How to get the best car insurance in Virginia
If shopping for car insurance is intimidating, it helps to start with your state’s requirements for insurance. To legally drive in Virginia, you need to either satisfy the state’s auto insurance minimum or pay a fee to the DMV. Compare minimum insurance requirements in Virginia and find the best rates on car insurance.
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Average car insurance costs in Virgina
Virginia is one of the cheapest states in the country to get car insurance, at least for most drivers. The state’s drivers pay an average of $1,050 annually; for reference, the national average is between $1,200 and $1,250.
However, because individual car insurance plans are affected by so many different factors, you could still end up paying significantly more or less than your state’s average.
Cheapest car insurance in Virginia
What affects my car insurance costs?
These factors are likely to affect the cost of your car insurance coverage.
- Age. If you’re younger than 25 or older than 70, you can expect to pay more for your coverage than the ages in between. This is because out of all age demographics, accident risk is highest among drivers between 16 and 19, and slowly lowers through the mid-30s.
- Gender. Women could pay 5-15% less for car insurance in most states. This is because men are statistically riskier drivers, especially under the age of 26.
- Marital status. Married people are seen as more stable, both financially and otherwise, and statistics show that married people are less likely to get into accidents or file insurance claims than single people.
- Type of car. Safe, reliable cars are cheaper to insure than sports cars, convertibles, and other risky models.
- Driving record. If you’ve only been driving for a few years, or if you have any serious black marks in your driving history, most insurers will charge you more for coverage. The longer you go without any accidents or traffic violations, the more likely your rates are to go down — not to mention, you’re more likely to see a good driver discount or something similar. If you add another driver to your car insurance policy, all their factors start to play into your costs, too.
- Location. Rural drivers typically pay less for car insurance than people who live and commute in high traffic or urban areas. This is because in the country, risks of theft, vandalism and multi-vehicle accidents are far lower.
- Typical driving habits. Do you have a lengthy commute every day of the week? Do you put on more miles per week than the average driver? These kinds of things can help or hurt your chance of getting a great rate. If you never drive more than 50 or 100 miles in a week, tell your insurer and see if this can get you a lower rate. But if you drive your own vehicle throughout the day for work, the extra mileage and road time could increase your insurance rates.
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Virginia’s car insurance minimum requirements
Should you choose to purchase insurance, here’s what you’ll need to satisfy Virginia’s car insurance minimums.
Your car insurance policy must include:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person.
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident.
- $20,000 in property damage liability per accident.
When shopping for car insurance, you’ll sometimes see this written as 25/50/20.
You’re also required to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage, which must include at least:
- $25,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury per person.
- $50,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury per accident.
- $20,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage per accident.
What optional coverage can I get in Virginia?
- Collision. Helps cover damages and expenses resulting from a car accident.
- Comprehensive coverage. Helps cover non-collision-related damages to your car, such as those resulting from inclement weather, theft or fire.
- Medical expenses coverage. Pays for injury-related expenses after an accident.
What if I don’t want insurance?
You’ll pay a $500 fee to drive uninsured in Virginia for up to 12 months. But if you’re in an accident, you’ll pay for all damages and injuries you’re found responsible for after any kind of accident. Since the costs of an accident typically add up to a lot more than a year’s worth of insurance costs, it’s usually better to just pay for insurance from a cost-savings standpoint.
What happens if I’m driving in Virginia and I don’t have insurance?
If you’re pulled over for a traffic stop or get in an accident, authorities will request to see proof of insurance. Virginia can check this through an electronic system. If your policy with your insurance company runs out, it’s reported to the state.
If you’re driving uninsured and haven’t paid the fee to drive uninsured, your driver’s license, license plates and vehicle registration can all be suspended.
To get your driving credentials back, you’ll need to pay a $500 fine, a $145 to $220 reinstatement fee and maintain proof of SR-22 insurance for three years. SR-22 holders are legally required to purchase car insurance.
Can I get temporary insurance in Virginia?
You sure can. However, it’s not always offered by major providers, and this kind of coverage tends to cost more than conventional insurance. Temporary coverage can be a great option if you’re only going to be driving during a vacation, or for a month or two at the most — or it can tide you over until you find an insurance policy that works for you. You might need to get temporary coverage if you’ve just bought a car or if you’ve just moved to a new state where your old policy won’t cover new requirements.
Virginia’s drunk driving laws
If you’re caught driving over the limit in this state, you can expect to pay a fine, spend a little time in jail, and lose your license for at least a year — and for any repeat offenders, the consequences get worse each time.
|1st Offense||2nd Offense||3rd Offense|
|Jail||5 days minimum||20 days up to 1 year||6 months minimum|
|Fines and Penalties||$250 minimum||$500 minimum||$1,000 minimum|
|License Suspension||1 year||3 years||Indefinitely|
|IID Required||Yes, if BAC exceeds 0.15%||Yes||Yes|
Implied consent law
Virginia, like most states, has an implied consent law. This means by driving on any and all public roadways in Virginia, you’re giving your consent to be tested for alcohol or drugs if a police officer suspects you might be driving under the influence.
If you violate this implied consent law by refusing a portable breath test or sobriety test, you can have your license suspended for 1-3 years, even if you were never driving under the influence in the first place. Most lawyers will advise that drivers submit to alcohol breath tests when asked by police for this reason.
What happens after a car accident in Virginia?
- Safety first. Make sure that everyone involved in the accident is OK. If anyone is injured, call 911 right away. Do your best to stay calm and look out for any other potential dangers, including fires. If no one is injured, call the local police and inform them of what has happened.
- Exchange information. Get the name, contact information, driver’s license number, address, insurance and car information from the other person involved in the crash.
- Notify your auto insurance company. Notify your insurance company before you leave the scene of the accident. They’ll be able to walk you through any additional steps you should take to protect your claim.
- Document the scene. Take note of any potential witnesses, including a police officer, who can help you protect your claim if you need it later. It’s also a good idea to take pictures if any damages or injuries occurred. Try to get multiple angles and perspectives.
Who’s at fault after an accident?
Virginia is a tort or at-fault state, so you don’t need personal injury protection coverage. Drivers in at-fault states are responsible for paying any damages they’re found at fault for after an accident.
When should I report an accident to the authorities in Virginia?
If the accident resulted in injury, death or property damage over $1,500, call the police right away. They’ll need to file an accident report. If you’re unsure of how much the property damage will cost or if a sore knee counts as an injury, it’s a good idea to call the police just to be safe.
Uninsured drivers in Virginia
Even though Virginia residents can drive without insurance, only 10.1% do — which, surprising, is below the 12.6% average. Still, that’s a fair number of drivers that could leave you vulnerable in case of an accident.
If you’re looking to better protect yourself from uninsured drivers, consider adding an uninsured or uninsured coverage option to your insurance plan.
Regardless of whether you choose to buy car insurance or pay the uninsured driver’s fee, make sure that you research your options. Weigh your lifestyle with your safety concerns and personal finances.
Frequently asked questions about Virginia car insurance
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