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Washington Car Insurance

Illustration of a car driving down a road next to a field with a highway banner that reads

More than seven million people call Washington state home. Most Washington state residents live in Seattle, the largest city in the state and the 15th largest city in the country.

Whether you are heading to Pike Place Park to buy fresh fish or commuting to Microsoft, you’ll want to make sure you at least have the minimum liability car insurance required by Washington state law.

Quick Facts

  • The average cost of car insurance in Washington state is $1,368.
  • Almost 22% of Washington state drivers are uninsured or underinsured.
  • Washington state ranks fifth in having the most uninsured/underinsured drivers in the state.
  • There are more than 2.9 million registered vehicles in the state of Washington.
  • Hart’s Pass in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is the most dangerous road in Washington state.
  • Undocumented immigrants can get driver’s licenses in Washington state.

How Much Is Car Insurance in Washington?

The average cost of car insurance in Washington state is $1,368, which is almost 12% below the U.S. national average of $1,548. There are many factors that can affect what you will pay for car insurance in Washington state.

For example, the average cost of insurance premiums can differ depending on where you live in Washington state. Drivers in Tacoma pay the highest car insurance rates in the state, with average costs at $1,692 per year. Meanwhile, in Bellevue, drivers spend an average of $1,186 per year on car insurance.

What Is the Average Premium in Washington for Full Coverage Car Insurance?

All drivers in Washington are required to carry liability insurance to cover damages to other people’s vehicles in an accident. Drivers have the option to add collision coverage, which covers accident-related damages to your car, and comprehensive coverage, which covers theft or damage to your vehicle, to their car insurance policy.

Car insurance premium rates vary depending on the deductible amount, the amount of liability coverage included, and whether you elect to carry collision and comprehensive coverage.

If you carry the state minimum liability coverage of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and $10,000 for property damage, your average annual rate would be about $607.

For full coverage car insurance with liability limits of $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident, and $100,000 property damage, and comprehensive/collision coverage with a $500 deductible, the average annual rate is about $1,262.

How Much Is It for Just the Minimum Required Car Insurance in Washington?

Drivers in Washington state are required to have a minimum 25/50/10 liability coverage. That is:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident

How Do Rates Compare Across Major Cities in Washington?

Most Washington state residents live in three main cities: Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. More than 3.4 million people live in and around Seattle. That’s more than the entire state of Nevada.

City Annual Car Insurance Rates
Seattle $1,665
Spokane $1,320
Tacoma $1,692
Bellevue $1,493

Is There a Good Driver Discount in Washington?

If you are a good driver and you don’t have any speeding tickets or at-fault accidents for three years, you could be eligible for a Good Driver Discount from your car insurance company in Washington state.

Other discount programs in the state of Washington can help bring down the cost of your car insurance premiums. Some of these discounts include:

  • Good Student Discounts. These discounts are given to young drivers who maintain a “B” average or higher in school
  • Continuously Insured Discount. If you’ve been insured for six months or more and haven’t let your policy lapse, then you may be eligible for this discount.
  • Driver Education. Drivers over age 50 qualify for a discount on their car insurance if they complete a defensive driving course.
  • Vehicle Safety Discount. You could be eligible for a discount if your car has certain vehicle safety equipment such as anti-lock brakes, airbags, and anti-theft devices.

Washington Car Insurance Laws

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 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, the factors car insurance companies can look at when determining your rates are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Credit score
  • Vehicle type
  • Driving record
  • Education
  • Occupation

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.

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.

What Is Driving Like in Washington?

How Many Car Accidents Happen in Washington?

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) tracks the number of car accidents and fatalities caused by car accidents. In 2019, the WTSC reported 538 fatalities from vehicle accidents across the state, 133 of which were caused by drunk drivers.

To cut down the number of fatalities and serious injuries caused by car accidents on Washington’s roadways, the state adopted the Target Zero Strategic Highway Safety Plan in 2019. The plan aims at eliminating traffic fatalities by 2030.

This table shows the number of fatal car accidents for 2019 in Washington state’s largest cities.

City Number of Fatal Car Accidents in 2019
Seattle 28
Spokane 10
Tacoma 18
Bellevue 4

How Many Drivers Are Uninsured/Underinsured in Washington?

Even though liability insurance is required of all drivers in Washington state, not all drivers adhere to this requirement. In 2019, almost 22% of Washington drivers were uninsured, ranking the state fifth in having the highest number of uninsured motorists, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

With the high number of uninsured motorists in Washington state, it is a good idea to consider adding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to your car insurance policy, even though the coverage isn’t required. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage will reimburse you if you get in an accident or hit-and-run with a driver who doesn’t have the required liability coverage.

FAQs About Washington Car Insurance

I Am a Low-Income Driver. What Can I Do About Getting Car Insurance in Washington?

By getting the minimum 25/50/10 liability coverage required by Washington state law, you can save yourself money you would have to pay in fines, penalties, and high-risk insurance coverage if you were ever pulled over by law enforcement without the required insurance coverage. Talk to your insurance agent about possible discounts you may qualify for on your car insurance in Washington state. If you’re driving an older vehicle, but you maintain safety equipment such as brakes and airbags, you could also save money on your insurance coverage.

Can an Undocumented Worker Get Car Insurance in Washington?

Washington is one of 10 states in the U.S. where residents can apply for a driver’s license regardless of their immigration status. So undocumented workers can get a driver’s license, and therefore, they can get car insurance coverage.

Is It Possible to Get Car Insurance in Washington With a DUI Mark on My Record?

Drivers who get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) will be able to get car insurance in Washington state, but it will cost them a pretty penny. If you get a DUI, you can expect that your car insurance rates will increase by about 90%.

On average, drivers with DUIs will have to pay about $2,233 per year for car insurance. Although that is less than the national average of $3,336 per year, it is still a pretty significant increase that may make you reconsider getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks.

Get a Washington Car Insurance Quote Today!

Photo of the US Capitol in Washington DC as seen from a road.
The cost of getting car insurance in Washington state could be considerably less than the fines and penalties you will face if you don’t have insurance. That doesn’t include the costs you could face if you or one of your passengers is injured in an accident.

Get started with a quote online, visit us at a Washington state office near you, or call us at (800) 777-5620 for a quote.

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