Author: Robert L. Mertig
To purchase license plates or decals, you must certify that the vehicle is covered by the minimum insurance requirements or pay the “Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee”. Insurance requirements also apply to antique motor vehicles. Virginia requires the following minimum coverage:
– Bodily injury/death of one person $25,000 – Bodily injury/death of two or more persons $50,000 – Property damage $20,000
The $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee, which is paid to the Department of Motor Vehicles, (DMV), does not provide any insurance; it only allows you to drive an uninsured vehicle at your own risk. It expires with your registration and must be paid at renewal.
Registering or driving a vehicle without insurance or without paying the uninsured motor vehicle fee will result in fines and other penalties.
Fee’s from penalties (fines) and those paying the UM fee of $500 comprise the Uninsured Motorists Fund. The SCC (State Corporation Commission) distributes money from the fund to the insurance companies writing motor vehicle bodily injury and property damage liability insurance on motor vehicles registered in Virginia. Funds distributed by the SCC are used to help offset the cost of the uninsured motorist coverage required for all liability insurance policies written in Virginia.
If you choose to pay the Uninsured Motorist fee, then you can drive violating the law against driving a vehicle without auto insurance. However, if you cause an accident resulting in damages, your driver’s license can be suspended until you pay the damages. In addition, if you obtain automobile insurance instead of paying the fee, you not only protect yourself against being personally responsible for damages you may cause, but you also protect yourself, as well as other occupants and drivers of your car, from suffering losses if you are injured by an uninsured motorist. (Under Virginia law, if you purchase basic liability insurance, you automatically get uninsured motorist coverage, too).
So – be smart! Buy auto insurance to protect you and your family members, as well as those who drive or ride in your car.
About the Author: Bob is claims consultant for the Petersburg personal injury law firm Allen & Allen. A former insurance adjuster, Bob works under the supervision of Attorney Paul Hux to assist clients in settling their personal injury claims.