Washington state enacted a new law in 2019 that requires all drivers of vehicles and motorcycles to carry a minimum 25/50/10 liability coverage. Driver must also always carry proof of insurance in their cars or face stiff fines even if they have insurance.
What Are the Mandatory Car Insurance Requirements in Washington?
Under Washington state’s mandatory liability insurance law, anyone who drives a motor vehicle or motorcycle must carry minimum liability coverage of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and $10,000 in property damage.
If you don’t have liability insurance, you must do one of the following:
- Apply for a certificate of deposit with the Department of Licensing.
- Have a liability bond of at least $60,000 filed by a surety bond company authorized to do business in Washington.
- Self-insure if you have 26 or more vehicles.
Drivers in the state should be prepared at all times to show proof of insurance if they get pulled over by law enforcement. You could be fined if you don’t have proof of insurance on you, even if you have coverage.
What Is the Penalty for Driving Without Insurance in Washington?
If you get pulled over by law enforcement in Washington and don’t have proof you have car insurance, you could be charged a fine of up to $250 for your first offense, plus a $25 court fee.
Drivers without at least the minimum 25/25/10 liability insurance coverage can face stiffer penalties, including suspension of their driver’s license and misdemeanor charges.
If you’re driving without insurance and get involved in an injury accident or one that causes more than $1,000 in damage, your driver’s license could be suspended for up to three years. To have your driving privileges reinstated after it is suspended, you’ll have to file an SR-22 or Certification of Financial Responsibility, which shows that you have obtained legal insurance coverage.
Drivers who must file an SR22 certificate are considered riskier than other drivers. Insurance companies will typically be offering high-risk auto insurance to them, which is more expensive.
What Factors Does Washington Law Allow in Determining Your Premiums?
When looking for cheap car insurance in the state of Washington, it’s important to know what factors insurance companies look at to determine the rate that you will pay. Things you don’t have control over, such as your age and gender, can impact your car insurance rates just as much as things you can control, like your driving record and credit score.
In Washington state, insurance companies are not allowed to look at credit history as a factor when determining insurance rates. This is a temporary rule in response to COVID-19, but it may become permanent and join other states that do not allow this practice. The factors car insurance companies can look at when determining your rates are:
- Marital status
- Vehicle type
- Driving record
Am I Required to Report an Accident in Washington to Authorities?
Suppose the unfortunate happens and you are involved in an accident. In that case, Washington state law requires that you file a Motor Vehicle Collision Report if anyone is injured, killed, or the accident results in property damage of $700 or more. You must file this report with the Washington Department of Transportation (DOT) within four days of the accident.
Failure to file a collision report after an accident could lead to the suspension of your driver’s license.