How to get the best car insurance in West Virginia
West Virginia, like all US states, has a unique set of standards and rules to follow before you can hit the road. Compare car insurance in West Virginia, from what you’ll need to get insured, average cost of car insurance in West Virginia, DUI laws and penalties, who’s at fault in a car accident and how to get the best insurance rates.
Tips for cheap car insurance in West Virginia
- Drive a safe, reliable vehicle. West Virginia’s rolling mountains and lush landscapes might look better from the driver’s seat of a sporty convertible, but high performance cars are at a higher risk for accidents and high repair costs, which means higher insurance rates.
- Drop extra coverage on older vehicles. A newer or more expensive vehicle may need collision and comprehensive coverage, but what if you commute to work in a beater? Dropping these policy extras could save you more money in a year or two than what you’d get from the insurer if your vehicle was totaled.
- Increase your deductible. By raising your deductible to a higher amount you could still pay after an accident, you should be able to lower your monthly premiums.
- Keep your driving record clean. Accidents and tickets are known to increase your car insurance premiums. To get the best rates, avoid black marks on your record. You could even qualify for additional discounts from your provider.
- Don’t ignore local insurers. While the biggest insurance providers often claim to have the best deals, a smaller agency around the corner could be hungry for your business and be more willing to give you a great rate.
- Maintain your credit score. In West Virginia, like in most US states, insurance providers are allowed to view your credit score when deciding on a rate. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get decent rates.
- Bundle your policies. Most providers give a discount if you can bundle your policies. Take advantage of what your provider offers by keeping your home or rental property insured with the same company that provides your auto insurance, and save anywhere from 10-25% on your total insurance costs.
Average car insurance costs in West Virginia
West Virginia came in slightly above the $1,300 national average for auto insurance costs compared to other states in 2017, with most drivers paying about $1,350 annually. Drivers in the most expensive state in the country — Michigan — tend to pay more than $2,300 a year for the same level of coverage.
While a state average is a good guideline for what you’ll pay, your costs also depend on where you live, your age and driving record, among other things. The more risk you present to the insurer, the higher you’ll pay for your premium.
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West Virginia minimum requirements for car insurance
To legally drive in West Virginia, you’ll need insurance that includes at least:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
In addition to liability coverage, you must carry the same minimums for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
What additional coverage can I get in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, you can get the same policy extras you would expect in most states. However, it’s worth noting that not all insurers offer all coverage options in every part of the country.
- Comprehensive. Covers damage to your car caused by something other than a collision, like weather or vandalism.
- Collision. Helps pay for repairs if your car is damaged in an accident.
- Medical and funeral services. Helps cover medical bills or funeral services as a result of an accident.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Protects you if you get into an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance.
- Rental car. Assists in paying for any car you rent if your vehicle is damaged in an accident.
- Towing and labor. This provides reimbursement for towing or labor costs you may have incurred as a result of an accident.
What can I do if I don’t want to buy car insurance in West Virginia?
Unlike many states, West Virginia doesn’t offer any alternative to carrying auto insurance — not even depositing large sums of money with the state treasury. To get behind the wheel in this state, you’ll have to find some kind of insurance policy that meets the minimum requirements.
Can I buy temporary car insurance in West Virginia?
Yes, you can get temporary insurance in West Virginia. You might need this type of coverage if you plan on renting a car on and off for a few months and don’t want to pay the high insurance costs that rental companies offer, or if you bought a car and plan on reselling it in a few months. Not all providers offer temporary car insurance policies, so you’ll likely have to do some digging to find an insurer that will meet your needs.
What happens if I’m driving in West Virginia and I don’t have insurance?
If you’re caught driving without proper coverage in this state, you can face fines and penalties that include suspending your car’s registration, confiscation of your license plate and driver’s license. you can pay up to $200 to get all of that reinstated. Each offense will result in a longer suspension period.
Uninsured drivers in West Virginia
About 10% of all drivers in this state were uninsured in 2015, according to estimates from the Insurance Research Council. That’s slightly lower than the 13% national average, and way lower than Florida’s whopping estimate of 26.7%.
What laws do I need to follow when I’m driving in West Virginia?
Most states adhere to a fairly common set of traffic laws, but West Virginia has a few that are unique to this state.
- Anyone in the front passenger seats must wear seat belts. Passengers sitting in the back seat who are older than 18 aren’t legally required to wear seat belts.
- Texting behind the wheel is prohibited, and you can only use your cellphone for calls if you have a hands-free device. Anyone under 18 years old cannot use a cellphone at all even if they have a hands-free device.
- Every vehicle must have at least two headlights on between sunset and sunrise, or when there’s poor visibility. Having a headlight out is sufficient reason for a police officer to pull a driver over.
- Leaving a running vehicle unattended is considered a misdemeanor, with a fine as high as $100.
What are the penalties for getting a DUI in West Virginia?
Like all states in the US, West Virginia enforces a blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08% and a 0.04% limit for commercial drivers. Additionally, drivers younger than 21 are held to the stricter BAC limit of 0.02%. If you’re pulled over and convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in West Virginia, you’ll likely face penalties similar to the ones listed below.
|1st offense||2nd offense||3rd offense|
|Jail||Up to 6 months||6–12 months||1–3 years|
|Fines and penalties||$100–$1,000||$1,000–$3,000||$3,000–$5,000|
|License suspension||15–45 days||1 year||1 year|
Can I get SR-22 insurance in West Virginia?
No, West Virginia is one of the few states that doesn’t require an SR-22 if you’re a current resident. If you move to West Virginia from another state that required you to file an SR-22, you probably need to continue meeting your SR-22 insurance requirements while in West Virginia.
What happens after an accident in West Virginia?
When you’re involved in a car accident, the steps you take at the scene can help you settle any claims quickly and efficiently.
- Get to safety. Make sure you and everybody involved in the accident are OK. If you need assistance, call 911 immediately.
- Notify your insurance company. After you’ve confirmed that all parties are safe, call your agent to report the accident. They’ll walk you through the information they need for your claim.
- Document the accident. Protect your claim by taking down the names of any police officers at the scene. Take pictures of each car involved from different angles, and talk to any witnesses you can contact for more information later.
- Exchange information. Get the full name, contact info and insurance policy details from other drivers. Note the drivers’ car type, color, model and license plate number, as well as the exact location of the accident.
When you discuss the accident with anyone involved, don’t admit to guilt. If you suggest to anybody that you caused the crash, your car insurance provider could refuse to pay your claim.
Who’s at fault after an accident?
West Virginia is a tort or at-fault state, meaning the driver who caused the crash — and their insurer — will be held responsible to pay for damages and injuries, up to the driver’s policy limits. In a no-fault state, each driver in a crash would be covered by their own insurance policy.
When should I report an accident in West Virginia?
You must report a car accident in this state if anyone was injured or killed, or if it resulted in property damages over $500. Failure to report a serious accident could result in having your license suspended.
When should I contact a lawyer in West Virginia?
Many car accidents might not even require a lawyer. But if you’re facing any of these situations after a crash, it may be a good idea to seek professional legal advice:
- You’re facing criminal charges after the accident, such as negligence.
- Your auto insurance fails to cover a significant portion of the costs resulting from the crash.
- The other driver plans to file a civil suit against you.
- You plan to file a civil suit against another driver involved in the crash.
- You plan to appeal a court decision following the accident.
The right car insurance policy can help protect you, your vehicle and other motorists on the road. And in the state of West Virginia, you’re legally required to maintain coverage if you want to drive. Compare the laws and requirements in your state to find the best value on your car insurance coverage.
Frequently asked questions about West Virginia car insurance
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