West Virginia Car Insurance Requirements
Compulsory car insurance is part of life for West Virginia drivers. As part of the state’s financial responsibility law it’s mandatory for all vehicle owners to purchase car insurance in order to register and legally drive a vehicle. There are no exceptions.
The West Virginia DOT’s Division of Motor Vehicles takes several steps to verify drivers are meeting their legal obligations. First of all, each driver is required to furnish proof of a valid insurance policy in order to register a vehicle. In addition, the state conducts random verification checks throughout the year by comparing electronic records.
If those records suggest you may not have insurance even though you have a valid registration, you will receive a friendly notice from the DMV. The notice will include a set of instructions you’ll need to follow in order to clear the matter up. If you truly have insurance it will simply be a matter of copying your documentation and sending it back with the notice. If you don’t have insurance you’ll need to get it right away, then send the proof to the state along with any penalties imposed.
Standard Liability Insurance in West Virginia
State law requires insurance companies writing auto policies in West Virginia to include a minimum amount of basic liability coverage. Remember that liability insurance covers injuries, deaths, and property damage you inflict on other people. It does not cover your own costs.
Minimum liability insurance in West Virginia includes:
- $20,000 per accident to cover the injuries and/or death of one person
- $40,000 per accident to cover the injuries and or death of multiple people
- $10,000 per accident to cover the cost of damaged property
Enforcement of Insurance Laws
West Virginia takes insurance violations very seriously. Regardless of how you violate the law penalties can be rather severe. For example, a first offense of driving without insurance results in a $100 fine, a 30-day license suspension, and a $50 reinstatement fee. A second offense incurs a larger fine, increases the suspension to 90 days, and hikes the reinstatement fee.
You can also be found guilty of insurance violations for allowing your policy to lapse — even if you don’t drive your car. You’re required to keep proof of your insurance in the car at all times and produce it at the request of a police officer. Failure to do so is also insurance violation.
Cheap car insurance in West Virginia is not hard to come by. It just makes no sense to take your chances by driving without it. If you’re caught, it may be something you’ll regret the rest of your life.