Auto Insurance Basics

Auto Insurance Requirements in West Virginia

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To live and drive in the Mountain State, you not only need to have a driver’s license and vehicle registration, but also auto insurance with at least the required minimum limits: 25/50/25 liability insurance and 25/50/25 uninsured motorist coverage. 

In 2014, the WV Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) created the West Virginia Online Insurance Verification (WVOLV) program to enforce the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Law. Check if your insurer has an online verification system where DMV and law enforcements may verify your insurance status. To be safe, always carry your current insurance ID card with you whenever you drive to avoid penalties. 

West Virginia Required Car Insurance CoverageWV Required Min. Limits
Bodily Injury (BI) $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident
Property Damage (PD)  $25,000 per accident
Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury (UMBI) $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident
Uninsured Motorists Property Damage (UMPD) $25,000 per accident

West Virginia Car Insurance Minimum Requirements

What does a West Virginia minimum policy cover? To be valid, an auto insurance policy in the Mountain State must include at least four types of car insurance coverage with minimum limits: bodily injury, property damage, uninsured motorists bodily injury, and uninsured motorists property damage. Here are the coverage breakdown and the minimum limits required:

Bodily Injury (BI): BI is a type of liability insurance for the injuries you cause in an accident, which means your insurer pays on your behalf to the other party in an accident you are at fault for. In a minimum policy, the required limits will cover you up to $25,000 per person you injure, and when there is more than one injured person, no more than $50,000 total per accident. In case the matter is taken to court, your BI also pays for your lawyer’s fee. Higher protection limits are available, varying by insurer.

Property Damage (PD): also a type of liability insurance, PD takes care of the property damage you cause in an accident. In a minimum policy, your insurer pays up to $25,000 worth of damage per accident on your behalf, after which you may need to pay for any excess costs on your own. Higher limits are usually recommended.

Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury (UMBI): In case you are in an accident that is caused by an uninsured driver, he or she may not have the means to pay for any medical attention that he should be responsible for. This is where UMBI steps in. You are required to purchase UMBI coverage, which gets your insurer to cover the medical expenses incurred in the event, up to $25,000 per person and $50,000 (if you have passengers) per accident in a minimum policy. If you are looking for more protection, you can choose to buy UMBI in as high as 100/300 limits, but know that your UMBI coverage can only be the same or lower than your BI coverage. 

Uninsured Motorists Property Damage (UMPD): in West Virginia, uninsured motorist coverage for property damage is also required. In case you get into a car crash with a driver who does not have proper coverage to pay for your vehicle's repair costs, your insurer pays for it up to $25,000 under a minimum policy. Licensed insurers in WV will make higher UMPD limits available for purchase, as long as it doesn't exceed your PD coverage of the same policy.

Optional Coverage in West Virginia

Sometimes an accident can lead to other unexpected costs, such as the need to repair your own car and rent a car while it's in the repair shop. Here are two optional coverages you can consider in West Virginia:

Collision: your car usually ends up damaged in an accident. However, unless the other driver was either at-fault or uninsured, your minimum policy in West Virginia would not help you with the car repair. Collision kicks in whenever your car is damaged in an accident where you run into something, or another car runs into you, regardless of fault. There is usually a deductible amount you need to meet before your insurer pays for each accident, which is an amount of your choice between $50 and $2,000. Keep in mind that the lower your deductible, the higher your premium.

Rental Car Reimbursement: when you have collision or comprehensive coverage, you will be eligible to purchase rental car reimbursement. As its name suggests, it covers the cost to rent a car when yours is in repair and unusable. It is a relatively low cost coverage, and car rentals can add up after a few days.

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