Virginia has some unique insurance requirements that let you reconsider how you approach insuring your vehicle. If you’re just moving to Virginia or you’re getting insurance for the first time in the state, you have a couple of options to choose from. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Virginia car insurance laws.
How Much Insurance Do You Need to Drive in Virginia?
Unlike most states, Virginia doesn’t require you to have insurance in order for you to drive legally in the state. But that doesn’t mean that drivers are off the hook if they get into an accident without insurance. Virginia still requires you to help pay the costs of other people’s property damages and bodily injuries if you’re found to be at fault.
When you register a vehicle in Virginia, you’ll have two options to choose from: provide proof that you have insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements or pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle free. The first option is similar to what most every other state does. The second option is a risky one, as it leaves you with the responsibility of paying for another driver’s damages completely out of pocket.
If you choose the safer first option, you should be on the lookout for a liability insurance plan that offers Virginia’s minimum limits:
- $30,000 for bodily injury per person
- $60,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $20,000 for property damage per accident
While you’re searching for insurance in Virginia, you might see these rates written in shorthand. Those might look like either of the below:
They all mean the same thing, and they all meet Virginia’s minimum liability insurance requirements. If the plan you’re considering has higher rates than these, then you have even more protection.
Law Change on Jan. 1, 2025
The required minimums laid out above were enacted as of Jan. 1, 2022. Any policies that were made effective or will be made effective from January 2022 to December 2024 need to have these minimums.
Policies that are effective on or after Jan. 1, 2025, will have to meet higher minimums. In 2025, your Virginia liability insurance must have:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per person
- $100,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee
If you do decide to forgo insurance and pay the $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee, you’ll be driving at your own risk. You might consider self-insurance of surety bonds if you own business vehicles. Those who decide to take the uninsured motor vehicle route will have to pay the $500 fee every time they renew the registration for their vehicle. This fee does not give you any insurance coverage.
It’s assumed that if you have the money to pay what the insurance company would have if you get into an accident with another vehicle or property owner. Paying the uninsured motor vehicle fee is a self-insurance option — not necessarily an option for those who don’t want to pay for insurance and also don’t have the money to pay for damages. Obviously, this is not always the case, as most drivers can choose the uninsured motor vehicle option. But be aware that if you take this route, the responsibility of paying for other drivers’ damages still falls on you.
If you drive without insurance, you’ll be expected to pay up to:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $20,000 for property damage per accident
Penalties for Lack of Insurance
If you are unable to cover the costs of covering another property owner or driver’s damages or bodily injuries, and you don’t have an insurance plan that covers the Virginia insurance minimum rates, you’ll face some severe penalties. If your insurance coverage ends or is canceled during your vehicle’s registration period, you’ll be required to insure your vehicle, pay the $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee, and temporarily deactivate and be required to return your license plates.
If you don’t have insurance and you don’t pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee, you’ll have your driver’s license will be revoked and you won’t be able to register a vehicle. If you get this far, you’ll have to pay an additional $500 noncompliance fee, a potential reinstatement fee, and file an SR-22 with the DMV for three years. If you end up having to pay this fee, you can use a payment plan program through the DMV to pay it off over time.
Other Types of Insurance
We’ve only been covering liability insurance up to this point, which is what Virginia requires you to have (or pay out of pocket). But what should you do if you want to protect your own vehicle and bodily injuries? You’ll need to sign up for additional insurance policies.
Collision insurance helps you pay to repair damages to your vehicle or replace it if it is totaled. Collision coverage limits are set by the value of your vehicle. If any damages that happen to your vehicle would cost more than your vehicle’s actual cash value, it’s considered “totaled” by the insurance company, which may pay out the full amount rather than fund repairs.
Comprehensive insurance helps pay for non-collision damages to your vehicle. This type of insurance covers situations such as a tree branch falling on your car, an animal chewing through your wiring, hail damage, and more. If you’re leasing your vehicle or owe some money on it, you may be required to have both collision and comprehensive insurance as a part of your lender’s agreement.
If you want to learn more about insurance, vehicle maintenance, and more, you should visit our blog section to find more resources like this one. With the right knowledge in your toolbox, you can prepare yourself for whatever the road and the world of vehicle ownership throw at you.
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.