An overview of WV auto insurance laws

Understanding the state's auto insurance laws helps you to stay legal on the road and prevents serious issues should you be in an accident.

Mandatory auto insurance requirements vary from state to state. Understanding our insurance laws is important as a means of public protection and drivers face penalties if they do not carry the proper coverage.

What is required?

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles the minimum required auto coverage has three layers. A driver must have at least $25,000 coverage for damage to another person's property. A driver must also have coverage per accident of $25,000 for an injury to one person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people.

May drivers choose their own insurance company?

The state does not dictate what insurance company a driver must use. The only requirement is to buy from an insurer licensed to sell coverage in this state.

What happens to drivers without insurance?

If it is discovered a driver does not have the proper insurance, he or she faces several possible penalties. These include driver's license and registration suspensions, fees, fines and jail time. Drivers are required to show proof of insurance after a traffic accident or when pulled over by an officer. In addition, certain transactions with the Department of Motor Vehicles requires proof of insurance.

Does proof of insurance have to be carried in the vehicle?

Yes. The state requires that insurance verification be carried in every vehicle at all times. West Virginia allows for an e-certificate of insurance, which means you may carry that proof by way of your mobile phone.

Why does the State have mandatory insurance requirements?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, all states have some type of insurance requirement for drivers. Requirements are for liability coverage, which protects others in the event of an accident. It does not provide coverage for the driver's vehicle. This is meant to provide compensation to those whose person or property is damaged by another driver.

Remember, mandatory insurance laws do not stop people from driving uninsured, or underinsured.

These laws were designed to help reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road but they are not fool-proof. It is therefore important that you consider buying your own auto insurance to protect yourself and your passengers from uninsured and underinsured drivers. An at-fault driver with no coverage is "uninsured." An at-fault driver without enough coverage to pay for the damages they caused is "underinsured." You may buy your own coverage to protect yourself from those drivers. We recommend all of our clients do so.

If you have been in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, consider reaching out for legal help from an attorney at Akers Law Offices.