New to Old Dominion? Looking to find out what you need to be covered while you drive in Virginia? Here’s our ultimate guide to Virginia’s car insurance laws: What you need to be covered, and what you need to keep covered.
Car Insurance Requirements … of Lack of
Let’s start with the most basic question: Do you need car insurance to drive in Virginia? The answer, surprisingly, is “no.” Under Virginia’s financial responsibility law, you can actually pay an “uninsured motor vehicle fee” in lieu of insurance. This financial responsibility law defines car insurance in Virginia and how it’s handled in many ways, but being uninsured in Virginia is actually a great argument for car insurance.
First of all, the fee is $500 for twelve months. Yep, you’ll be paying that fee every single year for as long as you don’t have insurance.
What do you get for your $500? Nothing. This fee gives you no insurance and no protection in court: If you’re in an accident and are determined to be at fault, you are liable for the whole cost. The best case scenario — a crash with only property damage where you’re at fault -– would cost you $7,500, on average. If you potentially injure somebody, even just minor bumps and bruises, the average jumps to $21,000 to $25,000.
So, it’s a good idea to be insured in the Mother of Presidents. What’s the minimum coverage that you’ll need?
– $25,000 in coverage for bodily injury or death of one person
– $50,000 in coverage for bodily injury or death of two people
– $20,000 in coverage for property damage or injury to others
These are just the minimums. You can, of course, get more coverage, if you want.
Irresponsible Behavior in Virginia
The financial responsibility law also has two forms that are issued in case of irresponsible behavior. If a driver falsely declares they’re insured, has any unsatisfied judgments, or commits a felony under Virginia’s motor vehicle law, his or her insurer will have to file a Certificate of Financial Responsibility proving insurance has been purchased, the SR-22. The SR-22 is only fulfilled with insurance that hits the minimums above.
Drivers who have a recent DUI on their record, though, are subject to the FR-44 form. That has different requirements for liability:
– $50,000 in coverage for bodily injury or death of one person
– $100,000 in coverage for bodily injury or death of two people
– $40,000 in coverage for property damage or injury to others
Yup, anybody with a recent DUI, in state or out, will need to have double the insurance of the typical driver on the road.
Insurers won’t issue these certificates to non-Virginia residents, either, so drivers with DUIs may find it tricky to get onto the road.
Ultimately, Virginia is a beautiful state to drive in, and an easy one to be insured in. Just be aware of the minimums and be aware that you are financially responsible for how you drive, whether you’re paying out of pocket or covered by auto insurance.