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West Virginia Car Insurance

Auto Insurance Basics in West Virginia

There are a many types of car insurance products or coverages you can buy in West Virginia. If you cause an accident, liability insurance pays for the medical bills and property damage you cause to the other party. Collision insurance helps to pay for repairs of your own car in the event of an accident. Comprehensive insurance can protect your vehicle from storm and flood damage, theft, fire and other risks generally out of your control. Personal Injury protection is a type of insurance that helps pay your medical bills if you are hurt in a crash. If you were to get into an accident with another driver who is uninsured or only carries a bare minimum of coverage, you can buy a policy that will make make your damages whole. Cars depreciate in value rapidly. A product known as Gap insurance will make sure that your car debt is wholly covered in the event your car gets totaled before you finish making your payments on it. You can also get roadside assistance and temporary rental car insurance in case you need if if your car is in the shop for repairs. So, as you can see, there is a broad array of financial protections available to drivers in West Virginia.

All of these products come at different price points because you can opt for either low or high maximum payout levels. The higher the protections you choose the more your annual costs will be. Make sure you match your coverage levels to your needs and ability to pay. For instance, if your car is more than 10 years old, the remaining book value of the car may be less than the cost of collision premiums and deductibles. So, consider your choices carefully.

Auto Insurance Requirements in West Virginia

Car insurance is heavily regulated at the state level as opposed to the federal level, and most states follow either two models of insuring cars: the “at fault” model and “the no fault” model. In the at fault model, the party who caused a car accident is the one held liable for any resulting damages. In the event that the limits of the insured party are insufficient to cover all of the injured party’s claims, the at fault driver can be sued in civil court for the balance. However, court actions can be cumbersome and time consuming. In the no fault model both parties go to their respective insurance companies for damages regardless of who caused the accident. It results in quicker, easier reimbursements, but it also puts restrictions on using the court system to seek redress. West Virginia utilizes the at fault system and requires car insurance policy holders to have the following minimum coverages: $25,000 of liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident, $$50,000 of liability coverage for death or injury of more than one person and, finally, $25,000 of property liability coverage. Keep in mind that these are minimum levels of financial protection and they don’t even cover you for any losses you yourself would sustain in a crash. Most financial advisors recommend that drivers take out as much protection as they can afford.

Average Cost of Coverage in West Virginia

Assuming that you opt for full coverage (defined as liability plus collision and comprehensive) West Virginia vehicle owners pay slightly less than the national average at around $1,400 per year. The exact price of your insurance will depend on the company you choose and your own personal factors. If you have a recent DUI or reckless driving offense, it may cost you $1,000 or more for yearly coverage than if you had a clean driving record. If you have caused even a minor accident, your rates will be hundreds of dollars higher than the average state cost. Having strong credit will allow you to get much better prices in West Virginia, as will living in a less congested area. Young drivers pay more for insurance here and everywhere across the country. And, finally, choosing higher levels of coverage over and above the bare minimum will cost more, but will give you a better financial cushion.

Age Average Rate (yearly)
16 $6,341
17 $5,834
18 $5,168
19 $3,512
20s $1,877
30s $1,361
40s $1,311
50s $1,213
60s $1,234
70s $1,527

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in West Virginia

The West Virginia auto insurance market is served by large national brands and smaller regional companies. Big names like Safeco and Nationwide and Safeco offer competitive rates but so do smaller companies like Erie and Westfield. If you are in the armed forces, you should definitely take a look at USAA. They market their car insurance exclusively to active and retired servicemen and may be your cheapest bet. However, because insurance pricing is dependent on so many variables, it’s hard to pin down who can give you’re the most coverage for the least amount of money. That’s why we strongly recommend that you do comparison shopping before you buy.

Rank Company  Avg. Premium (annual)
1 The Hartford $1,039
2 Erie $1,224
3 USAA $1,243
4 Nationwide $1,367
5 Safeco $1,782
6 Progressive $2,117

Unique Car Insurance Rules and Penalties in West Virginia

West Virginia requires vehicle owners to carry proof of insurance with them at all times. If you fail to comply with that requirement you can face a suspension of your license and car registration and be subject to fines and reinstatement fees. Multiple offenses can result in longer suspensions and higher fees.

Violation Avg. Annual Auto Insurance Rate % Insurance Rate Increase $ Insurance Rate Increase
Hit and Run $2,510 77% $1,090
Refused Breathalyzer/Chemical Test $2,494 76% $1,074
DUI $2,494 76% $1,074
Racing $2,427 71% $1,007
Reckless Driving $2,291 61% $871
Driving with a Suspended License $2,325 64% $905
At-Fault Accident $2,120 49% $700
Driving with an Open Container $1,866 31% $446
Operating a Vehicle Without Permission $1,968 39% $548
Passing a School Bus $2,030 43% $610
Improper Passing $1,660 17% $240
Following Too Closely $1,660 17% $240
Speeding $1,658 17% $238
Failure to Stop at a Red Light $1,660 17% $240
Illegal Turn $1,660 17% $240
Driving Wrong Way/Wrong Lane $1,660 17% $240
Failure to Yield $1,660 17% $240
Speeding in a School Zone $1,628 15% $208
Driving Too Slowly $1,628 15% $208
Distracted Driving $1,648 16% $228
Driving with Expired Registration $1,432 1% $12
Failure to Show Documents $1,432 1% $12
Not-at-Fault Accident $1,497 5% $77
Failure to Use Child Safety Restraint $1,420 0% $0
Failure to Wear a Seat Belt $1,420 0% $0
Driving Without Lights $1,420 0% $0

How to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance in West Virginia

You should definitely shop around before you buy insurance, but take care that you get quotes for the exact same levels of coverage. Insurance quotes are free, so good old fashioned comparison shopping will enable you to identify the best bargains. See if providers will give you discounts for things like insuring multiple cars with them or bundling your home insurance together with your car insurance. Our online tool at General.com can help you to get free quotes quickly and easily. Let us help you save money.

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