Auto insurance requirements in West Virginia
West Virginia law requires all drivers in the state to carry car insurance. The state also requires you to carry proof of insurance, which must be shown to law enforcement officials at their request. Keep reading to find out more about the car insurance requirements and additional coverage options in West Virginia.
It’s important to remember that if you finance or lease a vehicle, your lienholder or leasing company could require physical damage coverage — sometimes referred to as full coverage — as a part of your agreement.
Liability coverage in West Virginia
Liability coverage is legally required in West Virginia. It is a type of insurance coverage that pays for bodily injury and property damage that you cause to another driver or their passengers in an “at fault” accident. It also covers lost wages and pain and suffering. Keep in mind that your liability coverage never pays for your injuries or damage to your own property. For that, you would need to seek out other coverage options from your insurer.
What are state-mandated car insurance limits?
Limits represent the total amount that your car insurance company will be willing to pay in the event of a claim. States set the minimum amount of coverage that drivers must carry, as well as what types of coverage are required. For liability coverage, this limit is split into three categories: bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage. West Virginia’s liability limits are listed as 25/50/25 and explained below:
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person is the maximum dollar amount your insurer will pay for a single person that you injure in an at-fault accident.
- $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident is the total limit of what your insurance company will pay for all injuries that you cause in an accident if more than one person is hurt.
- $25,000 property damage per accident is the maximum dollar amount that your insurer will pay for property damage that you cause in an accident.
Do West Virginia’s required insurance minimums offer enough coverage?
West Virginia’s car insurance requirements are roughly similar to most states. Still, this doesn’t mean that they provide you with adequate coverage. West Virginia’s liability requirements are quite a bit lower than what most experts would suggest. As an example, meeting your $25,000 limit for bodily injury could happen quite quickly as medical expenses can be costly with even moderate injuries. Not having high enough limits leaves you exposed to risk.
As a way of further protecting yourself, most insurance experts recommend setting your liability coverage to at least 50/100/50. If you have more significant assets — such as a house — you may consider going even higher on these limits to keep yourself protected. Furthermore, consider adding additional coverages to protect your own vehicle or to provide additional medical benefits to you or your passengers.
West Virginia’s penalties for driving without proof of insurance
Driving without insurance in West Virginia is illegal and carries the following penalties:
- Suspension of your license for 30 days (90 days for a second offense)
- Reinstatement fees: $50 for license, $100 for registration
- A penalty of at least $200
- SR-22 maintenance
- Possible jail time
It’s important to note that if the uninsured driver provides proof of insurance and pays a penalty fee of $200 before the effective date, the driver's license suspension or vehicle registration revocation may not be imposed. Also, no reinstatement fees would be required.
Optional car insurance coverage in West Virginia
While West Virginia only requires liability coverage, there are a number of other insurance coverage options available from most carriers. Below you’ll find a rundown of some of the more popular options.
- Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage is a form of physical damage insurance that protects your vehicle against non-collision damages (though it does cover collisions with animals).
- Collision: Collision insurance covers your vehicle in situations where you collide with another car or fixed object.
- Gap coverage: If you are leasing or financing your vehicle, gap coverage could be a smart option. Because automobiles depreciate in value so quickly, this coverage pays the difference in the actual cash value of your vehicle and what you still owe on the loan. It’s a great way of protecting yourself from owing more than your vehicle is worth.
- Rental car reimbursement: If your car is rendered undrivable because of a covered incident, this coverage goes toward paying for a rental car until your vehicle can be fixed.
- Roadside assistance: If your car breaks down on the highway, this coverage helps with covering costs related to towing, battery charges, or a number of other expenses.
- Medical payments: Often referred to as “med pay,” this coverage goes towards your medical bills or funeral expenses (as well as those incurred by passengers in your vehicle). This coverage usually has limits that fall between $5,000 and $10,000 and can be used regardless of who is at fault.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI/UIM): Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance is very helpful in the event that you suffer injuries in an accident in which an uninsured or underinsured driver is at fault and cannot pay.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage (UMPD): This coverage is similar to UMBI, except that it protects your vehicle and other property in the event that an uninsured driver cannot pay for the damages they caused.
Why meeting West Virginia’s car insurance requirements is important
Not only is carrying sufficient car insurance a legal requirement, but it also protects yourself and your assets. Exploring other coverage options is another smart way to keep yourself better protected. If the price of additional coverages concerns you, you may consider shopping around for a new policy.
The Zebra can help you compare free car insurance quotes side by side to help you find a policy that works for both your insurance needs and your budget.
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