The Commonwealth of Virginia is one of just a few states that do not require a vehicle owner to purchase an insurance policy for their vehicle in order to legally drive it on a public road. Residents of Virginia that opt not to purchase an auto insurance policy for their vehicle must pay a mandatory $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee. This fee must be paid every year when the vehicle registration is renewed and every time a vehicle is registered with the state the owner must certify that the vehicle they are registering is either insured or uninsured. This means that residents are legally required to purchase an insurance policy or pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee; driving an uninsured vehicle without paying the uninsured motor vehicle fee is in direct violation of Virginia car insurance law. Drivers that falsify their insurance status when registering a vehicle in order to avoid paying the uninsured motorist fee could face serious penalties. It is also import to note that drivers who choose to pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee instead of purchasing an insurance policy receive no benefits or protection for paying the fee and will still be held financially responsible if they are found to be at-fault in an accident.
The residents of Virginia that choose to purchase an auto insurance policy must also purchase minimum amount of a few certain types of coverage in order to satisfy Virginia car insurance requirements. If a Virginia motorist buys an insurance policy that does not meet all of the following minimum requirements the vehicle owner will still be required to register the vehicle as uninsured and pay the required uninsured motor vehicle fee. In order to meet state requirements ever car insurance policy purchased in Virginia needs to include at least $25,000 in single person bodily injury coverage, $50,000 in single accident bodily injury coverage and $20,000 in property damage liability coverage. As an at-fault state Virginia law stipulates that the driver that is found to be at-fault for an accident will also be financially responsible for any injuries or damages that are caused by the accident. Liability insurance is meant to help Virginia residents meet this financial responsibility requirement in the event that they are involved in an accident that is determined to be their fault. Aside from the purchase of a liability car insurance policy or the payment of the uninsured motor vehicle fee a select few residents that own business vehicles are able to purchase a surety bond or choose to self-insure in order to meet state requirements.
In order to monitor the car insurance status of every vehicle registered with the DMV the state of Virginia has implemented an insurance verification program. This program allows insurance companies to instantly provide the DMV with electronic updates on the insurance status of a vehicle. Every time an insurance company cancels, renews or writes a new car insurance policy in the state of Virginia they are required by the state to submit an update to the DMV. The insurance status of Virginia vehicles and residents is also in part monitored and reported by the residents themselves. If a driver is involved in an accident in Virginia they are able to voluntarily file an accident report with the DMV and in the process they can indicate if they suspect that the other driver involved in the accident did not have insurance. After such a report is filed the DMV will send a request for proof of insurance to the other driver involved in the accident. If the request goes unanswered the vehicle owner will have their license suspended, but if they respond with proof of insurance it will be forwarded to the driver that filed the accident report initially. As in every other state uninsured drivers in Virginia are also discovered by law enforcement officers when they are pulled over, involved in a car accident or run into a roadside check. If a driver is discovered to be uninsured and has not paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee, the DMV will suspend their driving privileges immediately upon notification of their uninsured status.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, if a driver is found to be driving uninsured and they have not paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee to the DMV they are at risk of having their vehicle registration suspended in addition to being required to pay a $500 fine. Uninsured drivers that are convicted by the courts also lose their right to legally drive an uninsured vehicle and will be forced, for a period of at least three years, to maintain a liability insurance policy on their vehicle. Uninsured drivers that break the law will also be required to obtain an SR-22 form from their insurance company that can be used to verify future insurance coverage.