Auto Insurance in West Virginia

Overview

While the percentage of motorists driving without insurance on West Virginia roads isn’t critically high, officials in the Mountain State have plans to take the number even lower.

Within two years, the state is working to have an electronic verification system in place, making it easier for West Virginia law enforcement to make the state safer for its driving residents by getting the uninsured off its thoroughfares.

Currently, West Virginians are required to carry uninsured motorist auto coverage in addition to liability, but the state wants to see its citizens protected even further.

The program will make it possible for state employees to confirm that anyone with a registered vehicle in fact carries the proper coverages. In addition, the system will have the functionality of being able to match state auto vehicle registrations with records on file by automobile insurance carriers. That way, the state can more easily identify motorists with lapsed West Virginia auto insurance, but who persist driving without insurance.

Another advantage of the new system will be the up-to-the-minute database that will make it easier for police officers who pull drivers over to promptly determine if that driver has the mandatory minimum auto insurance coverages.

West Virginia’s mandatory auto insurance requirements

West Virginia auto insurance laws require motorists to carry two types of auto insurance: liability and uninsured motorist. It is illegal to drive in West Virginia without both coverages. Here are the mandatory minimums you must carry to drive on West Virginia roads:

Liability

  • $20,000 – bodily injury (BI), one person
  • $40,000 – bodily injury (BI), multiple victims, per accident
  • $10,000 – property damage (PD)

Uninsured Motorist (UM)

  • $20,000 – bodily injury (BI), one person
  • $40,000 – bodily injury (BI), multiple victims, per accident
  • $10,000 – property damage (PD)

It’s important to note that while the above limits meet the state’s auto insurance required minimums, in many cases, the minimum coverage may put you at risk. Say for example, if you are seriously injured in a car crash. If your medical expenses exceed the limit you are covered for, your insurer will only pay up to the covered amount, leaving you with the burden of responsibility for paying the rest.

Because of this, the Commonwealth of West Virginia makes it mandatory that auto insurance companies make available for purchase additional optional coverage in the following amounts:

Uninsured Motorist (UM)

  • $100,000 – bodily injury (BI), one person
  • $300,000 – bodily injury (BI), multiple victims, per accident
  • $50,000 – property damage (PD)

Underinsured Motorist (UIM)

  • $20,000 – bodily injury (BI), one person
  • $40,000 – bodily injury (BI), multiple victims, per accident
  • $10,000 – property damage (PD)

Keep in mind that West Virginia’s mandatory minimum requirement to carry UM in the amounts of 20/40/10 do not include any coverage to protect you if you are in an accident caused by an underinsured motorist.

Discuss your needs with your West Virginia auto insurance agent or company to ensure that you have the full protection you need.

Drivers may purchase additional UIM auto insurance up to the amounts of your policy’s liability limits.

West Virginia auto insurance policy FAQ

Q: What happens if my West Virginia auto insurance policy has lapsed?
A: The West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) randomly checks the state’s vehicle registration records to see if those vehicle’s owners are meeting West Virginia’s required auto insurance minimums. If you are found to be without coverage, your driver’s license and auto license plate will be suspended.

Q: What happens if my premium payment is late?
A: Even if your auto insurance payment is a day late, your insurer can cancel your policy. Ask your insurance agent what the company’s policy is regarding late payments. Some companies will reinstate your policy after receiving your payment, but they are not required to.

Tips for reducing the cost of your West Virginia auto insurance policy

When buying West Virginia auto insurance, it pays to do your homework. Be a savvy shopper. When inquiring about auto insurance rates from various carriers, ask if they offer the following:

  • Multiple vehicles discount
  • Multiple policies (auto insurance, home insurance, life insurance) discount
  • Paying in full (annually as opposed to monthly or quarterly)
  • Good student discount
  • Discount for installing anti-theft devices in your car
  • Discount for completing an approved drivers training
  • Good driver discount (no accidents)
  • Continuous coverage discount

Average annual cost of auto insurance

The 2011 average annual premium for auto insurance in West Virginia is $1633, higher than national annual average for U.S. auto insurance, which is $1561.

 

Resources

West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner
Web  wwwwvinsurance.gov
Consumer Services Division
Tel 888-879-9842

 

West Virginia DMV

Tel 304-558-3900

Tel 800-642-9066