-Bodily injury/death of one person $25,000
-Bodily injury/death of two or more persons $50,000
-Property damage $20,000
This means that your insurance plan must cover at least $25,000 of the medical or funeral expenses incurred to a driver or passenger in another vehicle if an accident was your fault. If more than one person is injured or killed, your plan must at least cover $50,000 worth of expenses. Also, your insurance plan must cover at least $20,000 worth of property damage for others involved in the accident. For example, if you cause an accident and the driver of another vehicle is injured and their car is totaled, your insurance must cover at least $25,000 worth of their medical expenses and $20,000 worth of damage to their vehicle. It’s worth noting that if you have only the bare minimum coverage, you may be legally responsible to pay anything above your insurance coverage out-of-pocket. For instance, if the other driver’s medical bills cost $75,000, your insurance company is required to pay $25,000 but the injured party can sue you to recover the remaining $50,000 of the bill.
Insurance that covers the costs of injuries or property damage to others if you are at fault in an accident is called liability insurance. The minimum auto insurance requirements in Virginia cover liability. We should mention that in Virginia, you can choose not to have any insurance at all, but it will cost you a $500 fee every time you renew your registration at the DMV. We never recommend this option. It’s much safer and smarter to invest in insurance.
Liability insurance is the minimum coverage required. If you have liability insurance, it’s probably a good idea to choose liability insurance that’s above the state’s requirements. For instance, having bodily injury/death of one person set at $50,000 and property damage coverage set at $40,000 offers twice the protection of the mandatory amount. Bear in mind that medical expenses for serious injuries can easily exceed $50,000, however, so if you can afford it, you may wish to consider limits of $100,000, $300,000, or even more for liability coverage. The more assets you have to lose, the higher your coverage should be. This will protect your home and savings in case you’re ever found at fault in a serious accident.
Remember, liability insurance only covers others involved in an accident. If you just have liability insurance and you cause an accident, damage to your own vehicle and your own medical bills will not be covered. That’s why it can be a good idea to step up to collision coverage. Collision coverage pays for the damage to your own car. If your car has value or is relatively new, collision coverage is usually recommended. However, if your car is old and doesn’t have much value, then you may want to consider whether the more expensive premium for collision coverage is worth it to you.
Collision coverage pays for damages to your vehicle, but what if you’re injured? Medical expense coverage is what pays for your medical expenses if you’re hurt. With this coverage, your own medical bills and the medical bills of any passengers who are riding with you will be paid in the event of an accident. We highly recommend this kind of coverage as things like hospital bills, ER visits, ambulance rides, and physical therapy can add up to staggering costs, and the cost of medical expense coverage is affordable.
All the coverage we’ve discussed so far comes into effect in the event of an accident. But what if your car is stolen, or if you hit a deer, or if your car is dinted in a hail storm? Comprehensive coverage pays for the situations that occur outside of accidents. Comprehensive coverage can be great if it fits your budget, but if your car doesn’t have much value and is easily replaceable, you may want to consider whether the added expense is worth the price.
While all states require minimum liability coverage, unfortunately some drivers choose instead to pay the uninsured motorist fee. Some drivers may carry the minimum coverage, but don’t have the necessary funds to pay for costs that exceed their coverage. So if someone is legally responsible for the damages that occur in an accident, you might not actually receive all the funds you need. Uninsured or underinsured motorist protection helps in this type of situation by covering those expenses. As a small piece of advice, it’s usually not very expensive to add this kind of coverage to your policy (and one day you might be glad you did)! Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage will pay for your damages and injuries if someone else causes an accident that injures you, and they don’t have insurance, or don’t have enough insurance to cover your injuries. For instance, let’s say a brand new driver with his first car and only $25,000 in liability coverage runs into you, causing major injuries to you, with your hospital bills in excess of $50,000. If you have $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, you can collect $25,000 from the insurance of the driver at fault, and the remaining $50,000 plus from your own insurance.