Virginia Car Insurance
- Virginia Car Insurance
Whether you’re heading to Colonial Williamsburg to experience the 17th century for a day, Virginia Beach for a weekend getaway, or Arlington to steep yourself in the nation’s history, there are many places to go in the Old Dominion, as long as you have an active and sufficient auto insurance policy.
In Virginia, all drivers must maintain a minimum insurance coverage limit at all times or pay to legally drive uninsured. Driving without insurance illegally is a misdemeanor in the state. Let’s take a look at the mandated coverages in the state, how you can get a policy from one of the state’s top insurers, and how you can maximize your savings on your policy so you can have some extra money to spend at the Colonial Williamsburg gift shop.
What You Need To Know About Virginia Insurance
Whether you’re binding a car insurance policy for the first time, are interested in switching your policy to one of the state’s top insurers, or are looking to save a bit more on your premiums, doing research is the best way to ensure you’re getting the best policy for your needs and budget. To find the best policy for your lifestyle, you’ll have to first narrow down what you value most in a policy: cost or coverage.
Those who value coverage over cost will likely opt for a full coverage policy from an insurer that offers several additional coverage options. Those who value cost over coverage will likely opt for a minimum coverage policy from an insurer that offers lower-than-average base rates. Those who value cost and coverage equally will likely opt for a full coverage policy from an insurer that offers low base rates and several opportunities for stackable discounts.
No matter what you value most in a policy, all Virginians must ensure their auto insurance is up to par with the legal requirements. Let’s check out what coverages are mandated by state law and how you can get a legally adequate policy that won’t break the bank.
Does Virginia Have Insurance Requirements?
Yes, insurance requirements mandate the minimum car insurance in Virginia is liability coverage and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). All drivers must carry the minimum limits of both coverage required by law or pay the fee to legally drive uninsured. Those who fail to meet the coverage requirements or formally opt out of the insurance system may be subject to legal penalties.
Virginians must have an auto insurance policy that has at least $30,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $60,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, $20,000 in property damage liability per accident, or 30/60/20 liability coverage, $25,000 in uninsured or underinsured bodily injury coverage (MBI/UIMBI) per person, $50,000 in UMBI/UIMBI per accident, and $20,000 in uninsured or underinsured property damage coverage (UMPD/UIMPD) per accident, or 25/50/20 UM/UIM coverage. Those who finance or lease their vehicles may be legally required to have collision and comprehensive coverages on their car insurance policies.
Drivers in the Old Dominion can opt out of the insurance system and drive legally uninsured for an annual fee of about $500. However, those caught illegally driving without insurance may face severe legal penalties like fees, fines, license or registration suspension, or even jail time, as the crime is considered a misdemeanor. It’s generally far easier to budget for an annual insurance premium than for an at-fault accident while uninsured.
What Are the Minimum Requirements for Auto Insurance in Virginia?
The minimum car insurance coverage in Virginia is 30/60/20 liability coverage and 25/50/20 UM/UIM coverage. Drivers who meet these minimum requirements or who legally opt out of the insurance system by paying the annual $500 uninsured motorist fee are considered adequately insured under the eyes of the law and will not be subject to legal penalties for driving uninsured.
It’s essential to always maintain a legally adequate policy to avoid any consequences associated with driving uninsured in the state. Since driving without adequate coverage is a misdemeanor, violators of the law may face jail time, among other penalties. It’s also important to note that the legal consequences of driving uninsured aren’t the only penalties. An at-fault accident without adequate coverage may end up costing the driver thousands of dollars in medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and legal fees.
Virginia Car Accident Laws Explained
Virginia auto insurance laws operate on a tort or at-fault basis when it comes to car accidents. Drivers must carry liability coverage to cover the medical expenses or vehicle repairs for the victim in the event of an at-fault accident.
Since Virginia is a tort state, at least one driver must take the fault in every accident. When a driver is assigned fault in the accident, the victim can begin receiving benefits from the at-fault party’s liability coverage.
Virginia is a contributory negligence state, which means if a driver isn’t 100% at fault, the victim cannot sue. So, while insurance systems may experience some overwhelm because a driver must be assigned fault in every accident, there are significant barriers to pursuing legal action in the event of an accident.
How To Find the Best Car Insurance in Virginia
The matter of finding the best coverage for your needs is a matter of finding the best insurance companies in Virginia. Once you’ve found the right company for your lifestyle, everything else just falls into place. While every driver’s needs differ, objectively, a full coverage policy is the best money can buy.
Even better, the best full coverage policy in the Old Dominion will come from one of the state’s top insurers, have a low base rate for premiums, and plenty of opportunities for the policyholder to stack discounts to further reduce their premiums. Typically, a full coverage policy in the state will have liability coverage with a limit that exceeds the legal minimum, UM/UIM coverage with a limit that exceeds the legal minimum, and optional coverages like personal injury protection (PIP), medical payments coverage (MedPay), collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage, among several others.
It’s essential to keep in mind that the best policy for one person may not be the best for everyone. It’s always a good idea to tailor your policy to your specific needs, whether that’s a focus on coverage or budget. However, a full coverage policy is inarguably the safest and best option since policyholders can build coverage to meet their needs and stack discounts to maximize their savings.
Who Has the Cheapest Car Insurance in Virginia?
The insurer with the best auto insurance rates in Virginia is State Farm. The average full coverage premium from State Farm costs about $1,000 annually, or about $500 annually for a minimum coverage one. While State Farm boasts low base rates, the insurer also has a plethora of stackable discounts policyholders can use to further reduce their premiums.
While a full coverage policy is almost always more expensive than a minimum coverage one, a policy with excellent coverage for a lower-than-average rate will offer more bang for your buck. While it’s perfectly fine to carry a minimum coverage policy that meets the state’s minimum coverage requirements, many drivers feel far more comfortable with the extra coverage offered in a full coverage policy.
How To Find the Right Car Insurance Companies in Virginia
The best Virginia auto insurance company is subjective to each driver since values differ for everyone. However, objectively, State Farm offers competitively low base rates, plenty of options for additional coverages, and various stackable discounts, making it a favorite among Virginians.
Along with State Farm, insurers like Nationwide, Geico, Progressive, and Travelers are popular in the Old Dominion. Each insurer offers excellent policies for drivers of all backgrounds, plenty of discounts for all policyholders to stack onto their premiums, and average rates that fall nearly 20% below the average cost of premiums in the state.
How To Get Cheap Auto Insurance in Virginia
While affordable car insurance in Virginia can be tough to track down, it’s not impossible. One of the best ways to find cheap insurance in the Old Dominion is to find an insurer with lower-than-average base rates and plenty of stackable discounts. Many insurers in the state offer both enrollment and criteria-based discounts, which provide policyholders the opportunity to maximize their savings.
Drivers can come close to binding the cheapest policy in the state if they know how to stack their insurance discounts. Many insurers offer several stackable discounts that usually fall into two categories. Criteria-based discounts just require policyholders to meet a set of criteria. In contrast, enrollment-based discounts require policyholders to take an active role in their sayings.
For example, insurers often offer criteria-based discounts like a student discount for young drivers who earn good grades in school, a bundling discount for those who bind multiple insurance policies from the same insurer, or a multi-car discount for those who insure multiple cars on the same policy. These discounts don’t require the insured to do extra work to earn a discount.
Enrollment-based discounts, on the other hand, require policyholders to participate in a program offered by their insurer. Some insurers offer usage-based discounts for those who consent to use a telematics device to track and share their driving data with their insurer. Other insurers may offer a pay-per-mile program for policyholders who drive less than the national average of 12,000 miles annually.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in Virginia?
In Virginia, auto insurance rates vary based on the driver, policy, and insurer. The average full coverage policy costs about $1,340 annually, or 20% less than the national average of $1,670 annually. While some drivers may be eligible for a base rate near or below the average rate in the state, others may not.
Insurers determine a driver’s premiums by analyzing their risk of filing a claim. If a driver poses a high risk of filing a claim, insurers will likely charge them higher than average rates. To determine one’s risk, insurers often look at a driver’s insurance history, driving record, age, gender, and ZIP code, among several other factors.
If any of these factors indicate a high risk of an at-fault accident, especially one’s driving record, insurers will raise one’s rates to compensate for the risk they take by binding a policy. Drivers who have previously had their license or registration revoked or filed for an SR-22 are often most likely to see premiums double or triple the average cost.
What’s the Average Cost of Car Insurance in Virginia?
The average car insurance in Virginia is a full coverage policy with premiums that cost about $1,340 annually. It’s important to remember, though, that premiums aren’t the only cost associated with a car insurance policy. One must ensure they have enough money set aside to pay their premiums on time and their deductible should they file a claim. Typically, policies with a low deductible will have a high premium, and policies with a high deductible will have a low premium. One isn’t better than the other; it’s just a matter of personal preference.
Is Virginia a No-Fault Auto Insurance State?
No, Virginia isn’t a no-fault state. Instead, the Old Dominion is a tort state, meaning at least one driver must be deemed at fault in every accident. In tort states like Virginia, drivers are typically required by law to carry liability coverage, which will help the at-fault policyholder’s car accident victim(s) pay their medical expenses or vehicle repairs.
What’s Virginia SR-22 Insurance?
SR-22 insurance in Virginia isn’t actually a type of policy or insurance coverage but rather a form insurers file on behalf of high-risk drivers to certify with the state that they have an active and adequate insurance policy. Typically, drivers who previously had their license or registration revoked require an SR-22 to be filed on their behalf before reinstatement.
Most commonly, drivers who have driven uninsured or while intoxicated will require an SR-22. While an SR-22 itself isn’t very costly, the existence of such a form on one’s record may double or triple one’s premiums for years to come. It can be challenging for drivers with an SR-22 to bind policies with standard insurers, as many insurance companies feel these drivers are too much of a risk.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Virginia Explained
While there is a legal way to be an uninsured motorist in Virginia, those who decide to have the mandatory minimum coverage must have at least 25/50/20 uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) on their policies. While only about 10% of Virginians are uninsured, compared to the national average of 12%, the coverage is still mandatory for residents who participate in the compulsory insurance system.
UM coverage protects insured drivers from those who choose to drive illegally without adequate coverage or without legally opting out of the insurance system. If an uninsured driver is at fault in an accident, the policyholder’s UM coverage will help them cover their medical expenses and vehicle repairs up to their policy limit.
How To Find Cheap Car Insurance Quotes in Virginia
Whether you’re new to the Old Dominion, a young driver looking to bind a policy for the first time, or curious about what types of deals are waiting for you, the best way to view all your options is to get and compare quotes online. By getting and comparing quotes online from several insurers, you can find the most suitable policy for your needs and budget.
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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.