The rainy side of Washington state pays a lot more for car insurance, with average rates in Seattle and Tacoma as much as 60 percent higher than state car insurance rates on the arid eastern half. You can see below how every ZIP code in Washington stacks up. The difference in rates among insurers for the same policy can vary by a lot because each company uses its own formula to set your cost. That means you can save a lot if you compare rates to see which company has the lowest price. Enter your ZIP code, age and coverage level to see the average rate, as well as the highest and lowest fielded from six companies.
What you need to know about car insurance in Washington
Penny Gusner CarInsurance.com Consumer Analyst
Washington Car Insurance Laws
Washington requires just $10,000 in property damage liability coverage, which is rarely enough to pay for repairs if you are unlucky enough to hit a newer car. Bodily injury limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident are relatively low as well. Consider increasing these levels as your income and assets grow.
Spokane, Yakima and Seattle-Tacoma rank among the 20 worst hot spots in the country for car thefts, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. You're not covered for theft unless you've bought comprehensive coverage.
Washington thieves' favorites, in order: Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Acura Integra, Toyota Camry, Subaru Legacy, Chevrolet full-size pickup, Nissan Sentra, Saturn SL, Chevrolet compact pickup and Toyota Corolla.
Stricter rules for young drivers: Washington drivers under 18 may not have any passengers under the age of 20 for the first six months of driving, and no more three passengers under 20 afterward (family excepted). They can't use cellphones at all, and they can't drive between 1 and 5 a.m.
Those "Traffic Safety Project" signs: Washington's Corridor Safety Program identifies the most trouble-prone sections of highways and helps arrange low-cost ways to make them safer. That could include new signs, flashing lights, improved crosswalk markings and increased patrols.
A DUI for pot: Washington made marijuana use legal in 2012, but driving while under the influence is still a crime (and a serious one at that). The state is still establishing standards for measuring intoxication.
Uninsured motorist penalties for Washington: You may be fined up to $250 and have your license suspended. There is no grace period after buying a new car in Washington; any car on the road needs to be currently insured.
Electronic proof of insurance: Washington law allows drivers to show proof of insurance during a traffic stop on a smartphone. It is one of 31 states that does so.
Largest car insurance companies in Washington by market share
Company / Group
Direct Premiums Written ($)
Market Share (%)
State Farm Group
Allstate Insurance Group
Liberty Mutual Insurance Cos
Farmers Insurance Group
Progressive Insurance Group
Berkshire Hathaway Insurance
Pemco Mutual Insurance Company
Amer Family Insurance Group
Hartford Insurance Group
Source: A.M. Best market share rankings are based on direct premiums written in 2013.