Car insurance is a lot like taxes, completely unavoidable. If you’re going to be a responsible car owner, you need to carry the minimum required coverage as dictated by your state’s department of motor vehicles. Other expenses, such as getting routine oil changes, can add up, so it’s essential to do your research and get several quotes on car insurance. There are several ways to get cheap car insurance in Chesapeake, Virginia.
What Are the Main Types of Car Insurance in Virginia?
Four main types of car insurance coverage are available in Virginia. These include:
Liability has two components: bodily injury and property damage. This insurance coverage pays for damages to other people involved in an accident you cause, as well as repairs or replacements of their vehicle and personal property. In most states, liability is mandatory.
Your vehicle will be covered under comprehensive coverage if it’s damaged due to a natural disaster, theft, or vandalism. This coverage is generally optional unless you have a lien or lease on your vehicle. In that case, the lending institution may require you to carry comprehensive coverage to protect their investment.
Another optional insurance coverage is collision, which covers the repairs and replacement of your vehicle if you hit an object or another vehicle. A lending agent may also require you to carry collision coverage on a vehicle with a lien or lease. Both collision and comprehensive have deductibles, or an amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket for repairs or replacement before insurance kicks in to cover the rest.
Suppose you’re in an accident with another driver who’s at fault but lacks adequate insurance or any insurance. In that case, this coverage will pay for any medical expenses up to your coverage limits. For example, if you’re involved in an accident, and the at-fault driver lacks insurance, your insurance policy will cover your medical bills in full up to your limit. If that driver has $30,000 in liability coverage for bodily injury and your medical bills are $40,000, your policy will pay the difference of $10,000 as long as it’s within your limits.
What Is the Minimum Car Insurance Requirement in Virginia?
Each state mandates the minimum coverage required to drive on the roads, but Virginia is an exception. Virginia does not require car insurance if you pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee, allowing you to drive an uninsured vehicle at your own risk. If you do not pay this fee, you need to have the minimum insurance coverage for liability and uninsured motorists.
You must carry liability insurance with minimum coverage of $30,000 per person or $60,000 per accident as of January 1, 2022. That amount will increase to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident on January 1, 2025. The minimum property damage liability coverage is $20,000 per accident, which will go up to $25,000 in 2025.
You must also carry proof of car insurance at all times in Virginia. If caught driving without paying the uninsured motorist fee and failing to have adequate coverage, you can be subject to:
- A $500 fine
- License plate and driver’s license suspension
- A Class 3 misdemeanor conviction
You have 30 days to acquire liability coverage to avoid these penalties if you’re pulled over in Virginia and found to be without insurance. Reinstatement of your driver’s license has a $145 fee.
If you’re charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor, you could be required to carry SR-22 insurance. An SR-22 is a financial responsibility statement that costs you more through your insurance agent.
What Factors Affect Car Insurance Rates?
Your car insurance premium is affected by several factors, including age, driving history, credit history, location, and vehicle type. While you can’t control many of these factors, you can reduce your insurance cost by doing the following:
- Take advantage of discounts. Many car insurance companies offer discounts for multiple vehicles, multiple policies, good student, good driver, and safety equipment.
- Take a defensive driving course. Your insurance company may offer a discount if you take a driver’s education or defensive driving course.
- Increase your deductible. A higher deductible directly translates to a lower premium.
- Only carry the insurance coverage you need. If you’re driving a vehicle that’s paid in full or older, you could save money by only having liability coverage.
- Improve your credit score. As you pay your bills on time, reduce your debt, and work to increase your credit score, you could see a decrease in your car insurance premium.
- Avoid traffic offenses. Watch your speed and watch the road to avoid increases in premiums due to poor driving habits.
Where Can You Get Cheap Car Insurance in Chesapeake, Virginia?
According to U.S. News & World Report, the average Virginia driver pays $991 per year for car insurance coverage. That’s approximately 25% lower than the national average of $1,321 annually. The best companies for minimum car insurance in Chesapeake, VA, include:
- USAA: $655
- State Farm: $780
- Erie Insurance: $862
- Progressive: $885
- Travelers: $928
- GEICO: $944
- Nationwide: $1,089
- Allstate: $1,454
As you can see, the difference between the best and highest prices for the same insurance coverage on the same driver and vehicle can vary significantly by company. Shopping around and getting several quotes for coverage before committing to an insurance company is essential. If you’re looking to carry full coverage or high insurance, the following companies offer the best deal in Chesapeake:
- USAA: $723
- State Farm: $899
- Erie Insurance: $955
- Progressive: $974
- Traverlers: $1,026
- Nationwide: $1,030
- GEICO: $1,126
- Allstate: $1,558
The difference between minimum coverage and full coverage isn’t always as much as most people imagine, so you may also want to consider the latter option to protect your investment further.
Car insurance is generally a good idea because it can protect you from unexpected expenses that arise after an accident. If you’re not adequately insured, you can be held liable for damages if found at fault for the accident. Talk to several agents in your area to find cheap car insurance in Chesapeake, VA, that you can afford to protect everyone better.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.