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Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage

Most of us have experienced “sticker shock.” Whether we are “shocked” by the price of a new car, or a new pair of shoes, we know what it’s like to realize something costs much more than we thought it would.

Surely that is true with the cost of medical care in America. A one or two day hospital stay can end up costing thousands.

How Much is Enough?

Thinking about the minimum in regard to auto insurance coverage inevitably leads to the question, “How much is enough?” West Virginia law requires each driver to carry $20,000 of bodily injury liability insurance. While that amount is, of course, better than no coverage at all, it is actually very low and much higher costs can be incurred in even a small accident.

Our recommendation is that everyone secure insurance that would cover up to $100,000 for any one person injured and up to $300,000 for all the persons injured in an accident. This is five times what the law requires and provides much more protection. If you end up injuring someone and your insurance coverage is short, your real estate and personal assets could be at risk. However, for a relatively small increase in premiums you can protect yourself by choosing higher coverage.

What about drivers who don’t have good insurance?

It is important to consider appropriate amounts for both uninsured and underinsured coverage. If someone injures you and they have NO insurance (referred to as “uninsured”) it is important that you have protection for such an event.

Further, it is vital to carry suitable coverage in case you are injured by someone who is “underinsured,” that is they have, for example, merely the minimum required by law. Their minimum insurance will cover the first $20,000 of your damages, but it would be up to your underinsured coverage to pay for damages over that amount.

We recommend that the same minimums of $100,000/300,000 be obtained for uninsured and underinsured coverage. Also you may want to investigate additional protection through umbrella coverage or other insurance products.