A Guide to Life Insurance in West Virginia (WV)

The nature of trying to get West Virginia Life Insurance Quotes arranged is that you have to contend with both state specific conditions, and also conditions that are common to all types of life insurance.

In this article I am going to explore both types, and also take a look at the life insurance sector as a whole in West Virginia, and what it means to the state in economic terms.

Firstly, let’s get a little background information about West Virginia so that we can get a feel for the state.

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West Virginia – A Little Background

West Virginia is one of the smaller states in the United States both in terms of physical size and population. It is the 41st biggest in terms of size at 24,230 square meters (approximately 130 miles wide by 240 miles long); and is 37th in terms of population with 1,859,815 people in 2010 (a small increase of half a percent from 2000).

You can get a good idea of the physical makeup of West Virginia if you consider that its nickname is the Mountain State, and much of the landscape is dominated by forest and mountains. It is no great surprise then that outdoor activities are a big part of most West Virginians lives, and that coal mining, logging, salt mining and diamond mining have all played major parts in the state’s economy.

The Capital and the Largest City is Charleston which has a city population of 51,400 and a metropolitan population of 304,214 in 2010. The city population of Charleston has fallen in every census since 1960 when the population was over 30,000 greater at 85,796. This is potentially a big problem for the State Government, because many federal grant programs only apply to cities with populations greater than 50,000, and so whilst Charleston narrowly made the cut in the 2010 census it seems quite likely that numbers will fall below 50,000 by 2020 when the next census is due.

The state GDP of West Virginia was $66.6 billion in 2010, which would place it roughly parallel with Sudan ($65.93 billion) and Ecuador ($61.49 billion) in terms of economic muscle according to data from the International Monetary Fund.

And the average household income in West Virginia was the second lowest of all the states (only Mississippi was lower) at $37,435 in 2009, compared to a US wide average of $50,221, and an average in the highest income state, Maryland, of $69,272. So in comparison to the rest of the United States the average family in West Virginia has considerably less money.


West Virginia Life Insurance – The Facts About Life Insurance In West Virginia

There are 455 West Virginia Life Insurance Companies who are licensed to sell life insurance in West Virginia, and they employ 3,000 people directly and support a further 2,000 non-insurance jobs.

West Virginia’s low household income is also reflected in the relatively low average amount of life insurance of $52,000 worth of life cover per policy holder, with each policyholder in New Jersey for example having over three times as much on average ($180,000).

Nevertheless, there are still 990,000 individual life insurance policies that are owned by West Virginia residents, and so the state is still fertile territory for life insurance companies.

This is reflected in the fact that there was $5 billion worth of individual life cover purchased in 2009, and that group life insurance in the state adds up to $90 billion.

The net influx into the everyday incomes of West Virginians can also be counted in the billions. And once you have counted up policy dividends, surrender values, endowments that have matured and paid out and death benefits, it adds up to a further injection every year of $2 billion back into the West Virginia economy.  With a  further top up of $360 million in annuity benefits being paid out in 2009, all adding up to extra income for West Virginia households.

The message then is clear. Life Insurance may not be as big a business in West Virginia as in much larger states like New Jersey, but the net effect on the economy is still extremely significant.


Three Insights Into Getting Great West Virginia Life Insurance

1/ Assess your needs carefully before buying any insurance

You should be careful to assess your needs thoroughly and do a proper financial review of your circumstances before you buy any insurance.

It is a good idea to sit down with a spreadsheet open and list all of your current outgoings and assess how much money your family would really need in the event that you weren’t about.

Clearly this is not the nicest way to spend an afternoon, contemplating your early demise! But nevertheless it is something that does need to be done and the earlier and quicker you do it the less money your insurance will end up costing you.

2/ Life Insurance costs less the younger you buy it and there are tipping point ages where the costs will go up considerably…

You can easily see this for yourself if you get a couple of online quotes. If you were to use different ages, but all of the other details were the same then you will quickly see what a massive difference it can make to the price.

The moral of the story is NOT to make up your age or lie on the forms!

You do need to tell the whole truth, because otherwise your life insurance would be invalidated anyway, even if you had paid into it for years.

But it is worth noting that there are often tipping point ages with life insurance, and so a 39 year old may be able to get life insurance considerably cheaper than a 40 year old. So bear that in mind if you have been procrastinating about getting life insurance, and make sure that you buy it BEFORE your next birthday!

3/ Take advantage of your 10-Day “Free Look”

There is a 10 Day “Free Look” period written into law in West Virginia that means that even after you have bought a policy, you then have a further ten days to properly evaluate it and decide if it is right for you.

If you decide it isn’t then you are free to cancel the policy, and the insurance company have to return the premium you paid within 30 days.

Clearly, cancelling the policy would be an option of last resort, but you should ALWAYS be careful to read all your policy documentation and under the free look provision you do still have a chance to cancel even if you feel like you made a mistake.

However, before you cancel it can sometimes be worth calling the life insurance company who you bought the policy through and clarifying the points you are concerned about.

In the long run it could end up saving you the hassle of having to find a replacement policy.


West Virginia Life Insurance – The Details

In terms of the laws and regulatory structures that surround the insurance business in West Virginia, these are covered by The State Insurance Code of West Virginia.

You can find the West Virginia Insurance Rules here:



West Virginia Life Insurance Resources

West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner

The West Virginia Insurance Department is responsible for overseeing both that the insurance rules are adhered to by insurance professionals and West Virginia Insurance Companies, but also that consumers are properly informed and protected.

You can also check that companies and agents are properly licensed to sell life insurance in West Virginia at the Insurance Departments website.


West Virginia Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association

In the event that a West Virginia Life Insurance Company were to become insolvent, then the West Virginia Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association would step in to provide assistance and financial support to policyholders.



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