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Every state in the U.S. has car insurance laws to protect drivers, their passengers and their vehicles and property. Virginia is one of two states, however, that do not require drivers to have car insurance as long as they pay a fee. But keep in mind with this route you won’t have protection if you should get into an accident. Additionally, in 2025, Virginia plans on updating the state’s minimum car insurance requirements. Fortunately, Bankrate did the legwork to make sense of Virginia auto insurance requirements so that you can be an informed driver when you are on the road.

Car insurance laws in Virginia

In the state of Virginia, all vehicle owners are required to comply with specific insurance laws to legally operate their vehicles. These laws stipulate that all registered vehicle owners must either meet the minimum insurance requirements or pay an uninsured motor vehicle (UMV) fee. The UMV fee of $500, payable at registration renewal, allows you to drive without insurance but does not provide any insurance coverage. If you choose to purchase a car insurance policy instead, it must comply with Virginia auto insurance requirements.

For policies effective January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024, drivers must carry:

For policies effective January 1, 2025 onward, drivers must carry:

  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability

Drivers must have proof of insurance anytime they are behind the wheel and provide proper insurance documentation when requested by law enforcement. Additionally, Virginia insurance companies are required to notify the DMV when a policy is opened or canceled for a vehicle registered in the state. If the DMV has a record of a registered vehicle that does not have insurance, the owner is notified and must provide proof of coverage.

Liability insurance in Virginia

Drivers in Virginia who purchase car insurance for their vehicle must carry at least the state’s minimum required liability limits, as outlined above. Liability coverage is designed to financially protect the other party involved in an accident you cause. It does not cover damage to your vehicle or injuries you incur.

Although purchasing only the state minimum requirements for car insurance might seem like enough to avoid legal and financial trouble, most insurance professionals recommend purchasing higher limits for better financial protection. For example, based on Virginia’s requirements, each person in the other vehicle is entitled to $30,000 in reimbursement for medical costs, with the total medical payout not to exceed $60,000. This means that if there were three passengers in the other vehicle and they each incurred $30,000 in medical costs for a total of $90,000, the remaining $30,000 would need to be paid out of the at-fault driver’s pocket.

Is Virginia a no-fault state?

No, Virginia is not a no-fault state when it comes to car insurance; it is an at-fault state. As an at-fault state, Virginia operates under a tort system, meaning the driver who causes an accident is liable for damages. This system can impact the amount of compensation you can seek following a car accident and may involve a legal process to determine who caused the accident.

What is the new Virginia car insurance law?

Virginia’s insurance laws were recently updated, particularly with respect to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which a driver may choose to add to their policy. As of July 1, 2023, the application of uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage has undergone a significant change. Previously, a driver’s UM/UIM policy would only pay out if their coverage limits exceeded those of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.

Under the new law, Virginia drivers can now stack their UM/UIM coverage on top of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage without any deduction for the at-fault driver’s insurance amount. This change will allow drivers to potentially receive more from their insurance in the event of an accident involving an underinsured driver. This could be particularly beneficial to Virginia drivers, as the state’s uninsured motorist rate sits at 10.5 percent. The law affects new car insurance policies and renewals after July 1, 2023.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Virginia

Driving without car insurance in Virginia is illegal if you fail to adhere to state regulations. If your coverage is canceled for any reason while your car is registered, you must purchase new insurance, pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee or temporarily deactivate your license plates by turning them in to the DMV.

Virginia drivers who opt for the uninsured motor vehicle option must pay a $500 annual fee. If the fee is unpaid, the DMV may suspend the driver’s license and the vehicle’s registration. In order to reinstate their license, drivers have to pay $600 to the state and file an SR-22 certificate. Drivers might also have to pay an additional reinstatement fee to get their license back, and the SR-22 requirement will typically remain in place for three years.

Additional auto insurance coverage options in Virginia

Many drivers in Virginia choose to purchase additional car insurance coverage for more financial protection. Here are some of the most common add-on coverage types in Virginia:

  • Collision coverage: Collision coverage helps pay for your vehicle’s repair after an accident involving another vehicle or a stationary object.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage helps pay for vehicle damage that is caused by events other than an accident, such as falling objects, theft or flood damage.
  • Roadside assistance: Roadside assistance may provide vehicle repairs, towing, fuel delivery and battery services, among other roadside services. Many car insurance companies in Virginia offer this endorsement.
  • Rental car reimbursement: Rental car reimbursement coverage pays for a rental car if your personal vehicle has to get repaired after a covered claim.

Frequently asked questions

    • The best car insurance company in Virginia is different for every driver based on your individual circumstances and varying insurance needs. It is important for drivers to shop around and figure out which company meets their personal criteria for affordability, coverage options, discounts and customer service.
    • Virginia drivers pay an average of $657 for minimum coverage, while full coverage insurance, which includes collision and comprehensive coverage, averages $1,960 a year. These are below the national averages, which are $741 for minimum and $2,545 for full coverage. Your own rate is likely to differ from the average since it is based on factors that are unique to you and your situation, such as your location, age and credit score, as well as your car’s age, make and model. To find the cheapest possible coverage for your vehicle, it can help to ask for quotes from a range of carriers to see who offers you the most affordable coverage.
    • SR-22 is a certificate that proves you carry the state’s minimum required insurance coverage. Virginia drivers whose licenses are suspended will need to obtain an SR-22 certificate to have their licenses reinstated. Common reasons for license suspension in Virginia include getting a DUI/DWI, getting caught without insurance or having multiple at-fault accidents on your driving record.
    • If you have an active car insurance policy with uninsured motorist coverage or collision coverage, you can file a claim with your insurance company. This should help with some of the costs incurred from the accident minus your deductible(s). Drivers without insurance who were at fault are liable to pay for all damage and injuries resulting from the accident.