Buying a New Car:
For Virginia auto insurance, you have a grace period to get your new car registered with your auto insurance company. However, it’s best to talk to your insurance company beforehand and insure the vehicle as soon as possible after your purchase. Then, with insurance card in hand, go to the DMV to register your vehicle and receive the license plates.
Local Property Taxes:
If you are a resident of Rockbridge County, Virginia, there is a local ordinance that requires you to report the purchase of a new vehicle to the county within 30 days for property tax purposes.
If you don’t, you will have to pay a late filing penalty, which is a percentage of the property value. The DMV periodically sends an updated file of this information to the county, but you need to call yourself to ensure timely filing and avoid the late fee.
Call 540-463-3431 to report your new vehicle to Rockbridge County, Virginia.
Canceling Your Virginia Auto Insurance:
When you want to cancel your Virginia auto insurance coverage, you need to turn in your license plates to the DMV first.
Behind the scenes, your insurance company will notify the DMV when you cancel your insurance. The DMV, on a random selection process, looks for a match between canceled insurance coverage and surrendered plates. If you have not surrendered your plates, you could be fined by the state or asked to prove you had insurance coverage for that vehicle.
Alternatively, you could transfer your plates and auto insurance coverage to another car through the DMV.
Not Driving a Vehicle for a While:
If you’re not going to be driving your vehicle for a while, do you need to have auto insurance on that car? That depends on if you lease or own your car.
If you lease your vehicle, then you have to maintain auto insurance coverage and valid car tags regardless.
If you own your vehicle completely (not financed), then you can cancel your Virginia auto insurance coverage for that vehicle. But you want to make sure to turn your tags into the DMV first (see above). And remember, if something happens to the vehicle (e.g. a tree falls on it, or it rolls out into the street and causes an accident), then you’re not insured.
If you have valid car tags, then you must have auto insurance for that vehicle. Just because you’re not driving it does not mean you can let your Virginia auto insurance lapse.