blog home Insurance What’s Virginia’s new law about Underinsured Motorist (UIM) insurance, and how does it affect me?

What’s Virginia’s new law about Underinsured Motorist (UIM) insurance, and how does it affect me?

By Ken Gibson on February 15, 2024

Our lawmakers in Richmond recently fixed a law that was costing Virginians thousands of dollars each year.

A loophole in Virginia auto insurance laws has allowed insurance carriers to avoid paying the full value of accident claims involving underinsured drivers.

But, thanks to a new Virginia law, insurance companies are now required to offer policies that cover the full value of your UM/UIM claim, whether you receive compensation from another party or not.

Buying car insurance in Virginia just makes sense

In Virginia, we often do things our way. So, Virginia is one of just two states that do NOT require drivers to purchase car insurance. But Virginians who choose not to buy insurance still have to pay a $500 fee every time they register their car.

Virginians don’t like to be told what to do. So, although it doesn’t cost much more than $500 to buy the minimum auto insurance, 11 percent of Virginians would rather pay the fee and have no coverage.

In fact, you can even waive your right to buy a policy that offers stacking and pay a lower premium.

At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we recommend buying car insurance with the new stacking option to protect yourself and your assets. This is especially important if you are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver.

How does the new Virginia auto insurance law work?

Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance protects you from drivers who don’t carry any insurance or enough insurance to cover the cost of the injuries they caused.

However, under Virginia’s old law, UM/UIM payouts were available only if your insurance carrier’s limits were higher than the other driver’s coverage.

For example, let’s say Walter ran a red light and crashed into your car, harming you, and you got a payout from Walter’s insurance company. Then, your insurance company could subtract the amount you got from Walter’s insurance and pay you only the difference for your expenses.

In other words, according to the old Virginia law, if you had maximum UM/UIM coverage of $100,000, and Walter’s carrier paid you $50,000, then your insurance company would only have to give you $50,000 — even though you had paid for $100,000 of coverage. Does that sound fair?

Now, our General Assembly in Richmond has fixed this. Now, for all car insurance policies issued or renewed after July 1, 2023, insurance carriers must offer a plan that provides the full value of a claim. So, under the new law, using the above example, if Walter’s insurance company pays you his policy limits of $50,000, you can now seek your full policy limits of $100,000. By “stacking” your coverage ($100,000) on top of Walter’s coverage ($50,000), you could possibly obtain up to $150,000 in insurance coverage. Now that’s better.

When people are allowed to get the full value of their UM/UIM claim in addition to the at-fault person’s insurance company payout, it’s called stacking insurance and can greatly increase the value of your car accident claim. At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we recommend purchasing an auto insurance policy that permits the “stacking” of UM/UIM insurance.

Who can I call if I am injured in an accident?

Call us at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. John and I are former Marines, and we consider it our calling to get justice for our neighbors in Virginia who’ve been harmed by others.

I served as a federal prosecutor, and John has worked in a large private-sector firm serving insurance companies. Together, we know how to protect you. That’s why one of our mottos is “big city experience, small town care.”

When you put your trust in GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, you don’t pay anything unless we win your case. We call it our Zero Fee Guarantee.

Call our Virginia car accident lawyers at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777 to schedule a free consultation today.

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Community service

Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
  • Annual Coat Drive
    During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
  • Hands-on Service
    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
  • Supporting Local Schools
    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.