An update to Virginia’s car insurance laws will end the state’s uninsured motorist fee program on July 1, 2024, and require all drivers to purchase minimum liability insurance. Experts expect the law to have minimal impacts on car insurance costs in Virginia. Still, drivers who previously chose not to carry insurance may need to adjust their budgets to accommodate an insurance payment — and all drivers with minimum insurance will need to raise their limits starting Jan. 1, 2025. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team looked into these new Virginia car insurance laws to help drivers prepare.

What are the new Virginia car insurance laws?

Virginia recently adopted two new changes to its car insurance laws. The first, which will take effect on July 1, 2024, ends the uninsured motorist fee program, which previously allowed Virginians to drive without auto insurance. The second, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2025, raises Virginia’s minimum liability insurance limits.

An end to Virginia’s uninsured motorist fee program

Virginia’s Senate Bill 951, passed by the Virginia General Assembly during the 2023 legislative session, repeals the option to register a car in the Commonwealth of Virginia as an uninsured motor vehicle. The law will take effect July 1.

In the past, Virginia was one of two states, along with New Hampshire, to give motorists the option not to purchase car insurance (several other states, including California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Vermont, give the option to use a financial filing in lieu of traditional car insurance). The uninsured motorist fee program in Virginia permitted drivers to pay a fee when registering their vehicle. These fees were deposited into the Uninsured Motorists Fund (UMF) to reduce the cost of uninsured motorist coverage in the state.
As of this summer, that’s no longer the case.

“Effective July 1, Virginia will be a mandatory auto insurance state,” says Robert N. Bradshaw, Jr., president and CEO of Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, Inc.

What you need to do by July 1

If your vehicle is currently registered in Virginia as an uninsured motor vehicle, you must update your registration by July 1, 2024.

You can start by shopping around for a car insurance policy. “Our recommendation to anyone is that they shop their insurance with an independent agent from the basis of how much coverage they need and how much risk can they absorb,” Bradshaw says. You can also compare rates online to find the best car insurance company for your needs.

Once you’ve got insurance coverage that meets state requirements, you can renew your registration. Be sure to complete your registration renewal by July 1 to avoid penalties.

According to Jillian Cowherd, spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the DMV will verify insurance information for registered vehicles with each insurer. “Anyone found to be non-compliant with the updated insurance requirements will pay a penalty which will go into the UMF,” she says.

Minimum coverage limits set to go up in 2025

In addition to repealing the uninsured motorist fee option, Virginia will increase its mandatory liability insurance limits starting in 2025.

Currently, Virginia requires drivers to carry a 30/60/20 liability insurance policy at a minimum. That’s $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, $60,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident and $20,000 of property damage liability. Starting Jan. 1, 2025, those minimum liability limits will increase to 50/100/25.

However, Bradshaw warns, the updated 2025 minimums “might not even be adequate today.” With the cost of car accidents rising, most insurance professionals recommend raising your liability limits to an amount that will cover your assets and future earnings. If you’re unsure how much car insurance you need in Virginia, working with an agent could help you make the call.

“You can always ‘save money’ on your insurance premium,” Bradshaw says, “but is that coverage adequate?”

How Virginia’s new car insurance laws could impact costs for drivers

Even if you already have auto insurance, you may want to be aware of the changes instituted by the new Virginia car insurance laws. Because uninsured motorist fees previously went to the UMF to lower the cost of uninsured motorist coverage, there’s some concern that the new law could raise costs for other drivers.

Cowherd says there’s no reason to panic. “This change affects a relatively small amount of Virginia drivers,” she says — just 6,097, according to DMV estimates. “We do not expect a significant impact to the Uninsured Motorist Fund (UMF) as only a small amount of uninsured motorists were providing voluntary payments.”

Other groups aren’t so sure. “We’ve heard from some companies who have said that the changes will have no impact on rates and from industry organizations that say that the impact will be significant,” Bradshaw says. Ultimately, he says, other drivers of high insurance costs, like increased technology in cars, are likely to be more significant than the updated uninsured motorist law.

Bradshaw also predicts an increase in litigation in the wake of the new law as disgruntled drivers take their insurance disputes to the courtroom. “Despite what the trial lawyers say,” he says, “if you believe you have been treated unfairly by an insurance company…call the Virginia Bureau of Insurance and ask for the consumer affairs department. Tell them your story.”

What you can do if insurance prices are too high

According to Bankrate’s analysis of the latest premium data from Quadrant Information Services, the average cost of car insurance in Virginia is $1,986 per year for full coverage and $677 for state minimum coverage. If you’re struggling to find affordable insurance under Virginia’s new auto insurance laws, you can take a few steps to lower your costs.

  • Shop around: All insurers will price your coverage differently based on factors like age, vehicle, driving history and credit history. Comparing quotes from multiple insurance carriers can help you find the cheapest car insurance for your profile.
  • Look for discounts: You might be eligible for car insurance discounts you’re not currently taking advantage of — especially if you switch to a carrier with discounts that better fit your profile. Students, safe drivers and homeowners could all be eligible for extra savings.
  • Enroll in telematics: Most insurers now offer safe driving discount programs that use telematics to track your driving habits in real-time in exchange for discounts based on how you drive.

What happens if you’re caught driving without car insurance in Virginia?

As of July 1, driving without car insurance in Virginia will be illegal for all drivers. Penalties for this offense include a $600 noncompliance fee, a $145 fee for the reinstatement of your license and registration and an SR-22 filing requirement for three years.

Section 46.2-707 of the Code of Virginia defines driving without insurance as a Class 3 misdemeanor, which means the conviction will be added to your criminal record. Your license and registration will immediately be suspended if you’re found driving without insurance; you’ll need to pay your noncompliance and reinstatement fees before the suspension can be lifted. If you were caught using false proof of insurance, the suspension will last for at least a mandatory 180 days.

How the Virginia DMV tracks insurance

In Virginia, the DMV uses electronic monitoring to ensure that all drivers have the liability insurance required by law. The system requires insurance reporting when:

  • An existing insurance policy is canceled or altered
  • A new policy is written
  • A driver or vehicle owner reports a crash with a driver they believe is uninsured
  • Law enforcement officers request insurance information at a traffic stop
  • Police crash reports trigger a request for insurance information

In other words, if you’re driving without insurance in Virginia, the DMV will likely find out before long. Purchasing auto insurance will satisfy your legal obligation and help protect you financially in the event of an accident.

Frequently asked questions

  • No, you can’t have a car in Virginia without auto insurance. As of July 1, 2024, it will be illegal to register a car in Virginia without state minimum liability insurance from a carrier authorized to do business in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • As of July 1, 2024, all cars in Virginia must be insured with a policy that includes at least 30/60/20 liability limits — $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident of bodily injury liability insurance and $20,000 of property damage liability insurance. However, the new Virginia car insurance laws will increase these limits to 50/100/25 on Jan. 1, 2025.
  • No single insurance company is the best for all drivers in Virginia. The best way to find a carrier whose rates, customer service and coverage options meet your needs is to compare rates from several companies. Bankrate’s recommendations for the best Virginia auto insurers could be a good starting point for your search.
  • On average, full coverage car insurance in Virginia costs drivers $1,986 per year, while state minimum coverage costs $677 per year. As the new driving laws in Virginia in 2024 take effect over the next 12 months, insurance rates could go up for some drivers.


Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze June 2024 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a single, 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2022 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.