From Norfolk to Roanoke, Virginia Beach to Charlottesville, Virginia has thousands of miles of roadways. They’ll take you from downtown Richmond to historic sites from Colonial times, the Revolutionary War and Civil War, into the Shenandoah Valley and along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. They’re used by over half a million licensed drivers, who each average over 10,000 miles a year. Along the way, they’re involved in thousands of traffic accidents, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the Old Dominion State, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to Virginia’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.
Virginia state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines. Virginia has a tort system, which means that if you are found to be at fault in a car accident, you can be sued for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damages (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering. However, Virginia also allows you to purchase personal injury protection.
The bare minimum car insurance requirement for Virginia drivers is:
$25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
$50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
$20,000 property damage liability
$25,000/$50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury
$20,000 uninsured motorist property damage with a $200 deductible for hit-and-run accidents
Virginia does not require you to carry additional coverage such as personal injury protection or Collision and Comprehensive. However, if you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.
Penalties for Failure to Carry Virginia Auto Insurance
Virginia requires you to carry minimum liability insurance or proof of financial responsibility and provide proof if a law enforcement officer asks to see it. Failure to do so can carry severe penalties. Your driver’s license can be suspended and you will have to pay a $500 statutory fee and a $30 reinstatement fee.
Your insurance company must provide the Virginia DMV with electronic updates when they write a new policy for a vehicle registered in Virginia and when a policy is canceled.
Virginia law also required that your insurance company offer you a reduced premium if you are 55 or older and have successfully completed an approved accident prevention course. Your premium reduction remains in effect for 3 years thereafter.
Virginia Car Insurance Premiums
Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the Virginia Bureau of Insurance. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:
The type of car you are insuring
Prior auto insurance coverage
How much you drive
Your driving record
Your marital status
Your geographic location
How long you’ve been driving
Whether or not you use your car for business
Virginia also allows insurers to consider your credit rating to determine your premium.
How to Get the Cheapest Virginia Car Insurance Policy
You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:
Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
Eliminate unnecessary coverage
Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer
New Virginia Driving Laws
Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in Virginia. The following laws have recently been enacted in Virginia and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.
Virginia has a ban on texting for all drivers
Virginia bans the use of all cell phones (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers.
You are required to have Virginia auto insurance before you can register your vehicle or you may face a $500 fee.
When driving in Virginia, the use of radar detector devices is illegal. Violators can be fined and the device confiscated, whether or not it is turned off or non-functional.
Since 2012, first-time offenders convicted of DUI must equip their vehicles with an ignition interlock device as a condition of receiving a restricted license.