West Virginia is one of the many states where auto insurance is not optional. Every resident of the state who owns a vehicle is required to establish proof of financial responsibility if his vehicle gets into an accident. The minimum liability limits are $10,000 for property damage, $20,000 per accident (one death/injury), and $40,000 per accident (two deaths/injuries). The average annual insurance rate in West Virginia is $1816, making the state the 7th most expensive state to buy auto insurance in the United States.
Every accident, alcohol-related offense, speeding ticket on your driving record could result in higher premiums the next time you renew your auto insurance policy. Insurance companies like to play Santa, punishing the bad drivers with higher premiums and rewarding the good ones with the same rates. Insurance companies march to their own drummers, and some might not even forgive you a single accident. Even if you have had a clean driving record for years, one accident could set you back by around $400, with your premium being raised to $2237. Two accidents on your record in West Virginia could increase your premium to $3337.
If you decide to switch insurance companies in Martinsburg (which is the least expensive auto insurance zip code in West Virginia, with an average annual insurance rate of $1479) and if you have been in an accident in the past three years, your premium might increase up to $1849 to $2219.
If you have been at fault in an accident that resulted in serious medical injuries or extensive property damage, your insurance rates can go up between 50% and 100% of your original rates.
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If the accident was not your fault, you could talk to your insurance carrier about keeping your rates the same. Also, some insurance companies forgive minor accidents taking into consideration your overall driving record. You could also take a defensive driving course to reduce your premium.