The vast majority of drivers understand the importance of auto insurance and voluntarily choose to purchase it. Still, there are enough people out there who are willing to go without it that most states have laws that require it. West Virginia is a prime example. Its Compulsory Insurance Law requires all drivers to maintain valid liability car insurance. Driving without such coverage is against the law, and fines and other consequences apply. This law is designed to ensure that all people can make good on their financial obligations in the event of a car accident.
Even though car insurance is required by law in West Virginia, some folks aren't impressed and consider going without it. This is a bad idea not just because it's against the law but because there are so many people on the road. Accidents happen throughout the state every day, and there's no surefire way to completely eliminate the risk of being involved in one. Those who understand driving statistics for the Mountain State are more likely to not only buy insurance but to get policies that exceed the state's minimum requirements. That's smart because the minimum requirements often fall short of offering complete protection.
Who Drives in West Virginia?
By understanding that there are hundreds of thousands of people on the road in West Virginia, drivers are more likely to take auto insurance seriously. According to the United States Census Bureau, there were 1,855,413 people in the state in 2012. They don't all drive, of course. The Federal Highway Administration, which maintains driving statistics for all states, reports that there were 1,198,837 licensed drivers in the state as of November 2012. It's not a huge state, so that means the roads are pretty choked with drivers.
It's true that insurance providers take many factors into consideration when calculating auto insurance premiums, but they don't consider gender. There's no proof that one gender is safer or riskier than the other. In the state of West Virginia in November 2012, 595,779 people, or 49.7 percent of all licensed drivers, were men. 603,058 people, or 50.3 percent of all licensed drivers, were women.
Age is considered when premiums are calculated because older drivers have more experience and tend to be safer. In West Virginia in November 2012, 53,962 people, or 4.5 percent of all licensed drivers, were aged 19 and below. The largest group was made up of people between the ages of 55 and 59 and totaled 123,763, which equals 10.3 percent of all licensed drivers. Even though a considerable percentage of the population is older and has more driving experience, it's still crucial for everyone to buy and maintain valid car insurance when driving in the Mountain State.
Car Insurance Requirements in West Virginia
It is up to drivers to be aware of laws regarding auto insurance in West Virginia. Attempting to plead ignorance isn't going to work. Law enforcement officers won't look the other way. After all, it's easy for someone to claim that he or she was unaware of the requirements.
At any rate, there's only one way to establish proof of financial responsibility in the Mountain State: liability insurance. The minimum requirements for this type of coverage are:
- At least $20,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person
- At least $40,000 in bodily injury coverage for two or more people
- At least $10,000 in property damage coverage
These minimums are a good starting point, but most people buy policies that have higher limits and more extensive coverage.
The DMV in West Virginia performs random checks to ensure that people have valid insurance. Law enforcement officers also ask for proof of insurance from those who they stop for traffic violations. Those who are caught without insurance have their registrations suspended and must pay a reinstatement fee of $100. If the plate is taken too, there's an additional fee of $50. For a first offense, a driver's license may be suspended for 30 days. For second offenses, it may be suspended for 90 days.