West Virginia ranks 19th in the nation for car insurance cost, coming in just above nearby Kentucky. Yearly premiums in West Virginia average around $1,633, although rates vary from one person to the next so your insurance may not cost the same amount. Of nearby states, Virginia and Ohio are both substantially cheaper than West Virginia. West Virginia does have substantially fewer drivers than all three neighboring states, however, with around 1,272,135 drivers currently licensed in the state.

There are several factors influencing auto insurance. Premiums will vary from one city or even neighborhood to the next, and no two people will have exactly the same rates. If you’ve recently moved to West Virginia from another area, you may be wondering why your rates have changed; you will also want to know exactly what the insurance requirements are in your area.

How do car insurance companies calculate car insurance rates?

The number of drivers in a state affects insurance rates, as do factors such as weather, crime rate, number of drivers who don’t carry insurance and DUI convictions in the state. Generally, areas with very long commutes or congested city traffic will have higher premiums than rural communities. Similarly, states with excellent public transportation will have lower premiums than similarly-sized states without it.

Weather plays another important role in determining auto insurance. Areas that are prone to catastrophic weather events will have higher premiums than places with more temperate weather. In the case of West Virginia, hail and snowstorms make up the largest amount of weather-related vehicle damage.

Crime also weighs heavily on insurance premiums, specifically vandalism and theft. West Virginia has a fairly low incidence of theft, keeping in line with the national average. Theft and vandalism are often worst in large urban areas or cities near country borders. Because West Virginia is relatively isolated, this type of crime is less prevalent than it is in other parts of the country.

Car Insurance Requirements in West Virginia

In West Virginia, drivers are required to maintain injury liability insurance of $20,000/$40,000 and a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability. Because these limits are fairly low, you may wish to increase your limits of liability coverage. Otherwise, you may end up needing to pay for injuries or damage that you cause out of pocket in order to supplement your insurance if you are involved in a severe accident.

If your vehicle is new or has retained a high value, you will also want to carry collision and comprehensive coverage. Maintaining full coverage insurance on your vehicle allows you to repair your automobile whenever it’s damaged even if you are at fault for the accident. You will need to pay a portion of the repairs yourself as a deductible, but everything over the deductible amount will be paid up to the value of the vehicle.

West Virginia does offer uninsured motorist coverage, but it is not a requirement

Uninsured motorist coverage (also called UIM insurance) is also available to buy for both injuries and vehicle damage regardless of whether you carry collision or comprehensive insurance on your vehicle. This type of coverage will pay for your injuries or repairs if the person who hits your vehicle does not have insurance and usually has a lower deductible than collision coverage.

Many drivers also opt for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in West Virginia

Because it not a no-fault state, you are not required to carry this coverage. If you’re involved in accident and the other party is at fault, you can pursue that person’s insurance for your medical expenses or take the person to court. Nevertheless, it might be a good idea to carry PIP coverage to help with medical expenses especially for accident where you are at fault or as a temporary measure until any lawsuits are settled.

Depending on your company, you may also be able to purchase additional coverage such as towing, roadside assistance or rental reimbursement. You can check with your insurance company to see if that coverage is available and how much it would be to add it to your policy.

Whether you’ve just moved to West Virginia or are simply looking for a new insurance company, it’s important to take the time to understand what the requirements are in your area and what factors may influence your rates. Once you understand how your insurance works you can find ways to reduce your premiums. You can speak with your agent to see if you qualify for any safe-driving discounts or other discount programs, and you can also keep your rates low by maintaining good credit and driving without any accidents or tickets.

You can begin your search for affordable insurance online by obtaining a free insurance quote. Once you’ve received a quote, you can contact the company to finalize the process and ask any questions you may have about the policy. The customer service department of your insurer will be happy to discuss your policy with you to be sure you get the coverage that you need.