The Commonwealth of Virginia is one of the few U.S. states that does not require motorists to carry auto liability insurance. If you choose not to purchase car insurance, you must pay an extra fee each year, along with your vehicle registration.
Although you can legally drive without car insurance in Virginia, you face a significant risk of legal and financial liability should you cause a car accident.
If you get hurt in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, the bigger concern will be whether the at-fault party has car insurance. Through an insurance claim or a civil suit, you could recover compensation for your injuries, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
Contact us today to get started. We offer free consultations.
Understanding the Virginia Car Insurance Laws
In Virginia, you must either carry auto liability insurance according to the Commonwealth’s minimum coverage requirements or you must pay a fee to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Minimum insurance coverage requirements are as follows:
- Bodily injury/death (per person) of $25,000;
- Bodily injury/death (two or more people) of $50,000; and
- Property damage of $20,000.
Under the Virginia car insurance laws, auto policies must also include coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists, with limits that equal the policy’s limits of liability. However, the law provides you with the right to refuse this coverage.
Based on the Commonwealth’s lax requirements for auto insurance, however, carrying uninsured motorist coverage makes good sense.
If you elect to forgo car insurance coverage, you must pay an uninsured motor vehicle fee to the DMV when you register your vehicle.
What Is the Virginia Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee?
If you register a vehicle but you don’t currently have auto insurance, the DMV imposes an Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee of $500.
This fee is assessed in addition to the registration fees. Paying this fee serves one purpose: It allows you to register a vehicle without having insurance coverage. This fee expires with your registration each year and must be paid upon renewal to keep your registration valid.
If you cause an accident while driving without insurance, you are personally liable for any damage that occurs as a result. You will also face penalties from the DMV.
What Happens If You Don’t Have Car Insurance in Virginia?
If you register a vehicle and state that you have insurance when you actually don’t, the DMV will assess fines and fees of approximately $750. You will also face the suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration privileges.
The DMV will also require you to keep insurance coverage in force continuously for three years from the date of your violation. To prove valid coverage, you must file the SR-22 Proof of Insurance and Financial Liability form during that period.
If you cause or contribute to a motor vehicle collision while driving without insurance in Virginia, you are personally liable for any damages that result. The victims can sue you for damages, and if they prevail, you could face having a judgment entered against you.
This can significantly affect your credit score and lead to liens, wage garnishments, and bank levies.
Contact a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer Today for Help
We can help you navigate the complexities of personal injury claims and lawsuits. We fight to protect your legal rights and get you every dollar possible for your injuries and other damages.
Call or contact us online today for a free consultation and case review or to discuss the Virginia car insurance laws and requirements with one of our experienced car accident attorneys.