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Car Insurance in West Virginia
West Virginia Car Insurance
In West Virginia, officials can easily verify your car insurance status by using an electronic online system, and violations of WV car insurance laws can lead to harsh penalties. Don't get caught off guard.
Read more to learn about West Virginia car insurance laws, programs, rates, and discounts.
Car Insurance Requirements
To fulfill West Virginia's mandatory auto insurance laws, you must have liability and uninsured motorist coverages.
Liability coverage will help cover the costs of injuries and property damage you may cause to someone else in a car accident.
Your liability car insurance must have the following minimums:
- $25,000 for bodily injury, per person.
- $50,000 for bodily injury, per accident.
- $25,000 for property damage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage will help pay for injuries and property damage you suffer in a car accident with a driver who does not have car insurance.
In West Virginia, your uninsured motorist coverage minimums are equal to the liability coverage minimums (see above).
While you must have at least the minimum requirement for uninsured motorist coverage, car insurance providers are required to offer you the maximum limits of uninsured motorist coverage of:
- $100,000 for bodily injury, per person.
- $300,000 for bodily injury, per accident.
- $50,000 for property damage.
NOTE: Increased limits will mean increased premiums.
Optional Car Insurance
While WV car insurance laws require you to have both liability and uninsured motorist coverages, there are several optional coverage types that can help protect you financially.
Most West Virginia auto insurance companies offer the following types of optional coverage:
- Collision – Helps pay for damages to your car that result from a traffic accident.
- Comprehensive – Helps pay for damages to your car not occurring from car accidents, such as damages occurring from vandalism.
- Medical payments.
- Towing and labor.
- Underinsured Motorist.
NOTE: While WV law does not require collision and comprehensive coverage, your loan or lease agreement may require you to purchase these coverage types.
Proof of Insurance
The WV law requires you to carry proof of insurance in the form of a Certificate of Insurance (Form WV-1), issued by your insurance company, in your car at all times.
Additionally, you must have current car insurance in order to register your car in West Virginia.
The DMV will electronically verify your car insurance status with the state's online insurance verification system.
Because of this, you are not required to provide your Certificate of Insurance (Form WV-1) when registering your car or renewing your registration, although you may choose to do so to help with the verification process.
You are required to provide your insurance company's National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) number for any vehicle registration transaction. This number can be found on your Certificate of Insurance, or can be obtained from your car insurance provider.
Auto Insurance Violations in WV
If you are unable to provide proof of insurance upon a WV official's request, or you are found to be driving without car insurance, you face the following penalties:
- Suspension of your car's registration:
- To have your registration reinstated, you must provide proof of insurance and pay a $100 fee.
- If you are also ordered to surrender your plates you will face an additional $50 fee.
- Suspension of your driver's license:
- After your suspension ends, you will have to pay $50 reinstatement fee.
- Each subsequent offense will result in a longer suspension period.
Providing false insurance information will result in:
- A mandatory driver's license suspension of 90 days.
- Revocation of your car.
- Possible maximum fine of $1,000.
- Possible maximum 1 year of jail time.
Car Insurance Cancellations
Insurance violations are often the result of car insurance cancellations that aren't dealt with promptly.
Your West Virginia car insurance company can cancel your insurance within the first 60 days of your policy for any reason.
After this initial period of 60 days, your insurance company may only cancel your policy for certain reasons, including:
- Non-payment of premium.
- Use of fraudulent information to obtain an insurance policy.
- Violation of any policy terms and conditions.
Your insurance policy may also be canceled if any driver in the policy:
- Has driven the insured car with a suspended license.
- Suffers from epilepsy or heart attacks and has not been medically cleared to drive.
- Has been convicted of:
- Any felony or assault involving a car.
- Negligent homicide involving driving a car.
- Leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it to authorities.
- Vehicle theft.
- Making false statements in a driver's license application.
- 3 moving violations or more within a period of 12 months, each of which add at least 3 points on your driving record.
Non-Renewal of Your Policy
Your auto insurance carrier can refuse to renew your policy at any expiration point of your policy.
Your insurance company may refuse to renew up to 1% of their in-force policies within a county, for any reason that is consistent with their company's standards.
After providing your car insurance for a consecutive 2 years, your car insurance company may only refuse to renew your policy for similar reasons listed in the policy cancellation section (see above).
Insurance companies must give you notice at least 45 days before non-renewal of your policy with an explanation for the non-renewal.
Cancellations and non-renewals can lead to a lapse of car insurance if you do not find a new car insurance carrier immediately. Lapses in insurance will result in violations and are subject to penalties. (See “Car Insurance Cancellations" above.)
West Virginia Assigned Risk Plan
Car insurance companies have the right to refuse coverage to high-risk drivers, such as those with poor driving records.
If you are having a difficult time finding car insurance, you may apply for insurance through the West Virginia Assigned Risk Plan, which helps guarantee that all licensed drivers have access to car insurance.
Auto insurance rates through the plan will be considerably higher than insurance purchased in the open market. Consider the plan as a last resort.
Contact any West Virginia car insurance agent to learn more about the plan.
Other Car Insurance Issues
The West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) has several programs to assist consumers with insurance issues, such as consumer complaints and car insurance fraud.
Questions and Concerns
If you have a question or concern regarding car insurance, you can contact the OIC:
- By phone: (888) 879-9842.
- By mail:
Offices of the Insurance Commissioner
ATTN: Consumer Service Division
P.O. Box 50540
Charleston, WV 25305
If you want to file a complaint against your car insurance company, you can fill out a Consumer Complain Form and mail it to the address above.
Consumer Advocate Assistance
If the OIC cannot assist with a solution to your complaint, the OIC Consumer Advocate may be able to provide you with legal assistance.
For more information visit the OIC Consumer Advocate website.
Car Insurance Fraud
Insurance fraud costs car insurance companies a large sum of money annually. Those costs get passed down to you through policy rate increases.
You can help keep rates low by reporting any suspected car insurance fraud to the OIC:
- Online at the OIC website.
- By mail:
- Complete a Suspected Insurance Fraud Citizen Reporting form.
- Send to:
Offices of the Insurance Commissioner
P.O. Box 2901
Charleston, WV 25330
Common forms of car insurance fraud include:
- Staging car accidents.
- Exaggerating or falsifying accident-related injuries.
- Falsifying vehicle damages and repairs.
For more information on insurance fraud please contact the Fraud Division at (304) 558-5241 or (800) 779-6853.
Determining Your WV Car Insurance Premium
When making car insurance comparisons, remember that West Virginia car insurance companies can use the following factors to determine your car insurance quote:
- Driving record.
- Insurance claims history.
- Marital status.
- Your car's:
- Credit history.
- Daily miles driven.
- Where you live.
- Deductibles (your out-of-pocket expenses towards claims).
- The higher your deductibles the lower your premium.
WV Car Insurance Discounts
A great way to save on car insurance is to take advantage of discounts. When shopping for car insurance, ask about discounts for which you may be eligible.
Most West Virginia car insurance companies offer the following discounts:
- Good driver.
- Good student.
Taking advantage of discounts can get you affordable car insurance rates. However, the best way to maintain low-cost car insurance is to keep a clean driving record that reflects safe and violation-free driving.
Most Stolen Cars in West Virginia
Your car could increase your car insurance rates if it is highly targeted for theft.
The following is a list of the most stolen cars in West Virginia for 2013, according to www.nicb.org:
- Ford Pickup (Full Size).
- Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size).
- Chevrolet Pickup (Small Size).
- Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee.
- Chevrolet Cavalier.
- Ford Pickup (Small Size).
- Dodge Pickup (Full Size).
- GMC Pickup (Full Size).
- Ford Explorer.
- Honda Accord.
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