Virginia's Minimum Car Insurance Limits are Increasing: Are you Prepared to Pay More?
If you notice increases in your car insurance premiums, the culprit could be any number of factors. Maybe you moved, put more miles on the road or were recently involved in an accident.But in Virginia, car insurance premiums will be going up for everyone – and it’s all due to a change in minimum insurance limit requirements.
The good news is, there are many ways that you can save money on your car insurance. Even though premiums may be going up, you still have some options that can help you to keep your costs down.
Why Virginia’s Minimum Car Insurance Limits Are Increasing
Key legislation is driving the increase in car insurance limits, and the corresponding limits in premiums. The Potomac Local News reports that Senator Scott Surovell introduced SB 1182, a bill intended to increase the state’s minimum auto insurance coverage limits.
It might be surprising to learn of the increase, particularly because Virginia hasn’t increased insurance coverage minimums since 1975. These minimums, which are the lowest amount of insurance that drivers are required to carry to drive their vehicles, haven’t budged, even though the economy has undergone plenty of transformation. As a result, they’re being updated to reflect the increasing costs of healthcare, vehicle values, and other elements that an insurance policy would need to cover if you were involved in an accident.
What Increases Are You Going to See?
According to TrackBill, the minimum limits for existing auto insurance policies are increasing:
- Injury to or death of one person: Increase from $25,000 to $30,000
- Injury to or death of more than one person: Increase from $50,00 to $60,000
Those increases are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2022, and will remain in effect until December 31, 2024. SB 1182 will enact even higher minimum car insurance limits for policies that are effective after January 1, 2025:
- Injury to or death of one person: $50,000
- Injury to or death of more than one person: $100,000
- Property damage: Increase from $20,000 to $25,000
To accommodate these minimum coverage limits, your car insurance premium will probably go up, especially if you’re only carrying the minimum coverage that was previously required in Virginia. An increase in your coverage will drive up your premiums, but these increases are somewhat small so you might only see a minimal premium change. In fact, according to Potomac Local News, the Department of Motor Vehicles conducted a study to assess how this increase would affect Virginians. The study found that the average Virginian would see their car insurance policy cost increase by about $5 per month.
Your first instinct might be frustration at your increasing car insurance rates. That’s understandable, but it’s also important to realize that this bill is protecting you, too. Since all drivers have to carry these minimums, you’ll have extra protection if you’re ever in an accident. When the other driver in an accident is carrying this higher coverage, there will be more money available to pay for your medical bills, the cost of your car, and other resulting expenses.
Ways to Save on Your Car Insurance in Virginia
While insurance premiums may be increasing, you can still save money on your policy in many ways.
Start by making sure that you have the best policy for your needs. Rather than just sticking with your current auto insurance company and paying the rate increase, there might be another company out there that better fits your needs – and offers you a better rate.
You may find that your car insurance quote varies significantly from company to company, and you might even discover that certain companies offer better coverage at lower rates than others. Every company uses its own equation and factors in quoting you a premium, which can lead to these variations.
Use a car insurance comparison tool like Compare.com to get multiple quotes for your car insurance in minutes. Compare.com is free to use and makes it easy to see how different quotes and companies stack up. There’s no hassle of getting quotes from a bunch of different companies, so you’ll save time and be able to quickly spot the best deal.
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Consider a Cutting-Edge Car Insurance Company
You don’t have to settle for traditional car insurance companies anymore. Several companies are changing the industry, and they’re able to offer lower rates and innovative ways to get discounts, as a result.
These companies are embracing an online- and app-based format that saves them money. It makes getting insurance convenient for you, and you’ll enjoy benefits like the ability to pay your bill or to get roadside assistance through the app.
If you’re willing to enroll in a pay-per-mile model, use an app to track your driving, or explore other money-saving opportunities, then these new car insurance companies might be right for you.
Call Your Car Insurance Company
If you’ve decided that your current car insurance company is the right fit for you, try calling the company to ask about potential discounts. Specifically, inquire about multi-car discounts and opportunities for discounts for driving limited distances.
This is also a good time to go over your current coverage with a customer service representative. Depending on the age of your vehicle and its value, you may be comfortable dropping your collision or comprehensive coverage to save some money.
Carefully Choose Your Vehicle
If you’re thinking of buying a new vehicle, make your choice carefully. When you compare car insurance, you’ll find that different vehicles can impact your insurance premium. Factors like your vehicle’s make, model, age, body type, and value can all drive up – or drive down – your insurance rates.
When it comes to the vehicle body type, trucks and vans tend to be the most affordable to insure. Insuring a car or SUV costs about $10 more per month than it costs to insure a truck or van. Keep in mind, too, that the newer the vehicle, the more it will cost to insure it.
This doesn’t mean you should go out and trade your current vehicle for something older, or that you should give up the goal of buying that dream car you’ve been working toward. But, if you’re looking to save money and you’re on the fence about which vehicle to buy, you might want to consider this information before you go car shopping.
To get an idea of auto insurance rates, you can use our auto insurance comparison tool and plug in details for different vehicles you might be considering.
Take a Defensive Driving Course
Some car insurance companies will offer you discounts for taking a defensive driving course. As a bonus, you’ll learn how to be a safer driver, so you may be able to better avoid accidents and save yourself from paying accident-related deductibles, too.
Before you sign up for a course, check with your current car insurance company to see if a discount is available. Your car insurance company may have a list of specific courses that they’ll accept.
Install an Anti-Theft Device
Your insurance company may offer a discount for having an anti-theft device in your vehicle. You’ll need to call the company to verify this, and should also find out which types of devices the company requires. You also want to find out how much of a discount you’ll see so you can determine whether the cost of buying and installing the device is worth what you’ll save.
Bring Up Your Credit Score
Car insurance companies often check your credit score when calculating your premium. The lower your credit score is, the higher your car insurance cost may be. Some insurance companies may even decline your car insurance application if your credit score is too low.
Focus on bringing up your credit score, especially if you plan to change your car insurance companies in the near future. There are multiple ways to bring up your credit score:
- Make all of your payments on time, and consider setting up automatic payments so you don’t miss deadlines
- Keep your credit usage rate down when compared to the total amount of credit that’s available to you
- Keep your oldest lines of credit open to demonstrate a long credit history
Building your credit is a long-term goal. But, it’s beneficial not only for getting cheap car insurance rates, but for also increasing your chances of being approved for an apartment rental, an auto loan, or even a mortgage.
Focus on Driving Safely
Car accidents, speeding tickets, and other driving violations can quickly drive up your premium. Focus on being a better, safer driver to help keep your car insurance costs down. By developing these better driving habits, you may be able to avoid accidents and maintain a clean driving record, making you the type of driver any car insurance company wants to have as a customer.