Auto insurance requirements in Virginia
Like most states, Virginia motorists must have car insurance at the minimums set by the state. Proof of this coverage must be carried when you’re behind the wheel and shown at the behest of law-enforcement officials. Have a look at our guide outlining Virginia’s mandatory car insurance laws as well as optional coverages that could provide extra protection.
|Minimum Liability Coverage: 25/50/20||Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: 25/50/20|
The above limits are the state-mandated requirements, but your lender or leasing company could require additional coverage to protect your vehicle against physical damage. This is sometimes known as full coverage.
Liability coverage in Virginia
Liability insurance is legally required in Virginia. Liability pays for the bodily injuries and damaged property of those that you harm in an at-fault accident. This coverage can also pay for lost wages and pain and suffering as well. Bear in mind that your liability coverage never pays for your injuries or damages to your property, which requires additional coverage.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is legally required in Virginia and pays for injury and lost wages that you or your passengers may suffer in the event that you are hit by an uninsured/underinsured driver who is at fault. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into two categories. In Virginia, the minimum is listed as 25/50/20, but higher coverage amounts are available with most companies.
What are state-mandated car insurance limits?
A limit is simply the maximum dollar amount that your insurance company will pay out in for a claim. Liability coverage limits are determined by individual states and often split into three categories: bodily injury per person,bodily injury per accident, andproperty damage. In Virginia, the minimum is listed as 25/50/20 which we go into further detail about below:
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per personis the maximum dollar amount that will be paid for a single person that you injure in an auto accident.
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accidentis the maximum dollar amount that will be paid for all injuries that you cause in an accident in which more than one person is hurt.
- $20,000 in property damage per accidentis how much that will be paid for damage that you cause in an accident.
The limits for uninsured/underinsured coverage are similar to liability coverage:
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage per personis the maximum dollar amount paid for a single person injured in your vehicle by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accidentis the total dollar amount paid out for all injuries in your vehicle by an uninsured or underinsured driver if more than one person is hurt.
- $20,000 property damage coverage per accidentis the maximum dollar amount paid for damage caused to your vehicle by an uninsured/underinsured driver.
Do Virginia’s required minimums provide adequate coverage?
Virginia’s car insurance minimums are roughly on par with most other states. However, Virginia is unique in that it allows drivers to pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle (UMV) fee that allows them to drive uninsured for a certain duration of time. This is not recommended. In fact, even carrying the bare minimum coverage is rarely enough to fully protect you and your assets. Liability limits can be reached quickly with even moderate injuries. This is especially true if multiple people are injured. Also, the $20,000 property damage limit is a good deal under the average cost of a new vehicle. If you wanted to ensure that you were properly covered, increasing these limits is a great idea.
Furthermore, Virginia requires no coverage for your own vehicle. If you want your own car to be protected, you would need to add coverage.
Virginia’s penalties for driving without proof of insurance
If you are found guilty of driving with no insurance or have not paid the UMV fee in Virginia, you can expect the following penalties to apply:
- A fine of $500
- Possible suspension of license and registration
- Filing of an SR-22 certificate for three years
- $145 reinstatement fee
Optional car insurance coverage in Virginia
Virginia law requires only liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages, but there are a number of other options available from most insurance carriers. Below is a list of commonly available options:
- Comprehensive: This pays for damages to your vehicle that occur in non-collision circumstances. It covers perils such as theft and damage related to weather events.
- Collision: This coverage pays for damages that result from a collision with another vehicle or stationary object.
- Loan/Lease Payoff: Sometimes referred to as gap coverage, this coverage can pay the difference between what you owe on a loan and what your car’s actual cash value. This can help in the event that you owe more than your car is actually worth.
- Medical Payments: In the event of an accident, this coverage goes towards paying for your medical expenses as well as those in your vehicle.
- Rental Car Reimbursement: If your car is unable to be driven, this coverage can help pay for a rental car until yours can be repaired.
- Roadside Assistance: Roadside assistance can help with roadside troubles such as flat tires, dead batteries, and towing.
Virginia is a diminished value state
Virginia is a diminished value state, meaningdrivers are allowed to recover diminished value from the at-fault party’s insurance company.When your vehicle experiences an accident, even if it is fully repaired to its pre-loss condition, the resale value decreases. The involvement in a collision makes your car’s value lesser than similar vehicles that have not experienced an accident. A diminished value claim allows you to recoup the losses you might experience when selling your car.
Since Virginia is one of the 15 states that offer compensation for diminution in value through the state department of insurance, you may file this way if your insurer denies your claim. In order to file a diminished value claim in Virginia, certain requirements must be met:
- You are not entitled to compensation if you were the party at fault in the accident
- Documentation will be required to process your claim. Make sure you can provide photos, records of repairs made, and proof of the value of your vehicle by a trusted source.
- In Virginia, the statute of limitations for filing a diminished value claim is 3 years.
- Virginia does have uninsured motorist coverage for diminished value claims.
Why adhering to Virginia ’s car insurance requirements is important
Not only is car insurance a legal requirement in Virginia, but it’s also a good way to protect yourself and your assets. Adding coverage or increasing your current limits provides an extra layer of protection in the event of an accident or a claim. However, if the cost of increased coverage is holding you back, it may be time to shop for a cheaper policy.
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