The Best Virginia Auto Insurance

Although the cost of living is a bit higher in Virginia than the national average, you’ll be happy to know that your car insurance costs fall below average. A good use for that extra money? Beef up your policy to include comprehensive and collision coverage. Comprehensive protects you from car theft, natural disasters, and other non-accident-related damages, while collision gives you the security of knowing you’ll be able to afford the repairs if you get caught in an accident.

The 4 Best Auto Insurance Companies in Virginia

  • State Farm
  • Allstate
  • USAA
  • Nationwide

Virginia Auto Insurance Reviews

State Farm

Getting a quote with State Farm was fairly simple. After answering all the usual questions about the car and driver(s), the quote tool provides three coverage options. Premiums for our Honda started at $177 for six months of bare-bones coverage with no collision or comprehensive, making State Farm the second cheapest of our contenders.

You can also save by enrolling in State Farm’s Drive Safe and Save feature. Just download the app onto your smartphone and State Farm will send you a small Bluetooth beacon that you keep in your car to read your speed and other factors that influence safe driving. You’ll save about 5% just for signing up, and more if the device indicates that you’re a safe driver.

State Farm offers more discounts than any of our other finalists, but it didn't have as many supplemental coverage endorsements, leaving you with fewer opportunities to customize your coverage. Its rankings with Consumer Reports and J.D. Power were solid, with one glaring exception: J.D. Power’s overall score for State Farm was a rather low 2/5. Financially, the company is rock-solid: Moody’s, A.M. Best, and S&P Global all rate it in the high “A” level.

Allstate

Getting a quote from Allstate is a piece of cake. Its quote tool clearly outlines discounts earned and potential others, like its Easy Pay Plan and a discount for completing a defensive driving class. Our quote was $302 for six months, with six discounts saving us $276. Although, despite the discounts, this was still the highest quote we got of all our five finalists.

We also really liked Allstate’s website. When we got our quote, we were prompted to check out a “coverage in action” pop-up that featured a laundry list of mishaps: You hit a car, you hit a light pole, a hail storm damages your car, and so on. Click on one of them and you can see how much you would pay and how much Allstate would pay to both fix the car and get you in a rental based on the policy you just quoted. There are also pop-up tips for “common coverage levels” and “tailored coverage suggestions” that we found really helpful.

Allstate scores well with consumer and financial organizations, too. Moody’s, A.M. Best, and S&P Global all give it ratings in the “A” range, indicating that it’s financially well-managed and able to pay out claims with no difficulty. Consumer Reports’ Reader’s Score for Allstate is 88, which ties it with Nationwide (just one point State Farm). It has an “excellent” rating from CR in the “timely payment” category, and J.D. Power gives it a 3/5 in both claims and overall.

USAA

USAA seems to have it all. It topped our list of contenders in both customer service and financial ratings, earning a remarkable 5/5 in overall satisfaction from J.D. Power and a 95 Reader Score from Consumer Reports. So why isn’t it at the top of our list? The company only serves the needs of those in the armed services and their families. We weren’t even able to get a quote because we lacked military credentials.

But there are 27 military bases in Virginia, and roughly 115,000 active duty and reserve members of the military in the state, not to mention their families and those who have retired from the armed forces. For them, USAA is probably the best option.

As you might imagine, its coverage is tailored for those in military service. You can earn a discount of up to 60%, for example, if you’re deployed and place your car in storage. If you keep your car on base, you can save up to 15%. The company also lets you make payments based on your military pay schedule. In addition, it has the usual discounts for safe driving, multi-car and/or multi-policy (if you already use USAA for your homeowner or life insurance policies, for example).

Nationwide

Nationwide has a Virginia-specific web page that features discounts and endorsements just for Virginians as well as a list of local agents. As with all our contenders, getting a quote is fairly simple, requiring about ten minutes to answer questions about the car and driver. We counted 11 possible discounts, including one for drivers older than 55, and one for being a member of one of 400 select groups.

The quote we got for our Honda CR-V was $228 per six months, a bit steeper than some of our other options, but not ridiculously so. Nationwide also offers a sizeable discount — up to 25% — for its SmartRide program, which is similar to State Farm’s Drive Safe and Save initiative. The company tracks your driving habits through a Bluetooth device and assigns you a discount based on how safely you drive.

Nationwide got good, but not great, reviews from consumer watchdog organizations like J.D. Power and Consumer Reports. Its CR Readers Score of 88 placed it in a tie with Allstate for last place among our contenders, and J.D. Power only gave it 2/5 overall. Those rankings still indicate that it did its job well — just not quite as well as the others on our list.

Guide to Virginia Auto Insurance

Add comprehensive coverage for car theft protection

There are a number of things you can do to help ensure that your vehicle is safe from theft, but first, consider adding comprehensive insurance to your policy. This is an optional endorsement that protects you from a variety of non-accident-related experiences, like a tree falling on your car in a storm, or damage as the result of theft.

It’s not a state requirement, but we recommend you consider it, especially if you have a commonly stolen car. Here are the top five vehicles most appealing to thieves in 2016:

  • 2002 Honda Accord
  • 2016 Toyota Camry
  • 2004 Ford Pickup (Full Size)
  • 1998 Honda Civic
  • 2015 Nissan Altima

You can pay an Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee instead of buying insurance

There is an odd loophole in Virginia law that allows a car owner to keep an uninsured vehicle on the road. Paying the DMV a $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee when you register your car gives you the right to drive it without having insurance. The fee is valid for 12 months, so you’d need to pay it again after a year.

Keep in mind, however, that you would still be liable for the sometimes considerable costs of a car accident if you are at fault or the other motorist was uninsured — without the comfort of knowing that your insurance company is picking up the bulk of the tab. And $500 per year is still more expensive than many drivers would pay for insurance. So although it exists, we can’t think of any reason why you would want to take advantage of this dubious opportunity.

If you’re been turned down before, look into VAIP

If you’ve got a few dings on your driving record, your insurer may refuse to renew your policy, turning you down as a high-risk driver. If that happens, your first move should be to talk to agents at other companies — what stands out for one company might not raise a red flag for another. But if you’re not having any luck, take a look at the Virginia Automobile Insurance Plan (VAIP), a state-mandated entity that supplies insurance for high-risk drivers who can’t get a policy through the voluntary market. You’ll pay significantly more for a VAIP policy, but it’ll get you back on the road and driving legally.

Virginia Auto Insurance FAQ

What are average auto insurance rates in Virginia?

Virginia’s auto insurance rates are on the low side — on average $702 per year, compared to the nationwide average of $1,009. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your car, your coverage, and your address. Use the tool at the top of the page to find the best rates for you.

Does Virginia require car insurance?

Yes. The state of Virginia mandates that your insurance policy meet these minimum amounts:

  • $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $20,000 property damage coverage per accident

You are required to have the same amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, to help pay for injuries or damage if you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, or if you’re involved in a “hit and run” accident. Usually these coverages are written as: 25/50/20. Of course, you can (and probably should) consider higher levels of coverage than the minimum, since medical bills and other expenses after an accident can add up frighteningly quickly, but if your finances are tight, these are as low as you can go and still be considered legally insured.

The Best Virginia Auto Insurance: Summed Up


State Farm

Allstate

USAA

Nationwide

A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating
A++
A+
A++
A+

J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Score
3/5
3/5
5/5
3/5

Consumer Reports Reader Score
89/100
88/100
95/100
88/100