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Motorcycle Insurance Minimum Requirements in Virginia

Virginia residents must assume financial responsibility for registered motorcycles they plan to operate on state roads. Having financial responsibility for your motorcycle means you’re covered in the event your motorcycle causes property or personal damages. To fulfill this requirement you must have motorcycle insurance.

Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility

There is only one way to establish financial responsibility for your motorcycle in this state, and it’s to purchase liability coverage from a carrier licensed to sell insurance in Virginia.

If purchasing coverage is not an option right now, Virginia also allows owners to pay the Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee when they register their motorcycles. The fee doesn’t offer any kind of coverage. So, if you’re involved in an accident, you won’t get in trouble for not having insurance but you will be personally liable for costs associated with the accident.

Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

Every resident must register and purchase insurance for any motorcycle that hits state roads. If you’re not sure whether your two-wheeled vehicle is a motorcycle―or you’re confused about registering and covering it with insurance―the helpful folks working the Department of Motor Vehicles’ customer service line are available to help you.

For a definition of motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters in Virginia, visit the VA law website.

NOTE: Some mopeds and scooters meet certain criteria that makes the state require owners to register them as motorcycles, which means they might also need insurance. If you own a moped or scooter, please check our Other Types section to see if this affects to you.

Virginia Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

If you decide to purchase motorcycle insurance instead of pay the UMV fee, your policy must meet the following minimum liability coverage limits:

  • $30,000 of coverage for bodily injury or death of one person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people
  • $20,000 for property damage

Some motorcycle owners also opt to purchase additional types of coverage to make sure their motorcycles are as protected as possible. Take this into consideration as you get your motorcycle insurance quote.

How Coverage Affects Helmet Requirements

In some states, purchasing a certain amount of motorcycle insurance means you can skip out on helmet laws. This isn’t the case in Virginia. All motorcyclists and passengers must wear approved helmets.

The DMV states these helmets should line up with the standards and specifications of the federal Department of Transportation, the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the American National Standards Institute, Inc.

Electronic Reporting

Using an electronic reporting method, the DMV keeps track of the insurance policies of all owners of registered motorcycles. Your insurance carrier will notify the DMV when you purchase a new policy, or when you make changes to or cancel your existing policy.

Proof of Insurance and Financial Responsibility

If you purchased liability coverage with a motorcycle insurance company, the DMV has an electronic record of your policy; however, you must still carry proof of insurance with you and be able to show it in the even law enforcement pulls you over or you’re involved in an accident. Generally, this proof will be in the form of the valid insurance card your carrier issues you.

Penalties for Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility

You must maintain financial responsibility for your motorcycle for as long as it’s registered. If the DMV or a police officer catches you with no proof of insurance:

  • You could face suspension of your driver’s license, registration, and license plates.
  • You will have to pay a statutory fee of $600 in addition to any other associated fees to reinstate your license and registration.
  • The DMV will require you to file a financial responsibility insurance certificate, also known as a Form SR-22, for three years.

If you need additional information about the state’s motorcycle insurance requirements, or help with what to do if your licenses and registration is suspended, you can  contact the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

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