Every day, thousands of northern Virginia residents cross state lines into the District of Columbia and Maryland to go to work. If you're one of them, you likely realize exactly how dangerous major highways in the DMV can be. You need to have car insurance behind you, and you must buy a policy that meets your local coverage requirements.
Here's what you need to know.
Car Insurance Requirements In Virginia
Though you might cross state lines to go to work, your primary residence is Virginia. You will need to register your car in this location and pay all applicable taxes to the Commonwealth. Upon registering, drivers must buy car insurance that conforms to Virginia's minimum auto insurance requirements.
By law, all registered drivers in Virginia must have at least the following:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident
- $20,000 property damage liability coverage
Drivers may choose to drive uninsured (at their own risk) but must pay an annual $500 uninsured motorist fee. Some commercial drivers may choose to self-insure or get coverage through surety bonds. However, that rule does not apply to most commuters.
If you relocate into the District of Columbia or Maryland, then you will have to update your registration. You must then buy car insurance in your new location. Each has a separate set of auto insurance requirements.
How Required Coverage Works
Under Virginia's at-fault car insurance laws, drivers who cause accidents must pay for the injury or property damage costs sustained by others. This is the reason you must have auto insurance. The required liability insurance applies to the third-party damage caused by at-fault drivers.
For example, suppose that you rear-end another driver at a stoplight. In these cases, you are most likely going to be at-fault for the accident. It might cause the other driver vehicle damage, and also injure them and their passengers. So, you might have to compensate them using your liability policy. Under Virginia's minimum insurance laws:
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage will pay up to $25,000 if only one person gets injured. Coverage will pay up to $50,000 if multiple people sustain injuries.
- Property Damage Liability Coverage pays up to $20,000 for the other driver's vehicle or other damage.
Keep in mind, you usually can buy much higher coverage limits than the minimums required of you. Therefore, you'll have more help in case of serious at-fault accidents. Additionally, there are other types of coverage - such as collision and comprehensive insurance - that you can buy to pay for your own vehicle damage. Don't hesitate to work with your Burke & Burke Insurance agent to increase coverage to your benefit.
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