Drivers often wonder whether they are required to have car insurance, and if so, what insurance is required. Each state sets its own auto insurance rules. Virginia actually does not require drivers to have insurance — but if a driver chooses not to buy insurance, other requirements must be met. Read on to learn from Virginia Beach car accident lawyer Jeff Brooke what Virginia’s car insurance requirements are — and what happens if you don’t meet them.
Why Do I Need Car Insurance?
In Virginia, a driver who is at fault in an accident is legally required to pay for the injuries and property damage that result. If you cause an accident and do not have insurance, all your personal assets — home, car, bank accounts and more — can be used to pay for injuries resulting from the accident. That is the reason most drivers carry auto insurance.
Virginia gives drivers a choice: 1) carry auto insurance in minimum specified limits, 2)qualify as a self-insurer (which usually means posting a significant bond), or 3) pay an Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee of $500 each year. The UMV fee does not provide any financial protection. It only allows you to drive without insurance.
You are required to provide documentation of financial responsibility and present it when:
- Registering your vehicle
- Requested by a law enforcement officer
- After an accident
If you do not meet one of these three requirements, you can be prosecuted for driving a vehicle without coverage or documentation required by law. A conviction carries a $500 fine and can result in losing your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and license plates. You may also be required to file proof of insurance certification for three years.
What Are the Required Auto Insurance Limits?
If you carry car insurance, Virginia law requires the insurance to have specific coverage:
- $25,000 liability coverage for injury or death of one person
- $50,000 liability coverage for injury or death of two or more people
- $20,000 liability coverage for property damage
- $25,000 uninsured/underinsured bodily injury for one person
- $50,000 uninsured/underinsured bodily injury for two or more people
- $20,000 uninsured/underinsured property damage
The uninsured/underinsured coverage protects you if a person without insurance causes an accident that injures you or passengers in your car. The other coverage is liability insurance that pays if you cause an accident that injures other people or property.
Many drivers choose to have insurance coverage with limits higher than the requirements, to protect their personal assets in the event they cause an accident and to protect against catastrophic injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. There is also other optional auto insurance coverage that drivers choose to carry:
- Comprehensive and collision coverage: provides reimbursement when your car is involved in an accident or damaged by other causes like fire and theft
- Medical expense and loss of income benefits: pays expenses and loss of income for you or others injured while riding or driving your car, as well as pedestrian injuries you and your family may receive
- Transportation expenses: includes rental reimbursement and loss of use coverage within specified limits
Talk with a Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered catastrophic injuries in a Virginia accident that was another person’s fault — or if you’ve lost a loved one in an accident — it’s always in your best interest to talk with a personal injury attorney. Trusted, experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyer Jeff Brooke will help you understand all the complicated implications of your own insurance and the insurance of the driver who caused the accident. The Jeff Brooke Team will protect your interests and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us by phone at (757) 785-0837 or by using our online contact form.
Jeff Brooke is a personal injury attorney devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligent and careless actions. The Jeff Brooke Team serves all of southeastern Virginia. The firm helps clients in the Greater Tidewater and Greater Hampton Roads areas, including in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Chesterfield. The Jeff Brooke Team also handles cases in northeastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.