How does the random letter selection program work?
The Ohio BMV selects 1500 vehicles at random every week. (***Edit: as of 2017, that number now stands at 5400) On the day that that vehicle is selected, the owner will soon get a letter in the mail stating that their vehicle was selected on that particular day.
The owner then has to submit documentation to prove that they carried at least the state minimum liability auto insurance coverage on the date they were selected. Failure to do so results in a license suspension, and the driver will also have to carry an SR22 filing for three years.
My vehicle that was selected was a spare. I don't drive it and I wasn't carrying liability coverage on it. What can I do?
Other than the exemptions I'll get to below in a minute, there's really not anything you can do if you weren't carrying liability coverage on that vehicle on that particular day. The BMV is very strict on this, and they only grant exceptions for very valid reasons. But the bottom line is, if you own a vehicle that you're not driving, unless you turn in your tags to the BMV, you still need to carry liability coverage on it .
If I cannot prove I had auto insurance on that day, how long will my license be suspended?
What exceptions will the Ohio BMV except for not having to comply with the random letter?
But other than those reasons, the Ohio BMV is pretty strict on things. If you believe you do have another valid reason for not having insurance on the on the vehicle at the time of selection, you can request a hearing. This hearing cost $30 to set up. And once again, they only except very valid reasons.
I have valid insurance on the vehicle that was selected, but I can't find any paperwork. What do I do?
All you simply need to do is contact your agent or insurance company, and ask for any of the following:
Once you've either served your suspension time, or applied for and was granted special work driving privileges, you'll have a few other hoops to jump through:
What is an SR22 filing?
An SR22 is simply a guarantee to the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles that you're carrying at least the state minimum liability coverage. An SR22 is not insurance itself, it is simply a filing that attaches onto an auto insurance policy.
With an SR22 filing, insurance companies are required by law to notify the Ohio BMV if your policy ever lapses or cancels. That is how they're going to keep dibs on you for the next three years. Once the DMV gets this notice that your SR22 is no longer in force, they will they will suspend your license again, and it will remain suspended until you put another active SR22 in place.
How can I get auto insurance and an SR22 filing if I don't own a vehicle?
In Ohio, there are three types of policies that could be purchased by non-vehicle owners that will satisfy the SR22 requirement. The three choices are a financial responsibility bond (this is usually the cheapest), a named operator policy (a little more expensive but higher and more coverages offered), or a broad form named driver policy (which is sort of a hybrid between the two).
To learn more about the differences between these three types of policies, feel free to do a search in my blog for each of the three. I have written lots of information about them in prior blogs that help explain the differences.
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Related Blog Articles:
Video: Ohio BMV Random Letter Auto Insurance Check
Video: Ohio BMV & SR22 Auto Insurance reinstatement guide
10 Keys to Buying Auto Insurance in the Portsmouth Ohio area with a bad driving record
Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..