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  • Car Insurance in Virginia

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    Virginia Car Insurance

    Virginia law requires that all drivers have a way to pay for injuries or property damage resulting from a car accident. You can satisfy this financial responsibility law by EITHER:

    • Purchasing car insurance.
      OR
    • Paying Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles to drive uninsured.

    Read more about Virginia car insurance laws, uninsured drivers fees, policy rates, and discounts.

    Car Insurance Requirements

    If you choose to purchase auto insurance to fulfill your financial responsibility, you must buy Virginia liability car insurance to help cover the costs of injuries and property damage to others you caused in a car accident.

    The following minimums apply to your liability coverage:

    • $25,000 for injuries per person per accident.
    • $50,000 for total injuries per accident.
    • $20,000 for property damage per accident.

    You are also required to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to help pay for your injuries or property damage after an accident caused by either:

    • An uninsured driver.
    • A driver who does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for your injuries or property damage.

    Your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage must match the minimums of your liability car insurance:

    • $25,000 for injuries, per person per accident.
    • $50,000 for total injuries per accident.
    • $20,000 for property damage per accident.

    Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee

    If you are registering your car, you must certify whether you have Virginia car insurance.

    If you are unwilling or unable to get insurance at the time, you must pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee to the Virginia DMV. (This does not include registration fees.)

    This $500 fee fulfills your financial responsibility and allows you to drive uninsured for 12 months.

    Understand that paying the VA uninsured motor vehicle fee DOES NOT mean you have insurance and WILL NOT protect you financially in case of an accident.

    If you get into a car accident, you must pay for all damages and injuries for which you are found responsible.

    While payment of the fee lets you drive uninsured for 12 months, the fee can be prorated if you wish to be uninsured for a shorter time period.

    Optional Car Insurance Coverage

    If you purchase auto insurance to fulfill your financial responsibility requirements, you may also want to consider buying additional coverage.

    When shopping for and comparing car insurance quotes, ask about the following types of optional coverage:

    • Collision – This will pay for damages to your car after a traffic accident.
    • Comprehensive – This will help cover non-accident related incidents, such as vandalism.
    • Medical expenses – This will help pay for your medical bills after an accident that you caused.

    NOTE: While collision and comprehensive insurance are optional, lenders can require it. See below for more information.

    Vehicle Loans and Force-Placed Insurance

    VA law does not require you to purchase collision/comprehensive coverage; however, banks or finance companies that have financed your car can require you to purchase these coverage types.

    If you do not purchase collision and comprehensive coverages, your lender may place your car under force-placed insurance and charge you for the premium.

    Force-placed insurance is meant to protect the lender (not you); it will not satisfy your state-mandated financial responsibility.

    VA Auto Insurance Violation Penalties

    With the help of reporting from Virginia car insurance companies, the VA DMV can electronically track your car insurance status.

    If you are found to be driving without insurance and you have not paid the uninsured driver fee, you will face suspension of all of the following:

    • Driver’s license.
    • Vehicle registration.
    • License plates.

    To reinstate all of the above, you must:

    • Pay a $500 fine.
    • File and maintain a proof of insurance certification (SR-22) for 3 years.
      • NOTE: Maintaining an SR-22 means you MUST purchase car insurance (you cannot use the uninsured driver fee option to fulfill your financial responsibility).
      • SR-22 is NOT insurance; it is proof that you have a policy.
    • Pay a driver’s license reinstatement fee.
      • Fines range from $145 to $220.

    Insurance Penalties: SR-22 and FR-44

    After convictions of certain crimes and traffic violations, you may be required to take extra steps in certifying that you are compliant with VA’s financial responsibility laws. You’ll be required to do so by filing either an SR-22 or FR-44 certificate through your car insurance carrier.

    If subject to this requirement, you must purchase car insurance, meaning you cannot pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee in lieu of holding a policy.

    SR-22

    SR-22 certifications serve as proof that you are compliant with Virginia’s liability minimum requirements.

    You may need to file an SR-22 after:

    • A conviction of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from a car accident.
    • Falsifying your:
      • Driver’s license.
      • Car registration.
      • Insurance information.
    • A felony conviction involving a traffic law.
    • A hit-and-run accident.
    • Driving without insurance or without having paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee.

    FR-44

    After a DUI conviction, you will be required to file an FR-44 certification. You may also be required to file one after:

    • Maiming under the influence.
    • Driving with a license that’s been forfeited as a result of a conviction.

    The FR-44 will require you to purchase liability car insurance with increased limits, as follows:

    • $50,000 for injuries per person, per accident.
    • $100,000 for total injuries per accident.
    • $40,000 for property damage.

    Filing an SR-22 or FR-44 will result in higher rates. You can avoid these rate hikes by obeying the law and driving in a safe manner.

    Determining Your VA Car Insurance Premium

    Several factors go into determining your premium rates. These factors include:

    • Your driving record.
    • The make, model, and year of your car.
    • Your age.
    • Your credit score.
    • The deductible.
      • This is the amount of your claim you’re responsible for paying.
      • The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

    Car Insurance Discounts

    When you’re making a car insurance comparison, it helps to investigate any discounts you may be able to apply to your policy.

    Most Virginia auto insurance companies offer discounts such as:

    • Good driver discount.
    • Good student discount.
    • Anti-theft discount.
    • Safety features (airbags) discount.
    • Multi-car discount.
    • Homeowners discount.

    Discounts are a great way to get cheap car insurance rates. Combine your discounts with a driving record that reflects safe and violation-free driving, and you are well on your way to affordable car insurance rates.

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