The Best Virginia Auto Insurance Companies
Virginia’s auto insurance rates are on the low side — on average $842 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.
It pays to shop around.
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What Does Auto Insurance Cost in Virginia
Average annual rate in Virginia: $842
The Best Virginia Auto Insurance Companies
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? Beefing 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.
How We Found the Best Virginia Auto Insurance Companies
To find the best auto insurance in Virginia, we followed the methodology we used in our nationwide review of the best auto insurance. We looked at what consumer agencies like J.D. Power and Consumer Reports had to say about the companies, as well as financial analysis groups A.M. Best and Moody’s, who gave each of our companies a rating based on their financial stability.
After evaluating each company for easy-to-use tools and educational information on their websites, we went ahead and compared online quotes. With each company, we paid attention to the number and variety of discounts available, as well as customization options. We also talked to industry experts and took a deep dive into industry publications to find out what others were saying about our companies. Through it all, we noted the reputation of the company for the three “C” words: cost, coverage, and claims.
The 4 Best Auto Insurance Companies in Virginia
Best Virginia Auto Insurance Companies
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. State Farm had the second cheapest premiums when it came to six months of bare-bones coverage with no collision or comprehensive. Of course, quotes will also depend on the make and model of your car and the degree of coverage you want.
Speaking of coverage, State Farm offers more discounts than any of our other finalists, but it didn't have as many supplemental coverage endorsements. That leaves you with a smaller bill but also with fewer opportunities to customize your coverage. Financially, the company is rock-solid: An A.M. Best rating of A++ and an S&P Global rating of AA means the company will be able to cover your claims. Rankings with Consumer Reports and J.D. Power show the company also offers respectable service, especially with agent courtesy and timely payment.
State Farm also offers valuable perks such as its 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 — more if the device indicates that you’re a safe driver.
Getting a quote from Allstate is a piece of cake. Its quote tool clearly outlines discounts earned and identifies potential others, like its Easy Pay Plan and a discount for completing a defensive driving class. While the discounts are plentiful, the quote we received was still the highest of all our five finalists.
Allstate scores well with consumer and financial organizations, too. A.M. Best gave Allstate an A+ ranking which, while lower than State Farm, is still significantly high and indicates that it’s financially well-managed and able to pay out claims with no difficulty. Consumer Reports also scores Allstate at a favorable 88, which ties it with Nationwide and puts it just one point below State Farm. It has an “excellent” rating from CR in the “timely payment” and “agent courtesy” category, and J.D. Power gives it a 3/5 in both claims and overall.
We also really liked Allstate’s website. Allstate’s site includes a series of videos that provide helpful information about coverage and the online quote process is simple to complete. During one of our tests, the Allstate site ran into a technical issue, but a screen with easy access to a local representative immediately appeared. When we made the call, the representative was friendly and informative. Given that every site can run into an issue now and again, we appreciated Allstate’s foresight.
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 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 10 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 car was a bit steeper than some of our other options, but not ridiculously so. Nationwide also offers a sizable discount — up to 40% — 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 gave it 3/5 overall. Those rankings still indicate that Nationwide does its job fairly well — but competitors like State Farm might be just a touch better.
Guide to Virginia Auto Insurance Companies
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.
- Nissan Altima
- Toyota Camry
- GMC Sierra
- Hyundai Elantra
- Ford Fusion
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.
Look into VAIP if you’ve been turned down before
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
How much is auto insurance in Virginia?
Virginia’s auto insurance rates are on the low side — on average $842 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 our handy tool to find the rate and coverage that’s right for you.
Does Virginia require car insurance?
Technically, 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 with frightening speed, but if your finances are tight, these are as low as you can go and still be considered legally insured.