Each state has different insurance laws for drivers. Virginia law requires residents to purchase car insurance. Anyone operating a motor vehicle who has received a charge for a DUI may be required to provide proof of insurance once driving privileges have been reinstated. Proof of insurance can be demonstrated by showing insurance certificate forms such as: SR-22, SR-26, FR-44, or FR-46. Drivers who have been charged with Drinking Under the Influence (DUI) will be required to acquire a different insurance policy. Car insurance companies usually require customers with a history of DUI to sign up for “high-risk” insurance. However, some insurance companies may not cover driver with a history of drinking and driving at all.
Car Insurance Requirements for Virginia
For liability reasons, Virginia has minimum coverage requirements. However, drivers always have the option to purchase higher coverages through their selected insurance companies.
Bodily Injury Coverage
Insurance companies that provide bodily injury coverage will pay a maximum of $20,000 per person injured and a maximum of $50,000 in total claims. Therefore, if several people are involved in a single car accident, the first person to file an insurance claim will most likely receive the highest payout of up to $20,000 for the injuries they sustained in the accident. Every person filing a claim after the initial claim will receive payouts up to the maximum policy amount of $50,000. If the maximum policy coverage does not cover the expenses of everyone involved in the car accident, the injured parties may sue the insurance policyholder for additional compensation.
Damage to Property
Car insurance policies that provide property damage coverage will cover the cost of damage to someone else’s property after a car accident. Usually, property damage liability insurance will cover the cost of damage up to the maximum amount of the policy.
When Should I Get SR-22 Coverage?
An SR-22 is a safety responsibility certificate of insurance. This certificate is required by most state motor vehicle departments. SR-22 certificates are prepared by insurance companies. An SR-22 only serves as a certificate for proof of insurance. The certificate does not function as an insurance policy. The certificate also does not provide protection in case of an automobile accident.
Insurance Requirements for Virginia Residents with DUIs
All Virginia drivers are not required to have a SR-22 certificate. SR-22 certificates are usually required due to a court order. Court orders requiring SR-22 forms usually pertain to drivers with: unsatisfied judgments, uninsured motor vehicles, and those with suspended licenses for reasons such as reckless driving, excessive speeding, and DUI.
SR-22 Coverage Period
Court orders may require that a Virginia driver maintain their SR-22 form for up to five years. During this length of coverage, insurance companies will routinely update the Department of Motor Vehicles concerning the driver’s coverage status. If a customer’s car insurance policy expires, the SR-22 certificate is no longer effective. If this happens, the insurance company will issue a SR-26, indicating that the driver does not have any coverage.
Policy Coverage Across the United States
Your car insurance covers accidents that happen across state lines. If the state that your accident occurred in has higher minimum coverage requirements that Virginia, your insurance company will adjust the insurance policy limits to match that state’s laws. If the state that your accident occurred in has no-fault automobile insurance laws, then your insurance company is only required to pay for the damage on your vehicle.
How Insurance Rates Are Determined
There are various factors that insurance companies use to determine automobile insurance rates. The following is a list of various factors that insurance companies will use to determine your insurance rates:
1. What You Drive: Car insurance companies usually offer lower premiums to customers who drive “safer” vehicles. Sports cars have higher premiums. In addition, cars with a higher theft rate will have higher premiums.
2. Your Driving Record: Drivers who have been in multiple car accidents will have higher premiums compared to a driver who has never been in a car accident. Insurance companies will also issue higher premiums to drivers with a history of DUI. Drivers with a record of excessive speeding will also face higher premiums.
3. The Area Where You Live: Insurance companies will charge higher premiums to customers who live in high crime areas. For example, drivers who live in urban areas usually pay more for their car insurance compared to customers who live in small towns with a lower crime rate.
4. Credit History: Insurance companies will charge customers with bad credit scores higher premiums.
5. Age: Insurance companies usually charge higher rates to drivers under the age of 25. Young drivers who take a driving safety course may be eligible for lower insurance rates.
6. Sex: Insurance companies usually charge males, especially young males, higher insurance rates.
7. Marital Status: Most car insurance companies charge higher rates to single individuals.
8. Work Commute: People with jobs that require they drive longer distances have a higher probability of being involved in a car accident, therefore car insurance companies tend to charge higher rates to customers who have long commutes.
Although the factors listed above are important in determining automobile insurance rates, this is not an inclusive list. Car insurance companies may use various other factors in making their determination on an appropriate insurance premium for their customers.
Avoid Increased Insurance Rates
The best way to protect yourself from having to satisfy higher insurance premiums is to not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Virginia. If you have been charged with a DUI in Virginia, it is essential that you consult with a qualified and licensed DUI defense attorney. Reliable legal representation will ensure the best possible result for your case such as receiving a lower charge or a dismissal of your case (if there are grounds to do so).
Set Up A Free Consultation!
The DUI defense attorneys at The Brown Firm PLLC have extensive experience defending individuals charged with a DUI or DWI in Virginia. We offer free consultations so that you can make an informed decision about your case. Call our firm or contact us online to discuss your case and set up a free consultation,