What are the penalties for driving without insurance in West Virginia?

Driving without car insurance in West Virginia could cost you $5,000 in fines for a first offense. A second offense driving without car insurance in West Virginia may lead to jail time.

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UPDATED: Jun 2, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 2, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Driving without proof of insurance in West Virginia remains a criminal misdemeanor offense
  • Electronic proof of coverage is acceptable in West Virginia
  • Mandatory insurance statutes also require coverage for uninsured drivers

West Virginia’s roads cut through some wonderful rural scenery. While driving through West Virginia can be relaxing, drivers best not take their eyes off the road for a second. West Virginia, surprisingly, remains one of the most dangerous states in which to drive. One year, 359 auto fatalities occurred in the Mountain State.

An unfortunate number of auto accidents take place in West Virginia, which is why drivers must maintain adequate insurance. With an auto insurance policy in place, a financial safety net exists to protect against losses.

The losses could be inflicted on you, another person, property, or any combination of the three. To maximize protection, drivers positively must not allow their auto insurance coverage to lapse.

Not paying insurance premiums on time frequently contribute to cancellations and lapses in coverage. Paying the entire premium in advance or setting up automatic payments could cut down on the chance of a lapse. Preventing a lapse in coverage not only ensures the policy’s protections remain in place, doing so ensures compliance with the law.

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Does West Virginia require car insurance?

AdobeStock_52734917-1600x1600Auto insurance is mandatory in the state of West Virginia. Drivers who take to the roads without insurance take a risk in this state. The penalties for driving without insurance in West Virginia rank among the toughest in the United States. Even first-time offenses are charged as misdemeanors, which means not carrying the mandatory minimum amount of insurance remains a criminal offense.

First Offense

A first offense comes with a fine that ranges from $200 to $5,000. The particulars of the case contribute to how heavy of a fine the courts choose to issue. In addition to a fine, a conviction leads to the suspension of a driver’s license for 30 days.

Reinstating a license comes with additional administrative fees adding to the expense of the offense.

The vehicle’s registration suffers a suspension until the driver/owner can provide the state with proof of insurance. Those who submit proof of insurance before the suspension goes into effect must pay an additional fine of $200.

Second Offense

The penalties for a second offense are even harsher. A fine ranging from $200 to $5,000 and/or jail time of 15 days to one year can be imposed. The driver’s license suspension extends to 90 days. Vehicle registration suspensions remain in effect until proof of insurance is submitted to the state.

Again, driving without insurance in West Virginia is a criminal matter. A conviction leads to a permanent criminal misdemeanor record.

The only way to avoid a guilty verdict would be to prove insurance was truly in effect.

The accused must present proof of insurance that was, per the West Virginia code, “in effect within seven days of being cited.” Those found guilty require effective legal counsel to bargain with the court over the amount of the fine and/or jail time.

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Does West Virginia accept electronic proof of insurance?

When a law enforcement officer requests proof of insurance, present a printed copy of the necessary document. Basic information on a proof of insurance document lists include and is not limited to:

  • Name and address of the insured.
  • The policy number and the policy’s effective begin and end dates.
  • The name of the insurance company.
  • The make, model, and VIN number for the insured vehicle.

Paper copies can be printed out online from the secured member section of the insurance company’s website. Customers may also request the documents be mailed, emailed, or faxed.

Another means of providing proof of insurance exists in West Virginia. In 2015, the Mountain State added itself to the list of states in which electronic proof of insurance is acceptable. Digital copies of proof displayed on a wireless device are acceptable.

How to Get Insurance in West Virginia

Purchasing auto insurance in West Virginia becomes possible through requesting quotes online. Customers should review a decent number of quotes, at least three or four, prior to making any decisions. Drivers do need to be aware of the following mandatory minimum requirements for auto insurance in the state:

  • Bodily injury liability: $25,000/$50,000
  • Property damage liability: $25,000
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: $25,000/$50,000
  • Uninsured motorist property damage: $25,000

The state also mandates the optional offering of higher coverage amounts for uninsured/underinsured motorists. Customers should purchase amounts beyond the state minimum amounts since minimal coverage provides very little financial protection.

When performing comparison shopping, customers would benefit from considering other optional coverages such as collision and comprehensive. With thoughtful comparison shopping, finding solid rates won’t be difficult. Comparison shop now with our FREE insurance comparison tool below! Just enter your ZIP code and get a quote now!

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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