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Virginia’s Latest Uninsured Motorist Reforms for 2024

  • Historically, Virginia drivers could pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee if they registered a car but did not obtain motor vehicle insurance.
  • A major change will occur on July 1, 2024, when state law changes to stipulate ALL motorists must obtain insurance.
  • Drivers who do not obtain car insurance by the deadline cannot register their vehicles in Virginia.
  • Virginia is increasing the amount of minimum insurance coverage in 2025.

Laws are constantly changing, and staying up to date with laws in Virginia is a part of being a resident in our lovely state.  Auto accidents happen, and the laws in place impact us all, so it is important to understand what to expect come July 1, 2024 for drivers across the state. 

At Montagna Law, we want you to be aware of the changes and challenges on the roads you travel. Our personal injury law firm has been handling car and truck accident cases across the state of Virginia for generations, and we are here to lend a helping hand by keeping you informed and updated as we continue to represent Virginia’s citizens on the road. Ready to learn about how these new state laws impact you on the road? Let’s talk about it—lawyer to citizen.

This is a map showing the Interstate Highways in the state of Virginia. Major highways are highlighted in blue with their respective Interstate numbers in red and white shields. Key highways include I-95 running north-south through the eastern part of the state, I-81 running north-south in the western part, and I-64 running east-west. Other notable highways include I-77, I-85, I-66, and smaller segments like I-195, I-295, I-395, I-495, I-564, I-664, I-264, I-464, I-581, and I-381. The map provides a clear layout of the major interstate connections across Virginia.

Overview of New Virginia Car Insurance Law

The majority of U.S. state laws require drivers to carry motor vehicle insurance before they can register their vehicles, but Virginia has permitted owners to register in one of two ways:

  • Provide proof of auto insurance meeting coverage requirements
  • Pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee, valid for 12 months

This rule did not mean motorists could waive the ability to carry insurance. If caught without insurance coverage, they could be fined for not having an insurance policy and held liable for any damages they cause.

The insured motor vehicle fee simply meant drivers could register vehicles with Virginia license plates and operate them at their own risk. This will all change on July 1, 2024, when all motorists must present proof of insurance when they go to the DMV to register a vehicle.

Why is This Changing?

The longstanding uninsured motor vehicle fee law is changing because good drivers pay for insurance policies, which cost far above the annual $500 fee many “bad” drivers pay. As a result, responsible drivers absorb most of the costs associated with damage, while at-fault drivers avoid financial responsibility. While the new law will probably not eliminate the problem, it should help mitigate it.

How This Law Affects Virginia Motorists Involved in a Car Accident

If you are already insured, the new legislation may benefit you if you are in a car accident and you were not at fault. If you normally pay the $500 motorist fee in lieu of insurance, then this law will affect you because you will have to either a) purchase insurance or b) drive illegally. Unfortunately, many drivers are likely to continue driving without insurance.

Example One – Prior to July 1, 2024

You are a motorist driving in a new van with your family in the vehicle. Another car hits you, causing injury and damage to the vehicle. If it is before July 1, 2024, this at-fault driver may be legal on the roadways because they paid the UMV fee, but they have no insurance to cover your damages. Suing them may also provide no compensation or award. This forces you to use your own insurance (if you have the correct type) to cover the damages to you and your vehicle.

Example Two – After July 1, 2024

Let’s say the same situation occurs after July 1, 2024. In this scenario, the at-fault driver has either the lowest insurance policy that is required by VA Code, or they are operating an uninsured vehicle that is not legal. If the at-fault driver is operating an uninsured vehicle, they will now be subject to penalties that the previous UMV fee prevented them from receiving.

New Insurance Laws Coming in 2025

In 2025, at the start of the new year, the minimum liability insurance coverage will increase from:

  • Injury and death from $30,000 to $50,000
  • Property damage from $20,000 to $25,000
  • Injury or death of two or more people from $60,000 to $100,000

Should I Hire an Attorney If I Am Involved in a Car Accident in Virginia?

A close-up image of a head-on collision between a dark blue van and a silver sedan. The front ends of both vehicles are severely damaged, with the van's windshield shattered and the sedan's hood crumpled. The scene is set on a wet road with greenery and a house in the background, indicating a rural area. The airbags in the sedan are deployed, and debris is scattered around the crash site.

If you experience a car accident in Virginia, you should consider hiring an attorney, especially if you suffered serious injuries in the crash. The aftermath of a crash can be filled with confusion, fear, and uncertainty.

Dealing with insurance companies is difficult, especially since they usually try to avoid paying compensation or quickly try to settle to pay out the minimum before you have had time to think about it. It can be hard to deal with injuries while negotiating with insurance companies that do not prioritize your well-being. Your personal injury lawyer will do all the legwork.

  • Gather physical evidence
  • Interview witnesses
  • Assemble medical records
  • Negotiate with insurance companies
  • Retain expert witnesses
  • Go to trial, if necessary
  • And more

Your attorney will advocate in your best interests and work to help you get the financial compensation you need to recover or pay for expenses you will incur in the future due to the nature of severe injuries.

Contributory Negligence

Virginia is one of a handful of contributory negligence states. To receive any type of compensation the victim cannot be any part at fault. This is harsher than other states’ laws. Since others will be quick to point fingers, it is important the at-fault party is held fully accountable.

Additional Resources

Why Work With Montagna Law

Montagna Law has been serving the Hampton Roads area for half a century. Clients choosing to work with our law firm know we put a priority on their best interests.

Clients working with Montagna Law can expect to work directly with their attorney, receive prompt returns to their phone calls, obtain regular updates, and have transparency about all aspects of their case.

When you work with Montagna, you will never feel if you have been left in the dark. We pride ourselves on the personalized legal services we provide. Your needs will set the course of how our attorneys approach your case.

Testimonials

“My experience from beginning to end was extremely smooth. From the sweet voice of Grace to the firm handshake from John, all made me feel secure in knowing that I made the best choice of hiring Montagna Law to represent me. You will not regret their service.” – Constance.

“Mr. Montagna is an amazing attorney. His legal expertise and dedication exceeded my expectations. Mr. Montagna provided clear, and insightful guidance throughout the entire legal process. His professionalism and accessibility are unmatched in his field. He was very prompt if I had any questions and kept me informed at every stage. I would highly recommend Mr. Montagna to anyone in need of legal representation” – Tyler.

“I went to see Mr. Montagna about representing me in a court case. After the meeting, I knew I had made the right choice for a lawyer. I won my case thanks to his professionalism and knowledge of the law.” – K.

Involved in a Car Accident? Contact Us to See How We Can Help.

Montagna Law is committed to providing legal representation to those who suffer injury. The new Virginia insurance coverage law has yet to impact victims, but whatever happens, our attorneys are here to help. Call us to schedule a free consultation at 877-622-8100 or fill out our online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Insurance Rates for Drivers Who Already Have This Type of Car Insurance Increase?

It is unlikely the new law will impact drivers already carrying the minimum amount of car insurance required by Virginia law. However, the minimum requirement will increase at the start of 2025.

What Are the Penalties For Driving Uninsured?

After July 1, 2024, the uninsured motor vehicle fee will no longer be an option for individuals choosing not to have insurance. Motorists caught driving without insurance can be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor.

  • § 46.2-707 – Penalty for not having insurance (effective on July 1, 2024)
  • Class 3 misdemeanor – For knowingly operating an uninsured vehicle
  • Class 3 misdemeanor – False insurance
What Happens If You Recently Paid the Uninsured Motorist Fee and Are Now Forced to Purchase Insurance?

It is highly possible Virginia’s DMV will offer a prorated return of fees paid for the year. However, the answer to this will not be fully clear until the state provides guidance or when July 1 arrives. A potential outcome is the government keeps the money.

New Law May Increase Hit and Run Accidents in Virginia

Hit-and-run accidents are more common than you might think. An unintended side effect of this new law will be even more occurrences of hit-and-runs. Uninsured motorists will be more inclined to leave accident scenes because of the harsher consequences of not having insurance.

How Do I Receive Compensation After a Car Accident?

To receive compensation after a crash, you will want to file a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance. If the amount of compensation does not cover your damages, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other motorist.

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