Virginia requires all drivers to either carry a minimum amount of car insurance or pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee. If you're caught driving without a form of financial responsibility, the penalties could be severe.
The state of Virginia may convict you of a Class 3 misdemeanor, charge you a $500 fine, and take your driver's license, vehicle registration and license plates. Your insurer will also need to file a form SR-22 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 uninsured motorist fee or purchase auto insurance with at least the following limits:
- $25,000 for bodily injury/death per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury/death per accident
- $20,000 for property damage
Penalties for driving without insurance in Virginia
The state of Virginia uses an electronic insurance verification program to monitor which drivers carry insurance. If the department of motor vehicles hears you've been driving without coverage, you'll receive a notification.
The potential penalties include a $500 fine, 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, pay a fee of up to $500, and buy auto insurance. Your insurer will need to file an SR-22 form on your behalf, which must stay on file for three years. And to get your license back, you must pay a $145 fee.
How to avoid the penalties
You can head off these serious penalties by either buying car insurance or paying the $500 uninsured motorist 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.