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Last updated: November 20, 2023

Virginia Car Insurance Laws and Requirements

While Virginia may not require car insurance for most, it still has laws surrounding it for those that choose, or are required to, carry a policy.

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Federal Highway Administration data shows that in 2021, there were nearly 6 million registered drivers in Virginia, the 12th-highest number in the U.S. Despite the large number of cars on the road, Virginia doesn’t require car insurance for most unless you have an SR-22 or FR-44 form. That being said, if you do choose to carry insurance, like 89 percent of the population, you’ll have to follow certain laws. We’ve outlined them below for your convenience.

Car Insurance Laws in Virginia

Let’s take a deep dive into the laws surrounding car insurance in Virginia.

Auto Insurance Requirements in Virginia

Virginia is one of two states that doesn’t require car insurance, along with New Hampshire. If you wish to skip insurance, you can pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle (UMV) fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) instead. However, for those that want insurance, you must meet the minimum coverage requirements listed below.1

Policy effective date Bodily injury liability Property damage liability
Jan. 1, 2022- Dec. 31, 2024 $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident $20,000 per accident
On or after Jan. 1, 2025 $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident $25,000 per accident

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

If you’re caught driving without insurance in Virginia, you’ll face the following penalties:

  • License and registration suspension until you pay a $600 statutory fee
  • SR-22 for three years
  • Reinstatement fee

Carry proof of insurance every time you drive, whether that’s an SR-22 form proving you have the minimum required insurance or an insurance ID. Even if you have a policy but you lack proof, the state will view you as an uninsured driver.


Car insurance rates increase by an average of 18 percent if you’re required to carry an SR-22, as it designates you as a high-risk driver.

Fault System

Virginia is an at-fault state, which means that the at-fault party is responsible for the other party’s property damages and bodily injuries. However, if the plaintiff acted negligently in any way, they can’t recover compensation from the at-fault driver in a civil suit due to the state’s contributory negligence laws.

Cancellation and Nonrenewal Notification Laws

Before a car insurance company in Virginia cancels or decides not to renew your insurance policy, it must notify you a certain number of days before your policy expires. That way, you can get a new policy and avoid a lapse in coverage. Here’s how long the companies must notify you prior to your expiration date:

  • Cancellations: 45 days
  • Cancellations due to nonpayment: 15 days
  • Nonrenewal: 45 days

Self Insurance

Technically, if you own more than 21 vehicles and can provide $95,000 in collateral, plus a net working capital equal to the liability limits required, you can insure your own cars. Fill out this DMV form and send it to the following mailing address:

  • Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
  • P.O. Box 27412
  • Richmond, Virginia 23269

Supplemental Auto Insurance in Virginia

Virginia requires liability coverage only, but if you want coverage for you and your passengers, you’ll have to buy additional coverages such as:

  • Comprehensive: Sometimes, an event can damage your car that’s not a collision, like auto theft, vandalism, or inclement weather, like hurricanes, hail, and tornadoes. For those cases, you’ll need comprehensive car insurance coverage to repair or replace your car up to its actual market value.
  • Collision: Collision coverage, on the other hand, applies to your damages from collisions, whether or not you were at fault.
  • Medical payments coverage: MedPay covers your and your passengers’ injuries in accidents you caused, although you can use it to supplement another party’s bodily injury coverage in accidents you didn’t cause.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage: Uninsured motorist pays for damages and injuries if someone hits your car who lacks insurance or if you’re involved in a hit-and-run. You can stack coverage, meaning if you have multiple cars on your policy with uninsured motorist coverage, you can multiply your limit by your number of cars to get a higher limit per car.
  • Underinsured motorist coverage: You can also get a bundle of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which also includes those who lack sufficient liability insurance to cover your losses. Depending on their coverage limits, the financial responsibility the law requires may not be sufficient.

How Much Is Car Insurance in Virginia?

The average cost of car insurance in Virginia is $861 per year, nearly a quarter less than the national average. Here are the average rates for specific coverages:

  • Liability: $492
  • Collision: $324
  • Comprehensive: $1492

Since the state requires liability coverage only for those that buy insurance, you can get away with paying under $500 per year for insurance.


USAA and State Farm are some of the most popular auto insurance providers in Virginia. State Farm is the top pick for safe drivers, while USAA offers exclusive military membership coverage.

Required Motor Vehicle Inspections

If you just purchased a new car in Virginia, you’ll have to get it reinspected within a year of your purchase date or first inspection and once per year after. While the state does not maintain a list of all 4,200 inspection stations, they include:

  • Dealerships
  • Automotive repair facilities; eligible garages will have a blue-and-white signs that says “Official Inspection Station”

Find a safety inspection site here:

You’ll pay the following fees for your inspection, according to the Virginia State Police.3

Type of vehicle Inspection fee
Tractor truck $51
Truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more $51
Motor vehicles used to transport passengers with a seating capacity greater than 16 passengers, including the driver $51
Motorcycle $12
Autocycle $12
Trailers $20
Motor homes $20
All other vehicles $20

But what about vehicles you purchased and registered out of state? If you live in any of the following counties or cities, you may have to get an emissions inspection every two years:

  • Alexandria
  • Arlington
  • Fairfax
  • Falls Church
  • Loudoun
  • Manassas
  • Manassas Park
  • Prince William
  • Strafford

Emissions inspections are required for the following types of vehicles:

Power source Gas Diesel
Model year Less than 25 model years before Jan. 1 of the current calendar year 1997 or newer
Maximum manufacturer’s designated gross vehicle weight rating in pounds 10,000 8,500

However, the following types of vehicles are exempt from mandatory emissions testing:

  • Fire and rescue equipment
  • Motorcycles
  • Qualified hybrid vehicles achieving 50 or more city miles per gallon (mpg), or 48 or more mpg for model years 2008 and 2009
  • Registered antique vehicles
  • Registered military surplus motor vehicles
  • Tactical military vehicles
  • Vehicles powered by clean fuels exclusively, which include compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, hydrogen, hythane, and electricity

Emissions testing requires a $28 fee. Find a testing location near you.

Texting and Driving Laws

Virginia has strict laws surrounding distracted driving. All drivers are banned from driving while using handheld electronic devices, which means that texting and driving is illegal. This law is under primary enforcement, meaning that police can pull you over for this violation on its own. Penalties for texting and driving include three points per violation and a fine based on the offense number:

  • First: $125
  • Second and subsequent: $2504

Twelve percent of fatal crashes in 2021 in Virginia involved distracted driving, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


While Virginia may not require car insurance for most drivers, we recommend it, especially if you live in a more populated area like Virginia Beach, Norfolk, or Chesapeake, where 13, 11, and 9 percent of the state’s fatal car crashes occurred in 2021, respectively; this is collectively one-third of all the fatal crashes. To protect yourself against financial losses from an accident, whether it causes death, injury, or property damage, insurance is the best option.


  1. Insurance Requirements. Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. (2023).

  2. 2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).

  3. Vehicle Safety Inspection. Virginia State Police. (2023).

  4. Code of Virginia. LIS Virginia Law. (2023).