There has been quite a bit of confusion regarding Ohio SR22 Bonds. I am going to help you understand what you need to know. Let's start with the basics:
There are two types of insurance you can purchase in order to satisfy Ohio's SR22 filing requirement: A regular auto insurance policy for those who own vehicles and a non-owners policy for those don't.
1. Attach the SR22 filing to a regular auto insurance policy. This is what you will want to do if you own a vehicle, or have a vehicle registered in your name. *
2. Attach the SR22 filing to a financial responsibility bond or a named operator policy. This is what you will need to do if you do not own a vehicle. Unlike a regular auto insurance policy which covers a vehicle, a financial responsibility bond / named operator policy covers the DRIVER ONLY! It is intended as secondary coverage, because the automobile owner's regular auto insurance is the primary coverage. This bond/policy protects you in case that the owner of the vehicle you are driving is not carrying proper coverage on their vehicle.
What is the difference between a financial responsibility bond and a named operator policy?
A financial responsibility bond generally costs less than a named operator policy, but a named operator policy normally offers more coverages and higher limits than an FR bond. For example, most companies that sell FR bonds only offer state minimum liability coverage and nothing else. Named operator policies (depending on the company) will offer higher levels of liability, and also offer medical payments and uninsured motorist coverage. But neither the FR bond or NO policy provide any physical damage (comprehensive or collision) on the vehicle you're driving! Only a regular auto insurance policy provides comp and collision coverage options.
* Although it is very rare, it is possible to own a vehicle but only insure it with a financial responsibility bond instead of a regular auto insurance policy. Ohio is one of the few states that allow that. However, I highly discourage anyone from setting up coverage this way!
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Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..