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Do You Need Car Insurance in Virginia?

Key Takeaways

  • As of July 1, 2024, car insurance is required in Virginia.
  • Until that date, drivers can still pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee instead of carrying insurance.
  • Auto insurance coverage minimums will increase in January 2025.
  • The state has expensive penalties for failure to have insurance.
  • Uninsured drivers face lawsuits, as they are personally liable if they were at fault in an accident.

Until July 1, 2024, Virginia does not require car insurance. Drivers can instead pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee. The legislature passed a new law in 2023 that makes auto insurance mandatory beginning in July 2024, with insurance coverage minimums set to increase in January 2025.

Virginia follows an at-fault insurance system, so claims and lawsuits often involve liability disputes. These cases are even more complex if one of the drivers is uninsured or their policy limits don’t cover your damages. At Cooper Hurley Injury Law, our skilled car accident attorneys will work to prove the other party’s liability and seek damages for your economic and non-economic harm after a crash.

Virginia’s Auto Insurance Requirements in 2024

Legislation passed in 2023 changed Virginia’s car insurance requirements. As of July 1, 2024, car insurance is required in Virginia. Under SB 951, drivers will no longer be able to pay a fee instead of having coverage. 

The state’s auto insurance coverage requirement includes protection against bodily injury, death, and property damage. The minimum mandatory coverage amounts will increase in January 2025.

Virginia Car Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements

Insurance Type

July 1, 2024

January 1, 2025

Bodily injury per person



Bodily injury per accident



Property damage



Your insurance policy includes underinsured-uninsured motorist, or UIM, coverage at the same levels. If you can afford to, consider additional liability and uninsured motorist coverage for expenses in the case of an accident with significant damages.

Another change in Virginia’s UIM insurance law in 2023 may be to your benefit following an accident. Before the change, your insurance company could deduct the other driver’s liability coverage from your UIM coverage in the event of an accident. For example, if the other driver had the minimum liability coverage of $30,000 and you had $30,000 in UIM, you could only collect $30,000 from the at-fault driver. Your UIM didn’t have to pay.

Under the amended law, that coverage is now stackable. If you have $50,000 in damage and the accident was the other driver’s fault, you could collect $30,000 from their insurance and claim the other $20,000 from your own.

Previous Insurance Options in Virginia

Until the changes dictated by SB 951, Virginia was one of a few states that didn’t require auto insurance. Instead, drivers could pay a $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle fee, which went to the state and did not provide insurance coverage.

Drivers who do not carry insurance are personally liable if they are at fault in an auto accident. However, it can be difficult to collect compensation against an uninsured driver who doesn’t have the means to pay. Even a minor accident can cause significant damage and injuries, such as whiplash and concussions. Drivers in major accidents may face hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and emotional harm.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Virginia

Driving without insurance leaves you open to personal liability if you cause a crash. Virginia also has very stiff penalties for driving without insurance if you claim the vehicle is insured at the time of registration. The state suspends your driving and vehicle registration privileges. To be reinstated, you must take three steps, including:

  1. Pay a $600 fee.
  2. File a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate Form SR-22 with the DMV for three years.
  3. Pay any applicable reinstatement fees.

Drivers can use a payment plan program to spread the $600 fee over time. As of 2024, the reinstatement fee for failing to maintain auto liability insurance is $145. You may face further reinstatement fees. For example, there is a $175 fee to get your license back if you were also driving on a suspended license.

Why Is Car Insurance Important?

Virginia’s law allowing the payment of a fee instead of carrying car insurance made car accident cases with uninsured drivers complicated. You had the option of suing an uninsured driver, but they often don’t have the means to pay any judgment. The change in the law to require insurance for all drivers will make it easier to know where to turn for compensation when another driver causes your accident.

Having your own car insurance is critical. It can protect you against personal liability if you get into an accident that is your fault. It also covers accidents when no other vehicles are involved or when you have a crash with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. 

After July 1, 2024, you no longer have the option of paying a fee instead of insuring your vehicle. Lack of insurance carries significant penalties, and you may lose your home or other assets if you are found liable in a lawsuit.

Trust the Car Crash Experts at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

As The Car Crash Experts, we have an in-depth knowledge of Virginia’s at-fault insurance and personal injury laws. Our award-winning personal injury attorneys have over 120 years of combined experience and a history of success, including obtaining the second-highest car crash verdict in Virginia in 2022.

If you need legal help after a car accident, call us at 757-333-3333 or complete our online form for a free case evaluation now. We will explain Virginia insurance laws as they apply to your specific circumstances and guide you on the best steps toward fighting for compensation. You pay us nothing unless we win your case.

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