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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. 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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Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Virginia

The rates shown here are based on a study performed by Quadrant Information services on behalf of U.S. News. The study examined rates from 10 largest car insurance companies in the United States, using certain driver profiles. Your rates will differ.

How We Found the Cheapest Car Insurance in Virginia

At U.S. News, we’re all about helping people make life’s important decisions. Our college rankings, launched in 1983, set the standard in educational rankings. Our ranking in other fields, like healthcare, government, and the automotive sphere, help people and thought leaders make choices that make lives better. Now we’re continuing to empower you with the information you need to make the right choices for your life with our Cheapest Car Insurance Rankings.

Our Study Rates

For this study, U.S. News worked with Quadrant Information Services to analyze a report of insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies, though not every company operates in every state Quadrant obtained publicly available rate data that car insurers file with state regulators. Our study rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150, with annual mileage ranging from 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 of certain driver archetypes. To get the state-wide study rates shown here, we computed the mean rate for male and female drivers ages 24, 35 and 60 who drive 15,000 miles per year, have medium coverage, good credit and a clean driving record.  The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Because car insurance rates are based on individual factors, your car insurance rates will differ from the rates shown here.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in Virginia

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Auto insurance in the state of Virginia costs less than the national average according to our study rates, 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.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates in Virginia Based on Age

To find the average rates in or study based on gender and age in Virginia, we created driver profiles for males and females in each of the following ages: 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. The profiles also have a clean driving record, insurance coverage for 12,000 miles per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

We found that rates are very low for all driver profile types in Virginia compared to other states. Profiles for 25-year-old drivers had average study rates of just over $1,000. Driver profiles for 35-year-olds and 60-year-olds had study rates that averaged between $830 and $900.

Company

25-year-old male

25-year-old female

35-year-old male

35-year-old female

60-year-old male

60-year-old female

Allstate

$1,558.96

$1,558.95

$1,136.34

$1,204.57

$1,195.59

$1,195.59

Geico

$1,119.90

$1,113.09

$944.36

$921.19

$881.51

$881.51

Nationwide

$1,263.87

$1,146.65

$1,029.33

$1,022.03

$916.14

$888.22

Progressive

$906.18

$887.62

$678.52

$714.73

$631.45

$624.80

State Farm

$1,153.88

$1,005.36

$899.75

$899.75

$825.01

$825.01

USAA

$845.38

$772.38

$617.73

$626.17

$578.30

$574.50

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates in Virginia Based on Driving Record

As you might expect, a person's driving record has a large impact on insurance rates, according to our study. To find out just how much of an effect, we compared driver profiles including those with a clean record, those with one speeding violation, those with one accident, and those with one instance of driving under the influence (DUI). These driving record representative profiles included 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles of mileage per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

The competitive insurance market in the state of Virginia benefits drivers who have made a mistake. A driver profile with a clean record had an average rate in our study of about $945. Adding one speeding ticket to that profile raised the average study rate by $175, and adding one accident to the profile with a clean record raised it by about $370. Adding one DUI to the profile saw the steepest hike in our study rates, by more than $600.

Company

Clean record

With 1 speeding violation

With 1 accident

With 1 DUI

Allstate

$1,308.33

$1,697.07

$2,133.79

$1,919.16

Geico

$976.93

$976.93

$1,424.71

$2,371.78

Nationwide

$1,044.37

$1,259.21

$1,044.37

$1,820.13

Progressive

$740.55

$976.57

$1,231.41

$989.81

State Farm

$934.79

$1,019.34

$1,103.83

$1,019.34

USAA

$669.08

$796.91

$939.47

$1,252.13

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates in Virginia Based on Credit Score

Our study reviewed the effects of credit score on car insurance rates using male and female driver profiles with ages of 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. We created a profile for each level of credit score (good, fair, and poor) and assigned the profiles a clean driving record, a good credit score, a medium level of insurance coverage, and 12,000 miles of annual mileage. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are the vehicles used in our analysis.

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. The driver profile with a poor credit history had an average rate in our study of $1,500, while the profile with good credit had an average study rate of $945.

Company

Good

Fair

Poor

Allstate

$1,308.33

$1,557.46

$2,018.90

Geico

$976.93

$976.93

$1,149.28

Nationwide

$1,044.37

$1,144.10

$1,408.86

Progressive

$740.55

$915.48

$1,286.39

State Farm

$934.79

$1,181.32

$1,900.62

USAA

$669.08

$817.55

$1,218.30

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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

Note: Due to USAA's limited membership, we excluded them from this segment evaluation.

Category

Cheapest Company

Drivers with a Military Affiliation

USAA

Single Young Adult Drivers

Progressive

Married Adult Drivers

Progressive

Senior Drivers

Progressive

Drivers with Good Credit

Progressive

Drivers with Poor Credit

Geico

Drivers with a Clean Record

Progressive

Drivers with One Speeding Violation

Progressive

Drivers with One Accident

Nationwide

Drivers with One DUI

Progressive

Low-mileage Drivers

Progressive

High-mileage Drivers

Progressive

Drivers with Low Coverage

Progressive

Drivers with High Coverage

Progressive

Drivers with Used Cars

Progressive

Drivers with New Cars

Progressive

To find which car insurance company offers the lowest rates in Virginia, our study used representative driver profiles with good credit, medium insurance coverage, a clean driving record, and 12,000 miles of annual mileage. Our profiles included male and females with the ages of 25, 35, and 60. The vehicles used in our study are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

Everybody wins the auto insurance game in Virginia. We found that USAA had the cheapest average study rate overall in Virginia, at $669 per year. Given how many military personnel 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. Progressive and State Farm had the next lowest average rates in our study, at $740.55 and $934.79, respectively.

Why Car Insurance Rates Vary in Virginia

We checked our study's driver profiles in some of Virginia's largest cities to find out how city of residence can affect insurance rates. Our profiles are based on 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with a clean driving record, 12,000 miles of mileage per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

In our study, we looked at average rates in Virginia's ten largest communities. The difference between the lowest average study rate – $871 in Roanoke – was only about $174 less than the most expensive, $1,045 in Alexandria. In other states with higher overall rates, the difference between cities can vary by thousands of dollars.

City

Average Rate

Virginia Beach

$991.23

Norfolk

$1,042.76

Chesapeake

$971.47

Richmond

$1,035.54

Newport News

$958.26

Alexandria

$1,045.26

Roanoke

$871.86

Portsmouth

$1,019.91

Suffolk

$958.52

Lynchburg

$894.65

Just because the rates are comparatively low in Virginia, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t notable differences in rates between demographics. 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.

How to Get the 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 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.

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?

(Manuel Breva Colmeiro / Getty Images)

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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