Virginia is unusual among U.S. states in that it allows its citizens to own vehicles and drive without automobile insurance, provided they pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee. Nevertheless, it is a bad idea to take up that opportunity to save money on insurance premiums. If you’re ever in an accident, you’ll find that the cost of driving without insurance can be much higher than the cost of purchasing it.
If you opt to buy auto insurance, you are required to purchase liability coverage, which protects you against claims of damages incurred by another person in an auto accident caused by you, by a covered family member or by anyone else you allow to drive your vehicle. The minimum coverage amounts are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury and $20,000 per accident for property damage. The higher the coverage you buy, the better you are protected. Your insurance company, in addition to paying out damages up to the amount for which you are insured, will pay an attorney to defend you.
You may also purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover damages incurred as a result of bodily injury suffered by you or by your passengers in an auto accident. PIP will compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages and other health-related expenses, regardless of who is at fault or whether the other driver is uninsured.
If you drive while you are uninsured, have an accident and are sued by someone injured in that accident, it can be very expensive for you. You’ll have to pay your attorney’s fee, any legal costs incurred in your defense and any settlement or verdict in the case out of your own pocket. And if you can’t afford an attorney, you will be at a grave disadvantage, perhaps being unable to prove you aren’t at fault.
It’s also important to know that if you drive uninsured and without paying the $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee, your driving privileges will be suspended and you’ll be required to carry insurance for the next three years after it is restored.
Fortunately, if you have been injured in an auto accident, even if you do not have insurance, we can help you recover money damages from the other driver to the extent of their fault. At Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C. in Charlottesville, Virginia, we offer a free consultation to discuss your accident case, whether or not you have insurance. Call us at 434-973-7474 or contact us online.
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