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Car insurance minimums may raise in West Virginia

In West Virginia, approximately 15 percent of drivers carry minimum mandatory auto insurance.
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    January 18, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Few things are as traumatic as a car crash, especially when injuries occur. Drivers in West Virginia use car insurance to protect themselves in case of an accident, and all drivers in the state must carry insurance by law. However, many drivers in West Virginia have no insurance or only purchase minimum coverage. This coverage may not be enough to compensate an injured victim for his or her injury. When injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, the injured victim must rely on his or her own UM/UIM insurance coverage. Once this occurs, however, a person's own insurance company may become an adversary in any legal action.

Insurance companies are for-profit corporations whose goal is to make as much money for owners and shareholders as possible. That means it is in their best interests to investigate claims as thoroughly as possible and to pay out only as much as is absolutely required by the policy. For people injured by drivers with minimum or no insurance, their own insurance may not cover the cost of medical care and lost wages after a serious car accident.

Minimum insurance may raise

Fortunately some legislators in West Virginia are not unaware of the issue. While many people (up to one in seven nationally) drive illegally because they are not insured, many people believe they cover their bases by purchasing the minimum amount of car insurance covered by law. It is true that these drivers are obeying the law; whether their insurance coverage is adequate is an entirely different matter.

In West Virginia, approximately 15 percent of drivers carry minimum mandatory auto insurance, according to West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Mike Riley. Current state minimums are $20,000 for bodily injury to one person, $40,000 for bodily injury to two or more people and $10,000 in property damage. These minimums have not changed in the last 30 years.

Some insurance carriers have argued stridently against any new law. They argue that insurance premiums would rise with an increase in minimum coverage, perhaps to the extent that it would be cost-prohibitive to low-income drivers. Whether insurance premiums would rise and to what extent if the law is actually passed is a matter of debate. In 2013 the state Senate Judiciary Committee had enough reservations that it did not bring the matter to the floor for a vote.

Fighting to get deserved compensation

The aftermath of a car crash can be daunting. Dealing with insurance while trying to recover and move on with life can add to an already stressful situation. People in West Virginia who have been injured in an accident should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their legal options and protect their rights moving forward.

Article provided by Fox Law Office, PLLC
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