Hello! I'm Dan Lyles with Lyles Insurance. And in this video, we're going to cover the Ohio BMV’s random letter auto insurance check.
Let me quickly go over how the random letter program works. Each week the Ohio BMV randomly selects 5,400 vehicles, and requires their owners to prove that they had auto insurance liability coverage on that vehicle, on that day that their vehicle was selected. The vehicle owner will then be mailed a random letter selection notice, and they have 30 days to respond. All they need to do is simply send in either a declaration page or an Insurance ID card, and the problem goes away.
However, if you did not have liability insurance on the vehicle, on the date in question, they will suspend your license. And they're very strict about it, especially the date of selection. Meaning that it does you no good to go out and buy insurance on the day you receive a letter in the mail. By then several days have already passed. They only care that your vehicle had
coverage on the date that it was randomly selected.
So let's assume your license got suspended due to this random selection program. How do you get your license back? Well, if it's your first offense, you don't have to serve a mandatory suspension period like you did years ago, when it was 90 days. You just need to pay a reinstatement fee and carry an active SR22 filing on your auto insurance policy for the next three years. That's what gets costly. Second and third offenses, same thing basically
except there's a one-year mandatory suspension with the second offense, and a two-year mandatory suspension with the third offense. Plus the reinstatement fees go up with each one. And counting back on the offenses, they go back five years.
There are a few valid exemptions that the Ohio BMV will allow. But they've got to be very good reasons supported by very good documentation. For example, if you were in the hospital, in jail, or serving active military out of state or overseas on the date your vehicle was pulled, then you'll be okay. If your vehicle is disabled on the date in question and at least 30 days prior to that, you will be exempt also. But you will need a notarized affidavit from a state certified mechanic stating that to show as proof. And they have some other exemptions such as seasonal vehicles. But again, anything exempt requires documentation. And they don't play around with this!
Let me briefly cover what an SR22 filing is. An SR22 filing attaches onto an auto insurance policy. It lets the Ohio BMV know that you're carrying at least state minimum auto insurance liability coverage. But here's the bad news. An SR22 also lets the BMV know if you ever cancel, lapse or expire on a policy before the three-year SR22 requirement expires. If that happens, your license will be suspended again until you put another active SR22 filing in place.
Finally, let me give you a little help on finding affordable auto insurance coverage with an SR22 filing. Not all auto insurance companies write SR22’s. Some companies will but the premium is very expensive. So it's best for you to look for an independent agent that specializes in SR22 auto insurance. They carry companies who are much more SR22 price friendly. That also gives you the advantage of getting multiple quotes at once instead of quoting with one company at a time. And that gives you a much better chance at finding a lower rate.
So I hope you’ve learned what you need to know about getting a random letter and how to respond to it. Thanks for watching and have a great day!
Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..