Commercial Auto Insurance Minimum Requirements in Ohio
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The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) makes it clear: It's against state law to drive any motor vehicle―including commercial― without having the proper liability insurance or proof of financial responsibility.
Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility
Besides taking out a vehicle liability policy, you can meet the state's mandate when you maintain any of the following:
- $30,000 bond (issued by your insurer or an authorized surety company).
- Proof of financial responsibility certificate (signed by your insurance agent).
- BMV-issued certificate (showing that you have $30,000 in cash or a government bond on deposit with the State Treasurer's office).
- BMV-issued bond certificate for $30,000 (signed by two real estate owners with equity of at least $60,000).
- BMV-issued self-insurance certificate of self-insurance (only an option if you have more than 25 motor vehicles registered in your name or your company's name).
Trying to figure out if your business requires commercial insurance can be tricky. So, first ask yourself the following questions about your vehicles:
- What types do I have?
- How many are there?
- How are they used?
- Who drives them?
- Who owns them?
Addressing these questions can help you can begin to formulate an idea as to whether you need commercial insurance. However, in general, if you or your drivers use your vehicles for business purposes, they won't fit under your personal auto liability policy. This could even apply to private vehicles used for pizza or flower deliveries, or to transport passengers for a fee.
Here are a few more cases when commercial insurance might be appropriate:
- Your business equipment can't be removed from your vehicle.
- You need higher coverage limits than what's available with private auto insurance.
- You have workers using your vehicles for business purposes.
To make the final call, you may need to partner with both the BMV and your insurance carrier. The BMV can advise you on the legal requirements for your business; the insurance provider can assist you in knowing the amounts and types of coverage that you will need to protect your business assets.
If you decide to pursue the commercial insurance aspect, your insurer will need to know some or all of the following to place you into the right policy:
- Vehicle owner
- Vehicle weight
- Vehicle usage
- Vehicle value
- Cargo types
Keep the state's liability insurance minimums in mind:
- $12,500 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or a death occurring to one person in an accident.
- $25,000 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or deaths occurring to more than one person in an accident.
- $7,500 of property damage coverage per accident.
Both an insurance company and a representative from the BMV can help you figure out how much commercial coverage you need.
Commercial insurance policies widely differ in terms of coverage and cost. Try comparison shopping online or through the toll-free insurance company numbers to find the right coverage at the right cost for your business. Of course, your insurance agent can also be an excellent source of information.
Some insurers offer both private and commercial policies, so it might be possible to keep all your coverages with the same provider. However, don't overlook carriers that only specialize in commercial insurance.
When it's time to provide evidence of your insurance or financial responsibility coverage, you might need to show one of the following documents:
- Insurance card or policy.
- $30,000 surety bond issued by an authorized surety company.
- BMV-issued bond (secured by real estate having equity of at least $60,000).
- BMV-issued certificate (for $30,000 cash or government bonds on deposit with the State Treasurer).
- BMV-issued self-insurance certificate (only available for companies or individuals owning a minimum of 26 vehicles).
If you have no proof of insurance or financial responsibility when a law enforcement official asks for it following an accident or possible traffic violation, you can still show your proof by:
- Mailing a copy of it to the BMV.
- Bringing the proof with you to traffic court.
- Sending a copy of it along with your traffic violation penalty payment to the BMV.
If you don't do so, the suspension process might begin, and you could face having your license and registration suspended for at least 90 days.
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