From Morgantown to Martinsburg, Huntington to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia has thousands of miles of roadways. They’ll take you from Charleston to Wheeling, along the Salt Peter Trail, down to the Canaan Valley and up into the Appalachians. They’re used by over 1.3 million licensed drivers, who each average over 10,200 miles a year. Along the way, they’re involved in thousands of traffic accidents, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the Mountain State, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to West Virginia’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.
West Virginia state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines. West Virginia has a tort system, which means that if you are found to be at fault in a car accident, you can be sued for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damages (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering.
The bare minimum car insurance requirement for West Virginia drivers is:
$20,000 bodily injury per person per accident
$40,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
Underinsured coverage can be rejected in writing if you prefer not to purchase it. West Virginia does not require you to carry additional coverage such as Collision and Comprehensive. However, if you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.
Penalties for Failure to Carry West Virginia Auto Insurance
West Virginia requires you to carry minimum liability insurance or proof of financial responsibility and provide proof if a law enforcement officer asks to see it. Failure to do so can involve severe penalties. A first offense can carry fines between $200 and $5,000, plus a 30-day suspension of your driver’s license and revocation of your registration. Second offenses carry the same penalties plus the potential of 15 days to 1 year in jail. If your license is suspended there is $50 reinstatement fee. If your registration is suspended, there is $100 reinstatement fee.
Filing false or fraudulent insurance information will result in a mandatory 90-day suspension of your license, a maximum $1,000 fine, up to 1 year in jail and impounding of your vehicle.
West Virginia has an Electronic Insurance Verification Program that allows instant real-time online verification of insurance status during traffic stops and when registering vehicles. In addition, the state routinely conducts monthly registration checks on all vehicles.
West Virginia Car Insurance Premiums
Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the West Virginia Insurance Commission. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:
The type of car you are insuring
Prior auto insurance coverage
How much you drive
Your driving record
Your marital status
Your geographic location
How long you’ve been driving
Whether or not you use your car for business
West Virginia also allows insurers to consider your credit history to determine your premium.
How to Get the Cheapest West Virginia Car Insurance Policy
You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:
Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
Eliminate unnecessary coverage
Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer
New West Virginia Driving Laws
Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in West Virginia. The following laws have recently been enacted in West Virginia and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.
West Virginia has a ban on texting and the use of handheld phones for all drivers
West Virginia bans the use of all cell phones (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers.
Since 2013, West Virginia has had a Click It or Ticket law that allows police to pull you over for not using a seatbelt. The first offense has a $25 fine.