If you could have a Cappuccino with whipped cream and a couple of handmade chocolate muffins at the price of the regular coffee, would you take it? Of course, you would. After all, it feels great when you score a bargain, whether it’s a Cup of Joe or car insurance.
And when it comes to auto insurance, the road to that great deal leads through researching various Virginia car insurance companies, which can take a lot of time. Fortunately, we crunched the numbers and did all the legwork for you — 60 hours of work to be precise.
During our research, we compared no fewer than 24 auto insurers on several important factors and ranked them accordingly. All you have to do now is check which insurer ranks the highest on parameters most important to you.
So let’s dive straight in.
The Best Car Insurance in Virginia
- Erie — The Overall Winner
- GEICO — The Runners Up
- Progressive — The Best for High-Risk Drivers
- Amica — The Best for Dividends
- Nationwide — The Best for Discounts
- USAA — The Best for Military
The Overall Winner: Erie
Many people will tell you one can either have a great price or excellent customer service, but never both. Guess what, that’s not true — and a good case in point is Erie insurance. It offers you the best of both worlds in Virginia, and for once you can eat your cake and have it too!
At $88 a month, Erie is the cheapest auto insurance provider in VA. What’s more, it earned the full five stars in the J.D. Power 2019 study for the Virginia region. To put this into perspective, no other insurer among the 13 studied got five stars, and only two managed to get four stars (Besides USAA, which specializes in military personnel).
In addition to being the best in the price and customer service department, Erie is pretty strong financially, as confirmed by its “A+” rating (Superior) by A.M. Best. On top of all this, its NAIC ratio is just 0.64, which indicates that the company gets 36% fewer complaints compared to an average company of its size.
Considering how strong Erie is across the board, it’s no surprise that it is the best Virginia car insurance provider right now. We found only one notable shortcoming — lack of a mobile app. If you like to do business online and on the go, you might want to check out the number two option.
Choose Erie for its cheapest prices, solid financial strength, and flawless customer service.
Look elsewhere if you want an insurer that offers a mobile app.
The Runners-up: GEICO
A highly-ranked national insurance company, GEICO, is another viable option for people looking for top-of-the-line car insurance in Virginia. However, its premiums are considerably higher than Erie’s and Progressive’s, the two most affordable auto insurers in Virginia.
Nonetheless, you should still check GEICO due to its financial strength and online tools.
To start with the former, A.M. Best gave Geico the highest possible rating of “A++.” This means that you can always count on GEICO to keep its end of the bargain when you file a claim.
As far as its website is concerned, it’s among the most-polished ones in the business. Visually attractive and intuitively designed, the website provides you with all the necessary information and tools within just a few clicks.
GEICO insurance app is also a pleasure to use and enjoys an enviable 4.8 rating on both Google Play and the App Store. The app has all the regular features that other VA car insurance companies offer, plus some innovative ones, like an option to call GEICO roadside assistance and view your vehicle’s service history.
GEICO also boast of excellent customer service record, as confirmed by its second-best rating of four stars in the J.D. Power regional study.
Choose GEICO for its strong financial standing, outstanding mobile app, reasonable prices, and reliable customer service.
Look elsewhere if you want the cheapest insurer.
Best for High-Risk Drivers: Progressive
Are you worried that you’ll have to pay a high premium because of your less-than-pristine Virginia driving record? Then let Progressive take care of you.
Founded as a niche insurer, Progressive specializes in offering affordable insurance to new and inexperienced drivers, or those with an imperfect driving record. That said, nowadays, the company is much more than a niche player, and has grown to become the third-largest auto insurer in the US by market share.
As a matter of fact, Progressive comes out as a great option for auto insurance in VA for all drivers, high-risk or not. Its rates are either the lowest or second-lowest in the state. Progressive’s financial standing is also solid, as proved by “A+” rating by A.M. Best.
Additionally, it offers a variety of optional coverages and interesting features, like Name Your Price Tool. Instead of hunting for discounts and crunching numbers, you can use this tool to see which coverage options are available for the price you want to pay.
However, like some other insurance companies in Virginia, Progressive is weak in the customer service department, managing only two stars in 2019 J. D. Power study for the Virginia region. But if you can make peace with that, there’s no reason why Progressive shouldn’t be near the top of your list.
Choose Progressive if you are a high-risk driver or want affordable car insurance.
Look elsewhere if you want nothing but the best customer service.
Best for Dividends: Amica Car Insurance
Amica is one of the well known mutual insurance providers in the US. That’s why our list of insurance companies in Virginia offering good value for money wouldn’t be complete if we left out Amica.
While Amica reported some of the highest premiums in our study, the good part is that you get back a part of the payment as dividends, usually 5% to 20%. That said, you can opt out of dividend policies and pay a lower starting premium.
Amica doesn’t feature in the J.D. Power regional study, but it does put a good show in the national surveys. It earned the highest possible rating of five stars in the 2021 J.D. Power US auto claims satisfaction study.
Amica’s low NAIC ratio of 0.46 is another reason why we believe it is one of the best car insurance companies in Virginia. This metric indicates the number of complaints a company gets compared to an average business of its size.
The lower the ratio, the better the result. For example, a reading of 0.46 on the NAIC scale means Amica receives 54% fewer complaints than the average enterprise of its size.
Amica is also in a robust shape financially, which its A+ (Superior) in A.M. Best ranking confirms. This is another reason why we’ve shortlisted it in our list of top car insurance providers in VA.
All in all, even though Amica premiums are on the expensive side, it is one name you shouldn’t ignore, especially if you value top-class customer service and financial strength.
Choose Amica for dividends and top-level customer service.
Look elsewhere if price is the most important factor for buying car insurance for you.
Best for Discounts: Nationwide
Nationwide’s website claims that it gives consumers a variety of ways to save on auto insurance, but is that really the case? Well, the answer is, “Yes.”
Nationwide is one of the most affordable auto insurance companies in Virginia, consistently ranking as the third-most cheapest option in most cities. On top of that, it offers 18 car insurance discounts to help lower your monthly premiums even further. It also boasts of a strong financial standing, as shown by its “A+” A.M. Best rating, the second-highest possible.
Another interesting thing about Nationwide is that it offers several other products besides auto insurance, like investment and banking services. Combining Virginia auto insurance with another financial product can help reduce your cost even further.
However, Nationwide has one glaring weakness — its poor customer service. It could manage only two stars in the J.D. Power study for the Virginia region.
If below par customer service is not a deal breaker for you, Nationwide might be a good fit, especially if you are looking for a low cost car insurance option.
Choose Nationwide for its affordable premiums and various discounts.
Look elsewhere if you want an insurer with a good customer service record.
Best for Military: USAA
USAA is a name that features in most of our state guides, and the same is the case for Virginia. It offers exceptional customer service and has low premiums. What else is there to expect from a Virginia car insurance company?
Probably robust financial strength? Or perhaps additional products besides auto insurance?
Guess what, USAA has those two bases covered as well. It received an “A++” rating from A.M. Best, which is as good as it gets. Furthermore, it provides banking and investment services in addition to car insurance, which might make it a nice fit for those who like to buy multiple products from one company to reduce cost and streamline payments.
Given the perks on offer, you might be thinking, “Why USAA is not ranked as the best auto insurance in Virginia? What’s the catch?”
Well, there’s no catch as such. It’s just that USAA is not for everybody. It only caters to active and retired US Army personnel and their family members. If that sounds like you, sign up today because it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get a better deal elsewhere.
Choose USAA for its superb all-round performance.
Look elsewhere if you don’t qualify.
Cheap Car Insurance in VA (By City)
To get a clear picture of insurance prices in major VA cities, we obtained quotes for a 40-year old single male driving a 2018 Honda Accord with a pristine driving record from all major players in the state. Our quote included full coverage limits.
A vibrant coastal city located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is the most populous city in Virginia and boasts of many good beaches like North End, Croatan, and Sandridge. Every year, Virginia Beach hosts the North American Sand Soccer Championship and the East Coast Surfing Championship.
Virginia Beach is the costliest city for car insurance in VA. However, you can get affordable car insurance in Virginia Beach from both Erie and Progressive. The former appears to be an obvious choice for all those who value quality customer service since it earned the highest score in J.D. Power regional study.
On the other hand, Progressive might be a better option for young and new drivers and customers with a less-than-perfect driving record.
And in case you are looking for an auto insurer that offers the maximum number of discounts, add Nationwide to your list as well.
GEICO in Virginia Beach is another good option, thanks to its reasonable rates and quality customer service.
A waterfront city in southeastern Virginia, Norfolk is home to a massive naval base, a contemporary maritime-themes science center and museum, a popular art museum, and an amazing zoo.
As far as insurance premiums in Norfolk are concerned, they are nearly 20% less costly than Virginia Beach on average. Erie is the cheapest insurance company in Norfolk, followed by Progressive and Nationwide. Our runners-up, GEICO, is also worth consideration since it’s solid as a rock financial-wise.
Chesapeake is the third-most populous city in Virginia and boasts of over 22 miles of waterways. It is home to many canals, including the Dismal Swamp Canal, which is the oldest continually operating man-made canal in the US.
What about car insurance? Is it inexpensive in this town? Our research shows that car insurance prices are in the middle of the scale, with Erie and Progressive offering most affordable car insurance in Chesapeake. However, Erie has a definite advantage over Progressive, as its customer service is far better. GEICO is another name you can consider if you value affordability and customer service over everything else.
Richmond is the capital of Virginia and among the oldest major US cities. Even though the city is old, it has a definite young feel to it, and in 2012, it was named the “best city ever” by Outside Magazine. Richmond offers a range of cultural attractions, musical entertainment, and recreational facilities.
Those looking for cheap car insurance in Richmond, VA, should put Erie and Progressive at the top of their list. Erie is marginally cheaper than Progressive in Richmond, but it comfortably outshines the latter in the customer service department. In contrast, Progressive might offer better value for your buck if you are a new driver or have an imperfect driving record.
Other viable budget options are Nationwide and GEICO. While the former offers a range of discounts to go with its affordable premiums, the latter is financially stronger than most car insurance providers in Richmond, VA.
Located at the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula, Newport News has played a key role in the maritime history of the US. The city has been a leader in shipbuilding since 1886, and it still produces nuclear submarines.
Newport News has been home to many famous people, including five-time Grammy Winner Robert Cray and the celebrated author William Styron. In the last few years, the city has seen unparalleled urban and highrise growth, which explains why car insurance premiums are a tad on the expensive side.
That said, our car insurance quotes in Newport News, VA show that both Progressive and Erie offer good value for money. The latter, however, remains a favorite because of its stellar customer service. GEICO is another name you should include in your list, especially if you’re looking for an affordable insurer with rock-solid financial standing.
Situated in Northern Virginia, Alexandria was founded way back in 1749. The historic center of Alexandria, referred to as Old Town, is nationally recognized for its nicely preserved 18th- and 19th-century buildings.
Alexandria is very popular with tourists, and Southern Living named it as one of the south’s prettiest cities in 2018.
Insurance premiums in Alexandria are the lowest in VA, but you can further sweeten the deal by going with Erie, which came out as the cheapest car insurance company in Alexandria, according to our study. Incidentally, Erie also boasts of the best customer service in the Virginia region.
Other viable options are Progressive and Nationwide, as both are not far from Erie in the price department. Progressive might also be the automatic choice for high-risk drivers because it specializes in offering them affordable insurance. On the other hand, if you give a lot of weight to a company’s financial standing, then GEICO might be an excellent fit.
Virginia Car Insurance Laws
Virginia Automobile Insurance Plan (VAIP)
Strange as it may sound, auto insurance companies like to play safe, and more often than not, they stamp ‘rejected’ on applications from people with a substandard driving record.
However, all is not lost if auto insurers are turning you down left and right. Help is available, and it goes by the name of Virginia Automobile Insurance Plan (VAIP). It allows you to get coverage when auto insurance companies in VA say no.
While VAIP helps drivers who couldn’t get coverage through the voluntary market, it does have two important prerequisites.
- You must possess a valid Virginia driver’s license
- You must have been rejected by at least two auto insurers in the last 60 months.
If you meet these criteria, VAIP will see to it that you get coverage. However, VAIP coverage is significantly costlier than the standard car insurance in Virginia, so don’t go knocking on its door unless you have exhausted all options.
VAIP randomly assigns you an insurer when you apply. All auto insurers in the state must participate in the program and share the burden of high-risk drivers in proportion to their market share.
Minimum Virginia Auto Insurance Requirements
Vehicle owners in Virginia don’t need to buy auto insurance as long as they pay a $500 Uninsured Motor Fee to the Virginia DMV. However, this is not a form of coverage, meaning they’ll have to cover all expenses out of their pocket if they choose this option.
All other drivers, on the other hand, need to carry the following minimum coverage:
- Bodily Injury Liability – $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident. It pays for the injuries you cause to other people. It might also cover other related expenses as well, such as lost wages and legal expenses.
- Property Damage Liability – $20,000 per accident. It pays for the damages caused to another person’s property when you are involved in an at-fault car accident.
FR44 Insurance in Virginia
FR44 is not a type of insurance, although you may hear people refer to it that way. Some also call it “DUI Insurance.” In any case, FR44 is actually a “Certificate of Financial Responsibility.”
If you are convicted of a “driving under the influence” (DUI) charge or you drive on a suspended license, the state will revoke your driving privileges for six months. You will need FR44 certification to reinstate the license in Virginia after that period.
Your auto insurance company in Virginia will fill the FR44 form with the local DMV after you receive a severe conviction.
The FR44 certificate serves as proof that you are adequately insured. You need to carry FR44 for three years after your license suspension is over. If you let the coverage lapse, you will not be able to legally drive in the state.
The FR44 certificate causes your VA insurance premium to increase significantly because of two reasons:
- The FR44 requirements in Virginia are twice the minimum requirements for normal drivers. This means you will need to have the Bodily Injury Liability coverage of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident, and Property Damage Liability coverage of $40,000 per accident.
- A DUI conviction makes you a high-risk driver.
You might have to pay as much as 2-3 times more than what you would have paid otherwise. That said, not every insurer penalizes you equally. So if you want the cheapest FR44 insurance in WA, do some research.
Virginia is one of the two states that require FR44, the other one being Florida. If you are found guilty of a non-alcohol related driving offense in Virginia, you will need the SR22 certificate, which, while costly, is not as expensive as the FR44.
Like FR44, SR22 is also valid for three years. The minimum limits for SR22 are the same as the state’s minimum auto coverage requirements.
Virginia Car Insurance for New Residents
According to AAA’s guideline on Virginia’s driving laws, non-residents may drive a vehicle registered in another state in Virginia for six months without paying any fees or re-registering the vehicle.
However, if a non-resident plans to use a vehicle registered in another state for any purpose other than pleasure, they must get the vehicle registered with the Commonwealth of Virginia first.
Military personnel who are on active duty in Virginia may maintain out-of-state vehicle registration.
Price Optimization in Virginia
If you have had a moving violation on your driving record in VA in the last few months and are asked to pay a higher premium at renewal, that makes sense. However, what doesn’t make sense is that you end up paying more even when you had no incident last year.
The reason behind such hikes is ‘price optimization’ — a technique used by auto insurers to increase insurance premiums for those customers who they think are not likely to search for a better deal.
Thankfully, Virginia prohibits price optimization. According to a statement issued by the Virginia Bureau of Insurance on April 2016:
“In order to comply with the rate standards, any rate differentials for the same coverage must be based on differences between expected losses and/or expenses.”
Nevertheless, we still recommend you to shop around a little before policy renewal to ensure you’re getting cheap insurance in VA. That’s because insurers adjust their rates based on their revenue, and while your insurer was the cheapest three years ago, it may not be the most affordable now.
Virginia’s No-Fault Laws
Virginia is an at-fault state. This means that the insurance of the driver who was at fault for causing the accident will pay for the damages and bodily injuries inflicted to the other party.
If the at-fault driver doesn’t have sufficient insurance to fully cover the damages, you can either fall back on your underinsured motorist coverage or sue the guilty party.
Additionally, you can add PIP protection to your policy in Virginia. In case of injury, the PIP coverage will pay for your damages, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
How to Get Cheap Car Insurance in VA
Check Car Insurance Reviews
A bit of research can go a long way in helping you find the right auto insurer. Start with reading reviews of different providers to see which one of them offers features that are most relevant for you. Of course, this detailed guide helps you with just that, but if you want more options, have a look at our comprehensive auto insurance reviews.
We reviewed no fewer than 24 top players in this niche and ranked them according to various important factors. Even if you have unique auto insurance needs or are the most demanding buyer, we’re sure you’ll find one name (if not more) that’s right for you.
Compare Car Insurance Quotes In Virginia From Multiple Companies
Once you’ve shortlisted a few names based on their reviews, get a quote from each one of them. This way, you can easily find which is offering you the best value for your buck.
You should also consider getting quotes from different companies before policy renewal. While Virginia has a zero tolerance policy toward price optimization, there’s always a possibility that another insurer might lower its premiums to win more customers.
For instance, if GEICO, which is slightly more expensive than Erie and Progressive, finds that its customer base is not growing at a good rate, it may start selling more affordable Virginia car insurance products to boost its market share.
See Who Provides The Highest Discounts
The easiest way to lower your insurance premium is to qualify for as many discounts as possible. When you get a quote online, the system automatically tacks on all eligible discounts. In case you are dealing with an agent, make sure you remind her to list all available discounts.
Sometimes, you can benefit from enrolling in programs where the insurer tracks your driving, like Nationwide’s SmartRide. Such programs can help you lower your Virginia auto insurance cost by as much as 40%.
People Also Ask
Usually, it costs around $50 to register a car in VA. That said, the exact fee varies from one vehicle to another and depends on the following factors:
– The empty or gross weight of your car
– The kind of license plate you have
– The time period of registration. You can register your car for either one or two years. The cost of registration for two years is double the annual fee. However, as per the Virginia car insurance laws, the two-year registration option is not available for vehicles with a gross weight of 50,000 or more, vehicles that have been registered under the International Registration Plan, and uninsured vehicles
No, it’s not. Virginia is an at-fault state, which basically means that the insurance company of the driver who was at fault in the accident will have to compensate for the damages caused to the injured party.
If the car is uninsured, the owner must pay the Virginia DMV a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee. Mind you; this fee does not provide you with any sort of car insurance coverage in Virginia. If you are involved in an at-fault car accident, you will have to pay for the damages caused to other people from your own pocket.
You can legally drive in Virginia without car insurance as long as you pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee. If you have neither bought auto insurance nor paid this fee and police pulls you over, you will have to pay a fine of up to $500 and might even lose your driving privileges and have your license and plates suspended.
Virginia uses a point system to evaluate how well you drive. You can qualify for cheap auto insurance in VA if you do not accumulate a lot of negative points. Sadly, the opposite is also true. Insurers are likely to quote a higher premium or even turn down your application if your score is poor.
Every driver starts with a 0-point balance. You receive a positive point for each year that you don’t get any suspensions or violations. Similarly, when you break a traffic rule, you get slapped with a penalty of three, four, or six negative points, depending on the seriousness of your offense.
The fastest way to drop points off is by joining a Driver Improvement Clinic, an 8-hour class that adds five positive points. So if your driving score is unsatisfactory and you are looking for a low cost car insurance, taking this class can be a gamechanger. You can complete a Driver Improvement Clinic once every two years. To search for a clinic near you, visit the Virginia DMV website.
Another way of improving your driving score is to wait for demerit points to get dropped off naturally. They are wiped off two years after the offense occurred.
Finally, avoid getting tickets. As said above, one safe driver point gets added to your record for every year without a violation.
At $88 per month, Erie emerges as the most affordable Virginia car insurance provider. It also boasts of the highest score in the J.D. Power regional customer satisfaction study. Progressive, which is just a dollar more expensive than Erie, is another good option for budget buyers, but its customer service is nothing to shout about.
If you’re looking for a good all-round deal, include GEICO in your list as well. Its premiums are affordable, customer service is right up there, and financial standing is solid as ever.