Penalties for Driving without Insurance in Virginia

Virginia requires all drivers to either carry a minimum amount of car insurance or pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle (UMV) fee. If you're caught driving without a form of financial responsibility, the penalties could be severe.

If you're caught driving without insurance, the state of Virginia may convict you of a Class 3 misdemeanor, charge you a $600 noncompliance fee, and take your driver's license, vehicle registration and license plates.

Your insurer will also need to file an SR-22 form on your behalf, which can result in a rate hike.

How much insurance do I need in Virginia?

Virginia requires drivers to either pay a $500 UMV fee or purchase auto insurance with at least the following limits:

Liability

  • $30,000 for bodily injury/death per person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury/death per accident
  • $20,000 for property damage

Uninsured motorist coverage

  • $30,000 for bodily injury/death per person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury/death per accident
  • $20,000 for property damage

Penalties for driving without insurance in Virginia

Virginia uses an electronic insurance verification program to monitor which drivers carry insurance. If the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles finds out you've been driving without coverage, you'll receive a notification.

The potential penalties include a $600 noncompliance fee, driver's license and license plate suspension and a Class 3 misdemeanor conviction. You must provide proof that you have liability insurance within 30 days to avoid these penalties.

Law enforcement officers can also ask for proof of financial responsibility during traffic stops. You may be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor if you can't provide proof. That means you must surrender your driver's license and vehicle registration and pay a fee of $600.

To drive legally again, you need to buy auto insurance. Your insurer will need to file an SR-22 form on your behalf, which must stay on file for three years. Finally, to get your license back, you must pay a $145 reinstatement fee.

Get car insurance in Virginia after a lapse in coverage

How to avoid the penalties

You can avoid these serious penalties by either buying car insurance or paying the $500 UMV fee. The fee doesn't provide financial coverage like insurance does, but it allows you to drive uninsured for up to 12 months at a time.

If you're caught driving without a form of financial responsibility, you may receive notice of these penalties. You'll get the chance to defend yourself, though, by requesting an administrative hearing within 180 days of the date listed on your suspension.

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