Virginia residents looking to secure license plates or decals must first comply with the state’s insurance requirements or pay the uninsured motor vehicle (UMV) fee of $500 dollars. This fee does not provide insurance; however, it allows the vehicle to be driven during the registration period. When the vehicle’s registration is up for renewal, the UMV fee must be paid again. Below are the insurance requirements, ways to satisfy the requirements and penalties if you fail to comply.
Virginia Minimum Insurance Requirements:
*25,000- Bodily injury or death for one individual
*50,000- Bodily injury or death for two or more individuals
*20,000- Property damage coverage
FYI- All insurance carriers are obligated to notify the department of motor vehicle in the event of a lapse, or when new auto coverage is issued. If your policy cancels during the vehicle’s registration period you must do one of the following: reissue the lapsed policy/purchase a new policy with another carrier, pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee or return your tags to the DMV.
Satisfying the Requirement
Purchasing liability insurance with the proper minimum coverage is the best option for complying with the state law and protecting your assets. However, there are two other options to consider. If you pay the uninsured motorist fee; you can legally drive without having liability insurance, but you will still be held personally liable for any damage that you cause. Business vehicle owners have the option of securing self-insurance or surety bonds. More information on self-insurance and surety bonds are available at any DMV office.
Residents who are not insured and have not paid the UMV fee will have both their vehicle registration and driver’s license suspended. Furthermore, these drivers will be responsible for maintaining an SR22, a certificate of financial responsibility, for a three year period.
Registering a vehicle in Virginia requires proof of at least minimum liability coverage. Liability insurance satisfies the financial responsibility requirement and ensures that vehicles are driven according to the state’s laws. Failure to maintain insurance or pay the uninsured motorist vehicle fee could result in a suspended driver’s license and vehicle registration. For further information visit the department of motor vehicle website or view the Virginia consumer insurance guide, located at the Virginia bureau of insurance website.