As a general rule, all motor vehicles, trailers, and semi-trailers operated on a public road in Virginia must be registered. § 46.2-613. When registering your vehicle you must state whether the vehicle is insured or not. The purpose of auto insurance of course is to ensure that a motor vehicle owner has enough money to cover expenses in case of an accident.
Consequences of Failure to Obtain Auto Insurance
Owner's of motor vehicles registered in Virginia are required to have either obtained auto insurance for their vehicle, or to have paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee. (It is also possible for business owners to obtain and show proof of a duly executed surety bond to the DMV). Failure to either have obtained auto insurance or to have paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee is a class 3 misdemeanor. § 46.2-707.
So, if you haven't obtained auto insurance for your motor vehicle and it is registered in Virginia, if you want to avoid committing a class 3 misdemeanor you must pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee.
Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee
The motor vehicle fee costs $500 for the year. However, if the vehicle is being registered or re-registered for less than a year the $500 fee will be prorated. During the year, if you obtain insurance for the vehicle, and can provide proof to the DMV that you have done so, the DMV will refund a prorated amount to you, unless only 3 months remain in the registration period, in which case you will not receive a refund. § 46.2-706.
Starting Jan 1. 2017, drivers will have the option to enter into a payment plan to pay the fee associated with the uninsured motor vehicle fee. To qualify the driver (1) must have at least one driving suspension pursuant to 46.2-706, 46.2-707, or 46.2-708 but have no other outstanding suspensions or revocations; (2) meet all other conditions for reinstatement of driving privileges; and (3) have never defaulted on a prior uninsured motor vehicle payment plan. The driver must also pay a $25 administrative fee and a reinstatement fee.
It is important to note that the uninsured motor vehicle fee does not act as auto insurance. If you are involved in an accident the DMV will not compensate you for damage done to your vehicle.
If you are the owner of a vehicle that is both uninsured and for which the uninsured motor vehicle fee has not been paid, the DMV is required by statute to suspend your license until you pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee and furnish proof of financial responsibility.
See License Suspension page for further information.
SR-22 forms are forms required by the DMV for high risk insurance policies. It is a financial responsibility certification document required in certain instances. Note that DUI is not one of the convictions listed.
SR-22 certification is required for the following convictions:
- Unsatisfied judgements
- Uninsured motor vehicle suspension
- Failure to provide proof of insurance associated with insurance monitoring
- Falsifying insurance certification
- Driver license suspension as a result of a conviction for:
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.
- Perjury, making a false affidavit to DMV regarding the registration of motor vehicles, or making a false statement on any driver's license application.
- Any crime punishable as a felony under the motor vehicle law or any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used.
- Failure of a driver of a motor vehicle, involved in an accident resulting in death or injury to another person, to stop and disclose his identity at the scene of the accident.
- Operating or permitting the operation, for a second time, of a passenger automobile for transportation of passengers for rent or for hire, without a license.
SR-22 liability insurance coverage limits are:
- Bodily injury/death of one person $25,000
- Bodily injury/death of two or more persons $50,000
- Property damage $20,000