Virginia not only requires car insurance for all drivers within its borders, but it also can enforce significant penalties for anyone that drives without the minimum coverage. The failure to comply with these rules could lead to serious consequences.
What Are The Mandatory Car Insurance Requirements in Virginia?
Virginia — just like every other state in the nation — requires drivers to maintain some type of proof of financial responsibility in case they are in an accident. For most people, this involves carrying a minimum level of liability insurance. These requirements are set out by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
Virginia only requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. Other types of coverage — like uninsured motorist policies — are purely voluntary. Under the law, drivers must carry a minimum of:
- $30,000 for bodily injuries per person
- $60,000 for bodily injuries per accident
- $20,000 for property damage per accident
It is important to note that these coverage requirements are scheduled to increase. For policies effective after January 1, 2025, drivers must carry a minimum 50/100/25 policy.
It is not enough to have the insurance required by law. It is also necessary to keep documented proof of coverage any time you get behind the wheel. You could face consequences for failing to maintain your coverage or even for simply keeping proof in your vehicle.
What is the Penalty for Driving Without Insurance in Virginia?
The minimum insurance requirements set out in the law are not merely suggestions. Failure to comply with this requirement could have costly consequences. One positive difference for drivers between Virginia and many other states is that jail time is not an option with this offense. In many jurisdictions, the failure to secure insurance could result in up to a year behind bars.
In Virginia, a ticket for failure to maintain insurance could result in a $600 noncompliance fee to the DMV. What’s more, your license could be suspended. In addition to reinstatement fees, you could also be required to carry SR-22 insurance. This also differs from the approach of many other states who typically provide increased penalties for second and subsequent offenses.
What Factors Does Virginia Law Allow in Determining Your Premiums?
Insurance companies are allowed to use many different factors when determining what to charge you for car insurance. Drivers who share most of these factors in common could face very different policy quotes due to one difference in their lifestyle, location or circumstances.
There is a reason that each of these factors is used when determining the cost of your car insurance. Each of these factors is considered to be linked with an increased – or decreased – risk of an accident. For example, high-risk drivers with a history of previous accidents can expect to pay more. Some of the factors commonly used by insurance companies to set their rates include:
- Zip code
- Credit history
- Marital status
- Type of vehicle
- Accident history
- Claim history
There is no question that many of these factors could drive up the cost of your car insurance. Similarly, items such as having a great credit score, being married and having no claims will decrease your premium. Other ways to help lower your premium include things like driving an older vehicle. Your insurance agent can also help you find the right discounts to bring your premiums down.
Am I Required to Report an Accident in Virginia to Authorities?
It is necessary to report an accident in Virginia to the authorities in the vast majority of cases. While there are some circumstances where reporting is not necessary, these are few and far between.
Virginia law sets out the requirements for reporting an accident to the authorities. The law gives you the option to make your report to either a local or state law enforcement agency. According to the statute, it is necessary to report an accident if there were bodily injuries, fatalities, or notable property damage. This accounts for the vast majority of collisions throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The failure to report an accident could lead to jail time, fines, and other serious consequences.