West Virginia makes its home in the Appalachian Mountains. As the only state located completely within Appalachia, “The Mountain State” prides itself on the attractions hidden in those hills. From the massive New River Gorge Bridge to the historic Green Brier hotel and resort, wilderness or luxury awaits the residents and tourists of West Virginia. Cheapcarinsurance.net wants to make the touring a little more simple, so this list of all the important driving laws and facts have been dug up and organized for easy reference.
Car Insurance Quotes for West Virginia
King County Car Insurance
Home to an estimated 2 million residents, King County is the most populous county in Washington, encompassing the state capital of Seattle, numerous other cities and two islands in Puget Sound. About two thirds of the population lives in suburbs. "SeaTac" is an incorporated, 10-square-mile city that surrounds the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Seattle's port is a major hub for trade with Asia and the fourth largest in North America. The birthplace of Jimi Hendrix and grunge rock, the city of Seattle draws tourists to its famous Space Needle, Museum of Flight and Pike Place Market, one of the oldest continuously operated public farmer's markets in the U.S.
Pierce County Car Insurance
Home of Mount Rainier, the tallest peak in Cascade Range, Pierce County has about 800,000 residents. The port city of Tacoma is its county seat, located about 30 miles from Seattle. It was named for President Franklin Pierce, the county has been largely agricultural, producing 50 percent of the U.S. supply of rhubarb.
Visitors to Pierce County are drawn to the Glass Museum and Bridge, a 500-foot pedestrian corridor that links the museum and downtown Tacoma. Point Defiance Park is a 700-plus acre public green space that includes a zoo and aquarium, rose garden, boat houses, boardwalk and beaches. The LeMay Museum is an old boys' boarding school-turned-car-museum, with more than 2,000 vehicles on exhibit.
Snohomish County Car Insurance
Just north of Seattle, Snohomish County is the third most populous in Washington, with about 773,000 residents. Its county seat is Everett, the city with the largest public marina on the West Coast. Snohomish County is named for a Native American tribe that inhabited the area.
The city of Mukilteo, a name that translates into "good camping ground" is the site of the Washington State Ferries, and is considered one of the most affluent suburbs of Seattle. It is also home to the only public tour of a commercial jet facility in North America, a Boeing plant assembling 747, 777 and 787 aircraft.
Spokane County Car Insurance
Named for the Spokane tribe, Washington's fourth most populous county lies at its eastern border, bisected by Interstate 90. It has a population of about 480,000, and its county seat, the city of Spokane, is the state's second largest after Seattle.
The Spokane River flows through the county seat, and residents visit Riverfront Park and Centennial Trail for scenic recreation. The river flows over Spokane Falls in downtown Spokane. At 5,888 feet, Mount Spokane is the highest point in the county, and one of the tallest peaks in the Inland Northwest.
Clark County Car Insurance
Between Portland across the Columbia River and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is Clark County, named for William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Vancouver, the county seat and largest city, is considered the largest suburb of Portland and is frequent contender among "Best Places to Live" rankings.
Clark County is surrounded on two sides by the Columbia River, and by part of the Lewis River on its northern border. Vancouver has hosted a large Fourth of July fireworks show every year since the mid-1960s, with the exception of 2009 due to the death of the celebration's main organizer, Jim "Mister Fireworks" Larson. Vancouver's Wine and Jazz Festival in August is considered one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest.
Thurston County Car Insurance
Encompassing the state capital of Olympia, Thurston County lies at the southern end of Puget Sound, home to more than 260,000 residents. About an hour from Seattle, Olympia is also the county seat.
Completed in 1928, the state capital building is open for public tours. Thurston County is also a popular location for ecotourism, with the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Priest Point Park and Percival Landing among attractions. The Olympia Farmer's Market is the second largest open air market in the state.
Kitsap County Car Insurance
Directly across Puget Sound from Seattle is Kitsap County, named for Chief Kitsap of the Suquamish Tribe. The county's largest employer is the U.S. Navy, with three installations. Its seat is the small city of Port Orchard, and largest city is Bremerton, home to about 40,500.
Occupying most of what is called the Kitsap Peninsula, the county is connected to the eastern shore counties via the Washington State Ferries. It includes Bainbridge Island, an incorporated city that occupies the entire island, and Blake Island, which has been preserved as a state park and only accessible by tour boat or private boat.
Yakima County Car Insurance
Indian Reservation that takes up more than a third of its area, Yakima County is home to 244,000 residents. Traversed by Interstate 82, the area is one of the premier apple-growing regions in the world and the largest producer of hops in the country. The City of Yakima, about an hour southeast of Mount Rainier, is the county seat.
The Yakima Valley is popular as a wine region, and winery tours are popular with visitors. It is home to the Central Washington State Fair, held in State Fair Park each fall, and the Yakima Folklife and Hope Ale festivals.
Whatcom County Car Insurance
Located in north Washington at the Canada-U.S. border, Whatcom County is the largest producer of raspberries in the U.S., harvesting more than 70 percent of U.S.-grown berries. Its seat and largest city is Bellingham, about 80 miles north of Seattle and home to roughly 68,000.
Whatcom County has more drive-up espresso stands per capita than any other Washington county, with names such as "Shot in the Dark" and "Brewed Awakening." Bellingham is home to the American Museum of Radio and Electricity, which boasts one of the largest collection of antique radios open to the public. The Lynden Pioneer Museum has the largest public collection of horse-drawn buggies, and Ferndale is home to the Pacific Northwest's Biggest Barn.
Benton County Car Insurance
In south central Washington, Benton County is home to an estimated 176,000. Its county seat is Prossner, a small town on the Yakima River with 40 wineries and two microbreweries. The Benton County cities of Kennewick and Richland, along with the City of Pasco in neighboring Franklin County form what is called the Tri-Cities area, which has more than 200 wineries within a one-hour drive and 10 public golf courses.
The county is also home to the tallest "treeless" mountain in the western hemisphere, Rattlesnake Mountain. Boasting the first lighthouse built in the U.S. Since 1962, Clover Island is an entertainment destination on the Columbia River near downtown Kennewick, with restaurants, a hotel and yacht club.
Car insurance quotes are for one car and one driver who has state minimum coverage with $500 comprehensive and collision deductibles. The hypothetical driver is 40 years old, female, married, employed, a college graduate, and has good credit. She has no moving violations, claims, or lapse in coverage. The vehicles are assumed to be garaged on premises, used primarily for commuting, and driven 16,000 miles per year. Car insurance quotes include commonly available discounts and are estimates and not guaranteed.
Average Car Insurance Premiums
West Virginia has consistent above-average premiums as a percentage of income. NAIC.org reported the state’s 2008 average at 2.13 percent and the nation’s at 1.57 percent. The national number for average premiums in 2008 was 789, just under the state’s average of 808. Those numbers have come down slightly in the last few years but remain above the national average.
Drunk Driving Fatalities
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration saw a leveling-off in West Virginia’s drunk driving fatalities in 2012. Ending the year at 28 percent, the state had been at 21 percent 2 years prior. With a national average of 31 percent in 2012, the state is still below the nation’s drunk driving fatalities number. Fatalities dipped in 2013 but have since risen in 2014 to tie the national average.
Teen Drinking and Driving
West Virginia’s teens drink and drive less than teens across the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Vehicular Theft in West Virginia
Rising 6 points from 2011, West Virginia’s vehicle theft rate ended 2012 at 119. The FBI’s report indicated the state’s rate was well over 100 points below the national average in 2014.
LAWS & REGULATIONS
While not the most exciting reading in the world, West Virginia’s driving laws and regulations change so much they seem to always be new. So, all the important changes and necessary information for driving in the state are included in this one, short list.
West Virginia’s Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance
- West Virginia Law (W.V.C. §17A and §17D) makes it mandatory for every vehicle to be covered with Liability Insurance.
- Liability minimums in West Virginia:
- $20,000 covers a person if he/she is injured or killed in an accident.
- $40,000 covers an accident if there is more than one person injured or killed.
- $10,000 covers property damage in an accident.
New Driver Licensing Requirements
- According to the West Virginia Driver’s Handbook, every resident who wishes to drive a vehicle in the state has 30 days from residency to obtain a license. A valid license may be transferred from out-of-state with certain requirements. For new drivers under the age of 18, the Graduated Driver License (GDL) program is a 3-step process to train young drivers before awarding them a full license. The GDL includes the following elements.
- Instruction Permit. Applicants who have reached age 15, passed the vision and written tests, acquired parental consent and submitted a school enrollment verification form may qualify for this permit. The restrictions and requirements include:
- The applicant must have a licensed driver age 21 or older with him/her to be allowed to drive.
- The applicant may drive only between 5am and 10pm.
- Only 2 unrelated passengers are allowed in the vehicle when the permit holder is driving.
- All occupants must wear a safety belt.
- The applicant must maintain a clean driving record while holding the permit for 180 consecutive days.
- Intermediate Driver’s License. Between the ages of 16 and 17, applicants may apply for the Intermediate Driver’s License. To do so, the following requirements and restrictions apply:
- The driver must complete 50 hours of driving, or complete an approved driver education course.
- The applicant needs to provide a School Driver Eligibility Certificate.
- The driver may drive unsupervised between 5am and 10pm. If supervised, there is no driving time restriction.
- For the first 6 months, the driver is limited to no unrelated passenger under the age of 20.
- For the second 6 months, the driver is limited to one unrelated passenger under the age of 20.
- Upon turning 17 and holding the Intermediate Driver’s License for 12 violation-free months, the applicant may obtain a Regular Driver’s License.
- Vision Screening. Drivers must have a visual acuity of at least 20/40 with or without corrective lenses. Restrictions exist for drivers with differing visual acuities.
- Knowledge Test. West Virginia’s Driver’s Handbook is the study material for the knowledge test, and the WVDMV has provided a sample test on their website.
- Road Test. The vehicle used for the road test must be insured, registered and licensed. Only the test administrator is allowed in the vehicle with the applicant during the test. The administrator will have the applicant perform basic driving maneuvers to demonstrate that he/she is capable of safely and legally driving on the road.
- Fees. All permits and licenses hold a $5 fee
- BAC limit: .08 For a concise list of DUI factors and penalties, refer to the WVDMV impaired driving brochure. The general penalties for DUI convictions in West Virginia are:
- First Offense:
- Jail: 6 months
- License revocation: 90 days
- Fine: $100 to $500
- Ignition Interlock: possible 15 days
- Second Offense:
- Jail: 6 months to 1 year
- License revocation: 12 months with interlock device
- Fine: $1,000 to $3,000
- Third Offense:
- Jail: 1 to 3 years
- License revocation: 12 months with interlock device
- Fine: $3,000 to $5,000
- Refusals receive these additional penalties:
- Jail: 24 hours to 6 months
- Fine: $100 to $500
- License revocation: 1 year and 45 days with interlock device
Texting & Driving Laws
Distraction.gov reports that West Virginia prohibits the use of handheld cell phone devices and texting for all drivers. Novice drivers are prohibited from using hands-free cell phone devices as well.
West Virginia holds some unusual laws on its books. For example, it is legal for road kill to be taken home for dinner. No one is permitted to own a black flag or a red flag. It is unlawful to whistle underwater, and no one may walk a lion, a leopard or a tiger in the city of Alderson!
State Department of Insurance
Department of Transportation
Department of Motor Vehicles
West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
State Department of Transportation
5707 MacCorkle Ave., SE
Charleston, WV 25317
1-800-642-9066 (West Virginia residents only)