Last updated on April 26th, 2018
Car insurance in the state of West Virginia is governed by the principals of an at-fault insurance system. This means that if two or more drivers are involved in the same accident at least one of the drivers will be found responsible for the accident and it is this at-fault driver that is also financially responsible for all injuries or damages that result from the accident. For this reason the state of West Virginia requires that every vehicle that is driven on a public road be covered with liability insurance, which is a type of insurance that can help the policy holder pay for injuries or damage incurred by others drivers in an accident. In order for a liability insurance policy to meet the standards set by the state of West Virginia it must include a minimum of $20,000 in bodily injury coverage for a single individual, $40,000 in bodily injury coverage for a single accident and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. Because these minimums are rather low many residents of West Virginia choose to purchase more coverage than the state requires in order to reduce the chance that they will have to pay for the costs of an accident out of pocket. Although this requirement applies to all vehicles in the state, except those that are not currently running, there are a few types of vehicles that don’t have to satisfy Wes Virginia car insurance regulations year round. These vehicles are the ones that are considered to seasonal vehicles, such as motorcycles or RVs, which are generally only used during certain parts of the year. According the West Virginia law, if a resident owns what is considered to be a seasonal vehicle they are allowed to purchase insurance for the vehicle only when it is in use. In order to be eligible to carry insurance from season to season a vehicle owner must fill out a Seasonal Statement of Insurance and file it with the DMV.
The state of West Virginia uses a variety of different methods to monitor and verify the insurance status of vehicles registered in the state. One of the most effective verification methods is the requirement that every vehicle owner submit proof of insurance in order to register their vehicle with the DMV. If the DMV cannot verify the insurance status of a vehicle the vehicle owner will not be allowed to register the vehicle with the state which also means that the vehicle cannot be driven since a vehicle must be registered with the state before it can be driven on a public road. The DMV also has the right to request proof of insurance from a vehicle owner at any time throughout the year. These random insurance verification requests are used to help keep the DMV insurance database up to date while also helping to keep drivers honest. Unlike most states, these insurance verification requests are sent out electronically in West Virginia, making it much more convenient for residents to respond swiftly and accurately to the request. Additionally, every time a West Virginia resident is pulled over or involved in a traffic accident their insurance status will be verified by the officer at the scene. If at any time a vehicle owner allows the car insurance policy on their vehicle to lapse they must immediately return the license plates to the DMV until they are able to renew coverage on the vehicle.
If a driver is found to be driving uninsured in the state of West Virginia face a variety of administrative and criminal penalties. More often than not, a motorist that is driving without insurance will be penalized with an assortment of fines levied by the DMV and the courts. In many cases the fines and other penalties that a driver receives for driving without insurance will be reduced I they obtain car insurance before their court date. Because the state of West Virginia establishes fault in every accident involving two or more drivers, drivers are also able to file suit against the at-fault driver in an accident if they do not have insurance or if their insurance does not cover the full cost of an accident. If a driver is taken to court over the cost of an accident and they do not have insurance the DMV will suspend their license and registration. This suspension will stay in effect until the at-fault driver pays for the damages in full or they submit an installment plan with the court, promising to pay for the damages over a period of time. In some cases uninsured drivers may even face criminal penalties for driving without insurance; this is especially true if the uninsured driver was involved in an accident that was caused by their negligence or resulted in significant injuries to other drivers.