The Virginia Highway Safety Office reports that 125,800 car accidents occurred in the state in 2015. These accidents resulted in more 65,000 injuries and 753 deaths. You must be aware of the potential for a car accident no matter where you live in Virginia. According to reports, there were 5,193 car accidents in Richmond in 2015. This resulted in 2,673 injuries and 14 death.
Car accidents aren’t just for risky drivers. Even the most careful drivers could be involved in a serious crash. No matter how cautious a driver may be, they should have adequate auto insurance. Virginia is not required to have any type of car insurance, as opposed to most other states in the United States.
Here, our dedicated Richmond car accident attorneys explain Virginia’s complex auto insurance rules. You will also find important tips to help you ensure you get the right car insurance coverage for you.
Virginia’s Minimum Insurance Requirements
Under Virginia law, drivers must obtain the minimum required auto insurance coverage or pay an uninsured motorist fee. You must have at minimum:
- $25,000 per person in bodily injury coverage
- $50,000 per accident coverage for bodily injuries
- Property damage coverage up to $20,000
Liability coverage is the minimum amount of insurance required. This coverage covers only the damage you cause to another person in cases where you are at fault for an accident. You will not be able to insure your family, vehicle, or yourself if you do not have the minimum required insurance coverage.
Virginia is unique among American states in that you can legally avoid obtaining any liability insurance if you pay the state’s $500 uninsured motorist fee. This fee does not provide insurance protection. It only gives you legal permission to drive on Virginia’s public roads. You won’t be subject to any penalties or fines for not having insurance coverage. You will be held responsible for any injury to property or person that you cause by your negligence if you are found at fault in an accident.
Virginia Auto Insurance: How to Get Full Protection
Virginia’s minimum insurance coverage provides very limited liability coverage. However, the uninsured motorist fee pays the state and gives you the opportunity to avoid an uninsured driver ticket. This is not sufficient protection for the vast majority Virginia drivers.
You should consider obtaining additional insurance coverage beyond what the state requires. Virginia Bureau of Insurance suggests that drivers evaluate their personal circumstances and seek additional insurance coverage to ensure true protection.
There are three types of insurance you don’t have to purchase under Virginia law, but that you should strongly consider buying:
- Collision coverage –You should have liability coverage in order to cover you financially if you cause injury to someone else. Also, coverage should be available that will protect your vehicle if it is damaged. Car accidents can happen, it is a fact. Some coverage should provide financial protection to cover repairs or replacements. Collision coverage should cover the entire value of your vehicle.
- Coverage for medical expenses –Virginia drivers should have some type of insurance that covers their medical expenses, should they need it. It is well-known that healthcare costs can be extremely expensive. You can get coverage for everything, from hospital bills to rehabilitation costs. You can also get coverage for lost income due to an accident, in addition to basic medical coverage.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage –This coverage provides protection for you in the event that another driver causes an accident and is not legally or illegally insured. Virginia law requires that all insurance policies sold in the state include UM coverage. Drivers can opt out of this coverage. The Insurance Information Institute According to reports, 10.1 percent Virginia drivers don’t have insurance. We strongly recommend that you have at least some UM/UIM coverage in order to protect yourself.
Insurance tip: Be aware of your policy limits and deductibles
You should pay attention to the policy limit and deductible when you are looking for auto insurance coverage. The deductible should not be too high. You also want to ensure that your policy limits offer you protection.
The deductible on your car insurance policy is the amount you have to pay before the company pays the rest. If your collision insurance policy has $1,000 deductible and you sustain $5,000 damage to your car, you will need to pay $1,000 for repairs.
Your policy limit is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay. Once you have reached your policy limit, you’ll need to find another source to pay the rest of the cost. Insufficient coverage could leave you liable for your injuries in a car accident.
Are You Affected by a Car Accident in Virginia
Marks & Harrison’s Virginia car accident lawyers have helped numerous victims get fair compensation for their injuries. We are able to handle large insurance companies. To learn more about what our team can do for you, please contact us today for your free case evaluation. Our main office is located in Richmond, and we have eight other offices throughout the state that handle car accident cases.