Virginia Auto Insurance Requirements
Virginia has unique auto insurance and financial responsibility laws for both private and commercial vehicle owners. You are not required by law to carry insurance, but if you don’t, you must pay an annual uninsured motorist fee. Minimum auto insurance coverage requirements in Virginia are mandated by state law and the Virginia Department of Insurance. The following minimum coverage is required on every registered vehicle, except as noted below:
(Source: Virginia Department of Insurance)
Driving without the mandatory liability insurance or paying an uninsured motorist fee in Virginia will result in suspension of driving privileges until $500 fee is paid, $30 reinstatement costs, and then must file SR-22 with DMV for three years.
The Virginia Automobile Insurance Plan is available to drivers who are unable to obtain required coverage through the voluntary market. More information is available on the AIPSO website.
Alternatively, drivers not wishing to carry basic liability insurance in Virginia may pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee, which allows the motorist to drive an uninsured vehicle at their own risk. This fee expires at time of registration renewal, and must be paid each time the registration is renewed.
Factors Influencing Car Insurance Premiums in Virginia
Getting a quote for cheap car insurance in Virginia requires some research and rate comparisons between different insurance companies, even though Virginia car insurance costs rank on par with national averages. Some factors that impact insurance rates in Virginia include:
– Virginia is not a “no-fault” state, and does not require PIP insurance
– Virginia requires mandatory UM / UIM coverage
– Vehicle repair costs are generally more expensive in Virginia than elsewhere
– Overall accident fatality rates are lower than national averages
– A lower percentage of uninsured drivers compared to national averages
– Auto insurance fraud
– Vehicle theft rates near national averages
The average auto insurance premium for residents in Virginia is $1,714 in 2011; the national average is $1,790.
Tips for Obtaining Cheap Car Insurance in Virginia
– If you’re over 55, take a state-approved defensive driving course for a policy discount
– Several insurance companies offer “pay as you drive” car insurance for low mileage drivers in Virginia
– Maintain a good driving record
– Bind multiple policies (homeowners, life, auto) with the same provider
– Maintain a good credit score
– Create a personal “emergency fund” of up to $1500 and increase deductibles accordingly
– Discuss affinity discounts with your insurance provider
– Drop comprehensive and collision insurance on older vehicles
– Auto Theft: Virginia has a a vehicle theft rate in line with national averages, but it has been decreasing (as is the case in most states) consistently over the past 10 years. This can be attributed primarily to anti-theft devices being standard on recent model cars, as well as public awareness of the issue:
(Source: Auto Thiefs)
– Automobile Accidents: The total vehicle miles traveled in Virginia has remained fairly steady in recent years, as have vehicle accident fatality rates. Virginia is below the national average in numbers of deaths in car crashes, despite having a fairly high population concentration.
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