Virginia auto insurance coverage is required under state law. The exception to the rule is when the driver has paid a $500 fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for the right to operate the vehicle on the road without insurance coverage. This is not the wisest choice, since a driver who does so will be responsible for paying for any damages he or she causes in an accident personally.
If a lapse in coverage occurs, either due to the policy being canceled for non-payment or not renewed by the insurance company, the insurance company will notify the DMV of the status change. Insurance providers are required by law to forward this information to the state electronically through its Insurance Verification Program. The vehicle owner has three options at that point:
- Buy a new car insurance policy immediately
- Pay the $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee
- Surrender the car’s plates to the DMV
A car insurance buyer who has had a lapse in coverage may find it challenging to find a company willing to write a policy. This type of event may result in the driver being considered a higher for insurance purposes, and not all companies are prepared to write a policy for drivers in these circumstances. If the policy has lapsed due to non-payment, the insurance company may be wiling to reinstate the coverage if the driver contacts the insurer immediately and makes arrangements to bring the payments up to date.