When driving a vehicle that is registered in the State of Vermont, insurance is required. Failure to drive with auto insurance can result in the revocation of your driver’s license.
Vermont minimum car insurance requirements are:
- Policy with limits of at least 25/50/10 – meaning:
- Liability coverage
- $25,000 of bodily injury to another person
- $50,000 of bodily injuries to all other persons
- $10,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist which provides coverage for bodily injury to you and your passengers if you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
- $50,000 minimum for bodily injury or death per injured person
- $100,000 minimum for bodily injury or death per accident
- $10,000 for property damage per claim
Optional Insurance includes:
- Collision (for physical damage to your car)
- Comprehensive (for instances like theft, contact with an animal, inclement weather, natural disasters, falling objects, vandalism, civil commotion, etc)
- Medical payments
- Rental reimbursement (covers for rental rates of $15 or $20 a day)
- Towing and labor
- Self-insurance of up to $115,000, as filed with the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles
Membership with an auto club such as AAA may include many of the above types of coverage.
In Vermont, you have the option to use a surety bond instead of insurance. The amount of the bond must be a minimum of $50,000 for injury or death of any one person in any accident, and $100,000 for injuries or death of all persons in one accident if the vehicle’s seating capacity is seven passengers or less. The bond amount is greater for accidents involving vehicles with a larger seating capacity.
Required Proof of Insurance in Vermont
- Insurance Card provided by Insurance company including all of the following:
- Name of insurance carrier
- Effective and expiration dates of coverage
- Name of insured
- Accurate description of year, make and model of registered vehicle
- Vehicle identification number
- Liability Bond
- Name of company issuing bond
- Bond number
- Name of driver covered by bond
Vermont State Department of Insurance
State of Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration
89 Main Street
Montpelier, VT 05620-3101
Obtaining a Junior Operator License
To obtain your license for residents under the age of 18, you must:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Have a clean driving record for at least six months
- Have possessed a learner’s permit for at least one year
- Have at least 40 hours of supervised driving practice, with ten hours being at night
- Have successfully completed a driver education course with at least 30 hours of classroom study, with 6 hours behind the wheel, and 6 hours of observation
- No conviction of alcohol or drug offense while holding permit
Once you meet the requirements, you can apply for a driver’s license at your nearest DMV. Be sure to bring the following:
- Two forms of identification
- Signed certificate showing that you’ve passed driving training course
- Parent or guardian to sign a Parental Authorization Affidavit at the office
- A non-expired learner’s permit
- A Driving Practice Log Sheet which certifies that you had at least 40 hours of supervised driving practice with ten of those hours being at night
- Your social security number
- Valid insurance card
- A vehicle that is in clean and good mechanical condition with a valid inspection sticker
To schedule an appointment for your exam, contact Central Scheduling at (802) 828-2085. Once you pass the road test and pay the $45 fee, you will receive your Junior Operator License.
To obtain your first license if you are a resident over the age of 18, you must:
- Bring two forms of identification
- Bring someone with a valid driver’s license on the day of your exam
- Have a valid insurance card
- Use a vehicle that is in clean and good mechanical condition with a valid inspection sticker
- Have a valid registration certificate
- Pass road test
- Pay fees
If you have a valid Learner Permit:
- $62.00 fee for road test and 4-year license
- $45.00 fee for road test and 2-year license
If you do NOT have a valid Learner Permit:
- $90.00 fee for road test and 4-year license
- $73.00 fee for road test and 2-year license
Fees are subject to change. You can call (802)828-2000 to verify fees before making your appointment.
Completing Driver Education
When a child reaches the age of 16, they may enroll in a Driver Training Program. To complete a program a student must meet the following:
- A total of 30 hours of classroom instruction
- A minimum of 6 hours of behind the wheel training
- A minimum of 6 hours of behind the wheel observation
- Supervision and practice of at least 40 hours with 10 hours being at night
It is recommended that you research any driver training program before enrollment. The following standards should be met:
- Instructors for standard training are state licensed and possess a Vermont Board of Education Teaching Certificate
- School and instructors meet the state curriculum requirements
- School or instructor has liability insurance for bodily injury or death
- School or instructor has the necessary equipment for giving proper instruction
Most high schools offer driver training programs that meet Vermont state requirements and have licensed instructors. The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles website provides a list of approved driver training schools (scroll down to Driving Training Schools – Non-commercial).
Knowing the Rules of the Road
Vermont provides all state driving laws online. Carefully obey these rules to qualify for the lowest auto insurance rates in Vermont.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Cell phones – drivers under 18
- Child passenger restraints and penalties
- Driving without registration
- Driving without license
- Illegal U-Turn
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Reckless driving
- Running red lights, stop signs
- Seat belt requirements and penalties
- Speeding and maximum speed limits
- Texting while driving
- Unattended motor vehicle
Residents of Vermont typically fall into one of three insurance coverage markets: preferred driver, good driver, and high risk driver. Preferred drivers have a spotless driving record and other low risk determinants, which means that they’re qualified for the lowest auto insurance rates in Vermont. Good drivers have fine driving histories, but may have a few risk factors, so while their rates may be higher than those of preferred drivers, they’ll still qualify for some of the best car insurance rates in Vermont. High-risk drivers, though, typically have less driving experience, multiple traffic violations, or a higher number of road accidents and insurance claims. For this reason, their policies usually cost more than the average cost of car insurance in Vermont.
Know Your Rates
Auto insurance rates are calculated based on a number of factors such as the driver’s history as well as the driver’s likelihood of filing insurance claims based on their catergory of risk. Vermont drivers who fall into the “good driver” or “preferred driver” category will see lower insurance rates. The base rate that is used to evaluate all drivers is then adjusted according to several factors, including:
- Location. Insurance companies divide Vermont into rating territories based on statistics that suggest which areas have a higher incidence of reported claims. For example, heavily congested areas may see higher insurance rates, according to the Vermont Insurance Division Consumer Guide to Auto Insurance.
- Age and gender. Statistics indicate that males have a higher accident rate than females. Most insurance companies typically consider some age groups, such as teens or drivers over 65 as having a higher incidence of accidents than other age groups.
- Driving experience. Drivers without violations or accidents within a period of three to five years are more likely to see lower insurance rates. Conviction for traffic violations and a bad driving record may result in higher rates.
- Nature of car use. Many insurance companies will ask about your car’s annual mileage. Rates are higher if the driver uses his or her car to travel to and from work or for business purposes. Drivers who use their cars for pleasure see lower insurance rates.
- Make, model, and year of the vehicle. Risk factors are taken into consideration, such as the cost for your car’s repair, its popularity among car thieves, its propensity for accidents, or the initial cost of the vehicle when it was first purchased.
- Credit scoring. Companies may use your credit score to determine an “insurance score” in deciding your overall rate. This is due to the correlation between a driver’s credit history and insurance claims filed. Those with better credit scores and histories will be more likely to receive the best auto insurance rates in Vermont.
Lower Your Rates
Shop around and compare auto insurance rates in Vermont for diifferent auto insurance companies or consult an insurance agent to find out which insurance plans offer the best coverage at the best price. Avoid automatically signing up for the cheapest plan you can find, as this may not cover all of your needs or offer much in the event of a claim. Finally, it is important to remember to make sure that the company is permitted to do business in Vermont.
If you have any questions about an insurance company’s legitimacy, you can view the list of licensed insurance companies or pending complaints against insurance companies. You can also contact the State of Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities & Health Care Administration (BISHCA) at (802) 828-3301.
It is also advisable to pay close attention to other insurance plans who may offer discounts so that you can get affordable auto insurance in Vermont. Examples of discounts are:
- You can usually receive a discount when insuring more than one car in your household. Also, some companies offer discounts to consumers purchasing home insurance along with auto insurance in one package.
Driving training. You may be eligible for a discount if your policy covers any young drivers who have taken a driving education course.
Good student. Drivers in high school or college with at least a ‘B’ average in school can often get a discount.
Student away from home. If your policy covers any young drivers who are currently away at college, live at least 100 miles away from home, or do not have regular access to your vehicle, you may be eligible for a discount.
Other discounts. These include regular carpooling and driving a car with airbags, automatic seatbelts, ABS breaks, or an anti-theft device.
Picking an Insurance Agent/Broker
If you need additional help finding the right insurance policy for your vehicle, you can consult with an insurance agent or broker. Whereas insurance agents who work with insurance companies aim to sell policies for commission, insurance brokers do not represent a company but instead work one-on-one with individual clients to find different insurance options to fit their needs. Either expert can help you find the best car insurance in Vermont.
The Vermont Insurance Division recommends shopping around for the best insurance policy, stating in their Consumer’s Guide to Buying Automobile Insurance that good insurance agents and customer service representatives are there to answer all of your questions. Whether you use an agent or broker, make sure that they are licensed with the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA). If your questions are not welcomed, you should consider purchasing insurance with another company. For more information on auto insurance rates, you can contact BISHCA by calling 1-800-964-1784.
If you have had issues with an insurance company, you can file a complaint online or request information on why your claim has been denied, why your policy was cancelled, or if your insurance company does not address your claim in a timely manner. If the latter happens, you should contact the Insurance Division immediately, and they will investigate the matter and get back to you if any formal disciplinary actions will take place.
It is important to note that your insurance company can drop you as a policyholder under certain circumstances. During the first 59 days of a policy, the company can cancel your policy for any reason, but if the policy has been in effect for 60 days or more, the company can only cancel for the following reasons:
- Non-payment of the premium
- Non-compliance with the policy terms
- Fraud or material misrepresentation
- Suspension or revocation of the license of someone on the policy
After an Accident
The first thing to do after a collision is to stop your vehicle and pull over to the side of the road to avoid blocking traffic. Immediately notify law enforcement, and if anyone is injured, you should call 911 right away. The driver must provide his or her name, residence, and license number to the law enforcement officer. If there is personal injury or damage, the name of the owner of the motor vehicle should also be mentioned in the police report. At this time it is important to take down the contact information of any witnesses. You should also report exactly where and at what time the collision occurred, and always get the name, address, phone number and insurance information of the other driver, even if he or she has no car insurance in Vermont. Failure to do so can result in up to $2,000 in fines, two-year imprisonment or both. Collisions resulting in injury or death may lead to fines of up to $3,000 and a prison sentence of five to fifteen years. Instances involving injury or damage more than $3,000 should be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 72 hours.
Drivers who have been involved in a collision should also immediately report the incident to their insurance provider and file a claim. The other driver’s information—name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, car make and model, and insurance information—should be provided, as well as whether any damage has been done to either driver’s vehicle. Your insurance company will also likely ask for the police report filed from the accident.
If you hit a parked car, you should leave a note with your name, address and phone number so that the other driver will know how to get in touch with you.
When all of your information has been received, your insurance company should investigate your claim within a timely manner. If another driver was at fault for your collision, your insurance company may also seek subrogation. Your insurance will cover the costs of any medical or repair bills you had, but your insurance will then reach out to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for compensation. During this process, you should give your insurance company full cooperation to ensure that this process goes smoothly. If you intend to settle with the at-fault driver or their insurance company, be sure to notify your insurance company.
Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
High-risk drivers are individuals who have a poor driving history involving accidents, traffic violations, tickets or driving under the influence of alcohol. The State of Vermont requires such drivers to take out a SR-22 high-risk auto insurance policy in order to have their licenses reinstated through the Vermont Automobile Insurance Plan. This plan specifically covers drivers in Vermont who cannot find coverage due to their driving records. You may also be asked to provide a SR-22 form if you’ve been caught driving without insurance or under the influence, have caused an accident while driving without insurance, accumulate too many traffic violations and tickets within a short time period, or have had your license suspended or revoked.
The length of time of SR-22 insurance can vary from 3 to 5 years depending on the seriousness of your violations. If you carry the insurance for 36 months without any additional violations, the insurance plan can be terminated.
For additional information regarding SR-22 auto insurance, contact:
Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
120 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05603-0001
Phone: (802) 828-2000
The Vermont Insurance Division will protect drivers by ensuring that insurance companies handle claims in a responsible and timely manner; by ensuring that insurance companies are licensed with the state and that they treat consumers fairly; and by reviewing and approving all life insurance and property casualty policies sold in Vermont.
Online resources include:
- File a Complaint
- Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
- Consumer Services at Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Services
- Vermont Driver’s Manual (in English)
- DMV Interactive Tutorial
Vermont Insurance Division
Consumer Services Section
89 Main Street, Second Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620-3101