Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Ohio

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Ohio

Ohio requires all drivers to carry insurance — and if you're caught without it, the penalties are steep.

The state will temporarily revoke your driver's license, license plates and vehicle registration, plus charge a reinstatement fee of up to $600.

You also might need to ask your insurer to file an SR-22 form on your behalf for up to five years. Violate these requirements, and the state could impound or sell your vehicle.

Penalties for driving without insurance

Ohio takes car insurance seriously. If you’re caught driving while uninsured, the state may suspend your driving privileges, charge fees to reinstate them and even impound or sell your car.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) may find out you're driving without insurance in a few ways:

  • You can't provide proof of insurance when a police officer asks for it.
  • You can't provide proof in court when you appear for a ticket or accident.
  • The state's electronic database flags you as not having insurance.

In any case, the state will send you a notice.

If you don't have car insurance, you should get quotes from at least three companies. You'll need to buy at least the minimum liability coverage and carry proof of the policy — such as an insurance ID card — while driving. The minimum limits are:

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

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If you have insurance but forgot to bring it with you, then you may be able to get the citation dismissed. Send proof of insurance when you pay the fine, or bring the proof to traffic court. If you don't respond to the notice, the state may temporarily take away your driving privileges.

Here's what could happen, depending on the number of offenses attached to your record.

Fines
Driving privileges
Fees
Suspension violation

First offense

$50 fine if you fail to surrender your driver's license, plates or registration, plus additional fines or penalties imposed by a court of lawDriver's license suspended until all requirements met

$100 reinstatement fee for vehicle registration and license platesCarry SR-22 insurance for three yearsVehicle and license plates confiscated for 30 days

Second offense

$50 fine if you fail to surrender your driver's license, plates or registration, plus additional fines or penalties imposed by a court of lawDriver's license suspended for a full year. Limited driving privileges may be granted after 15 days.

$300 reinstatement fee for vehicle registration and license platesCarry SR-22 insurance for five yearsVehicle and license plates confiscated for 60 days

Third and subsequent offenses

$50 fine if you fail to surrender your driver's license, plates or registration, plus additional fines or penalties imposed by a court of lawDriver's license suspended for two years. Limited driving privileges may be granted after 30 days.

$600 reinstatement fee for vehicle registration and license platesCarry SR-22 insurance for five yearsVehicle impounded and sold; five-year suspension on registering vehicles

Penalties for first offense

If you can't provide proof of insurance at a traffic stop or the scene of an accident, the state will temporarily suspend your driver's license, license plates and vehicle registration. You'll need to pay $100 to get the license plates back. If you don't surrender your license, plates and registration in the specified amount of time, you could also be charged $50 for noncompliance. Finally, depending on how you pay your fees, you could be charged a $10 registrar service fee.

The state will restore your registration once you pay the fees and your insurer files an SR-22 form on your behalf. The form will need to stay on file for three years.

If you violate any terms of the suspension, the state will immobilize your vehicle and take your license plates for 30 days.

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Penalties for second offense

If you're caught driving uninsured within five years of your first offense, the state will suspend your driver's license for a full year, but you may be able to get limited driving privileges after 15 days. The reinstatement fee jumps to $300. The same additional fees may apply: $50 if you don't surrender your license, plates and registration in the specified amount of time and a $10 registrar service fee.

The state will restore your registration once you pay the fees and your insurer files an SR-22 form on your behalf. The form will need to stay on file for five years.

Violate these terms, and the state will confiscate your car and license plates for 60 days.

Penalties for third and subsequent offenses

If you're caught driving without insurance a third time within five years, you'll have to surrender your driver's license for two full years. The court may grant limited driving privileges after the first 30 days of the suspension, but you'll need to pay $600 this time to collect your registration and license plates. If you violate these terms, the state will take and sell your vehicle — and you won't be able to register one for the next five years.

Penalties for driving without insurance in an accident

You may be on the hook for additional penalties if you're involved in a traffic accident and lack the appropriate insurance coverage.

The Ohio BMV receives state crash reports that include who was in a car accident, whether the drivers had insurance and whether the crash resulted in property damage or injuries.

If the BMV hears you were in an accident while uninsured and the damage amounts to $400 or more, the state may suspend your driving privileges for up to two years.

You may be able to get the suspension lifted if all of the drivers sign a payment agreement and you file a deposit for damages with the BMV. But the state may also impose an indefinite suspension until the judgment is settled.

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SR-22 Insurance

An SR-22 form is a certificate that proves you have the minimum required auto insurance. You only need an SR-22 if your state or court orders you to get one after a major driving violation.

Compare SR-22 Quotes

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