Virginia Car Insurance Requirements

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Minimum car insurance in Virginia

Virginia requires car owners to have two main types of auto insurance: Liability and uninsured (UM) & underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

Virginia is unusual in that it allows car owners to register an uninsured vehicle by paying a $500 "uninsured motor vehicle fee."

What's the deal with the "uninsured motor vehicle fee"?

This fee goes into a fund that gives money back to auto insurance companies in Virginia. The goal is to reduce UM premiums for insured drivers. Paying the fee lets you register a car but you're still uninsured. Without auto insurance you can be personally sued if you cause a car accident.

Only 3,691 car owners paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee in 2017, according to the Virginia DMV. That's out of more than 8.2 million registered vehicles in the state.

Many other states also have alternatives to buying car insurance, but they generally require large deposits with the state.

Paying the Virginia uninsured motor vehicle fee is not a good alternative to buying auto insurance.

Minimum liability insurance in Virginia:

Liability insurance is essential coverage. It pays others for damage and injuries you cause.

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $20,000 property damage per accident

This is often written as 25/50/20.

Minimum uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage:

Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage pays your medical bills if you're hit by a driver who has no liability or not enough.

  • Virginia requires UM/UIM of at least $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident (25/50).
  • In Virginia you can also buy uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD). This pays for your property damage, like a wrecked car. If you make a UMPD claim there's a $200 deductible in Virginia.

Other insurance types

Medical expenses coverage: For medical bills such as hospital, chiropractic, dental and rehabiliation if you're injured in an accident. It can also cover lost wages if you can't work after a car accident, or funeral expenses. If you buy medical expenses coverage in Virginia, the minimum coverage is $2,000. This means anyone injured in your car could get up to $2,000. This coverage can pay out no matter who was at fault.

Collision coverage: For damage to your car caused by hitting another car or an object, like a pole.

Comprehensive coverage: For damage caused by hitting an animal, hail, flood, fire, vandalism, falling objects and explosions. Also covers vehicle theft.

Rental reimbursement: For a rental car if your vehicle is being repaired after an accident.

Penalty for not having car insurance in Virginia

  • Failure to pay uninsured motor vehicle fee on an uninsured vehicle or providing false evidence of insurance are both Class 3 misdemeanors in Virginia, punishable by a fine up to $500. Your driver's license and vehicle registration will be suspended until the fee is paid and you provide proof of financial responsibility.

Source: Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

Complaints against the biggest auto insurance companies in Virginia

Each state's insurance department is in charge handling of complaints against insurance companies. A national "complaint ratio" numis meant to show the number of complaints against a company relative to the insurer's size of business. Shown below are national complaint ratios for the largest auto insurance companies in Virginia.

Virginia auto insurance complaints

Updated Aug. 15, 2018

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