Liability insurance for exempt vehicles now required

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

In the interest of public safety, motorists have long been required by Virginia law to carry liability coverage on their auto insurance policies for personal and commercial vehicles.

That law now extends to motorists who operate vehicles exempt from registration requirements as defined by the Code of Virginia. This condition is part of SB 733, which became Virginia law on July 1.

SB 733 was introduced by Sen. Frank M. Ruff Jr., R-Clarksville, during the 2022 Virginia General Assembly in part to mitigate the misuse of farm use placards. This issue also was addressed in HB 179 and SB 186, which will go into effect July 1, 2023.

“The new law now requires all motor vehicles that are exempt from registration to be covered with some type of liability insurance, including farm use vehicles,” explained Andrew Smith, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation associate director of governmental relations.

“Because the exempted vehicles aren’t registered, they weren’t required to carry liability insurance,” he added. “With the new legislation now in effect, farmers must have coverage in place when they operate their vehicles on public roads.”

In addition to farm use vehicles, the new legislation requires any exempt vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer to be insured with personal injury liability and property damage liability coverage.

This coverage can be obtained under a general liability policy, an auto insurance policy or an umbrella policy, which may include farm-owner policies.

The bill also states that motorists may be required to provide proof to law enforcement that their vehicles, trailers or semi-trailers are insured as required by SB 733. Proof must be provided within 30 days.

The failure to provide such proof will subject motorists to a $600 traffic fine that will be paid into the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Uninsured Motorists Fund.