As you may know, in the state of Virginia it is legal to drive without insurance. In the case of an uninsured driver, the Virginia Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) law allows the motor vehicle owner to register it as uninsured and then drive it on the roads along with all others.
If a vehicle is registered as uninsured, the owner of the vehicle is required to pay a $500 fee to the DMV in addition to normal registration fees. This fee does not provide insurance for the motorist. If motorist gets in an accident, they remain personally liable. The $500 registration fee covers a twelve month period, but may be prorated for a shorter amount of time.
You may wonder, I’m paying for my own liability insurance coverage (in case I cause an accident), so why do I also have Uninsured Motorist Coverage Insurance on my automobile insurance policy and bill? You may also notice this is mandatory to pay in the state of Virginia. Please understand this coverage will pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages caused to you (and others in your car) by an uninsured driver. Basically, you are paying for the chance that you or a family member is in a collision with an uninsured motorist. So, even if the person who caused your wreck is uninsured, your insurance company provides insurance to you.
You may also wonder how much insurance is available to you in a situation like this. It depends on the amount of uninsured motorist coverage that exists under your own policy and any others that may apply to you. The amount your policy lists as the limitation of liability essentially means you can recover up to that amount for injuries and damages.
This law has many fine points that need much explanation. That aside, here’s a tip, you want your uninsured motorist coverage to be as high as your general liability insurance limits, so check your existing policy coverage. Even though this law may make you angry or confused when paying the bills, just remember it could be the most important coverage for you and your family down the road!
Contact an experienced lawyer for help.