Huntington Attorneys Explain Auto Insurance Laws And Regulations

What you need to know when driving in West Virginia

The potential liability that comes with operating a motor vehicle makes auto insurance a necessity. But more than that, it's the law. To help you stay in compliance, our attorneys at McQueen Davis, PLLC offer a brief explanation of West Virginia auto insurance laws. While the idea of compulsory vehicle insurance is certainly not unique to West Virginia, specific knowledge of our state laws will help you avoid criminal and administrative penalties.

What is the Compulsory Insurance Law in West Virginia?

West Virginia law requires owners of registered vehicles to insure their vehicles with a company licensed by the state and to carry proof of insurance, in the form of a Certificate of Insurance (WV-1), in their vehicle at all times.

What are the mandatory requirements for auto insurance?

West Virginia mandates that drivers carry liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage. According to the state's Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, the required minimum coverage limits are:

  • For liability insurance - $10,000 for property damage, $20,000 for bodily injury to a single person and $40,000 bodily injury to more than one person
  • For uninsured motorist protection - $10,000 for property damage, $20,000 for bodily injury to a single person and $40,000 bodily injury to more than one person

State auto insurance laws also require insurance companies doing business in West Virginia to offer options for additional uninsured motorist coverage up to at least $50,000 for property damage, $100,000 for bodily injury to a single person and $300,000 bodily injury to more than one person. As experienced insurance defense attorneys, we recommend the higher levels of uninsured motorist protection. We recommend the purchase of underinsured coverage which may add limits as high as your liability insurance limits. This protects you when the at-fault driver does not have sufficient coverage to cover your losses.

What are the penalties for failing to provide your proof of insurance?

If you are stopped for an accident or a traffic violation and you cannot produce your Certificate of Insurance (WV-1), a law enforcement officer issues you a ticket for driving without insurance. You must appear before a judge or magistrate and either pay a fine or produce your proof of insurance and request that the fine be waived or reduced. If, in fact, you had no insurance at the time you were cited, you face additional administrative penalties from the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles, including:

  • Suspension of your driver's license - The length of suspension depends on any past incidents of "no insurance" driving. After the suspension, you must pay a $50 license reinstatement fee.
  • Suspension of your vehicle registration - This suspension is in force until you show proof of insurance and pay a $100 reinstatement fee.

Contact our West Virginia insurance attorneys for answers about vehicle insurance

Our legal team at McQueen Davis, PLLC provides skilled legal representation to motorists and insurers in vehicle insurance litigation throughout West Virginia. If you have further questions, especially if it concerns an accident or pending litigation, contact our Huntington office and arrange to speak with one of our experienced auto insurance attorneys. Call us at 304-840-0035 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.