Uninsured motorist car insurance

Uninsured Motorists in Virginia

Virginia is one of the few states that allows drivers without a requirement to buy auto insurance, though if you are not insured, you must pay an “uninsured motorist” fee of $500 at the time of registration. This fee does NOT provide insurance coverage, including coverage for uninsured motorists. Uninsured motorist coverage can be used to pay for your damages when you are the victim of an accident, and the driver who caused it does not have insurance.

How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Works

In July of 2023, Virginia changed the laws around how much you can collect from insurance companies after an accident. Previously, you were limited based on how much insurance the negligent had. You could either collect from their insurance company (if they had insurance) or from your own if they didn’t have insurance—but only if you carried uninsured motorist coverage. For example, if you had $100,000 in damages and they only had coverage up to $50,000, that would be the maximum you could collect. The rest of your expenses would be up to you to pay.

Liability coverage means if you hit someone else, your insurance would pay out a claim to the victim, with limits set within your policy. Most people who carry insurance, at minimum, have liability coverage. Optional but equally important, especially in Virginia, where insurance is not required, is uninsured motorist coverage. If you are the victim of an accident and the other party does not carry auto insurance, you can collect damages from your insurance company if you have uninsured motorist coverage.

The law changed after July 1, 2023, so you can now collect more money and “stack” coverage as a victim. So if you had $100,000 in damages and the other person only had $50,000 in coverage, you could attempt to collect the $50,000 from their liability insurance and collect $100,000 from the uninsured motorist coverage part of insurance as well.

Damages After an Accident

In legal terms, “damages” are costs related to your expenses. There are hard or fixed costs that you can seek to be reimbursed for through a personal injury case, such as costs for vehicle repair, medical treatment, and equipment, as well as lost wages from work due to the accident. Then, there are other costs you can sue for, such as loss of spousal privileges, pain and suffering, and, in some cases, punitive damages to punish the driver for deliberate and/or reckless behavior.

Costs for damages can be astronomical, especially when there has been major trauma or serious injuries to the victim. Carrying insurance is important as the company will pay out those expenses up to the amount of coverage included in your policy.

Personal Injury Cases and Virginia Law

We recommend every driver in Virginia carry not only liability auto insurance but also uninsured motorist coverage. This will protect you if you are injured in an accident by someone who isn’t insured. However the law is complex and carries statutes of limitations by which you must file if you want to receive compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies will do whatever they can to get out of paying claims, including trying to make it look like there is shared blame in an accident, even when the circumstances seem cut and dried.

If you have been hurt in an accident that is someone else’s fault, you should work with an experienced Virginia personal accident lawyer who understands all the avenues that can be used to collect money for damages incurred as a result of the accident, including investigating “stacking” insurance policies to cover as many of your expenses as possible. In cases of major, catastrophic injuries or the death of a loved one, no amount of money can make up for the damage that has been done. You need a lawyer who can negotiate with the insurance companies and fight for the compensation you deserve so that you are not left with a stack of bills on top of dealing with the effects of a major accident or loss of life.

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