We all know that it’s a good idea to have car insurance, and most states require you to have a minimum amount. But in Virginia, there’s a surprising exception to the car insurance requirement: the Uninsured Motorist Fee. Paying this $500 annual fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles allows you to operate a motor vehicle without having car insurance – at your own risk, of course. So, with this in mind…do you really need car insurance in Virginia? Technically the answer is no, but there are plenty of reasons why you should still have it!
Uninsured Motorist Fee comes with strings
Paying the $500 fee doesn’t just mean you can avoid paying insurance and still get off scot-free after an accident. The Uninsured Motorist Fee means that you acknowledge that you will be financially responsible for any costs incurred as a result of an accident. So if the accident is severe, you could wind up paying an enormous amount of money on the items below.
Hospital bills are pricey
If you or anyone in your car are injured, the Personal Injury Protection section of your insurance will help cover medical bills (and may help cover lost wages if you’re unable to work after the accident!) Likewise, if the accident was your fault and someone in the other car was injured, your Bodily Injury Liability insurance should help cover them. If you don’t have insurance, all that will come out of your pocket.
Vehicle repairs can also be expensive
Let’s explore a similar hypothetical for this one. Say you’ve been in an accident and your car got badly damaged. If you don’t have insurance that covers collision repair, you’ll either have to fork over the money to fix your car yourself, or you can take your chances and drive a busted-up ride (which is never a good look.) The same goes for the car you hit: don’t have Property Damage Liability insurance? You’ll be paying to fix up someone else’s ride too.
What if you get into an accident with someone else who also doesn’t have insurance?
Be prepared for the worst. Without insurance companies to negotiate, you could wind up in a legal battle over who pays for what. So now you have to pay legal fees in addition to whatever you have to dish out in relation to the actual accident. And no one likes to go to court!
Car insurance is always a good idea. At the very least you should always have the minimum amount required by your state. But if you live in Virginia and think that paying the Uninsured Motorist Fee can save you money, think again: it could end up costing you tons more in the long run. It pays to be prepared, and when it comes to driving it’s always better to be safe than sorry.