Ohio Car Insurance Guide – How To Shop For The Lowest Rates

by Edward Harris on May 22, 2022

Ohio car insurance rates are not expensive. If you learn how to properly shop for the best prices, and understand when is the best time (and the worst time) to change your policy, you’ll pay lower premiums that most Buckeye residents. Whether you need collision and comprehensive coverage for a new vehicle, or basic minimum liability for an older vehicle, better rates are usually available. Bundling discounts and other rate-reduction options help you save money every year.

We created this guide that shares some of our best tips and ideas, based on 40 years of experience helping Ohio drivers obtain the cheapest car insurance prices. We live here, and buy coverage just like you, which are two of the reasons our website is considered the premier trusted resource for purchasing affordable coverage. When changes in legislation or policy requirements impact your pocketbook, we review the ramifications. If a new or existing company substantially decreases (or increases) prices, you are notified, so you can choose the best options.


What Company Is The Best?

That’s the most common question we are always asked. And our answer is usually the same. The best company is the one that provides the most competitive pricing, reliable service and dependable claims and customer service. And there may be 20 correct answers, depending on the vehicles you own, the county you live in, and the deductibles and liability limits you carry. Since rates often change, the best options may quickly change. Also, companies may have competitive rates in specific counties, but not the county where you reside.

Geico Quote For Ohio Ohio Geico Auto Insurance Rates Are Very Competitive

Often, the following carriers offer some of the most attractive prices: Nationwide, Progressive, Esurance, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Grange, Westfield and Erie. Berkshire Hathaway (Geico), American Family, and AAA also have very attractive prices in selected parts of the state. Metropolitan Group (purchased by Farmers) has budget-friendly employer-payroll programs in many areas, although you must be actively employed or retired from the company. Met’s homeowner’s insurance rates are also very attractive, and of course, they also offer a comprehensive portfolio of life and investment products.

However, everyone has a different set of criteria to determine which carrier is the “best.” For example, Company “A” might have the lowest auto insurance prices in Ohio. But they may be slow when handling claims, and perhaps not so friendly when you communicate with them via email or phone. Company “B” might have fair rates (Not the lowest, but also not the highest), and treat their customers like family, with plenty of perks  and valet-style extras. And company C may offer only email and texting correspondence, which is only popular with a specific drivers.


When Do I Cancel My Current Policy If I Switch?

Before terminating existing coverage, it’s important to receive written approval from the new company that you have been accepted, and the price is acceptable to you. Of course, we can help you with this process. Once that has been done, the effective date of your new coverage needs to be chosen. Generally, the 1st or 15th are the most popular options. However, with most companies, you can select any day of the month, except the 29th, 30th, and 31st. Cancellation requests should always be written, with followup verification within seven days.

Of course, you don’t want a lapse in coverage, or an effective date that overlaps with the existing policy. Typically, by picking a date about 10-20 days in advance, there is ample time to ensure the transfer process runs smoothly. Also, usually there is a “grace period” of about 10-30 days which provides added flexibility. Since each company has different interpretations of a “grace period,” never assume you are covered unless it is written.  Any applicable refund should be sent by the carrier within seven days of the cancellation date.

A current declarations page should always be kept in the vehicle glove compartment. This provides the most recent effective dates of the policy, and verifies the VIN of the vehicle you are driving. A policy ID card should also be kept in the glove compartment. Policies renew annually or semiannually, and new ID cards are sent at that time. You may download a copy at any time if the original is lost.


Why Are Car Insurance Prices Higher in Cleveland Than In Other Parts Of  The State?

Rates are derived from many different factors. Some of these factors have no bearing on where you live, such as the type of vehicles you own, how many tickets and at-fault accidents are on your record, your deductibles, claims history, and age of the operators of the vehicles. But yes, car insurance rates in Cleveland are higher than most other cities in the state, although nearby suburbs (Beachwood, Shaker Heights, and Elyria) may offer less expensive prices.

However, your zip code (some carriers use counties instead) always will impact the amount of your premium. More vehicles are stolen (National Crime Bureau statistics) in Cleveland than all other large Ohio cities, which contributes with other factors to raise rates there. The graphic below, from The Columbus Dispatch, illustrates some of those figures. Although the statistics are nine years old, the numbers today are quite similar. It’s possible that increased  penalties and longer incarcerations could help reduce the number of incidents.


Stolen cars In Ohio






Did Mandatory Liability Coverage Requirements Change?

Yes, they did. Nine years ago, the new benchmark minimum requirement became $25,000/$50,000/$25,000 (Bodily Injury Per Person/Occurrence/Property Damage). Unless you are classified as a substandard driver, or simply can’t afford these limits, your policy probably already met these requirements. $100,000/$300,000/$50,000 are the most common amounts among established drivers, and are generally needed if you lease an automobile. $500,000 and $1 million umbrella (personal excess liability) are also available. Corporate options offer higher limits.

These types of policies (personal excess liability) are designed to protect your assets if an at-fault accident results in a large judgement against you. NOTE: if minimum liability limits are not met, a suspension of driving privileges could result. Also, most carriers will not issue a personal excess liability policy if you have had a major violation in the last 5 (sometimes 10) years. Commercial coverage may be available with more lenient underwriting guidelines. Corporations with large fleets of vehicles may choose to self-insure, since they employ and retain their own attorneys.

After the new law was passed,  policy renewals  automatically applied these mandatory limits. Any increases in premium can be offset by adjusting other coverage (possibly medical payments), or adding additional discounts that may have previously gone unnoticed. If you are not happy about the forced changes, you can contact your  State Representative. Gerald L. Stebelton, the original author of the bill, is no longer a member of Congress.

The increases are fairly nominal, and Ohio prices remain among the lowest available in the US. And since it has been nine years since the adjustment, they are likely to stay. Commercial vehicles carry much higher limits than the state minimum, and often self-insure physical damage.

We anticipate the next mandatory liability increase will raise limits to $50,000/$100,000/$50,000, and occur  between 2025 and 2030. Rates will increase on all policies, although newer discounts may become available. Customers that drive limited miles may be offered lower premium options. The Buckeye State is also not expected to change from a “fault” state to a “no fault” state.


What Are The Discounts I May Not Know About?

Although there are quite a few discounts offered by major companies, you’re probably aware of most of the big ones, such as multi-policy, multi-car,  55 and retired, good-student, and alarm-system. But there are a few hidden gems that you may not know about. And each year, carriers adjust their discounts.

One of them is a “student away” discount. Different from the good-grades reduction, this one offers a large reduction if your son or daughter attends college away from home. Typically, the threshold is about 100 miles, but sometimes it is less. If the school is 5oo miles away (or further), it’s possible your child will be “non-rated,” meaning they are covered when they drive, but you pay only a nominal amount.


Electronic Devices That May Lower Your Premium

Another obscure way to cut down your premium is by utilizing some of the new electronic devices that a few companies are beginning to introduce. Progressive, for example, offers the “Snapshot” program  in Ohio. It plugs into a separate port and monitors your driving habits, such as what time of the day (or night) you most often drive, how you approach a stop sign and how quickly you accelerate. It installs very easily, with written and video instructions provided. A 30-day trial is offered, so you are not obligated to keep the device installed. NOTE: Snapshot data from accidents is generally not utilized, unless legally requested.

Other usage-based insurance programs (UBI) include Driverwise (Allstate), TrueLane (Hartford), Low Mileage Discount (National General), SmartRide (Nationwide), Rewind (Safeco), Drive Safe And Save  (State Farm), IntelliDrive (Travelers), and Pay Per Mile (Esurance).

When you purchase or lease a new vehicle, many insurers (Metropolitan Property And Casualty and others) offer an immediate reduction for specific cars and passenger trucks. The discount is based on crash and damage data, along with the presence of specific safety devices built into the vehicle. Once the new vehicle has been added to your policy, the carrier will provide a website link to determine if you are eligible for the discount.

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