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Q

What is the penalty for driving without auto insurance in the state of Washington? What if you are involved in an accident?


A

In Washington State, anyone operating a motor vehicle must have an insurance liability policy, a certificate of deposit, liability bond or if you have more than 26 vehicles, be self-insured. Carrying liability insurance on your vehicle is the most common way of showing financial responsibility.

The Mandatory insurance law, Title 46 of the Revised Code of Washington, notes that as a Washington motorist you must carry with you an insurance identification card verifying you have a valid vehicle insurance policy. The current mandatory limits for WA are 25/50/10.

If you are found operating a motor vehicle without having proof of meeting the requirements of the mandatory insurance law you are committing a traffic violation. This infraction of the law is punishable by a minimum fine of $250. There are other fees and assessments that can be added to this fine so it typically costs about $450.

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There is also a public safety and education assessment that will be part of your penalty. A ticket for driving without insurance is like any other traffic infraction and will become part of your WA driving record.

Washington's financial responsibility law requires uninsured drivers and vehicle owners to be responsible for collision damages if there is a reasonable possibility that a court will make a judgment against them. The law applies only to collisions that meet ALL of the following conditions:

  • There was damage to any one person's property of at least $700, or any bodily injury
  • A driver involved in the collision was uninsured
  • There is a reasonable possibility that a court judgment would be filed against the uninsured driver or vehicle owner.

Your license can be suspended if you were an uninsured driver or the owner of an uninsured vehicle that was involved in a collision that met all 3 of the conditions listed above.

To prevent your license from being suspended the Washington Department of Licensing states that you can take any of the following actions within the 60-day period before the suspension goes into effect:

  • Provide us [the DOL] with proof that the driver or the vehicle had insurance in effect at the time of the collision.
  • Furnish us a signed release from everyone involved in the collision indicating they will not hold you responsible for damages resulting from the collision
  • Give us a copy of a written agreement with everyone seeking reimbursement for damages. The agreement must include the settlement amount and must be signed by everyone making the agreement.
  • Provide us with proof that security in the amount of damages from the collision has been deposited. This option also requires you to give us proof of financial responsibility for the future, usually with a SR-22 Insurance Certificate.
  • Give us a certified copy of a civil court decision showing that you were not liable for claims.

If your license is suspended the suspension remains in effect for 3 years from the collision date.

Make sure that you are properly insured. You can start now obtaining affordable car insurance for Washington State.


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