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Last updated: April 6, 2024

Driving Without Insurance in Virginia: What To Know

Nearly 1 in 10 drivers in Virginia lacks insurance. Is that legal?

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Nationally, 12 percent of drivers lack insurance, but in Virginia, that rate is only 11 percent, according to the most recent data from the Insurance Research Council. Ironically, given the low rate of uninsured drivers, Virginia, along with New Hampshire, doesn’t require drivers to have insurance. Instead, they can pay the uninsured motor vehicle (UMV) fee of $500. So what happens if you’re caught driving without insurance?

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Virginia

Although car insurance isn’t required in Virginia, you can get into legal trouble if you’re caught driving either without insurance or without proof that you paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee. Additionally, insurance is required for those who need an SR-22, which we’ll detail below. The DMV monitors liability insurance coverage through the Insurance Verification Program, where insurance carriers give the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) your insurance and vehicle information.

If you register a vehicle and lie about your car’s financial responsibility requirements, you’ll face the following penalties:

  • $600 noncompliance fee
  • SR-22 requirement for three years
  • Reinstatement fee
  • Suspension of license, registration, and license plates

Your suspension will end once you pay the fees and furnish an SR-22, which your insurance company will file with the state’s DMV electronically.

Let’s say you get into a car accident, and the law enforcement officer requires you to show proof of insurance or payment of the fee. If you don’t provide this proof within 30 days of the accident, it’s a Class 2 misdemeanor, resulting in either or both of:

  • Jail time: Six months maximum
  • Fine: $1,000 maximum1

Proof of financial responsibility can be in the form of:

  • Certificate of self-insurance
  • Evidence that you paid the $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee
  • Paper or electronic insurance identification card
  • SR-22 form


Below are links to auto insurance resources in Virginia:


The state will require you to get an SR-22 form after being convicted of failing to provide proof of insurance or being suspended for driving an uninsured vehicle. The limits are the same as the state’s minimum requirements, and you’ll need to carry an SR-22 for three years following your license reinstatement.2


An SR-22 is different from an FR-44, which is for more serious violations and has limits double the minimum. Some convictions that would lead to an FR-44 include driving under the influence or violating federal law.

How to Find Insurance After a Lapse

Even though you weren’t necessarily breaking any laws by driving without insurance unless you had to have an SR-22, having a lapse in coverage makes you a high-risk driver. That means you should request quotes from only high-risk auto insurance companies. These companies cater to high-risk drivers specifically, so make sure to compare quotes from multiple companies before making a decision.

How to Appeal a Fine

You can appeal a fine by sending a Notice of Appeal from the circuit court to the clerk of the district trial court within 30 days of your judgment. You’ll have to send a $50 filing fee as well.3 There are two ways to send this notice:

  • Email:
  • Mail: 
    • Office of the Attorney General
    • 202 N. Ninth St.
    • Richmond, Virginia 23219

The circuit court date must be within five months of the conviction date if you have been held in custody continuously or within nine months otherwise. You may or may not get a new trial, as the commonwealth could reject your appeal.

Otherwise, it will make a judgment on the appeal. If you disagree with the judgment, you can continue the appeal process, appealing it to the state’s Supreme Court. Because the misdemeanor can involve jail time, we recommend hiring an attorney to represent you.

More Virginia Car Insurance Laws

Keep reading about Virginia car insurance laws before you start driving in the Old Dominion.

Minimum Coverage

While Virginia doesn’t require insurance, if you choose to get it anyway, you’ll have to meet certain liability limits. For policies effective from Jan. 1, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2024, the limits are:

  • Bodily injury per person: $30,000
  • Bodily injury per accident: $60,000
  • Property damage per accident: $20,000

However, for policies effective from Jan. 1, 2025, onwards, the limits will be:

  • Bodily injury per person: $50,000
  • Bodily injury per accident: $100,000
  • Property damage per accident: $25,000


Liability insurance applies to people and property outside of your vehicle and passengers. To cover you and your passengers would require collision or comprehensive coverage for property damage and medical payments coverage for injuries/deaths.


To register your car in Virginia, you’ll need the following documents:

Use the below contact information to register your vehicle:

  • Online:
  • Mail:
    • Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
    • Attn: Renewal Center
    • P.O. Box 27412
    • Richmond, VA 23269-0001
  • In-person: 
    • Mobile offices:
    • DMVSelect:

Fault System

Since Virginia is an at-fault state, the at-fault party will be financially responsible for the other party’s medical costs and property damage, paid by liability coverage.

However, if someone wants to sue the other party in a civil suit, they can’t have any percentage of negligence in the accident due to the state’s contributory negligence laws. Even if the car accident was only 1 percent your fault, like if you were illegally parked when it happened, you won’t be able to sue the other party in a civil case.


Driving without insurance, while technically legal in Virginia, is still a bad idea. If you get into an accident, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for the other party’s losses, not to mention your and your passengers’. Even if you paid the $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee, none of that will go toward losses.

Your best bet is to get full coverage car insurance to cover not only the other party’s losses, but also the losses on your end: medical injuries, property damages, and accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers.


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

  2. Businesses. Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. (2023).

  3. NOTICE OF APPEAL FROM TRIAL COURT. Virginia Courts. (2023).