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Do you have to have car insurance? Almost every state requires drivers to carry some form of auto insurance coverage. The type of coverage and policy limits required by each state vary widely.
A small minority of states even use a different type of insurance system. The insurance you and the other driver carry will likely determine the compensation you can seek after a car accident.
Insurance Requirements in Virginia: How They Differ From Other States
In most states, either you have a car insurance policy, or you do not. In these states, you violate the law if you do not have the required auto insurance.
In two states, New Hampshire and Virginia, vehicle owners have a third option. They can choose not to carry auto insurance, but they must file a notice with the state. In New Hampshire, uninsured vehicle owners must submit a financial responsibility statement proving they can pay for injuries and property damage they cause.
In Virginia, uninsured automobile owners must pay an uninsured motorist (UM) fee of $500 per year. This fee does not purchase insurance. Instead, the state puts it into a UM fund that pays subsidies to insurers to reduce the cost of UM coverage.
Thus, in Virginia, a vehicle owner can have three possible insurance statuses:
- Uninsured with payment of the UM fee
- Uninsured with no payment of the fee
The first option complies with the law and protects the vehicle owner from damages up to the policy limits. The second option complies with the law, and the third option violates it. In both cases, the owner has personal liability for any damages caused.
How Virginia’s Insurance Rules Can Impact a Car Accident Claim
Auto insurance in the U.S. falls into two types. Only 12 states use no-fault insurance. In a no-fault state, each injured person files a claim with the insurer for the vehicle they rode in. Insurers pay the claims regardless of who caused the crash. These states prohibit suing the at-fault driver unless certain requirements are met.
The majority of states, including Virginia, use fault-based insurance. In these states, each injured person files a claim with the insurer for the at-fault driver. If a driver causes a pedestrian accident, the injured pedestrian can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s policy.
The insurer pays the claims until they are all satisfied or the policy limits get hit. When the insurance runs out, the at-fault driver is responsible for any unpaid losses.
Virginia requires vehicle owners to carry:
- $30,000 per victim in bodily injury liability (BIL) up to $60,000 per crash
- $20,000 per crash in property damage liability (PDL)
These requirements increase in 2025 to:
- $50,000 per victim in BIL up to $100,000 per crash
- $25,000 per crash in PDL
Rules covering car insurance in Virginia affect claims in three ways. First, most drivers only buy the minimum coverage. As a result, the law determines how much compensation you can seek from the insurer before you go after the at-fault driver.
Second, Virginia requires insurers to offer UM coverage in all policies. Policyholders can reject the coverage, but many do not since it is built into the policy.
Third, uninsured drivers bear personal liability for all the losses they cause, even if they pay the UM fee. As a result, you can file lawsuits against uninsured drivers for their negligence.
What to Do if You Were Hit by an Uninsured Driver in Virginia
Do you have to have car insurance in Virginia? The answer is no. However, as a result, you face a non-trivial risk of getting hit by someone driving without insurance.
Uninsured drivers add a wrinkle to an already complex claim process. Instead of relying on the insurance company to compensate you for your injuries, you have to rely on the at-fault driver’s assets. If the driver has no assets, you might have no source of injury compensation.
If you get hit by an uninsured driver, some steps to take include:
- Exchange information with the other driver at the accident scene
- Get a copy of the accident report
- Check your auto insurance policy for UM coverage
You can use the other driver’s information and the crash report to file a UM claim with your auto insurer. In Virginia, your UM coverage matches the BIL coverage you bought. Suppose that you bought the minimum BIL coverage and did not reject UM coverage. You will have $30,000 per person up to $60,000 per crash in UM coverage.
If you rejected UM coverage or hit your UM policy limits, you can still sue the at-fault driver for compensation. A lawyer can use the driver’s information to investigate whether they have the assets to justify a lawsuit.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about car insurance:
Does My Car Insurance Pay Me?
Liability coverage does not pay the policyholder. It only pays third parties injured by the policyholder. But you can buy optional medpay coverage that pays for your medical expenses after a car crash.
What Happens if I Don’t Comply With Virginia’s Insurance Requirements?
When you drive without insurance, the state can suspend your driver’s license and vehicle registration. The state can also assess penalties and reinstatement fees.
Does Virginia Have a Lot of Uninsured Motorists?
According to insurance industry statistics, about 10.5% of Virginia’s motorists are uninsured. At this percentage, you have a small but non-trivial risk of getting hit by an uninsured driver.
Car Insurance and Injury Compensation
Do you have to have car insurance in Virginia? No, but uninsured driving exposes both the driver and other road users to significant financial risks.
While you can protect yourself from third-party claims by purchasing liability insurance, you are at the mercy of other drivers who may or may not have insurance. Contact Commonwealth Law to discuss your options after a collision with an uninsured driver.
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.