Virginia Car Insurance Laws
Virginia law requires that all motorists either meet the state's liability requirements or pay the state Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee in order to obtain license plates or decals. In order to meet the liability requirements a vehicle owner must have an insurance policy that covers at least $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person, $50,000 for two people or more, and $20,000 for property damages. Because obtaining coverage is the more encouraged route, residents are urged to shop for an adequately priced policy that offers the most protection. This can be done quickly and efficiently by completing an online quote comparison.
If a motorist does not wish to purchase Virginia auto insurance they may choose to pay the state Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee (UMV) instead. This fee is $500 and is due when the motorist's vehicle is registered along with any registration fees, and must be paid directly to the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). When registration expires, typically within 12 months, the UMV fee must be paid again when registration is renewed. Residents should know, however, that paying the fee does not provide any automobile coverage whatsoever and that the motorist is driving at their own risk.
Although it is a legal option, paying the UMV fee instead of purchasing coverage is strongly discouraged for most vehicle owners. Should an uninsured motorist be involved in an accident, they may still liable for any damages they cause. This means that many at-fault vehicle repairs or medical expenses may be paid directly out of the motorist's pocket, which could prove to be financially devastating. If a resident of the Old Dominion State is working within a budget, there are ways to obtain cheap car insurance in order to have at least the minimum amount of automobile protection. It is also important to note that choosing to forgo insurance and choosing not to pay the UMV fee could have some harsh consequences.
If a motorist falsely claims to have coverage in order to avoid the state UMV fee, there is a chance that the vehicle owner may lose all driver and registration privileges, pay a $500 statutory fee, a $145 reinstatement fee, and must file proof of insurance for three years. During this period in which coverage is mandatory, one's policy provider is likely to communicate with the DMV in order to confirm the presence coverage and give notice if the client's policy is canceled.
Although there are multiple legal options in which a motorist may take regarding automobile coverage in Virginia, drivers are still encouraged to pursue an automobile protection plan in order to be prepared in the event of an accident. Often a motorist can find a suitable policy at a cost only slightly higher than the state's UMV fee, meaning that for only a small sum of money a person could choose to remain protected instead of paying to remain financially vulnerable in the event of an accident.