West Virginia is a fault-based insurance state. It requires all motorists meet minimum car insurance requirements. This includes liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage. If you’re in an accident that another motorist caused, you can file a claim with that driver’s liability insurance.
What are the minimum amounts of coverage that a motorist must have in West Virginia in case of a car accident?
First, liability coverage. Liability insurance helps pay for other drivers’ damages if the policyholder is at fault for the accident. Drivers must carry at least $10,000 in property damage liability and $25,000/$50,000 in bodily injury liability. The $25,000 covers one person and the larger amount covers all injured parties in one accident. (This amount was recently raised by the WV Legislature)
Second, uninsured motorist coverage (UM). The state of West Virginia also requires drivers carry uninsured motorist coverage. This pays the policyholder’s accident-related costs if involved in a collision with an uninsured driver. It also applies when the other driver leaves the scene of the accident. The minimum is the same as liability: $10,000 in property damage and $25,000/$50,000 in bodily injury.
How much coverage should I have to protect me during an accident?
It’s always a good idea to carry as much insurance as you can afford. More coverage provides the better protection in the event of an accident. But the law also requires that auto insurance companies offer certain types of coverage.
For instance, insurers must offer higher optional limits of uninsured motorist coverage. They must offer $50,000 in property damage coverage and $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury coverage. Because it’s optional, motorists don’t have to purchase higher amounts but the insurer does need to offer it.
Auto insurance companies must also offer optional underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). Insurers must offer at least $10,000 property damage and $20,000/$40,000 bodily injury. But motorists can buy more underinsured coverage up to the limits of policyholder’s liability insurance.
UIM helps in the event another driver is at fault for an accident and has insurance that is not enough to cover damages. If a driver only carries minimum liability coverage and is responsible for a serious crash, this can easily be the case.
Are there other types of coverage that Clarksburg drivers should consider?
Collision and comprehensive coverage are additional types of coverage that drivers may purchase. Collision covers damages to the policyholder’s vehicle if in an accident with another driver, regardless of fault. It may also apply if the policyholder strikes an object like a tree.
Comprehensive pays for damages to the policyholder’s vehicle not caused by an accident (such as vandalism or weather hazards like hail).
Another type of insurance motorists may seriously consider is medical payments coverage, which pays the policyholder’s medical costs regardless of fault, like:
- surgery; and
- doctor visits.
Medical payments coverage may also take care of co-pays and deductibles associated with health insurance coverage. It may also cover costs the health insurance company refuses to cover and may even cover other passengers in the vehicle.
Is it necessary to contact an attorney after an accident?
When an accident is minor and there are no injuries or they aren’t serious, legal representation generally isn’t required. But even if there is adequate insurance to cover losses, it’s always a good idea to seek legal advice after a serious accident.
That’s because accident victims should consider all damages beyond the medical costs incurred that may be recoverable in an insurance claim. This includes lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement and more.
Get help from the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg. Call us at 304-931-4088 or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation.