What is the penalty for driving without insurance in Virginia?

Driving without car insurance in VA is a class three misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine and other fees, SR-22 insurance requirements, and revocation of driving privileges.

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UPDATED: Jan 21, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • The state of Virginia has complicated automotive insurance laws compared to the rest of the United States
  • Although insurance is mostly mandatory as in other states, drivers may opt to pay a $500 uninsured drivers fee that allows them to drive for a set amount of time
  • If you do decide to hold an insurance plan, the recommended minimum liability coverage is 25/50/20

Although automotive insurance is still required in the Commonwealth of Virginia, allowances are made for those who cannot afford consistent insurance coverage.

These allowances consist of a $500 fee with a variable length of time attached, usually paid when the vehicle is registered with the DMV.

This allowance makes the driver personally liable for any damages to body or property resulting from a possible crash, and it is suggested that all drivers carry the minimum liability coverage of:

  • $25,000 because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and subject to the limit for one person
  • $50,000 because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident
  • $20,000 because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident

Although the Commonwealth of Virginia keeps this policy in place in order to help the state’s citizens through tough times, it is important to carry insurance anyway.

The entire purpose of automotive insurance is to protect you and other drivers on the road from the consequences of accidents, particularly in the case of financial debt accumulated if you’re found liable for a crash.

Under Motor Vehicle Code 46.2-710, the money paid to the Department of Motor Vehicles as a result of this policy is stored in a special trust called the Uninsured Motorists Fund.

This fund allows the state to keep these fees low while at the same time providing a method of immediately tallying money paid over a given year.

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Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance

If you’re found to be driving without purchasing car insurance or paying the uninsured motorist fee, consequences are severe and can include revocation of your driver’s license as well as fees and further issues.

This crime, which is a class three misdemeanor under Virginia state law, usually occurs when a driver claims that their vehicle is already insured falsely, allowing them to register their vehicle without paying the fee. A driver in violation of this law is required to do the following:

  • Pay a $500 fee, the same as would be paid normally if the fee had been paid to the DMV. This money is funneled directly into the Uninsured Motorist Fund.
  • Establish and maintain proof of financial responsibility and independence, established under United States tax form SR-22.
  • Pay any reinstatement fee that might be required as a result of the conviction.
  • The driver is also stripped of their driver’s license and vehicle registration, as well as any license plates issued to the vehicle in question. This revocation lasts until all of the above requirements are fulfilled.

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Proof Required in Virginia

In the state of Virginia, police officers ask for a set of specific items during every traffic stop – the driver’s license, the vehicle’s registration, and proof of automotive insurance.

In the case that the driver has paid the uninsured motorists fee and is capable of proving it, then all is well.

If the driver has not, they may be required to provide proof of payment to the DMV within the next 30 days or risk being charged with the above class three misdemeanor.

If a driver has a valid insurance plan but does not have their card with them, or only has an expired card, the officer may elect to issue the same request and have the driver take their new card to the DMV within the next 30 days.

How to Get Car Insurance in Virginia

Even without the strict requirement that other states hold, the state of Virginia offers a variety of different plans and policies to meet the needs of each driver.

It is recommended that frequent or unskilled drivers purchase a plan with a higher coverage than the state minimum in order to completely protect them from the financial ramifications of a car accident.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has some of the finest and most beautiful locales in the country to drive and explore, so it’s important that each and every driver does what they can to keep the roads safe.

That said, when purchasing an insurance plan, you should always be careful to look for the coverage that suits your needs rather than simply filling checks into boxes.

While insurance companies can often meet every driver’s most basic needs with general plans, it’s always good to hold out until you can find the plan truly suited to your situation.

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