West Virginia is a beautiful state, but it’s also one of the most expensive when it comes to car insurance rates. High premiums here are a result of many factors, including a recent history of natural disasters and a large number of uninsured drivers. The state also holds the record for the most deer-vehicle collisions per capita, and this bit of trivia likely contributes to the state’s high insurance rates, as well.
Getting the right coverage at the right price requires knowing your state’s minimum insurance limits and understanding when optional coverages are a good investment. We walk you through a lot of this, and a number of ways to reduce your payments, over the course of this page.
Shopping around when it’s time for a new policy is the most important step,though. SmartFinancial’s unbiased comparison tools and expertise help walk you through the complicated process of choosing an insurance carrier and building your policy, and it sets you up quickly and easily with competing quotes from leading carriers in the state—all for free!
When shopping for a new auto insurance policy, compare the same coverage levels from multiple carriers to find the best combination of quality coverage and affordable rates. To make things easier for you, we’ve listed the top three carriers in West Virginia, based on rankings from J.D. Power (see the full list).
Auto insurance is a major monthly expense for most people, so it makes sense to shop around and compare rates before taking out a policy. There’s always an opportunity to reduce costs without sacrificing protection or customer service. SmartFinancial lets you compare quotes on the right coverage for you and your family.
Take a look at what we do by clicking on your city below. Or, if your hometown doesn’t appear in the list, click here instead.
Auto insurance is required by law in West Virginia. And it isn’t one of those expenses where skimping makes sense. If you’re ever involved in a car accident, you’ll be grateful for the financial protection car insurance provides when you’re hit with medical expenses, repair bills, legal fees, and other costs. Always carry as much insurance as you can afford, even if you don’t plan to use it.
West Virginia Driving Safety
Even if you’re an expert on traffic law, have never been in an accident, and pride yourself on your excellent hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes, there’s no guarantee that the motorists sharing the road with you are as responsible and alert. It only takes one bad driver, pothole, broken traffic light, or deer to cause an accident, and this is where insurance comes in. Your auto insurance offers peace of mind by protecting you every single time you get behind the wheel.
Going green does more than help the planet; by choosing to drive an eco-friendly vehicle, you’re helping your wallet. Incentives in West Virginia range from savings on insurance premiums to significant tax breaks. Plus, the State may add more green driving incentives in the future.
West Virginia taxpayers may be eligible for a tax break when buying or converting to an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV). Through the end of 2017, taxpayers who own an alternative fuel vehicle will get a break on their income tax for converting a vehicle to run on propane or bi-fuel natural gas, or for purchasing a new, dedicated propane or bi-fuel natural gas vehicle.
In addition to state-level incentives for driving green, fuel-efficient vehicle owners may qualify for various federal tax credits offered by the IRS. If you drive a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, diesel, or alternative fuel vehicle, speak with your tax preparer or contact the IRS for more information on applying and qualifying for green driving tax breaks.
West Virginia offers reimbursements for some owners and operators of AFVs. The Alternative Fuel School Bus Incentive is available to any county that uses compressed natural gas to power any portion of its bus fleet. This reimbursement is designed to offset operation, maintenance, and other costs associated with using alternative fuel school buses. Other incentives may be available, too.
Automobile insurance policies in West Virginia must include at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage; $25,000 in property damage liability coverage; $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage; and $25,000 in uninsured motorist property damage coverage.
Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to a single person
Coverage for multiple people injured in a single accident
Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you
At a minimum, West Virginia drivers must purchase bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, along with uninsured motorist coverage. These protect you if you cause an accident with another driver or if you’re involved in a motor vehicle crash with an uninsured driver.
Higher-than-minimum limits offer greater peace of mind and financial protection, though, as minimum coverage isn’t always enough. Also, picking up appropriate optional coverages helps ensure you have assistance with a variety of expenses not covered by the minimum policy requirements.
If you’re leasing or financing a vehicle, your lender will likely require additional types of insurance to protect their investment, such as comprehensive and collision coverage. Other add-ons may be useful depending on your specific needs. For example, rental reimbursement may mean the difference between getting to work while your car is in the shop or missing out on a paycheck.
Some exclusions may apply.
Speak with your insurer about optional coverages to suit your lifestyle and needs.
Worried about the extra expense of optional coverages? Check out our post 12 Things You can Do to Lower Your Auto Insurance Premium for ideas on how to offset additional costs.
*This list of car insurance carriers is based on the ratings for the Mid-Atlantic region in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Ratings are derived from five key service areas: claims, price, interaction, policy offerings, and billing. USAA is a military-only option and is therefore not including in the above rankings.
Buckling up is the easiest, most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones in a crash. Without proper restraint, you’re at risk of being ejected from your vehicle, which is almost always fatal. And don’t assume air bags will save you. These safety devices are designed to work with seat belts, and you can be seriously injured or killed if you’re unrestrained and thrown into a rapidly deploying air bag.
West Virginia requires all minors to buckle up, and all children under the age of 8 years should be properly restrained in a child passenger safety device system that meets applicable State and Federal motor vehicle safety standards. If a child less than 8 years reaches the height of 4′ 9”, the vehicle’s standard safety belt is sufficient protection.
Children should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the age of 2 years or exceed the height and weight limits set by the seat’s manufacturer. Rear-facing car seats should never be placed in the front of an automobile where there’s an active airbag. From 2 to 4 years, children can ride front-facing in a car seat with a 5-point harness, and after 4 years and 40 pounds, a booster seat is appropriate. Children should not ride in the front seat of a vehicle until they are at least age 13.
Although there are no laws in West Virginia specific to leaving children unattended in a car, the dangers are very real and it’s possible law enforcement could choose to charge a responsible adult with neglect or other violations if any harm comes to an attended child.
It takes only minutes for a car to heat up to dangerous temperatures, and leaving a window partially down does not help, and may increase other risks to the child, such as accidental injury or kidnapping.
Never leave a child unattended in a parked vehicle for a even a few minutes. Please call 9-1-1 if you see an unsupervised child and believe he or she may be in danger of heatstroke, injury, or other harm.
Credit scores are often used by auto insurers to determine how risky a person is to cover. A poor credit history is believed to be a strong indicator of a person’s likelihood to file a claim. West Virginia, like most other states, allows insurance carriers to use this information. But, State law prohibits an insurer from declining to issue an auto policy solely on the basis of a person’s adverse credit report or insurance scoring.
Being a good driver can save you money on your car insurance. Generally, to qualify for a good-driver discount, you must remain free of accidents and moving violations for 3 years. However, your insurance carrier may have different requirements, so inquire about this discount when taking out your policy. Other common discounts you can ask about include:
Yes, showing digital proof of insurance is allowed in West Virginia. Law enforcement has the right to request proof of insurance whenever they want, which means you always need to have a paper or plastic ID ready, or be able to show the details of your auto insurance policy on your phone or other mobile device.
Like in most other states, drivers in West Virginia are legally required to maintain minimum coverage on their vehicles in order to legally drive. If your coverage lapses for any reason, you can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and face potential fines, license revocation, and even jail time.
It’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle in West Virginia at the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
West Virginia considers BAC levels of 0.15% to be aggravated DUI. This conviction carries harsher penalties than driving with a lower BAC.
Refusing to take a breathalyzer or other chemical test can result in revocation of your driver’s license in West Virginia. If a law enforcement officer suspects you’re driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you’re required to submit to a screening to show your BAC levels. You’ve agreed to this testing by signing for your driver’s license.
DUI laws in West Virginia have undergone changes in recent years and will continue to do so. Currently, the law states that drivers with a BAC of 0.08% to 0.149% face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $100 to $500. Jail time is not mandatory and is up to the sentencing court. Additionally, an administrative license suspension will be in effect for 90 days and until the mandatory DUI classes and reinstatement fees have been taken care of.
Aggravated DUI (0.15% or greater) carries a minimum sentence of 48 hours and up to 6 months in jail, plus a fine of $200 to $1,000. License suspension is for 45 days with mandatory participation in the state’s ignition interlock program. Being under 21, conviction of a second or subsequent DUI charge, and injuring or killing someone while driving under the influence will result in greater penalties.
Driver improvement courses are typically taken to dismiss traffic tickets or remove points, but some insurance companies offer premium discounts to those who take a course voluntarily. Check with your insurer to see what discounts they offer and to determine what courses are eligible.
There are many ways to cut the cost of your West Virginia auto insurance, but if you don’t speak with your carrier about discounts and you don’t plan ahead, you can miss out on significant savings.
Some ways to save include choosing a vehicle with automatic seat belts, airbags, and anti-theft devices, and by using your vehicle only for pleasure and not for work commutes. Keeping an eye on your credit and avoiding accidents and moving violations are other things to focus on, and choosing a higher deductible will also lower your monthly payments. And, of course, shop around and compare rates every time you renew your policy.
West Virginia motorists are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage in the minimum amounts of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage and $25,000 in property damage coverage This type of insurance protects against incurred costs resulting from a hit-and-run accident or one caused by an uninsured driver.
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