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Ohio drivers that have had their licenses suspended, either due to significant moving violations or driving uninsured, may be required to file an SR-22 to reinstate their driving privileges. SR-22 forms can only be filed with the Ohio BMV by an insurer, and you'll first need to purchase either auto insurance or a financial responsibility bond that meets the state's requirements.
What is an SR-22 in Ohio?
In Ohio, you may be required to file an SR-22, or certificate of financial responsibility, in order to reinstate your driving privileges if they've been suspended for some reason. This can occur if the state has determined you to be a high-risk driver, such as after a DUI or multiple moving violations, or if you've been caught driving without proof of financial responsibility.
The SR-22 filing can only be filed by an insurer and acts as proof to the Ohio BMV that you either carry:
- An owners auto insurance policy that meets the state's minimum liability requirements
- A non-owners auto insurance policy that meets the state's minimum liability requirements
- A financial responsibility bond
Once your SR-22 is on file with the BMV, it should send you a notice confirming this. Depending on the reason your license was suspended, Ohio may required you to file an SR-22 for either three or five years. Your insurer is required to notify the BMV if you have a lapse in insurance coverage during this period, and you will lose your driving privileges again.
If you don't own a car or move out of Ohio, you'll still be required to file an SR-22 in the state for the court-determined number of years. Otherwise, you'll need to repurchase coverage and pay a reinstatement fee to the Ohio BMV to be able to continue driving.
Why Would I Need to File an SR-22 in Ohio?
High-risk drivers that have been been convicted of a DUI, reckless driving or have otherwise accumulated at least 12 points on their driving records in the past two years may have their licenses suspended and be required to file SR-22s in Ohio. You'd typically be notified of this judgment by the court, but you can also check your driving record online through the Ohio BMV to see the points on your record and if your license is suspended.
Another common reason Ohio drivers may need to file an SR-22 is if they've been caught driving without insurance. Ohio's financial responsibility law requires all drivers to carry either auto insurance or another form showing financial responsibility if involved in an accident. The intent of this law is to ensure that, if you're at-fault in an accident, you'll be able to pay for any injuries and property damage caused. To satisfy this requirement with car insurance, your policy needs to include limits of at least:
- $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person injured in an accident
- $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident
- $25,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident
Alternatively, drivers can satisfy the financial responsibility requirement by posting a bond with the state, a surety company or an insurance company. To help enforce this law, Ohio randomly checks the insurance of 5,400 vehicles per week, and your driving privileges will be suspended if you're unable to demonstrate proof of financial responsibility at that time.
SR-22 Insurance in Ohio
Purchasing SR-22 insurance is a simply way for vehicle owners to prove financial responsibility and reinstate their license. SR-22 insurance is a standard auto insurance policy that at least meets Ohio's minimum liability coverage requirements. The only difference is that your insurer will also file an SR-22 form with the Ohio BMV showing evidence that your policy is in place. The form is filed electronically and is typically processed within three days, at which time you should be notified and able to drive legally again, once you've taken any other required actions.
Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance in Ohio
Nonowner SR-22 insurance, also called a named operator policy, is similar to any other SR-22 policy except that it's tied to a driver instead of a vehicle. So, if you need to file an SR-22 to legally drive again in Ohio, but don't own a car, nonowner SR-22 insurance will satisfy the requirement and provide liability coverage for you when driving another person's vehicle. Nonowner SR-22 policies are typically cheaper than standard policies since they only provide liability coverage, not coverage for damages to your own vehicle, and are usually needed by infrequent drivers.
Just note that if you do own a car, or drive a particular vehicle regularly, you'll need to buy an owners SR-22 policy. Otherwise, your insurer may not provide coverage if you're involved in an accident.
SR-22 Bond in Ohio
As an alternative to insurance, drivers in Ohio can attach an SR-22 filing onto a financial responsibility (FR) bond. These bonds are also purchased from insurers and are typically the cheapest way to meet an SR-22 requirement. SR-22 bond quotes may vary among insurers, so we recommend you still compare rates from multiple companies.
Purchasing SR-22 bond coverage is similar to purchasing a nonowner auto insurance policy that meets the Ohio's minimum liability requirements. The primary difference is that an FR bond offers you no alternatives or additions to the state minimums. So, for instance, if you wanted higher liability limits than the state required $25,000/$50,000 bodily injury coverage and $25,000 property damage coverage, you would be unable to add this to a bond. You would instead need to purchase a nonowners SR-22 insurance policy.
Since an SR-22 bond only provides liability insurance, any injuries to you or damages to the vehicle you were driving would not be covered if you were at fault in an accident.
Cost of SR-22 Insurance in Ohio
The cost of an SR-22 filing in Ohio is quite low; insurers typically charge a one-time fee around $20 to file the document with the BMV. SR-22 insurance quotes, however, will often be much higher than quotes for a standard policy because of whatever incident caused you to need the SR-22 filing.
The average cost of auto insurance in Cincinnati, for example, is $1,371. Since having a DUI on your record, one reason you may need an SR-22, often increases car insurance rates by at least 30%, a typical driver in Cincinnati would likely pay at least $1,782 for SR-22 insurance.
While you can meet an SR-22 requirement with an FR bond in Ohio, the cheapest option, this coverage isn't designed for vehicle owners, and we recommend you consider insurance alternatives first. The FR bond is restrictive, since you are limited to just the state's legally required coverage, and there's no first-party coverage. We suggest you instead start by comparing SR-22 insurance quotes from multiple companies, as each insurer evaluates drivers differently, and this is often the simplest way to find cheap, yet comprehensive, coverage.