Yes, if you were injured in a car accident and someone else is at fault for that accident, you have a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company. If the insurance company fails to pay as it should, you can pursue legal action against the company.
Although Virginia is one of the rare areas of the country where you can operate a motor vehicle without auto insurance, that doesn’t necessarily make it a wise decision.
At a minimum, you should purchase liability insurance that will provide protection in case you cause damage to another vehicle. Driving without insurance is risky behavior, especially in light of Virginia’s pure contributory negligence rule. This law states that if you were even one percent negligent in the collision you cannot collect damages from the at-fault party.
Virginia Auto Insurance Laws
Virginia law does not require that you carry auto insurance to operate a vehicle. However, when you register your vehicle, you’ll have to pay the Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee if you choose to drive without insurance. This fee is $500 and does not provide any insurance to the driver. You’ll be required to pay this fee annually when you renew your registration as long as you choose to drive without insurance.
You would be better off using that money to purchase insurance. And if you falsify that you have insurance when you do not, the DMV could charge you a $600 noncompliance fee as well as a $145 reinstatement fee while requiring that you show proof of insurance.
If you cancel your policy within the commonwealth of Virginia, insurers are required to send a notification to the DMV of your cancellation.
In Virginia, to qualify as having auto insurance, your policy must meet the minimum coverage requirements that became effective Jan. 1, 20222. These include:
- $30,000 of coverage for injury or death to a person (for policies effective on or after Jan. 1, 2022 through December. 31, 2024)
- $60,000 for injury or death of two or more people (for policies effective on or after Jan. 1, 2022 through December. 31, 2024)
- $20,000 of property damage coverage (for policies effective on or after Jan. 1, 2022 through December. 31, 2024)
For policies effective on or After Jan. 1, 2025 the new insurance coverage requirements are:
- $50,000 for injury or death of one person
- $100,000 for injury or death of two or more people
- $25,000 in property damage
Risks of Driving Without Auto Insurance in Virginia
Outside of the requirement to pay $500 if you choose to drive without insurance in the commonwealth of Virginia, you also open yourself up to serious risks.
The biggest risk is that you’ll cause an accident and be fully liable to pay for all damages from that accident. This could mean wage garnishments for life and a total draining of all savings accounts.
One accident could cause lifelong financial hardships. And if you’re found partially at fault for an accident, you’ll be left on the hook for all your medical bills and property damage regardless of whether you caused the accident.
It’s best to purchase car insurance that at least meets minimum requirements to provide protection from financial ruin due to a car accident. And because drivers can operate vehicles without insurance, it’s also a good idea to add uninsured and underinsurance coverage to your policy to protect yourself in case of an accident with someone who does not have insurance.
Connect With Us for a Free Consultation
We know that changes in financial status or hard times can impact your ability to maintain auto insurance. No matter your reason for being uninsured at the time of your accident, Geoff McDonald & Associates can help you recover financially. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights regardless of your auto insurance status at the time of the accident.