In Virginia, you are not allowed to drive without car insurance or uninsured motorist coverage. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will not sell you license plates if you don’t have a policy through a state-authorized company or have paid the uninsured fees.
This law has always been in place to protect everyone on the road and to give financial security to anyone involved in a car accident for repairs and medical bills.
However, Virginia car insurance laws have changed since January 1, 2022, meaning you might need to update your policy to meet the new requirements. Unfortunately, not everyone has done their part in abiding by the new rules.
If you have been involved in an accident with a driver who does not have state-mandated coverage, or you are the driver who is not adequately insured, you will need a good car insurance lawyer. At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, our experience in traffic laws makes us the best to handle your case. Call us at (540) 655-1854 for more information about our services.
What are Virginia’s Insurance Requirements?
Virginia is an “at fault” state, which means that the person who caused the car accident (usually decided by the police and/or a claims adjuster) is also responsible for any resulting financial responsibility.
This means the driver is liable for all losses ?y liability coverage at a minimum. This means that their policy will pay for damages to the other driver but not the policyholder. According to the new laws, drivers’ policies must have:
- $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
- $50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
- $20,000 liability coverage for property damage per accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle.
Drivers can also pay uninsured motor fees when registering their vehicles, which means they can drive the vehicle but must personally pay all compensation and damages that might come from an insurance claim.
Are There Penalties for Not Having the Required Insurance in Virginia?
If you are pulled over or in an accident, and you do not have insurance or have not paid the uninsured fees, you face the Uninsured Vehicle Penalty, which carries:
- A $600 statutory fee
- The requirement to furnish and maintain proof of financial responsibility (form SR-22) for three years
- A reinstatement fee, if applicable
What if Damages exceed the At-Fault Driver’s Policy Limits?
If you are in an accident and the damage exceeds the limits of the involved parties, you have options depending on where you fall.
1. The other driver is at fault
First, you will need to hire a personal injury lawyer. Then, depending on how your attorney advises you, you will:
- File a claim with their insurance company (assuming that the loss is covered under the policy in this situation, the injured person’s insurance company will likely turn around and pursue a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s carrier)
- File a third-party claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, or
- File a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver.
2. You are at fault
When the damage exceeds the policy’s limits, and you are the at-fault driver, the other driver will come after you for the difference. You should still hire a personal injury lawyer. It is better to have someone who knows the laws and can represent you in court.
What Happens if the Other Driver is Uninsured?
Many drivers have more than just liability coverage; they have full coverage. Full coverage means you can still get money for car repairs and medical costs, but you will need to go through your policy and still be responsible for the deductible.
If you have full coverage, call your insurance to start the process. Then, call a lawyer who understands Virginia traffic laws so you can go after the uninsured driver in court.
Turn to a Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
Whether you are not getting the total compensation for an accident or need protection against a lawsuit, you will need a lawyer who knows traffic and insurance laws in Virginia.