Having an auto insurance is a must in West Virginia, but some drivers may run into some restrictions if they ignore this. All over the world, car crash is becoming an alarming case that needs to be addressed. While drivers are encouraged to drive safely, it is also important to have a policy that covers your vehicle.
If you fail to get an auto insurance, you may have to face the full wrath of the law. In this article, we will talk about the four (4) major penalties for driving without insurance in West Virginia.
Is Driving without Insurance in West Virginia Punishable by Law?
Yes, having a car and driving the same without an insurance policy can fetch you a jail-term and even suspension of your license. In a worst-case scenario, you stand the risk of losing your vehicle registration simply because you are driving without insurance in West Virginia.
What are the Penalties for Driving without Insurance in West Virginia?
The penalties or punishments for not having an insurance include losing your vehicle registration, and forfeiting your license for some time. You may also be fined or asked to serve a jail-term.
Here is a detailed breakdown of the different penalties that come with not driving with an insurance policy in the Mountain State.
1. Driver’s License Suspension
According to the West Virginia (WV) Department of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicles, uninsured drivers can lose their driving licenses.
The suspension is carried out after you must have been notified to of a possible insurance violation. For a first-time offender, the suspension is light and can last for thirty (30) days.
However, if you are booked again for the same offence, your driving license may be suspended for ninety (90) days. The condition for this is only if you violated the car insurance rule within a five-year period.
How to Get Your Driving License Reinstated
The primary condition for getting back your driving license is to wait for the suspension period to end. After that, you have to pay a reinstatement fee of $50.
You will also be asked to provide proof of having auto insurance coverage on the active vehicle registration.
2. Vehicle Registration Suspension
Your active vehicle suspension can also be suspended if you fail to provide proof of having an insurance policy.
Getting booked for the second or subsequent offences can lead to an outright revoking of your active vehicle registration.
How to Regain a Suspended Vehicle Registration in West Virginia
The first step to claiming back your vehicle registration is to submit a proof of insurance for all the active vehicles you registered.
Second, you need to pay a reinstatement fee of $100. The fee can be higher up to $150 only if the WV Division of Motor Vehicles had earlier sent a state police secure order on the vehicle’s plate.
3. Mandatory Suspension in West Virginia
This is the most restrictive of all the penalties for driving without insurance in West Virginia. The mandatory insurance suspension has to do with the suspension of the following:
- Vehicle registration
- Driving license
A mandatory suspension of the above is required when you must have provided a falsified auto insurance information.
In addition to the above suspensions, you may also be asked to pay a fine of $1,000 or be prosecuted and sentenced up to 12 months in jail.
4. Overall Driving Privileges Suspension
This type of penalty for driving without insurance in West Virginia happens when you failed to respond to a ticket issued to you. Your driving privileges may also be suspended if you failed to appear in the law court, assuming you were charged to court for not having an auto insurance coverage.
What You Need to Know about the West Virginia Fine for Driving without Insurance
Paying a specific amount of money as fine is mandator after your vehicle registration or driving license is suspended.
It is called a reinstatement fee and must be paid either before the end of the suspension period or after it.
However, have in mind that paying the fine (reinstatement fee) before the end of the suspension period doesn’t count towards the suspension being revoking. Even if you paid the fine on time, you still have to serve out the prescribed suspension period before your license or vehicle registration can be reinstated.
How does the WV DMV Insurance Verification Work?
The state of West Virginia (WV) uses an online auto insurance verification system called West Virginia Online Verification (WVOLV). The system works hand-in-hand with the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
When you are pulled over, your vehicle registration details will be passed to the WVOLV for verification. If it returns that your car isn’t insured, you will be booked and asked to provide proof of registration or face the restrictions.
Purchasing Auto Insurance in West Virginia
The process of purchasing or getting an auto insurance policy in the state is to first, determine the amount of coverage you need.
The common coverage options are:
- Bodily Injury Liability: $25,000 per person and up to $50,000 per bodily injury per accident.
- Up to $25,000 for property damage to others
- Between $25,000 and $50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person and accident, respectively.
- $25,000 worth of uninsured motorist property damage.
What does the Law have to Say?
West Virginia insurance laws, according to the Legislature, are enshrined under the Chapter 17D, or what is known as the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Law. The purpose of the law includes:
- Promoting the importance of every motor or vehicle owner to maintain certain security during the registration period of the vehicle.
- Empowering the West Virginia Division of Motors (DVM), law enforcement agencies and the judicial branch with the power to electronically verify the evidence of current vehicle or motor insurance.
In the WV Code 17D-2A-3 entitled the Required Security: Exceptions, it provides the conditions through which vehicles in the state must be verified for insurance coverage.
Auto insurance in WV (West Virginia) is taken seriously. As a car or vehicle owner, you want to follow the set of instructions laid out in the WV Code 17D-2A-3 to register, get a vehicle license and be ready to surrender the registration plate with the required security when you are going through the security period.