Many people believe that car insurance is mandated by federal law, but that is not the case. In fact, insurance law is primarily state-based, which means the laws in your state might vary greatly from the one directly next-door. Now, that does not mean you should drive without insurance. We always recommend our clients obtain as much protection as they can afford — because drivers can and will sue the person at fault after any accident, no matter how minor.
Car insurance falls under some weird regulations in the state of Virginia. For one, it is not mandatory. Technically, you can drive unprotected if you wish. But technicalities are just the start. While you can opt out of insurance technically, you have to obtain a waiver first. How do you obtain a waiver? By providing the state with proof that you’re financially protected — through wealth or greater responsibility — and that you don’t really need the protection it provides.
Because Virginia law says that the driver at fault is responsible for financially compensating victims for injuries, that waiver requires a lot of responsibility. But don’t worry! If you aren’t financially responsible and still don’t want insurance, you still have one more option. All you have to do is pay a fee of $500 to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when you register your vehicle. If you go this route, you owe the $500 every time you renew your car’s registration.
If this sounds sort of like a state-wide money-grab at the expense of drivers, our team of personal injury lawyers agrees.
Even stranger still is the fact that if you do purchase car insurance, there are legally required minimum amounts:
$25,000 worth of insurance for bodily injury per person.
$50,000 worth of insurance for bodily injury per accident.
$20,000 worth of insurance for property damage.
Opting out of car insurance is a risky game for anyone. Imagine you’re in a bad car accident and the police investigators determine that you were at fault for causing a car accident — even though you weren’t. You opted out of car insurance because you don’t have the money to afford the required minimum protection amounts. You’re still responsible for paying back the victims. And that’s not to say anything of the bills you incurred yourself.
That’s an easy recipe for a youthful bankruptcy. If you don’t have the money for insurance, we’ve got bad news: you probably can’t afford to get behind the wheel, either. It’s not worth the risk.