Virginia seal

From the Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains, Virginia is quite a sight to see. Residents can explore the history of the nation in Jamestown and enjoy fine Southern cuisine, or explore the wilderness in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But before you set out to discover your home state, you need to have the proper car insurance.

Luckily, you can get a great deal on insurance premiums in Virginia. With some savvy shopping, you can expect to pay well below the national average for insurance coverage. But you’ll need to take the time to compare rates from as many insurance companies as possible to get the best deal on car insurance in Virginia.

But that doesn’t mean you have to contact each company individually or make long, tedious phone calls. OnlineAutoInsurance.com takes the hassle out of comparing car insurance quotes. After answering a few basic questions about yourself and the vehicle you want to cover, you can compare rates from multiple companies without leaving the house.

But before you start shopping for insurance coverage, you need to decide how much car insurance you need. So what are the minimum requirements, and how much coverage is right for you?

Virginia Car Insurance Laws

The VA auto insurance laws require drivers to insure their vehicles at all times. This part of the law is known as the financial responsibility law, and it is enforced to make sure that anyone who causes damages to others has a way to pay for it.

Liability Coverage

  • $25,000 Bodily Injury Liability Coverage per person injured in a car accident
  • $50,000 Bodily Injury Liability Coverage per accident with multiple people injured
  • $20,000 Property Damage Liability per accident

Your Bodily Injury policy will pay medical expenses and other economic losses due to injuries you’re liable for in an at-fault accident, so long as it doesn’t exceed the per person or per accident limits. Your Property Damage policy will pay to repair or replace vehicles damaged in an at-fault accident, as well as any standing structures like fences or guardrails.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

  • $25,000 Bodily Injury Coverage per person injured in a car accident
  • $50,000 Bodily Injury Coverage per accident with multiple people injured
  • $20,000 Property Damage Liability per accident

Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage will act in place of another driver’s liability insurance if you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist or the victim of a hit-and-run. The Bodily Injury portion of the policy will pay for your medical expenses and other economic losses, and the property damage will pay to repair or replace your vehicle.

If you elect to raise your maximum limits, then the policy can help you in instances where the other driver’s liability limits are exhausted before all the damages are paid. For example, if you have UMI Bodily Injury benefits of up to $100,000, and the other driver had only a basic liability policy with $25,000, you can receive up to $75,000 to help with medical bills, funeral expenses, and things like lost wages when you are unable to work due to an injury.

Liability insurance doesn’t pay medical bills for you or your passengers, nor will it help to pay for damages to your vehicle or to your personal property if you run into your own house or fence. Additionally, an accident involving multiple injuries or vehicles can easily exceed the state minimum limits. If you are unable to meet your financial responsibility in accidents that exceed these limits, you should shop for liability coverage with higher maximum limits, and consider adding policies that protect you and your vehicle when you’re at-fault in an accident.

Driving Without Insurance in Virginia

Virginia allows you to forgo the state’s car insurance requirements if you pay an additional $500 Uninsured Motorist fee when you register your vehicle. However, this doesn’t relieve you of your financial responsibility in a car accident, and choosing not to carry car insurance leaves you vulnerable to lawsuits that can devastate your finances for years to come.

If you are caught driving without car insurance and neglected to pay the fee, you will face a minimum $500 fine and suspension of your driver’s license and registration. You will also need to maintain an SR-22 filing for at least three years.

If you are caught driving when your license has been suspended, or if you are convicted of a DUI, Virginia state law will require you to file for an FR-44, which requires you to maintain a policy with double the liability limits for up to three years. Many companies will refuse to offer you coverage, and the ones that do will charge you as much as 70% more for your premiums.

Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

If you finance or lease your car, you will be required to carry a Comprehensive and Collision policy. But even if you own your car outright, the only way to protect your vehicle is with this policy.

Collision coverage will pay for damage caused by a collision with another vehicle or stationary object. Even if the other driver is at fault, you can choose to file a collision claim with this policy if they don’t have enough coverage to pay for the damage. But that means you will forfeit any right to compensation from the other driver’s insurance, and you will likely see an increase in your premiums.

Comprehensive covers damages that happen outside of a collision, including damage from storms, fires, or even a collision with an animal. It will pay for damages from vandalism or help to replace your vehicle if it’s stolen. If your vehicle is valued at more than $3,000, or if you would have difficulty replacing it, you should maintain both of these policies to make sure you always have a ride.

Medical Payments and Economic Loss Insurance

If you have health insurance with a high deductible, or you would have difficulty paying medical bills after a car accident, consider adding medical insurance to your car insurance. A MedPay policy will quickly pay out personal injury benefits for you and your passengers, regardless of fault.

This will cover medical bills, services, or funeral expenses even if you’re a passenger in another vehicle, or if you’re injured by a car as a pedestrian. It will also provide a limited amount of lost wages. And because Virginia doesn’t allow subrogation for car insurance, these benefits can be in addition to any money you may receive from another driver’s liability policy.

This is no substitute for health insurance—the basic policy only offers $2,000 per person. But It can cover things your health insurance may not, such as dental or chiropractic care. It’s also worth noting that your policy won’t pay out benefits if you’re driving for work, so you need to make sure you have coverage through your job or talk to your car insurance company about a commercial policy that keeps you covered.

Shopping for cheap car insurance

Insurance companies base car insurance premiums on personal factors like your age, address, credit score, and driving history. The higher the risk you are to insure, the more you will have to pay for coverage. Other factors that go into your rate are the type of vehicle you want to insure and the amount of coverage you wish to purchase.

Customers with more speeding tickets and insurance claims will be considered a higher risk. Keep a clean driving record and drive defensively to ensure you’ll always find affordable car insurance, and check the price to cover a new vehicle before you buy it. Generally speaking, cars with advanced safety features that are less likely to be stolen will cost less to maintain a policy.

Each insurer will use these factors differently to set their rates, and no one insurance company will offer the cheapest car insurance to everyone. The only way to find the best value for you is to determine the amount of insurance you need and compare insurance quotes from as many companies as possible.

While you can experiment with different deductibles and maximum limits to help you find the best value for your dollar, it’s imperative that you don’t skimp on the necessary coverage. If you’re in a car accident, the cost can easily outweigh the monthly savings you get by purchasing the bare minimum coverage. You could be stuck with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt - and no car to get you to and from work to help you pay it back.

The bottom line

Shopping for cheap car insurance is more than finding the lowest rates. You need to carefully weigh your options to choose the level of coverage that makes sense to you first. Once you know what you need, you can find a good deal from a reliable company that offers benefits you don’t have to fight for when it’s time to make a claim. Once you find one, you can purchase your policy online and have proof of insurance within minutes.

Even when you’re covered, you should periodically compare rates. Switching companies can save you hundreds of dollars a year, and that’s extra money in your pocket you can enjoy on other things. So start your rate comparison right away!