Proof of Insurance, a Fact of Driving Life

Did you know you can receive a letter at any time from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) demanding proof of auto insurance and have your license suspended if you don’t comply?

Know the rules for maintaining insurance and documentation. Always carry proof of insurance, which you must present at a traffic stop or accident. That’s your current card or an e-card (now legal in Ohio if your carrier provides electronic access, which your agent can tell you). You can also use the policy declarations page or a copy of the signed insurance binder, and Ohio law allows alternatives such as proof of bonding of at least $30,000 or self-insurance certification for large motor fleets. Talk to your independent insurance agent if you think you have special circumstances.

Ohio law requires Bodily Injury Liability Coverage and Property Damage Liability Coverage for a minimum of $25,000 for injury/death of one person, $50,000 for injury/death of two or more people, and $25,000 for property damage.

However, you probably want more coverage. If accident damage exceeds your policy limits, you could be responsible for medical, property and legal costs. Your home, car and other assets could be vulnerable or your wages garnished. A child who drove a car that was underinsured and in an accident could face significant debt. Talk with your agent about your needs.

Every year BMV randomly selects 20 percent of registered vehicles in Ohio to show proof of insurance, more than 5,000 drivers a week. To respond you must send a copy of your card, policy declarations or detailed letter from your insurance agent, or email the information. Fail to do so and your license can be suspended until you prove coverage. See www.bmv.ohio.gov for more information on all requirements.