Commercial Auto Insurance Minimum Requirements in VirginiaGet Free Commercial Auto Insurance Quotes from Multiple Providers
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No matter if you own a vehicle for business or personal use, or some combination of both, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) insists that you meet the state's financial responsibility standards.
Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility
You can meet the state's requirements through these methods:
- Purchase a vehicle liability policy that meets the state's minimum requirements.
- Pay the $500 uninsured motor vehicle (UMV) fee (you must pay with each registration renewal).
- Opt to self-insure.
- Post a surety bonds.
Note: The latter two options are only available for owners of business vehicles. And, the UMV fee doesn't provide insurance protection; you will need to pay for any damage you cause in an accident through your own funds.
Assessing whether you need commercial insurance―or if a personal auto policy will suffice―can be challenging. So, if you need some guidance, ask yourself the following:
- How many vehicles need insurance?
- What kind are they?
- How will they be used?
- Who will drive them?
- Who owns them?
Your answers can lead you in the right direction. Most business-owned vehicles do require commercial coverage; this includes those used for deliveries and for farming. Meanwhile, if you're an employee and your company requires you to drive its vehicles as part of your job, your firm's policy might protect you.
Some self-employed individuals or sole proprietors might be able to get by with their personal policies, especially if the only business use of their vehicles is for business trips. This might even apply, for example, to senior citizens who use their own vehicles to deliver flowers or to transport passengers for a fee. But, this is a tricky area, and one you should examine carefully.
If any of the following apply to your situation, the odds you'll need commercial protection increases:
- You can't remove your business equipment from your vehicles.
- You allow your employees to use your vehicles for your business.
- You can't find personal auto policies with high enough coverage limits.
In the end, you might need to partner with both the DMV and your insurance carrier. The DMV can advise you on the legal requirements for your business; your provider can assist you in determining the amounts and types of coverage that you'll need to protect your business assets.
If you opt for commercial coverage, your next step will be to discuss the following with an insurance agent or representative:
- Who owns the vehicles
- How much they weigh
- How they're used
Depending on your situation, you might also need to talk about what sort of cargo your vehicles will carry, how much they're worth, what sort of special equipment they contain, and other insurance-related issues.
But, during this conversation, always keep the state's minimum liability insurance requirements in mind:
- $25,000 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or a death occurring to one person in an accident.
- $50,000 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or deaths occurring to more than one person in an accident.
- $20,000 of property damage coverage per accident.
If you need assistance figuring out how much coverage you should purchase, contact the DMV or an insurance agent.
Once you've decided on the coverage, the next challenge is finding the right provider. Choices in the commercial field abound, ranging from smaller carriers that specialize in commercial policies to larger insurances offering an array of products. So, it's best to first comparison shop online or by phone to quickly narrow your options, and then give a thorough review of the remaining choices for price, service, and extent of coverage.
But, don't overlook your current providers, as many insurers offer discounts to customer holding multiple policies.
The DMV requires insurers to electronically notify the agency whenever a customer starts or stops liability insurance coverage.
If you have a blanket policy insuring several vehicles under one policy, make sure the DMV has the vehicle identification number (VIN) for each vehicle so the state realizes you've properly insured all your vehicles.
You can provide proof of insurance when you show your valid insurance identification card or SR-22 or FR-44 certificate.
What happens if you allow your policy to lapse and have no proof of insurance?
You could face license and registration suspension. Reinstating both means filing an SR-22 form for three years with the DMV, and paying both a $500 fee and a $30 reinstatement fee.
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