A previous blog post discussed Ohio’s Financial Responsibility Act. Under the Act, vehicle owners are not allowed to operate, nor permit another to operate, their vehicle without insurance. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles randomly selects 5,400 vehicles per week for which owners must provide proof of an insurance policy. Those found to be in violation of the FRA may be subject to penalties, such as drivers’ license suspension and impoundment. However, uninsured motorists may claim an exemption to the Ohio FRA random selection program.
Owners who provide evidence that they customarily maintain insurance may be exempt in one of several situations. If the vehicle became inoperable shortly after the insurance lapsed or the owner provides proof that they had insurance for other owned vehicles, they may be able to claim the inoperable vehicle exemption. If the owner provides a letter from their insurance agent stating that the vehicle is driven only seasonally, the seasonal vehicle exemption may apply. Owners may also be able to claim they were not at fault for lack of financial responsibility if they can provide supporting documentation, such as a divorce settlement agreement showing that the vehicle was awarded to their former spouse.
If the vehicle was sold or traded in, individuals must provide either a copy of the notarized title, a copy of the trade-in sales contract or a notarized statement including the date of sale and the buyer’s name. Storage facility receipts may be provided as proof to claim the stored vehicle exemption to the FRA requirement. Owners who were hospitalized, suffered serious injuries or were otherwise unable to pay their insurance bill on time may be able to claim the excusable neglect exemption.
Those on active-duty in the military and are stationed outside of Ohio may be able to claim the active-duty military exemption by providing a copy of their orders. Finally, incarcerated individuals can provide a letter from the correctional facility, however, if the vehicle is renewed during their incarceration, it will be considered in use and, therefore, not exempt. An uninsured motorist may be able to claim any of these exemptions to avoid random selection driver’s license suspension in Ohio.