make sure the car you’re driving is insured, either by you or by its owner. If you’re required to have an SR-22 but don’t own a car, consider nonowner insurance, which can provide liability coverage for a relatively low cost.

Fortunately, the cost of auto insurance in Ohio is among the cheapest in the nation. In fact, for liability coverage only, Ohio drivers paid an average of $433 in 2020, according to the most recent data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.7 Not only will insurance help you avoid penalties, but even minimum coverage provides $100,000 worth of protection if you damage another party’s property or cause them injuries or death. For $36 a month, this protection is more than worthwhile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need insurance if you have a license but no car in Ohio?

Unless the state requires you to have an SR-22, you don’t need insurance if you have a license but no car in Ohio. Insurance covers the car, not the driver, so there would be no car to insure.

Is Ohio a no-fault state?

No, Ohio is an at-fault state. In an accident, the at-fault party is responsible for their own and the other party’s medical expenses and property damages. If the at-fault party’s insurance doesn’t cover the other party’s total losses, the no-fault party can sue the at-fault party as long as the no-fault party was found to be 50 percent or less at fault in the accident.

What happens if the person at fault in an accident has no insurance in Ohio?

If the person at fault in an accident does not have insurance in Ohio, they’ll have to pay for the other party’s medical costs and property damages out of pocket. They are also liable to be sued, so long as the other party was 50 percent or less at fault. If they don’t have the money to cover the judgment, the state could put a lien on their house or garnish their wages.

What happens if the person not at fault in a car accident has no insurance in Ohio?

If the person not at fault in an accident does not have insurance in Ohio, they can still receive compensation for their losses from the at-fault party’s liability coverage. They can also sue the other party in a civil suit as long as they were 50 percent or less at fault.


  1. You Will Lose Your Driver License If You Drive Without Insurance. Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. (2023).

  2. Operating of motor vehicle without proof of financial responsibility. Ohio Laws & Administrative Rules. (2020, Jun 10).

  3. Driving & Transportation FAQs. Recovery Ohio. (2023).

  4. Traffic Division. Erie County Ohio. (2023).

  5. Driver License & ID Cards: Mandatory Insurance. Ohio BMV. (2023).

  6. Guide to Automobile Insurance. Ohio Department of Insurance. (2023).

  7. 2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).