With average annual car insurance premiums of just $1,152, Ohio is the sixth cheapest state for auto insurance. Although not as inexpensive as Vermont or Maine, Ohio has coverage that is much more affordable than neighboring Pennsylvania and Indiana. An individual policy may cost more or less than the average for insurance in the state. There are several factors that determine the cost of auto insurance, and by taking the time to understand why a policy costs what it does, a driver can make a wise choice regarding what policy coverage to buy.

How are car insurance rates determined in Ohio?

Car insurance premiums are calculated based on risk. The higher the risk a person might be involved in an auto accident or file a future claim, the more his insurance premiums will cost.

On a personal level, insurance costs are determined by a driver’s age, driving history, number of traffic violations and what type of car is being insured. Insurance prices are also determined on a population basis, with some states having higher premiums than others due to the driving habits of any given area. Car insurance premiums for a state are affected by the area’s weather, state insurance laws, number of uninsured drivers and other vital statistics.

One major contributor to the cost of auto insurance premiums is the number of uninsured motorists in an area. Whenever a driver without insurance causes an accident, the other person’s insurance must foot the bill without being reimbursed for the cost of the accident. This drives up rates in the state for all drivers. In Ohio, 16 percent of drivers currently have no insurance; while a lower figure than many areas, this is still double the rate of uninsured motorists in the cheapest car insurance states.

Drunk driving is another factor to determining the cost of car insurance in an area. DUI-related collisions often result in more serious injuries and property damage than other types of accidents. A high number of traffic fatalities are caused in accidents where one or more drivers were drinking. Ohio has a relatively low incidence of drunk driving, with 324 DUI-related fatalities in 2009; these accounted for 37 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state that year. While higher than many states, this is a fairly low rate for an area with as dense of a population as many parts of Ohio.

The main reason that Ohio car insurance is less expensive than neighboring states is because the car insurance requirements themselves are much lower. State laws mandate that insurance liability limits be set at a certain figure, and this figure varies from one state to the next. In Ohio, the state limits are substantially lower than surrounding areas.

Ohio State Car Insurance Requirements

Ohio requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $7,500 in property damage liability insurance and $12,500 per person for bodily injury liability, up to $25,000 per accident. These limits are substantially lower than many states, and while they do serve a purpose in keeping insurance premiums down, they also do not provide very much protection. Any time a person causes more damage than his liability insurance will cover, he risks being sued for the difference; he may face a suspended license or other legal actions if he is unable to pay the full amount of damage in an accident. This is why it’s always a good idea to buy as much liability insurance as you can afford.

Additional coverage such as uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection are not required in Ohio, but they are a good investment for many drivers. Uninsured motorist insurance pays for damage caused by drivers without insurance and serves as a substitute for the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. Personal injury protection provides medical coverage to an insured driver and his or her family that are injured in an accident.

Vehicles that are being financed will require full coverage auto insurance. This means that they will need to carry collision and comprehensive coverage until the car has been paid off. If a person owns the vehicle outright, he can decide whether or not it’s worthwhile to carry full coverage auto insurance. In most cases, a vehicle should have full coverage until it has depreciated significantly or is no longer worth repairing.

Ohio drivers can also purchase supplemental insurance coverage such as rental reimbursement, towing, roadside assistance and other coverage. These are typically not included in a full coverage auto insurance policy and often purchased individually.

Whether you’ve moved to Ohio from another state or just want to buy affordable insurance coverage in the area, you can get the best deal on auto insurance by shopping online. Getting a free quote is fast and easy, and you will be able to compare several insurance companies at once. Before deciding on a company, be sure that you are getting the amount of coverage that you need. You can discuss your specific budget requirements and coverage needs with the insurance agent to personalize your new policy.

By selecting the coverage that you need and comparison shopping online, you can be sure that you can get the best possible price on auto insurance no matter where you live.