Virginia is no stranger to crowded highways and bumper to bumper traffic, making the right insurance policy a must have. Even though Virginia’s rates are relatively low, a little bit of attentive shopping could save you even more money.
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If you shop for the best basic coverage in the state, as well as a few necessary coverage additions, you can save quite a bit. Quotes vary greatly depending on a myriad of factors, from Geico’s $834 offer to Travelers’ $1,582 quote.
It’s important to keep in mind that every person is different. Every citizen of the Old Dominion state may find themselves offered a different quote based on a litany of variables, including age, ZIP code and credit score. Basically, the only surefire way to compare rates accurately is to personally check quotes from the competition yourself — a less exciting but useful way to spend an evening.
You can, however, gather your quotes using some handy online tools. On average they will take around five minutes to complete, a welcome sacrifice when potentially talking about hundreds if not thousands of dollars. If you do have to make a call to get a quote, you may have to set aside 15 or 20 minutes, but stick with it! Big or small, the savings will be absolutely worth it. What have you got to lose?
Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Cheap Car Insurance in Virginia
A good way to start your search is by getting quotes from companies with stellar J.D. Power ratings in the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as favorable ratings from A.M. Best. J.D. Power conducts thorough customer service satisfaction surveys while A.M. Best takes a look at insurance companies’ financial viability to help you find the insurer that will have your back if the worst should happen. Attention to customer satisfaction is incredibly important.
Once you start comparing quotes from the the best car insurance companies, you’ll find that pretty much all of the options are competitive. State Farm has excellent customer service and a solid reputation to pack a punch behind its comparatively low price of $640 annually. Our recommendation? Stick with the most affordable company and invest the savings into better coverage.
Virginia’s Minimum Coverage Requirements for 2020
The most basic level of coverage required in Virginia is $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for total bodily injury for all involved, and $20,000 for property damage, or a 25/50/20 plan. Additionally, you will find that the state requires you to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, matching at 25/50/20.
If you wish to avoid insuring yourself, you can pay an Uninsured Motorist Vehicle (UMV) fee to drive uninsured at your own risk. According to Virginia’s DMV, this is something of a risky decision for any driver:
“Understand that paying the (Virginia) uninsured motor vehicle fee DOES NOT mean you will have insurance and WILL NOT protect you financially in case of an accident. If you get into a car accident, you must pay for all damages and injuries for which you are found responsible.”
In the end, it’s a much safer and smarter decision to insure yourself before getting on the road. With some shopping around and vigilant quote-hunting, you can find yourself fully insured for a fraction of the state average and an even smaller fraction than the cost of an accident.
Failing to purchase the required level of coverage or failing to pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee could put your ability to drive at risk. According to the DMV, those who fail to meet the state’s requirements will face the loss of their driver’s license, vehicle registration and license plates. To reinstate all of the above, they’ll be required to pay a $500 fine, file and maintain an SR-22 certificate for three years, and pay a driver’s license reinstatement fee of $145 to $220.
As previously mentioned, even in states that offer workarounds to traditional insurance, it’s always advised that you get yourself covered, and covered by a company you trust.
If the majority of statistics are to be believed, you’re probably going to have to file a claim in your lifetime. What’s even more frightening is that the average cost of a nonfatal accident with a disabling injury is $93,800. You might feel like you’re saving money with a cheap car insurance policy, but it could bleed you financially if you have to pay damages that exceed your coverage limits.
In most cases, upgrading all the way to a 100/300/50 plan isn’t as unattainable as you might think. For example, the quote for a 25/50/20 plan with State Farm was $1,292. To up the coverage to 100/300/50, the cost went up to $2,004, which is $712 more per year for a heap of extra coverage. This is a drop in the bucket compared with shelling out of pocket for an accident. It’s worth the peace of mind to have a level of coverage you can trust should the unexpected happen.
Why are Virginia’s rates so affordable?
Virginia’s rates are considerably lower than the national average. One reason could be that Virginia car repair costs are below the national average. Another possible reason is that there are over 300 licensed insurance carriers in Virginia. The sheer number of car insurance companies makes the rates very competitive.
What if I’m not a full-time resident?
To purchase insurance in the state of Virginia, you must either be a resident of the state or prove that your vehicle is principally parked there. The only other exemption to the rule is anyone with active military status.
Is Virginia a no-fault insurance state?
Virginia is a partial no-fault insurance state. A no-fault state means that you can receive compensation for your injuries from your insurance, no matter who was at fault. You will receive compensation up to the personal injury protection (PIP) limit. Virginia, however, is an “add-on” no-fault state. The no-fault coverage isn’t automatic. You must pay more for your car insurance policy to have PIP.
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How long do I need to carry SR-22 insurance?
If you’ve had your license suspended, you’ll need SR-22 insurance if you wish to continue driving. You will also need SR-22 for violations such as falsifying insurance certification and failure to provide proof of insurance. Once you submit the papers for SR-22 insurance, processing takes about 72 hours. And after receiving your certificate, you’ll need to carry it for up to three years. Fortunately, for those who wish to clean up their driving records, SR-22s are not permanent. In Virginia, they stay on your record for three years.
Plan on Shopping for a New Policy Every Couple of Years
Unfortunately, things aren’t always on the up and up with the way insurance companies calculate their premiums. Many companies also take into consideration how much money you’re comfortable spending outside of your insurance needs – a practice known as price optimization.
There are many factors your car insurance company is analyzing to gauge your comfortable spending level — your credit score, online shopping habits and social media activity. This controversial tactic of draining the most profit from customers who are unlikely to shop for better rates is used by many car insurers.
Shopping around for a shiny new policy every one or two years is an excellent way to keep insurers more on their toes and less on their analytics. In a state like Virginia, where the practice hasn’t been outlawed, it can be vital to retaining a reasonable premium. There are many reasons why you should shop around for a new policy every so often. Things like getting older, having a clean record and improving your credit score will improve your rates.
If you’re a young driver, your car insurance will be higher than the average because insurance companies see young drivers as riskier drivers. Car insurance does start out high when you’re in your teens but drops significantly once you hit your 20s and 30s. The good news is that Virginia is one of the cheapest states to buy car insurance. So, even if you’re hitting the road as a young driver, your rates are a lot lower than the national average. On the other end, as you get older, your rates will drop. Moving into your 40s? It’s time to shop for a cheaper policy.
Another thing to consider when switching policies is your driving record. If you have consistently been a good driver for three to five years, you should see your annual policy drop. Just one blemish on your driving record can increase your monthly payments quite a bit. So, once you have built up years of good driving, shop around for a new policy and see what your new quotes are.
An improved credit score is a third reason to shop around for a new policy. If you have been diligent about paying off your credit cards and your mortgage, for example, you can see your annual quotes drop significantly. If you have a poor credit score, your rate may be roughly $1,500 versus the average rate of $945 for those with a good credit score.
You can find cheaper car insurance if you’re aware of the factors that determine annual rates and you’re able to use those factors to your advantage. Most important to remember, however, is that no company wants to lose you as a customer. In Virginia especially, the number of carriers is so high that jumping from one to another is a good way to keep your rates low. Also, frequently keeping an eye out for a better policy is the best way to keep the competitive offers coming from your insurer.
Affordable car insurance rates aren’t a rarity, but you will need to commit some time to finding good options. In order to find the best car insurance policy possible, you’re going to have to shop. Shop Geico. Shop Progressive. Shop all the top companies that service your area. What do you have to lose?
The Bottom Line
Affordable car insurance rates aren’t a rarity, but they do take a small time commitment. In order to find the best car insurance policy possible, you’re going to have to shop. Shop Geico. Shop Progressive. Shop all the top companies that service your area. What do you have to lose?
Car Insurance in Virginia
- Erie Insurance
- State Farm