Informative Guide to Getting Car Insurance in Virginia
No matter where you live, auto protection is likely to be a significant expense in your life. But did you know that where you live could dictate not only the cost of coverage, but also the types of protection you're required to purchase? Auto insurance regulations vary across the country and mandate factors such as minimum amounts and liability. Depending on where you live, you may be obligated to get much more protection than a driver in a neighboring jurisdiction.
While it's vitally important to know and understand the regulations, it's equally important to use your state's guidelines as a starting point. Industry experts strongly recommend securing coverage far beyond the minimum standard - remember that your policies can only provide the protection outlined in your policy. If you're liable for $100,000 in property damage and your policy only pays out up to $25,000, you will be required to come up with the remaining $75,000 on your own. This is why it's so important to get competitive quotes online, which will help you compare and contrast programs from several different companies at once.
Drivers in Virginia are required to prove financial responsibility if they intend to register a vehicle. Financial responsibility is best satisfied by getting auto insurance. But in theory, you could forego protection and pay an "uninsured motor vehicle fee" of $500 each year to the government. But if you do so, you will be liable for all and any costs associated with an accident - meaning a simple fender bender could bankrupt you. Experts strongly recommend getting protection for complete peace of mind and safety on the road.
By far, insurance is considered the best way to go in Virginia. All auto protection policies in Virginia must meet the state's coverage requirements, which include:
- At least $25,000 for injury or death to one person
- At least $50,000 for injury or death to more than one person
- At least $20,000 for property damage
Again, remember that these are bare legal minimums and it's recommended that you get far more protection than just the minimum. You could be surprised at how affordable comprehensive coverage is. Be sure to discuss your options with your provider.
Virginia will track your coverage. Like some other states, Virginia uses a database that will be notified if you cancel your coverage or let it lapse. Your insurer is obligated to notify the authorities if you cancel your policy. In the event that you fail to maintain an adequate policy, you could have your license, registration and vehicle plates suspended, be fined $500 and be subject to additional fines and penalties.
The easiest way to provide proof of protection is to keep your insurer card in your vehicle at all times. This way, if you are in a minor accident or a traffic stop, you can easily provide proof that you are driving within guidelines. Your insurer should issue you a card, which you can keep in your vehicle's glove box.
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