Cheap Auto Insurance in Virginia
Auto Insurance Requirements in Virginia
The state of Virginia gives car owners multiple options for meeting financial responsibility laws. Unfortunately, only two of those options are available to owners of private passenger vehicles.
The first option is to purchase car insurance from a state-approved insurance company. It can be in the form of either a top-of-the-line policy or cheap auto insurance for the budget-minded. The second is to register your vehicle as uninsured and pay an annual Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee in the amount of $500.
Though you might be tempted to take the second option, keep in mind that not purchasing liability insurance does not relieve you of liability after an accident you cause. If you’re found at fault after a crash you will be required to make restitution from your own funds. That could result in garnishment of wages, seizure of bank accounts, or the sale of valuable assets like securities and real estate. Suffice it to say you’re probably better off just buying a cheap car insurance policy to mitigate the risk.
A minimum liability policy in Virginia is typically expressed as 25/50/20. This three number representation indicates coverage in the following amounts:
• bodily injury/death of a single victim – $25,000 per accident
• bodily injury/death of multiple victims – $50,000 per accident
• property damage – $20,000 per accident
In Virginia an electronic reporting system is used to keep the state up-to-date on all car insurance policies. Whether you purchase a new policy, modify an existing one, cancel a policy, or allow one to lapse, the state will know immediately upon your insurance company’s computer system submitted information to the state database. Policy cancellation or lapse will result in a notification from the DMV being mailed to you. You’ll need to follow the instructions contained in the notice in order to avoid penalties.
In addition to electronic reporting your insurance company will also supply you with some sort of documentation in the form of a declaration page, and insurance binder, or an ID card. You’ll need to keep that in your car at all times. Should you be caught without insurance you’ll pay a $500 fine, be subject to suspension of your plates, registration, and license, and be assessed significant reinstatement fees in order to resume driving once the suspension is lifted. You’ll probably also have to file an SR-22 affidavit and keep it in force for a minimum of three years.
Lastly, since Virginia plates stay with a vehicle throughout its lifetime drivers are required to maintain insurance coverage throughout their ownership of a vehicle — even if your car becomes inoperable or you should decide to take it off the road for some reason. If you intend to sell or scrap a vehicle, be sure to get documentation verifying what you’ve done. You’ll need it to cancel your insurance policy without being penalized.