No one wants to get into a car accident. Unfortunately, car accidents are common in West Virginia. Many people throughout WV lease their vehicles, and they wonder exactly what they need to do if they are involved in a vehicle accident with a leased car. Not all drivers choose to take out a loan to buy a new car. Some choose to lease a new vehicle over time, and then return it or buy it at the end of the lease period. Read on to learn about insurance requirements for leased cars, whether the vehicle can be repaired, and what you can do to help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Insurance Requirements for Leased Cars in West Virginia
While you may not actually own a leased vehicle, you still need to carry the minimum insurance required for automobiles in West Virginia. The current minimum insurance required in WV is:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $25,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist property damage: $25,000 per accident
Drivers do not have to carry underinsured motorist coverage in this state, though it is highly recommended. These minimums are required for all drivers, including those who lease their vehicles. In fact, most vehicle leasing companies will require you to pay for insurance coverage beyond the minimum amounts required.
Is the Car Repairable or Totaled?
If it is determined by the insurance carrier that your vehicle can be repaired, then the insurance carrier will pay up to the limits of the policy to make the repairs. In these cases, you will likely be required to pay the deductible before the insurance carrier pays for the losses.
If it is determined that the vehicle is totaled (typically if the cost of repair is more than 65% of the value of the vehicle), the insurance carrier will pay you for the current, actual value of the vehicle. However, you may still owe the insurance carrier money for the remaining payments on the lease.
What is Gap Insurance Coverage?
The vehicle leasing company could require that you purchase guaranteed asset protection (GAP) coverage. This type of insurance could prove to be incredibly valuable. This is coverage designed to make up the difference between the value of the vehicle and the obligations you still owe under the lease. GAP insurance does what it sounds like – it covers the gap between the value and what you owe.
What to Do After an Accident in a Leased Vehicle
If you are involved in a crash with your leased vehicle, the after-accident process is the same as any other crash. You need to seek immediate medical care and report the incident to the police. Gather as much evidence as possible at the scene of the incident. You should report the crash to both your insurance carrier and the leasing company as soon as possible. However, you do not need to go into detail about the accident. You may need to speak to a skilled and experienced car accident lawyer to help with your case. An attorney will have the resources and experience necessary to help you prove liability and secure maximum compensation for your claim.