For years, the Ohio BMV has been sending out random selection letters to vehicle owners. While this is nothing new, there have been some recent changes made as far as how the process works. This article will explain what you need to know about these changes, and also make you aware of potential pitfalls that I see many drivers getting burnt by.
Each week the Ohio BMV randomly selects 5400 vehicles and requires their owners to prove that they have at least state minimum liability coverage on the vehicle that was selected. Furthermore, the coverage had to be effective on the date that the vehicle was selected. Waiting to buy coverage once you get a random letter is too late.
Of course as long as you're carrying the required coverage on that vehicle on the selected date, there are no worries. All you need to do is send in proof of insurance showing that you had coverage on that vehicle on that day and you will be compliant. (**Note: If you're one of my current customers and need help with getting the documentation you need, give me a call or email, and I will send it right out to you)
What has changed recently?
Avoiding common pitfalls
The most common mistake I see vehicle owners make with this random letters selection program has to do with additional vehicles that they own that aren't currently being used.
This primarily falls into two categories:
In either of the situations above, the only way to be safe from violating a random letter selection is to either keep liability coverage on it, or turn that vehicle's license plates back in to the Ohio BMV.
There are circumstances in which the Ohio BMV will exempt the vehicle owner from this obligation. But be warned! They only allow for very valid reasons and required documentation to go along with it. And some of the documentation they require to be exempt can be a real pain in the ass to come up with (see the example I mentioned earlier with disabled vehicles).
The most common reasons for being excused and include but are not limited to:
To see the entire list of valid reasons for exclusion, visit the Ohio BMV website, which goes in to more detail about what all is excused, and the documents required to support that.
Summary: If you own a vehicle and drop liability coverage on it while it has live tags, you are subject to a random letter drawing. You need to be very aware of the laws, or you might get burnt.
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Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..