Virginia Car Insurance Laws

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Having car insurance in Virginia is important. Data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) showed that in 2019, 180 people were injured per day in car accidents across the state. There were a total of 827 fatalities on Virginia roads that year.

Virginia drivers are legally required to carry car insurance in order to drive. It does not matter how often you drive or the age of your vehicle. Driving without car insurance in Virginia comes with penalties. This article explores everything you need to know about Virginia car insurance laws.

Car Insurance laws in Virginia

Virginia car insurance laws are fairly straightforward, but there are several laws that are unique to the state worth noting. Before you purchase car insurance in Virginia, it is important to understand the Virginia auto insurance requirements:

  • Minimum coverage: drivers in Virginia are required to carry minimum coverage insurance, which includes 25/50/20 liability coverage.
  • Uninsured vehicle law: Virginia allows drivers to operate their vehicle without car insurance at their own risk. Drivers pay a $500 fee to the Virginia DMV, 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

Virginia insurance laws indicate that all drivers must carry minimum coverage car insurance, unless they pay the uninsured vehicle fee. Virginia minimum car insurance includes liability coverage only. Here is the amount of coverage required:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $20,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident

Liability-only coverage is the cheapest insurance available in Virginia. However, insurance companies recommend that Virginia drivers purchase more coverage than what is required. There is no guarantee that Virginia’s minimum insurance requirements will cover the full cost of an accident.

For example, imagine you cause an accident and the other driver gets rushed to the hospital. After treatment, their medical bills cost $100,000. If you carry the minimum amount of bodily injury liability insurance, you would have to pay the remaining $75,000 out-of-pocket.

Drivers should also know that minimum coverage insurance does not offer protection for your own vehicle. If you lose control of your vehicle and slam into a tree, the damages will not be covered. If your vehicle is totaled, you would be financially responsible for a new one.

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 your insurance 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 will 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.

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. Drivers might also have to pay an additional reinstatement fee after the three year period to get their license back.

Additional Auto Insurance Coverage Options in Virginia

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

  • Collision insurance: collision insurance pays for your vehicle’s repairs after an accident or if you hit a stationary object. In Virginia, the average cost of collision insurance is $305.61 per year.
  • Comprehensive insurance: comprehensive insurance will pay for vehicle damages that are caused by events other than an accident, like falling objects, theft or flood damage. The average comprehensive policy in Virginia costs $146 per year.
  • Roadside assistance: roadside assistance is a popular insurance add-on that provides vehicle repairs, towing, extrication, 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. Some insurance companies automatically include this coverage with full coverage insurance policies.

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 $1,259 per year and the average cost of minimum coverage insurance is $414 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.

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 coverages that meet 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.