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West Virginia Auto Insurance
West Virginia operates as a tort state with regard to its auto insurance laws. For West Virginia drivers, this means they must carry minimum liability insurance coverage to pay for any damages they cause in an accident. In addition, West Virginia requires uninsured and underinsured motorist protection coverage.
West Virginia Auto Insurance Legal Requirements
West Virginia requires minimum liability coverage levels of 20/40/10. If a driver causes and accident, the liability coverage pays out $20,000 per person injured, up to $40,000 for all who are injured, and $10,000 for any property damages.
These are the same minimums for the required uninsured motorist protection coverage, which includes uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and uninsured motorist property damage coverage. This coverage pays out when a driver causes an accident and does not carry insurance or does not have adequate coverage to cover the expenses.
Because the legal minimums are so low, it is a good idea to consider a higher level of coverage than what is required. It is not uncommon for damages caused by an accident to be double or triple the amount of coverage carried by the at-fault driver. Any additional expenses must be paid by the driver personally, which can be financially devastating.
Another consideration when choosing auto insurance is whether or not to carry optional coverage like collision and comprehensive. These will raise your premiums but will add significantly more protection for your property. These types of coverage will usually be required in West Virginia if you finance or lease your vehicle.
West Virginia Auto Insurance Rates
West Virginia auto insurance is fairly expensive. It ranked 16th in the country for amount of money spent on car insurance in 2003. The average amount of money spent on West Virginia auto insurance in that year was $841.95. During 2003, drivers paid an average $516.34 for liability coverage, $297.63 for collision coverage, and $186.52 for comprehensive coverage.
West Virginia auto insurance providers determine rates based on several mathematical formulas. Insurance companies begin by calculating the cost to provide insurance to the entire state. This includes such variables as:
- Their general operating expenses
- Number of claims filed by West Virginia drivers
- Number of traffic accidents on West Virginia roads
- Legal fees for lawsuits
Once they have calculated statewide average costs, they create categories of risk for drivers, which labels drivers as low to high risk (or similar). Then they gather information from individuals to place them in a category. For example, an insurance carrier may consider a driver's age, sex, marital status, location, car type, and driving record to place individuals in a risk category.
Once they have the risk categories assigned, insurance companies divide up the cost among the insured drivers. This becomes the individual auto insurance premium you will pay.
West Virginia Auto Insurance Companies
Most West Virginia auto insurance companies calculate premiums in a slightly different way. Since small differences in their calculations can lead to big fluctuations in price, you can save a lot of money by comparing auto insurance rates.
Additional Resources for West Virginia
To find additional information on West Virginia auto insurance, or to report a complaint about an insurance company, contact the West Virginia Insurance Commission at the address listed below.
West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner
ATTN: Consumer Service Division
PO Box 50540
Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0540
For other West Virginia Insurance Resources, See:
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