The Basics Pt 3
A third requirement that a vehicle owner must observe is to get proper automobile insurance. While this will be discussed in greater detail in Module 12, you should know that Virginia has certain requirements for insurance coverage to be sure you are covered for damage to your vehicle if you have a crash caused by you or by others, or if the vehicle is damaged in a storm or if it is stolen, among other reasons. An insurance agent can assist you in getting the appropriate amounts of coverage which will protect you in case of loss or in an accident. If you finance your vehicle, your finance company will insist that you have insurance, because it is a co-owner of the vehicle and it wants to also protect its property too. Unfortunately, the bank or finance company does not pay part of the insurance. That responsibility is your own.
The final requirement you must obtain in order to drive on Virginia roads is an inspection. Every city and county in Virginia requires a safety inspection. This test is conducted annually by a certified mechanic in order to determine how safe your vehicle is to operate on the road without endangering yourself or others. You will receive a checklist from the mechanic you visit, indicating if you pass a multi-point inspection to see how your brakes, windshield wipers, and many other features of your vehicle work. If you pass, you receive an inspection sticker placed in the lower middle section or to the left on the driver side portion of the windshield. If rejected, a pink “REJECTED” sticker will be placed on your vehicle and the mechanic will hand you a list with specific things you must do in order to legally operate your vehicle. You then must get the items repaired in a timely manner and immediately have the vehicle inspected again. It should pass the test now.
Some municipalities (cities and counties) in Northern Virginia have another test which they require. This is called an emissions test. This test determines how many pollutants your vehicle may be emitting into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. If you do not pass this test, then as with the safety test you must have a licensed mechanic repair the vehicle’s emissions system(s) so that it complies with local law of the city or county in which you live.