Motorcycle Insurance Minimum Requirements in West Virginia
In addition to four-wheeled passenger vehicles, the Compulsory Insurance Law includes motorcycles; therefore, any state resident who wishes to register and operate a motorcycle must have motorcycle insurance.
Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility
The only way to establish financial responsibility for your motorcycle is to purchase liability coverage from an insurance carrier licensed to do business in West Virginia.
Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined
If you’re not sure whether you need to register and purchase insurance for your motorcycle, you can call the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at (304) 558-3900 for assistance.
The state recognizes the following as two-wheeled vehicles:
- Motorcycle―The state considers any two-wheeled, motor-driven cycle with an engine of more than 50 cc to be a motorcycle. If you have a motorcycle, you must register it and cover it with liability insurance.
- Scooter/Moped―Exact names for these two-wheeled vehicles vary, but if it has an engine of 50 cc or less the state recognizes it as a scooter or moped. Generally*, residents don’t have to register or insure these motor-driven cycles.
*The DMV suggests checking your cycle for a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) sticker. If your cycle has this sticker, chances are you need to register and insure it.
West Virginia Insurance Requirements for Motorcycles
If you plan to operate your motorcycle on state roads, you must register it and purchase motorcycle insurance for it. Your policy must include liability insurance that meets the following minimum requirements:
- $10,000 for property damages
- $20,000 for one accident, one injury/death
- $40,000 for one accident, two injuries/deaths
Purchasing the minimum insurance requirements puts you in the clear with the state, but keep in mind you may want―or need―additional types of coverage to make sure you’ve fully protected your cycle and met the requirements of any lienholder you may have.
How Coverage Affects Helmet Requirements
The amount of motorcycle insurance you have doesn’t affect your requirement to wear a helmet in this state. By law, if you’re riding a motorcycle, scooter, or moped you must wear a helmet.
Proof of Insurance and Financial Responsibility
As a motorcycle owner, there are several instances when you’ll need to show proof of insurance:
- When you register your motorcycle and renew your registration.
- Whenever you’re involved in an accident or a law enforcement officer pulls you over.
- Whenever the DMV randomly selects you and sends a letter requesting proof.
You can provide acceptable proof of insurance when you show the DMV or a law enforcement officer the valid insurance card your carrier issues you.
In some cases, you may be able to show your motorcycle insurance policy’s declarations page or a certified letter from your carrier, but it’s best to verify this with your local DMV office before relying on either one as proof.
Penalties for Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility
If you can show no proof of insurance if the DMV requests it, if law enforcement pulls you over, or if you’re involved in an accident, you could face:
- A suspended registration. The fee to reinstate your registration is $100, plus an extra $50 if the DMV mails the state police a secure order on your license plate. You must also obtain and show proof of liability coverage before the DMV will reinstate your license.
- A suspended driver’s license. The DMV will suspend your driver's license for varying periods of time depending on how many offenses you've had. Once you’re suspension period is over, you must pay a $50 reinstatement fee and show proof that you’ve obtained adequate liability coverage before you can drive again.
You can contact the Compulsory Insurance Section of the Capitol Complex office at (304) 558-3900 for more information about motorcycle insurance requirements and details specific to your situation should the DMV suspend your license and registration.
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