Virginia Code § 46.2-706 requires all Virginia registered motor vehicle owners to have motor vehicle liability insurance or enough money to pay for any losses that may result from an automobile accident.
The financial responsibility requirement can be met in one of three ways:
- The vehicle owner can insure the motor vehicle with minimum liability coverage through a policy issued by an insurance company licensed to do business in Virginia. The minimum liability coverage is set forth in Virginia Code § 46.2-472.
- The vehicle owner can show proof that a Surety Bond has been duly executed by depositing cash or securities with DMV or by applying for and receiving a self-insurance certificate from DMV.
- The vehicle owner pays the Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee. Every person registering an uninsured motor vehicle shall pay a fee of $500 at the time of registration Payment of this fee allows a motor vehicle owner to operate an uninsured motor vehicle. However payment of this fee does not provide the motorist with any insurance coverage. If involved in an accident, the uninsured motorist remains personally liable. The fee is valid for twelve months but may be prorated for the unexpired portion of the registration period.
Note: If liability insurance coverage on a vehicle terminates or cancels during the registration period, the vehicle owner must either reinsure the vehicle, pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee or surrender the license plates to DMV.
Every person applying for registration of a motor vehicle and declaring it to be an insured vehicle faces stiff penalties if the motor vehicle is subsequently found to be uninsured.
DMV will suspend all driver's license and registration certificates and license plates issued to the owner of the motor vehicle. These items are suspended until the person pays a $600 statutory fee (collected by DMV and deposited into the Uninsured Motorist Fund), furnishes and maintains proof of financial responsibility (form SR-22) for three years and pays a reinstatement fee, if applicable.
DMV monitors insurance coverage through the Insurance Verification Program.