Higher Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Protects Virginia Drivers
Most drivers know about minimum insurance coverage. However, many don’t realize basic coverage may fail to meet the medical bills of Virginia victims who end up hurt in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents.
Fortunately, that minimum coverage increased on Jan. 1, bringing some overdue good news to those who suffer injuries in the Commonwealth.
Details About the New Law
A law that came into effect at the start of the year means motorists who have the most basic insurance in the state now have increased minimum coverage. Drivers are safer and more protected in the event of a wreck.
Virginia’s new laws mean car insurance policies effective January 1, 2022, through January 1, 2025, increased bodily injury and death minimums to $30,000 and $60,000, respectively. After January 1, 2025, new policies will increase to $50,000 for one person and $100,000 for two or more people with bodily injury or death in a car wreck.
In order to purchase license plates or decals, drivers must certify that their vehicle is covered by the minimum insurance requirements or pay a $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee.
Before the new law, the Commonwealth required drivers to have insurance that covered $30,000 for injury or death of one person, $50,000 for injury or death of two or more people as well as $20,000 for property damage. Those minimums had not gone up since 1975 and failed to reflect inflation. Anyone who has spent time in a hospital with a substantial injury will know $30,000 doesn’t go far toward covering medical bills.
As Virginia personal injury lawyers, we are acutely aware of the challenges faced by clients who have been hit by a driver with minimal car insurance coverage. Skilled personal injury lawyers can maximize sources of income. Victims often sue the responsible party for the remainder of their medical costs and vehicle damage. However, Virginia’s low insurance minimums have posed a challenge to victims for decades. The new rules will help them, even though the increases fail to keep pace with inflation.
Thomas Freridge, vice president of strategic relations for Choice Insurance Agency in Virginia Beach, told the Virginian-Pilot, the new law protects drivers and takes some burdens off the court system.
He said the legislation was the subject of many years of debate in the Virginia General Assembly. Supporters including Freridge, believed the law would protect drivers. Opponents speculated it would cause more people to drive uninsured. Freridge said lawmakers eventually agreed to a compromise that would see only a small increase in insurance premiums.
Experts such as Freridge say it’s still a great idea for drivers to check in with their insurance agents for an annual review of their policies. They may be able to save on monthly premiums due to the changes because some insurers reward drivers who purchase coverage above the minimum.
We advise drivers to purchase as much car insurance as possible. Car collisions occur every day on the highways of Hampton Roads. As Virginia Beach car accident lawyers, we are aware that drivers end up in an auto accident about once every 17.9 years on average and 77% of drivers have been in at least one accident during their lives. The consequences of these wrecks can be devastating for injured drivers, passengers, and their loved ones.
Contact a Skilled Lawyer Right Away
In the aftermath of a crash, the car insurance companies will do everything in their power to limit the victim’s payout, talk down the seriousness of his or her injuries, and try to pin blame on the claimant. It’s important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side who will fight on your behalf. Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as soon as possible after a car crash with injuries at (757) 333-3333.