A Users Guide for Ohio Insurance
From the Lake Erie shoreline to the Ohio River Valley and from the Football Hall of Fame to the U.S. Air Force National Museum, there is plenty to do and many places to see in Ohio. As an Ohio resident, you probably own a home, one or two cars, and maybe a boat or an ATV. You might also be a business owner. Whatever you own and wherever you go, you will want to have a complete Ohio insurance program to protect yourself and your family.
Contact a member of the Trusted Choice® network of independent agents to help you with all your Ohio insurance needs, business and personal.
The Independent Difference
When you're looking for insurance in Ohio, there are lots of places you can turn. Big-name insurance companies are all over the airwaves, billboards, and print media, but are they really the best option for you? It's a good idea to make sure you've looked at all your options before you commit.
There's an independent channel to consider. Independent agents have all the qualifications of captive agents at big-brand insurance companies, but they have one crucial difference:
They sell the products of several different insurers, not just one.
When you opt to work with an independent agent, you can effectively comparison shop in just one meeting. No need to call around, create spreadsheets to compare data, or endlessly enter personal information. An independent agent has all the resources to make buying insurance easy. A captive agent at a big-brand company can't provide that level of service.
Obtaining Ohio Auto Insurance
Ohio's Financial Responsibility Law requires every driver to carry minimum liability limits of $12,500 per person, $25,000 per accident for bodily injury and $7,500 for property damage. The driver must carry proof of coverage at all times when operating the vehicle. The coverage necessary to satisfy the law is not adequate, so most drivers will elect to carry much higher liability limits for better protection.
In addition to liability coverage, a complete automobile insurance contract will provide the following:
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in case someone who is legally responsible to you carries no insurance or has inadequate limits
- Medical payments coverage, which pays the medical bills of someone hurt in your car even if you are not legally liable
- Collision coverage
- Comprehensive coverage for losses other than collision like vandalism and theft
- Optional coverages like road service, towing and the rental of a replacement vehicle
Buying Homeowners Insurance in Ohio
Virtually everyone who owns a home will carry a homeowners policy. One of the protections in a homeowners policy is that, in case of a total loss, the carrier will pay the full replacement cost of the home. However, many insured fail to carry enough insurance to take advantage of this. A typical homeowners policy will provide the following protection:
- Coverage on the dwelling, including any attached structures
- Coverage on all your personal property in the home or on the premises
- Limited coverage on trees, shrubs and plants
- Your additional living expenses that are caused by an insured loss
- Personal liability protection for injuries or damage arising from the property or from your activities
- Medical payments coverage for persons injured on the premises
All policies have exclusions and restrictions. Here are some you should know about:
- A homeowners policy will not cover loss by flood or earthquake.
- The policy will restrict coverage on certain items like jewelry, furs, fine art, silverware and stamp and coin collections.
- Some companies will exclude or limit coverage on swimming pools, trampolines and certain breeds of dog.
Getting a Business Insurance Plan in Ohio
There are certain basic coverages that virtually every business needs to consider:
- Coverage on your real property, assuming you own your place of business
- Coverage on your business personal property in the building or on the premises
- Coverage on business personal property elsewhere, such as goods in shipment, mobile equipment or property stored off premises
- Loss of income and extra expenses arising from an insured loss
- Liability protection arising from your premises, your business activities or the use of vehicles in your business
- Professional liability if you could have an errors or omissions exposure arising from your business activities
- Workers compensation coverage to protect your employees on the job
- Umbrella liability coverage to increase your limits
- Life, health and disability coverage if you want to provide these coverages as part of your employee benefits program
- Business-owned life insurance for such things as key personnel coverage or to fund a business perpetuation plan
If you are a business owner, you need to consider these basic coverages. If you have other exposures or insurance needs, you should discuss them with an agent.
Acquiring Life Insurance in Ohio
If you are shopping for life insurance in Ohio, you may fit one of the following categories:
- You may need personal life insurance to protect your family in case something happens to you.
- You may want to add life insurance as an additional option in your employee benefits program.
- You may want to protect your company in case a key person should suffer a premature death.
- You may want to fund a buy-sell agreement between yourself and other owners in your business.
Life insurance is complicated. There are a number of types of policies including term life, whole life, universal life, individual plans and group plans to name just a few. Make sure you select the policy that is right for you, and your family or business.
Buying Health Insurance in Ohio
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has changed the U.S. health market in many ways. If you need health insurance in Ohio, you are probably in one of three situations:
- If you obtain health insurance through your employer, your coverage will probably continue. But there may well be a change in your rates or benefits starting in 2014.
- If you do not have employer-sponsored health insurance, then, as of October 1, 2013, you are eligible to access coverage on the Ohio insurance exchange. Go to www.insurance.ohio.gov.
- Your third option is to shop for coverage on the open market.
Be aware that, beginning in 2014, if you do not carry health insurance or if your plan does not meet the minimum requirements of the ACA, you will be subject to a fine.
Getting Boat Insurance in Ohio
In Ohio, you must register all your personal watercraft. In addition, you must title the following watercraft:
- Any boat with an outboard of 10 HP or more
- Any watercraft 14 feet or longer
- Any watercraft with a built-in means of propulsion of 10 HP or more
Ohio does not require insurance on boats, but you should not go on the water without protection. A typical watercraft insurance policy will include the following protections:
- Liability protection in case you are in an at-fault accident
- Uninsured/underinsured watercraft coverage in case you are struck by a boater with no insurance or with inadequate limits
- Medical payments for someone injured on your boat even if you are not at fault
- Hull coverage to protect your boat from damage or theft
- Optional coverages like towing, special equipment and pollution
You can do several things to lessen your risk of loss:
- Take an approved safety course. You will probably save money on your insurance premium.
- Do not let inexperienced persons operate your boat.
- Be sure everyone on the boat wears a life preserver at all times.
- Have your boat checked regularly for mechanical problems.
You should also check your policy for usage restrictions. For example, many policies will limit coverage to inland lakes and waters. If you plan to use your boat on one of the Great Lakes, you may need to have your policy amended.
Getting Ohio Insurance
Everyone needs insurance, but not everyone needs the same insurance. You may need business insurance or personal insurance or both. Whichever you need, you want to get the right coverage for the lowest cost. An independent agent who can access a number of markets can solve all your Ohio insurance needs from one office.
Contact a member of the Trusted Choice network who can resolve all your insurance needs.