There’s a lot to appreciate in Washington State, from lush forests to snow-capped mountains. Before you begin your next great adventure, get the coverage you need with our quick and easy guide to car insurance.
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Quick Look – Best Car Insurance Companies in Washington State
- PEMCO Insurance: Best Overall – Get a quote
- Grange Insurance: Cheapest – Get a quote
- State Farm: Best Coverage – Get a quote
- USAA: Best for military personnel – Get a quote
- Washington State Car Insurance: Overview
- Washington State Car Insurance Law Explained
- Washington State Traffic Laws You Should Know
- Washington State Car Insurance Rates per Vehicle
- Car Insurance Rates by Credit Score
- Insurance for Drivers with a Clean Record
- Insurance Rates with Driving Infractions
- Best Car Insurance Providers in Washington State
- Drive Away with the Coverage You Need
Washington State Car Insurance: Overview
Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect in Washington:
- Washington residents have an average of 2 vehicles per household.
- Minimum car insurance coverage is as follows:
- Bodily injury liability coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
- Property damage liability coverage: $10,000 per accident.
- Drivers with clean driving records can expect to pay between about $700 and $1,100 annually for their state minimum insurance, depending on their provider.
Washington State Car Insurance Law Explained
You must have car insurance to legally operate any kind of motor vehicle in Washington. You’ll need at least the following coverage to stay within the law if you’re a driver and a resident of Washington:
- Bodily injury liability coverage covers the medical bills of anyone who you injure during an accident. You must have at least $25,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage per person and $50,000 per accident as a resident of Washington.
- Property damage liability coverage compensates anyone whose property you damage during a collision. You must have at least $10,000 worth of property damage liability coverage as a driver in Washington.
You might have noticed that both of these coverage types offer you no compensation as the policyholder. You may want to consider adding 1 or more of these optional coverages:
- Collision coverage: Collision coverage compensates you for vehicle repair bills after an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage compensates you for vehicle repair bills if your car is damaged during an event that doesn’t involve a collision. Some common examples include damage from animals, burglaries or hailstorms.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Unfortunately, not every driver in Washington follows the laws and drives with the proper amount of insurance. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage helps you pay for medical bills and repair expenses if you’re hit by a driver who isn’t carrying insurance.
You can face a minimum fine of $550 if you’re caught driving without a license, according to the Washington State Department of Licensing. You may also have your license suspended if you’re involved in an accident, don’t have insurance and you cannot cover the other party’s medical bills.
Washington State Traffic Laws You Should Know
It’s important to know the rules of the road before you drive through Washington. Make sure you follow these laws if you drive in the Evergreen State:
- Child passengers: No child under the age of 13 may sit in the front seat of any vehicle in Washington State. Children under 8 and/or who have not reached 4’9” must sit in a child booster seat when the car is in motion.
- Cell phone usage: Using a cell phone in any capacity is illegal in Washington State, even if you’re on a hands-free listening device. This law extends to texting, making phone calls and watching videos.
- Headlights: Your vehicle’s headlights must be on at least 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes before sunset.
- HOV lanes: You may see a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on highways. HOV lanes are marked in white with a white diamond and will include a number — this is the minimum number of people who must be in your vehicle to use the HOV lane. For example, if you see a lane marked “HOV 3,” it means that there must be at least 3 people (including you) in the vehicle to drive in the lane.
It’s a good idea to brush up on each state’s laws before you enter them to avoid accidentally committing a traffic violation.
Washington State Car Insurance Rates per Vehicle
Did you know that the type of car you drive can affect your insurance rates? Car insurance companies incorporate a lot of vehicle data when they decide on the premiums for each type of vehicle. Car insurance companies look at:
- Safety features: You’re less likely to be injured in a crash if you drive a car that’s highly ranked. This means you’ll pay less for insurance.
- Crash rates: Some vehicles are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident. You’ll pay more for car insurance if you drive a car that’s statistically in more crashes.
- Theft data: You’ll also pay more for insurance if you drive a vehicle that’s more likely to be stolen or burglarized.
Car Insurance Rates by Credit Score
Insurance companies in Washington State are allowed to use credit data when they calculate your premium. But why is your credit score relevant to your car insurance?
Drivers with low credit scores are statistically more likely to file an insurance claim within their lifetimes, and they’re also more likely to be caught filing inflated claims. A low credit score is also correlated with insurance fraud — the lower your score, the more likely you are to commit fraud. This means that if you have a low credit score, you’ll pay more for your insurance.
Let’s take a look at how your credit score can influence your insurance premium.
|Credit Score||Cheapest Provider||Rate for State Minimum Coverage|
Do you have bad credit? You may want to take some time to raise your credit score and in the process, lower your premium. Once your credit score goes up, consider applying for a few new quotes.
Insurance for Drivers with a Clean Record
You’ll have an easier time finding cheap car insurance if you have a clean driving record. Your driving record is one of the most influential factors in most car insurance company formulas. More car insurance companies will want to work with you if you have a proven track record of safe driving habits, which means that you’ll have access to the lowest rates. Staying vigilant on the road, following local laws and avoiding common driving distractions can all help you stay safe on the road — and save you money.
Here’s what you can expect to pay for 3 different types of coverage if you have a clean record:
- State minimum coverage includes only the bare minimum liability insurance you need to have to legally drive in Washington.
- Standard coverage includes state minimum liability insurance plus collision coverage.
- Full coverage includes state minimum liability coverage, collision coverage and comprehensive coverage.
|Insurance Company||State Minimum Insurance||Standard Coverage||Full Coverage|
Insurance Rates with Driving Infractions
You’ll pay more for your insurance if you do have infractions on your driving record. Drivers who have been involved in an accident or gotten a citation in the past are more likely to be involved in another incident. This makes you a riskier candidate for insurance and means your coverage rates will be higher.
Not every type of driving infraction is seen as equally serious by insurance companies. Let’s take a look at how 3 different common driving infractions will influence what you pay for car insurance:
- At-fault accident: At-fault accidents are collisions that you partially or fully cause.
- Speed violation: Speed violations involve driving above the posted speed limit. The faster you go, the more serious the speed violation. Occasionally, speed violations also apply if you drive too far below the speed limit.
- DUI: DUI stands for “driving under the influence” of drugs or alcohol. A DUI is one of the most serious driving offenses and will significantly raise your rates.
|Insurance Company||At-Fault Accident||Speed Violation||DUI|
Best Car Insurance Providers in Washington State
You may be putting yourself at financial and legal risk if you don’t have car insurance in Washington State. Consider these top insurance providers in your search for affordable and reliable coverage.
1. Best Overall: PEMCO Insurance
PEMCO Insurance is one of Washington State’s favorite auto insurance companies. J.D. Power’s Auto Insurance Satisfaction Survey, which ranks auto insurance companies throughout the nation based on customer satisfaction, gave PEMCO Insurance first place for the Northwest.
PEMCO has gotten top marks for the last 7 consecutive years. PEMCO Insurance should be your top choice if you value a comprehensive customer experience.
2. Cheapest Car Insurance in Washington State: Grange Insurance
Chances are that you’ll get your lowest quote from Grange Insurance if you live in one of Washington’s largest cities.
Grange offers the lowest insurance rates in Seattle, Spokane, Vancouver and more. Grange offers a wide range of policy choices, ranging from bare minimum coverage to full coverage.
Grange also offers a number of unique policy add-ons like full glass repair, coverage for pets injured in your vehicle and even identity theft coverage.
3. Best Coverage for Multiple Cars: State Farm
Thinking about how to lower your car insurance and balance multiple premiums at the same time?
The key might be to switch to State Farm. State Farm offers a wide range of discounts and its list of ways to save eclipses most other insurance companies.
You can save when you take a defensive driving course, stay accident-free or if your teen brings home good grades. There’s also a multi-car discount that slashes your premium when you insure multiple vehicles.
4. Best for Military Personnel: USAA
USAA is a unique car and home insurance company that offers policies to members of the armed forces, veterans and their family members.
These packages are limited but can offer you some huge savings if you qualify. USAA is consistently highly rated on J.D. Power’s Auto Satisfaction Survey and it offers a wide range of coverages as well. Make sure you meet service requirements before you request a quote from USAA.
Drive Away with the Coverage You Need
Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to research your policy options. Get at least 5 quotes from competing companies so you know you’re making the best possible choice and not overpaying for coverage. Also, make sure that you have “gap” insurance if your old policy ends before your new one begins. You don’t want to be caught on the road without it the day before your insurance goes into effect!
*Quotes were obtained using the following profile: base 2015 Toyota Camry, male, 40-years-old. Policies reflect state minimum coverage options. We make every effort to provide the most accurate quotes based on the profile above. Due to the many combined variables involved in insurance quotes, the only way to get an accurate quote is to enter your own information through our partners’ secure websites.