There was certainly a point in the past, not so long ago, where drivers were able to choose whether or not to purchase and carry car insurance. However, the bulk of the country’s states now require motorists to either maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance or provide proof of financial responsibility in order to drive a vehicle. Proof of financial responsibility usually takes the form of making a large deposit or putting aside quite a bit of money to be used in case there is ever a car accident and it is needed. Bonds or securities are commonly used as well. Typically, the hassle of ensuring a driver can provide proof of financial responsibility drives individuals to simply purchase an auto insurance policy. The process is often much simpler.
Virginia auto insurance requirements allow drivers to choose between purchasing the minimum limits of car insurance or posting cash, bonds or securities to prove financial responsibility. The state also offers motorists the ability of paying a $500 Uninsured Motorist Vehicle (UMV) fee in lieu of purchasing car insurance. It is an annual charge and provides no protection to the driver whatsoever. If the driver pays the UMV fee they will still be financially liable for any damage they cause in a collision.
The Virginia Bureau of Insurance regulates car insurance for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Minimum liability insurance limits are $25,000 in bodily injury for one person, $50,000 for two or more people, and $20,000 in property damage. Keep in mind that this is liability insurance. It will cover any potential damages the insured driver causes but it will not cover medical or property expenses for the owner of the policy. Other types of coverage, such as Comprehensive and Collision coverages, would be need to protect the insured individuals on the policy.
Virginia uses an electronic reporting system, run by the local Department of Motor Vehicles, to track insurance policies. It works by matching up the number of registered vehicles in the state to their auto insurance plans. Drivers are still required to carry proof of insurance with them, but this system allows the state to seek out uninsured drivers who have not proven financial responsibility or paid the annual UMV fee.
There are penalties for not following the law when it comes to purchasing car insurance. This could include license suspension, registration suspension, license plate suspension, fees, revoking driving privileges and having to maintain a financial responsibility certificate with the DMV for up to three years.