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Virginia car insurance laws

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In Virginia, car insurance is something all drivers should consider. However, in contrast to other states, it isn’t a requirement. Instead, drivers can choose to pay an uninsured motorist fee each year in place of auto coverage to ensure compliance.

Despite this unique caveat, having car insurance in Virginia is still beneficial. The biggest advantage car insurance can provide is financial protection against unexpected events. Having the best car insurance can save you from paying out huge sums of money out of pocket in the event of a car accident.

Car insurance laws in Virginia

Car insurance in Virginia is fairly straightforward, but it is worth noting that car insurance is not technically required in Virginia. Instead, there are different conditions depending on what option each driver chooses. With different choices, it’s important to understand the Virginia auto insurance requirements. These include:

  • Minimum coverage: If drivers in Virginia decide to purchase insurance for their vehicles, they are required to carry at least the state minimum liability limit of 30/60/20.
  • Uninsured vehicle law: Virginia allows drivers to operate their vehicle without car insurance at their own risk. Drivers may pay a $500 fee to the Virginia DMV to forego car insurance, which expires when the vehicle’s registration is up for renewal.
  • Proof of insurance: Drivers must carry proof of insurance in their vehicle at all times and provide proper insurance documentation when requested by law enforcement.
  • Insurance verification: 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 minimum required liability limits.The breakdown of car insurance’s liability coverage is as follows:

  • $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person (as of January 1, 2022)
  • $60,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident (as of January 1, 2022)
  • $20,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident

Liability coverage in car insurance is for the other party involved in an accident, especially if you were considered at fault. Based on Virginia’s requirements, each person in the other vehicle is entitled to $30,000 in medical costs, with the total medical costs of the accident 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 pocket.

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 more protection. Drivers may also want to consider comprehensive, collision, medical payments and other coverage options to also protect themselves, any passengers and their vehicle.

Is Virginia a no-fault state?

Each state follows certain car insurance laws that determine how insurance companies cover injuries after an accident. There are fault states and no-fault states, and the Commonwealth of Virginia is a fault state.

In a no-fault state, a driver’s insurance company will cover their medical bills after an accident, regardless of which driver was responsible. In a fault state, the at-fault driver’s car insurance pays for the other driver’s losses.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Virginia

Driving without car insurance in Virginia is illegal if you don’t take the necessary steps to comply with state regulations. If your coverage is canceled for any reason while your car is registered, you must purchase new insurance, pay the $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee or temporarily deactivate your license plates by turning them into the DMV.

Virginia drivers who opt for the uninsured motor vehicle option must pay the $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 produce an SR-22 certificate. Drivers might also have to pay an additional reinstatement fee to get their license back.

SR-22 forms are available from auto insurance providers that specialize in high-risk insurance. In Virginia, an SR-22 requirement will typically stay on your driving record 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 pays for your vehicle’s repairs after an accident or if you hit a stationary object. In Virginia, the average cost of collision coverage is $316 per year according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).
  • Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage will pay for vehicle damages that are caused by events other than an accident, like falling objects, theft or flood damage. Comprehensive coverage in Virginia costs $148 per year on average according to the Triple-I.
  • Roadside assistance: Roadside assistance is a popular insurance add-on that provides vehicle repairs, towing, fuel delivery and battery services, among other roadside services. Most car insurance companies in Virginia offer this endorsement.
  • Rental car reimbursement: Rental car reimbursement coverage will pay for a rental car if your personal vehicle has to get repaired after a covered claim.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best car insurance company in Virginia?

The best car insurance company in Virginia is different for every driver based on 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.

How much does car insurance in Virginia cost?

The average cost of full coverage car insurance in Virginia is $1,304 per year and the average cost of minimum coverage insurance is $441 per year. However, every driver pays a slightly different rate based on their ZIP code, age, credit score, claims history and the type of vehicle they own.

What is SR-22 insurance?

SR-22 is a certificate that proves you carry the state’s minimum required insurance coverage. Virginia drivers who get their license suspended need to obtain an SR-22 certificate to get their license 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.

What should I do if I’m involved in an accident with an uninsured driver?

If you have insurance, you should open a car insurance claim with your insurance company. If you purchased uninsured motorist coverage on your car insurance policy, this coverage should step in to help with some of the costs incurred by the accident. Drivers without insurance who were at-fault are liable to pay for all damages and injuries caused by the accident.

You will also need to report the accident to the DMV by filing the accident report using an FR200 form, Information Request Form (CRD-93) and making an $8 payment for access to the report either by mail, fax or a customer service center.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a cleaning 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 sample drivers own a 2018 Honda Accord, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth Rivelli is a contributing insurance writer for Bankrate and has years of experience writing for insurance domains such as The Simple Dollar, Coverage.com and NextAdvisor, among others
Edited by
Insurance Editor