If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision, you expect the police to respond, investigate and file a report. Did you know though that you’re supposed to file a crash report with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)? The crash report completed by the investigating police agency stays with that agency. Even if it’s the Ohio Highway Patrol. In the vast majority of cases, people do not file a crash report with the BMV and in most cases it makes no difference in how the claim is ultimately handled. In some cases, however, it can make a difference. When you file a BMV crash report, you are required to provide the BMV with proof of liability insurance. The BMV will then contact the driver of the other vehicle to complete a report and require them to provide proof of insurance. If the other driver does not respond or the other driver cannot provide proof of insurance, the BMV will suspend their license.
The BMV will send the request for this information to the address listed on a driver’s BMV issued license. If you’re involved in a collision with a driver who cannot provide adequate insurance information to the investigating police agency, it may be advantageous to file a BMV crash report because this will force the other driver to provide legitimate insurance information to the BMV or admit they have no insurance and face a suspension of their BMV issued driver’s license. It would also be advantageous to file a BMV crash report, if the other driver cannot provide adequate insurance, so that you can prove to your insurance company that you have done everything necessary and possible in order to determine the insurance coverage of the other driver. This may be necessary to obtain coverage under the uninsured motorist coverage in your policy.
You may recall the last time you renewed your license plates that you signed a form in which you declared that you had financial responsibility (insurance). A driver reporting a collision to the BMV is one way the BMV enforces the requirement to carry insurance.
Additionally, this process is one reason why it’s important to keep the BMV apprised of your current address. They will send their notification of a need for you to supply them with information to the address on your BMV issued driver’s license. If they send a letter to this address and it comes back to them, then there is no response from you and they will suspend your license. You, at that point, would have no knowledge of the event until the next time you needed your driver’s license in some official capacity, like a traffic stop or a renewal. Then you would find out that it is suspended, which could lead to your arrest.