To register a motor vehicle in most states, proof of insurance is required. The minimum requirements for adequate insurance coverage can vary by jurisdiction. In Virginia, this requirement is liability coverage, which covers the costs of injuries and damages of the other individuals in cases in which you are at fault.
Along with liability coverage, Virginia also mandates that drivers have uninsured or underinsured coverage for a collision in which another party is at fault and does not have enough or any insurance to cover injuries or damages.
This minimum coverage for both of these insurance types is the same and includes:
- One person - $25,000 in injuries
- Two or more people - $50,000 in injuries
- Property damages - $20,000
If you are not able to acquire the minimum insurance for your motor vehicle, the state of Virginia offers an uninsured motor fee for the amount of $500, which allows you to drive insurance-free for up to 12 months. However, this fee does not cover any injuries or damages caused by you or another driver, and you will be fully accountable for covering these costs if you are at fault for an accident. Those who wish to utilize the uninsured motor fee for only a brief amount of time may have their fees prorated.
Penalties for Failing to Meet the Requirements
The Department of Motor Vehicles of Virginia monitors insurance standings through an electronic insurance verification procedure. If you do not meet the minimum insurance requirements and have not paid the uninsured motor fee, you may be subject to suspension of your:
- Driver’s license
- License plates
- Vehicle registration
In order to restore driving and registration privileges, you must pay a $500 fee, file a report (SR-22) that proves you have adequate insurance coverage, and pay to reissue your driver’s license. In these cases, the SR-22 proof of insurance report cannot be satisfied by the uninsured motor fee, and the minimum vehicle insurance requirements must be met.
How Fault Is Determined
Virginia is a fault state, so if you are found to be even partially responsible for an accident, you are considered to be at fault. It’s important to know that liability insurance only covers medical costs and damages for the other party when you cause an accident but does not cover the costs of injuries or property damages you receive when you are at fault. Consequently, you may want to consider purchasing an insurance plan that covers more than the minimum liability coverage. Similarly, if you are driving with no insurance and have paid the uninsured motor fee, you will be responsible for covering injury and damage costs for both yourself and the other party and might benefit from full automotive insurance coverage.
In short, the safest protocol is to seek insurance options that cover your own medical and property expenses, as well as damages and medical bills for the other party. Keep in mind that if you don’t purchase overall coverage, you may end up with large medical and car repair bills. Full coverage can also protect your assets when you are in an accident with uninsured or underinsured drivers who are unable to pay the price for medical and property damages, even if it is 100 percent their fault.
Our Expert Lawyers Are Here to Help
There is a time limit to file a law suit after an accident, both for the courts and the insurance companies, so it is important to file a claim quickly and begin settling your claim before time runs out. In the event of a collision, you may want to seek legal advice right away, as even partial fault could cause you to lose your claim. If you are involved in an accident and are struggling with an insurance claim, feel free to reach out to us for a consultation today.