If you're a resident of Virginia, it's important to know that the state has specific laws regarding car insurance. If you're caught driving without insurance, you could face serious penalties. If you receive a notice that your vehicle is not insured, you must immediately provide proof of insurance. If you don't respond or if there is no insurance, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will issue a Stay Order and you will only have 30 days to pay the default penalty and purchase an SR-22 certificate.
If the Suspension Order goes into effect, a reinstatement fee must also be paid before DMV reinstates your driving privileges. If you lie to the DMV and declare that your vehicle has insurance, they can suspend your driver's license and registration. In addition, you can suspend your license for up to four years if you have an accident without insurance. If you have insurance but can't prove it when you're stopped or at the scene of an accident, you're guilty of an “administrative offense,” similar to a seat belt ticket. When you apply for car insurance, insurance providers may consider you a higher-risk driver because you've already broken the law by driving without insurance.
Newer cars and models that are more expensive will also cost more to repair and replace them, which means that the insurer takes an additional risk when insuring these vehicles. If you cancel insurance with an active license plate, the VA DMV will consider that you are operating an uninsured vehicle, even if that vehicle is not in use. In addition to that financial burden, the driver of the other vehicle could report the accident to the DMV due to lack of insurance. If you're injured in a car accident that wasn't your fault, the biggest concern will be whether the at-fault party has car insurance. Only Virginia and New Hampshire give you the option to opt out of insurance, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. If you buy an insurance policy, your policy will be activated to cover all or part of the costs of your accident. In Virginia, it's mandatory to have auto liability insurance in accordance with the Commonwealth minimum coverage requirements or pay a fee to the DMV.
An SR-22 (Financial Liability Insurance Certificate) is essentially a mandatory document that will be filed with the DMV and that guarantees that you have legally required insurance coverage. Accidents are stressful, and if someone in your family is injured, you'll want to be able to focus on getting the medical care they need without worrying about paying the resulting medical bills. It's important to remember that if you don't have car insurance in Virginia, there are serious penalties.