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What are state minimums for auto insurance in Virginia?

Things to remember...
  • Virginia requires that most drivers have and maintain car insurance
  • Drivers who do not want car insurance can pay a $500 fee to the BMV
  • Failure to maintain car insurance or pay the fee can result in harsh financial penalties
  • The minimum state required car insurance in Virginia may not fully cover you
  • You can purchase a car insurance policy with the help of a comparison tool

When operating a vehicle in Virginia, all drivers must have valid car insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements.

Failure to maintain car insurance on your vehicle could result in your registration and plates being suspended until you either purchase insurance or pay a $500 fee to the Virginia DMV.

If you need a more affordable policy, you can view new policies with the help of our FREE comparison tool above! 

Table of Contents

How to Read Car Insurance Requirements

Each state sets their own car insurance requirements. When you view car insurance requirements for Virginia, you’ll see that they require bodily injury and/or death of a single person, bodily injury and/or death of more than one person and property damage.

After those listings, you will see an amount in thousands of dollars. This amount represents the minimum amount of coverage you need to drive legally.

For example, if you see $25,000 listed after bodily injury and/or death of a single person, this means that your car insurance policy must have at least $25,000 of coverage for that category. If the policy lists a lesser amount, you are not legal to drive.

Types of Car Insurance Coverage

In order to determine if you have the right auto insurance policy for your needs, you need to understand the types of coverage available in Virginia and their definitions.

  • Bodily Injury Liability – Bodily Injury Liability coverage pays for the injuries or death of individuals who are not the policyholder. If you are driving someone else’s vehicle this coverage may apply to you and any occupants in that vehicle.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) / Medical Payments – If you have PIP insurance, it covers the medical payments for treating the policy holder’s injuries after a car accident and funeral costs in someone dies. Extremely generous PIP coverage may also cover lost wages and other financial losses due to the accident.
  • Property Damage Liability – If you or someone you allow to drive your car causes property damage, this coverage pays for that damage. Property damage can include damaging someone else’s car, damaging someone else’s residential property with your vehicle or paying to repair items such as light poles and railings.
  • Collision – Collision insurance pays for the damage to your vehicle if you are involved in a car accident that is deemed to be your fault. This type of coverage usually has a deductible that you must pay.
  • Comprehensive – Comprehensive insurance coverage pays for damage to your vehicle that is not the result of hitting another vehicle or object. Items covered under this policy may include fire, theft vandalism and certain weather-related damages.
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage – The uninsured and underinsured motorist portion of your car insurance policy helps pay for your accident-related expenses if you are hit by a driver that does not have any insurance or has an insurance policy that does not cover all of your accident-related expenses. This portion of your policy also pays for your injuries and property damage if you are the victim of a hit and run.

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Understanding car Insurance Policy Requirements in Virginia

Insurance policy requirements are often listed as a set of numbers. If you have the minimum insurance for Virginia, your policy would list 25/50/20. These numbers should be multiplied by 1,000 to get the dollar amounts of the specific coverages.

  • First Number (Bodily Injury One Person) – The first number indicates the maximum amount of money your car insurance provider will pay out or the injuries or death of one of the occupants of the other vehicle, assuming you were determined to have caused the accident.
  • Second Number (Bodily Injury Multiple People) – The second number indicates the maximum amount of money your insurance provider will pay for the injuries and/or deaths of multiple occupants of the other vehicle.
  • Third Number (Property Damage) – The third number indicates the maximum amount available to pay for any property damage.

Minimum Car Insurance Coverage for Virginia

All drivers of the state of Virginia must maintain a specific amount of car insurance on their vehicles or pay a $500 fee to the DMV in order to drive legally.

  • Bodily Injury Liability for a Single Person – $25,000
  • Bodily Injury Liability for Multiple People – $50,000
  • Property Damage Coverage – $20,000

Minimum Coverage Alternatives

The state of Virginia does allow drivers to operate their vehicles without car insurance. These drivers must pay the BMV $500, which is an uninsured motor vehicle fee.

This fee does not provide any car insurance, and if the driver gets into an accident, he or she would be responsible for paying the accident-related expenses from their own personal finances.

Uninsured Penalties in Virginia

If the driver of a vehicle does not purchase insurance or pay the $500 fee to operate their vehicle without insurance, he or she can face heavy fines and other penalties.

  • Driver’s License and Registration Suspension
  • Must Pay a $500 Statutory Fee
  • Purchase and Maintain SR-22 Insurance for Three Years
  • Pay a Fee for Reinstatement

Minimum Requirement vs. Recommended Coverage in Virginia

The minimum insurance requirements in Virginia only ensure that you are legal to drive. They may not actually cover all of your accident-related expenses, and if more money is required to cover the remaining expenses, you could be held personally responsible for paying the rest of that money to the other driver.

For example, Virginia only requires $20,000 in property damage. The average cost of a new car is $32,086, which means if you hit a new car, you could be responsible for paying thousands of dollars, even after your insurance company pays a settlement.

If the accident results in someone’s death, it could result in an economic cost of more than one million dollars and a major disabling injury could cost nearly $80,000.

To ensure that you are properly covered in the event of an accident, you should purchase a car insurance policy that pays for the average expenses incurred in a car accident instead of the state minimums.

This may mean making sure you have $40,000 in personal property coverage instead of $20,000 and making sure your bodily injury and death coverage is at least $80,000.

How to Get Car Insurance in Virginia

To get the right amount of coverage for the state of Virginia for a price you can afford, you should use the services of a car insurance comparison tool.

These fast, free tools allow you to input your information and car insurance needs and get results for all of the available car insurance policies in your local area.

Once you have your results, you can quickly view the prices and the car insurance policy inclusions and exclusions to determine which policy would best benefit you. Don’t miss out on our free quote tool below! Just enter your ZIP to start comparing rates for free now!


  1. http://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_understanding_auto.htm
  2. https://scc.virginia.gov/boi/pubs/autoguide.pdf
  3. http://www.iii.org/article/what-covered-basic-auto-insurance-policy
  4. https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/vehicles/#insurance.asp
  5. http://www.iii.org/article/eight-auto-insurance-myths
  6. https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/03/16/why-the-average-american-can-no-longer-afford-a-ne.aspx
  7. http://www.theinjurylawyers.com/cost-of-a-car-accident-2/

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