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Like many states, Virginia is a diverse state. There’s a big difference between Northern Virginia (known as NoVA), which is nestled up against Washington DC, and the rest of Virginia (known as ROVA), where the Blue Ridge Parkway winds through the mountains, historic homes dot the piedmont, and farms spread across the eastern shore. Your proximity to congested areas in the Old Dominion and the many commuters driving from bedroom communities to jobs in the nation’s capital will play a part in how much your auto insurance will cost.

There are almost 6 million licensed drivers in the state of Virginia, which has a total of about 8.5 million residents. With this many drivers, you might think car insurance is expensive, but quite the opposite is true. It’s No. 4 on the list of cheapest states to insure a vehicle, just after Vermont, Idaho, and Ohio, which mostly rural states. There are a couple of reasons for Virginia’s low rates. For one thing, there are more than 300 licensed insurance carriers in Virginia, so rates are very competitive. The insurance industry is also heavily regulated in the state, with the Virginia Bureau of Insurance keeping tabs on carriers.

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Average Annual Car Insurance Rates in Virginia

How We Found the Cheapest Car Insurance in Virginia

U.S. News worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide a report of average insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies. The rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 17, 25, 35, and 60 years. Vehicles used include the 2018 Honda Civic, 2018 Toyota RAV4, 2018 Ford F-150, 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150, with annual mileage of 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation and one DUI were also used in the calculations. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only. Individual rates will differ.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in Virginia

See the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

Auto insurance in the state of Virginia costs 26 percent less than the national average, and that’s evident no matter where you live, how old you are, or what kind of coverage you choose. The competitive insurance environment in this state means companies have to really justify rate hikes, which is tough to do.

The overall average rate from major insurers in Virginia ranges from a low of $1,858 with USAA, to a high of $3,386 if you go through Allstate. That’s half as much as some of the top-five most expensive states. Annual mileage matters little if at all to insurance companies here. When comparing 6,000 and 12,000 annual miles, there’s an annual rate difference of only a couple hundred dollars at most. Two insurers in our study, Progressive and Nationwide, offered identical rate averages for those two mileages.

Company 6,000 miles annually (10 mile daily commute) 12,000 miles annually (25 mile daily commute)
Allstate $3,283.84 $3,489.76
GEICO $2,023.00 $2,100.05
Nationwide $2,073.00 $2,073.00
Progressive $2,498.58 $2,498.58
State Farm $2,213.26 $2,324.64
USAA $1,789.82 $1,926.94

We found the same trend in types of coverage. Choosing a low level of auto insurance was only about $150 cheaper than the average cost of a high level of insurance. For the six companies in our study, the average low coverage cost was $2,290. The medium coverage was $2,349, and high coverage was $2,432.

Company Low Medium High
Allstate $3,285.83 $3,387.50 $3,487.07
GEICO $1,982.24 $2,059.40 $2,142.94
Nationwide $2,173.16 $2,052.90 $1,992.93
Progressive $2,389.12 $2,470.72 $2,635.90
State Farm $2,135.51 $2,265.47 $2,405.86
USAA $1,783.22 $1,861.88 $1,930.05

A poor credit history can lead to much higher rates, which isn’t unusual. Still, average rates in Virginia are lower than most other states. On average, drivers with a poor credit history will pay nearly $1,000 more per year than drivers with good credit. But even with poor credit, the average in Virginia across six major insurers was under $3,000 a year.

Company Good Fair Poor
Allstate $2,728.54 $3,306.89 $4,124.97
GEICO $1,947.11 $1,947.11 $2,290.36
Nationwide $1,791.13 $1,972.47 $2,455.39
Progressive $2,274.12 $2,435.09 $2,786.53
State Farm $1,579.97 $2,000.25 $3,226.63
USAA $1,397.63 $1,693.24 $2,484.28

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Virginia Auto Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements

While it’s true you have to have auto insurance in Virginia (with one exception), the minimum car insurance coverage you must have breaks down a little differently here than it does in other states:

  • $25,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of one person
  • $50,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of two or more people
  • $20,000 minimum coverage for property damage liability (PDL)

However, you can legally drive without insurance in Virginia if you pay a $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee. If you choose to drive a UMV and get into an accident and you’re found responsible for any injuries or damage, you still have to pay for them. That means the money comes out of your bank account or gets put on your credit card rather than having an insurance company pay on your behalf. Before choosing this option, keep in mind that you can face bankruptcy and the loss of assets like a home or retirement savings to cover costs if you’re found to be responsible for an accident.

If you don’t have car insurance and you have not paid the UMV fee, your driver’s license, license plates, and registration will be suspended. You’ll have to pay a $500 fee (which is exactly the same amount you would have had to pay for the UMV waiver), and you’ll have to purchase and maintain a high-risk auto insurance policy, known as an SR-22, for three years. When you’re allowed to have a license and registration again, you’ll have to pay a reinstatement fee of up to $220 as well.

Cheapest Car Insurance in Virginia

Everybody wins the auto insurance game in Virginia. USAA offers the cheapest average rate overall in Virgina, at $1,858 per year. Given how many military personel and their families live in Virginia, USAA is a great option for Virginia drivers looking for car insurance. However, USAA only caters to members of the military, those who retired or were honorably separated, and the spouse or children of those members. Geico and Nationwide have the next lowest average annual car insurance rates in Virginia at $2,061 and $2,073 respectively.

Even rates for new drivers are very low in Virginia compared to other states. As the most expensive demographic, 17-year-old male drivers pay $5,300 on average in Virginia. Once drivers reach the age of 25, rates drop dramatically and stay low across the decades. A married 60-year-old driver will pay an average of $1,360 for car insurance.

Company Single 17-year old female Single 17-year old male Single 25-year old female Single 25-year old male Married 35-year old female Married 35-year old male Married 60-year old female Married 60-year old male
Allstate $6,396.48 $7,347.90 $2,657.40 $2,658.72 $2,042.68 $1,927.36 $2,031.93 $2,031.93
GEICO $3,138.19 $4,204.27 $1,714.06 $1,694.64 $1,474.03 $1,470.61 $1,398.20 $1,398.20
Nationwide $3,416.62 $4,404.98 $1,581.99 $1,722.38 $1,434.38 $1,443.07 $1,272.70 $1,307.87
Progressive $5,745.52 $6,458.19 $1,518.73 $1,551.90 $1,253.96 $1,191.15 $1,132.77 $1,136.42
State Farm $4,201.43 $5,274.72 $1,572.89 $1,810.26 $1,391.16 $1,391.16 $1,254.98 $1,254.98
USAA $3,443.79 $4,098.14 $1,436.38 $1,578.59 $1,116.16 $1,099.37 $1,043.93 $1,050.71

Drivers with poor credit ratings fare well in Virginia too. Rates are higher than for those with good credit by nearly $1,000, but the overall rates are still very low compared to other states. The competitive insurance market here also benefits drivers who have made a mistake. A speeding ticket, an accident, or a DUI will raise your rates, but the difference between the average rate for a clean record, about $2,000, is not so different from the average for a DUI, the most severely penalized category, at about $2,800.

A few cities in Virginia do have higher average rates. Dumfries, for example, has the highest average rate in our study at $2,733, but is in close proximity to the Quantico Marine Corps base and a quick jaunt up I-95 to Washington DC. The cheaper averages are found in more rural areas, like Blacksburg and Christiansburg in the southern part of the state, and Bridgewater, which is nestled among national parks.

City Average Rate
Blacksburg $2,035.11
Christiansburg $2,042.79
Bridgewater $2,043.31
Woodstock $2,057.97
Strasburg $2,089.85
Luray $2,127.94
Vinton $2,183.94
Pulaski $2,186.35
Front Royal $2,251.45
Bedford $2,259.84
Farmville $2,315.44
Ashland $2,315.56
Leesburg $2,330.71
Big Stone Gap $2,340.36
Orange $2,376.15
Purcellville $2,379.58
Culpeper $2,383.53
Bluefield $2,410.20
Warrenton $2,508.03
Dumfries $2,733.77

Why Car Insurance Rates Vary in Virginia

Just because the rates are comparatively low in Virginia, that doesn’t mean that those rates don’t make giant leaps between demographics like they do in other states. As we’ve seen, it is more expensive to insure a car in a more urban area, as there are more chances for accidents to occur. It’s also more expensive to insure new drivers because their inexperience is more likely to lead to mistakes.

In our study, we looked at average rates in 20 communities. The difference between the lowest average – $2,035 in Blacksburg – was only about $700 less than the most expensive, $2,733 in Dumfries. In other states with higher overall rates, the difference between cities can vary by thousands of dollars.

How to Get Cheapest Car Insurance in Virginia

The most common way to lower your insurance premiums is to avoid getting into an accident and having to file a claim. As we’ve seen, even one accident can raise your rate by a few hundred dollars, even in inexpensive states like Virginia. Most insurers offer an accident-free discount for drivers who don’t have an accident for about three years.

If you’re comfortable with reporting your safe driving habits directly to your insurance company, you can see discounts. Nationwide has SmartRide, for instance, a device that plugs into your car to measure miles driven, hard braking, hard acceleration, and nighttime driving, all of which are factors in many crashes. Several insurers have similar programs with similar discounts. AllState’s Drivewise program uses an app on your smartphone rather than a separate device.

Young and old drivers in particular can benefit from improving their driving skills. Anyone over 55 who completes a defensive driving course certified by the Virginia DMV can get a discount from Nationwide. State Farm has the Steer Clear app, which coaches new drivers via an app on their smartphone. Once the course is completed, the driver is eligible for a discount.

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Important Laws around Auto Insurance in that Virginia

Virginia is a “fault” or “at-fault” state when it comes to insurance, rather than a “no fault” state. That means that whoever caused the accident is going to be the one to pay for any damages and injuries that result from the crash. Virginia doesn’t even require you to carry insurance if you don’t want to, as long as you pay the $500 annual fee and let the state know of your choice. But if you cause an accident, you have to have the cash on hand to pay for the other driver’s bills. You can of course choose to be insured, and most people do.

Virginia has both SR-22 and FR-44 insurance requirements for drivers who’ve had their license suspended. Drivers who have fled the scene of a serious accident they caused, or who have been caught running a unlisenced cab at least twice, among other violations, can be required to carry SR-22 insurance while they are unable to drive or own a car. The required minimums are the same as they are for anyone else: bodily injury for one person of $25,000, bodily injury for more than one person of $50,000, and property damage of $20,000.

If you get a DUI conviction, the state can require you to carry FR-44 insurance. The coverage is the same as the SR-22 insurance.

It’s legal use a digital insurance card on your smartphone in Virginia, which means you no longer have to carry a card in your wallet or keep it buried in your glovebox. Many states are adopting this technology.

Virginia Driving Laws and Punishments

Texting while driving is illegal in Virginia, and it is a traffic violation. The penalty is a $125 fine, or $250 if you’re in a construction zone when workers are present. In addition, it’s illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use a cell phone at all while they’re behind the wheel.

(Manuel Breva Colmeiro / Getty Images)

Virginia has pretty stiff DUI penalties, in addition to your insurance premiums going up. For a first offense, there’s a minimum $250 fine. The state will also revoke your license and install an ignition interlock device in your car. A second offense doubles the minimum fine. Virginia will also revoke your license for three years, and you could face up to a year in jail. If you continue to drive under the influence and get caught or cause accidents, the punishments get very steep.

If you’re set against carrying car insurance, you have that privilege in Virginia. In this case, you have to register your car as uninsured and pay a $500 UMV fee. If you don’t register as uninsured and pay the fee or you drive without auto insurance, the state could revoke your driving privileges, charge you fees, and require you to carry SR-22 insurance for three years.

Virginia Car Insurance FAQs

Is car insurance required in Virginia?

Auto insurance is not required in Virginia, but you do have to register your car as an Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) and pay an annual $500 fee for the privilege. If you choose to carry insurance in Virginia, the minimum requirements are:

  • $25,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of one person
  • $50,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of two or more people
  • $20,000 minimum coverage for property damage liability (PDL)

Which cars are required to be insured in Virginia?

If your car is registered in the state of Virginia, it must be insured unless you register it as a UMV. If you deactivate the registration for a vehicle while it is garaged or stored elsewhere, it does not have to be insured.

When should I get car insurance in Virginia?

You should purchase car insurance as soon as you register your vehicle in Virginia. That could be when you buy a car or when you move to the state. In either case, you’ll need to have insurance or register it as an Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV).

What happens if my car is not properly insured in Virginia?

You have two choices in Virginia: carry the minimum required insurance or register your vehicle as uninsured and pay an annual fee. If you choose neither of these, your license will be suspended, you will pay $645 in fees, and you will be required to carry SR-22 insurance for three years.

Is Virginia a no-fault state?

Virginia is a “fault” or “at-fault” state, which means that whoever caused an accident will be responsible for the costs of damages and injuries.

Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in Virginia?

Uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Virginia.

Is liability insurance required in Virginia?

A minimum of $20,000 in property damage liability insurance is required if you choose to carry insurance in Virginia.

Does Virginia accept digital insurance cards?

Yes, Virginia does accept digital insurance cards.

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