Virginia Car Insurance Requirements

An explanation of Virginia's car insurance coverage requirements, how insurance is likely to affect a car accident claim, and the consequences of driving without insurance in Virginia.

By , J.D. University of San Francisco School of Law
Updated 7/02/2024

After a car accident in Virginia, car insurance is sure to play a big part in any claim for injury or vehicle damage:

  • The at-fault driver is on the financial hook after a car accident in Virginia, usually through their car insurance coverage.
  • Virginia vehicle owners are required to carry liability car insurance (payment of an Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee to avoid buying car insurance is no longer an option as of July 1, 2024).
  • You could face a variety of penalties if you violate Virginia's car insurance rules.

Is Virginia a No-Fault Car Insurance State?

No. Virginia follows a traditional "fault"-based system when it comes to financial responsibility for losses stemming from a car accident: injuries, lost income, vehicle damage, and so on. This means that the person who was at fault for causing the car accident is also responsible for any resulting harm. Of course, from a practical standpoint, the at-fault driver's insurance carrier will absorb these losses, up to the driver's liability coverage limits. More on this later.

(Around a dozen states follow some version of a no-fault car insurance system, but Virginia isn't one of them.)

What Are My Options for Getting Compensation After a Virginia Car Accident?

After any kind of injury or property damage resulting from a car accident in Virginia, you might be able to:

Is Car Insurance Required In Virginia?

Yes. As of July 1, 2024, state law requires vehicle owners to certify that they carry the minimum required amounts of insurance on their vehicle before they can register it (including purchasing license plates or decals from the Virginia DMV).

(Before July 1, 2024, Virginia vehicle owners weren't required to carry liability insurance on their vehicle if they paid a $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee. Once this fee was paid, vehicle owners were legally permitted to drive without car insurance, but they'd be personally on the financial hook for injuries and vehicle damage resulting from any car accident they caused. Payment of the Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee is no longer an option. Virginia vehicle owners now must buy liability car insurance in order to register and legally drive their vehicle.)

What Are the Minimum Liability Car Insurance Requirements In Virginia?

You're are required to carry the following minimum amounts of liability car insurance coverage in Virginia (for policies in effect from January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2024):

  • $30,000 in liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
  • $60,000 in liability coverage for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
  • $20,000 in liability coverage for property damage per accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle.

Note: These liability minimums are set to increase for car insurance policies in effect as of January 1, 2025. Check back here for details.

How Does Liability Car Insurance Coverage Work In Virginia?

Liability coverage pays the medical bills, property damage bills, and other costs of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who are injured or have their vehicle damaged in a car accident you cause, up to coverage limits.

You can (and in some situations should) carry more coverage to protect you in case a serious crash results in significant car accident injuries and vehicle damage. Once policy limits are exhausted, you are personally on the financial hook, so higher insurance limits can help protect your personal assets in the event of a serious crash.

Your liability coverage will kick in if any family member is driving your vehicle, or if you've given someone else permission to use it. It will likely also cover you if you get into an accident in a rental car.

Remember that liability coverage doesn't apply to your own injuries or vehicle damage after a Virginia car accident. You'll need different (additional) coverage for that if you're involved in a car accident and no one else's coverage applies to your losses.

For example, collision coverage (optional in Virginia) can pay for repairs to (or replacement of) your damaged vehicle after a car accident. Note that collision or comprehensive coverage might be required under the terms of a vehicle lease or financing agreement.

Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required in Virginia?

Yes. Under Virginia law, your car insurance policy must include uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage, which applies to pay for your medical bills and other accident-related losses when you're in a crash caused by an uninsured driver. The required UIM coverage minimums are the same as the liability minimums outlined above ($30,000/$60,000 for injuries or death, and $20,000 for property damage).

In Virginia, UIM applies to both injuries and property damage caused by an uninsured driver. But note that if your vehicle is damaged by a "hit and run" driver who can't be identified, Virginia law requires you to pay the first $200 toward getting your car fixed or replaced before UIM will kick in.

What Are the Penalties For Driving Without Insurance in Virginia?

According to the Virginia DMV, penalties for not complying with the state's car insurance rules include:

  • suspension of your driving privileges
  • suspension of your vehicle registration
  • payment of a $600 non-compliance fee, and
  • filing a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22) with the Virginia DMV for three years.

Of course, that's all in addition to serious financial consequences if you cause a car accident and you don't have car insurance.

Can I Provide Digital Proof of Car Insurance In Virginia?

Yes. If you're asked to show proof of car insurance (during a traffic stop, for example), you can pull up official documentation from your car insurance company (such as a digital version of your insurance card) on your phone or other device. Of course, you can still carry a physical copy of your insurance card and hand that over as well.

Getting Help After a Virginia Car Accident

Understanding how car insurance works in Virginia is one thing, but if you're injured in a car accident, you might want to discuss your situation (and your options) with a legal professional. Get more information on when you might need a car accident lawyer, and what to expect from your first meeting with a car accident attorney.

Make the Most of Your Claim
Get the compensation you deserve.
We've helped 215 clients find attorneys today.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you