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Washington Car Insurance

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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. 

The average car insurance rate in Washington is $1,191. But every company uses its own method for assessing risk. That’s why the cost for the same policy can vary significantly among insurance companies – and why you should compare rates. For example, in Seattle ZIP code 98144, the highest rate among six carriers ($1,823) is nearly $500 more than the lowest ($1,325).

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. You can save, on average, $504 in Washington by comparing rates, according to CarInsurance.com’s average car insurance savings rate by state analysis.

Enter your ZIP code, age and coverage level to see the average rate, as well as the highest and lowest fielded from six companies.

AVERAGE CAR INSURANCE RATES
by ZIP Code & City

MOST & LEAST EXPENSIVE ZIP CODES in Washington

MOST EXPENSIVELEAST EXPENSIVE
98404- Midland: $1,589 99136- Hay: $987
98421- Fife: $1,583 99125- Endicott: $992
98108- Riverton-Boulevard P: $1,582 99111- Colfax: $994
98144- Seattle: $1,579 99163- Albion: $997

Cheap car insurance in Washington

Washington car insurance requirements

The cheapest car insurance you can get in Washington is the state minimum required to drive. 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.

Additional coverage is typically affordable, and, naturally offers more protection. Increasing coverage from the state minimum to higher liability limits costs $37 a year or about $3 a month. Hiking your policy to full coverage with a $500 deductible costs, on average, $725 more, or $60 a month.

Recommended car insurance

When deciding how much car insurance to buy, you need to assess your particular situation. To drive legally, you must buy at least the minimum liability insurance required by your state. If you didn’t borrow money from a lender to buy your car and you don’t have a lot of money or assets to protect, that might be a wise choice. If, however, you don’t own your car outright, you will be required to get comprehensive and collision coverage. Additionally, if you have a home and savings to protect, it’s wise to buy more coverage. 

Use our How Much Car Insurance Do You Need? tool to get a recommendation.

AGE
STATE
VEHICLE MODEL YEAR
OWN RENT
OWNED FINANCED LEASED

Liability

The more money and assets you have, the more likely it is that you may be sued following a car accident. Unless you are determined to pay the lowest car insurance rate possible, we recommend you buy higher than minimum liability coverage. If your net worth is:

  • less than $50,000, choose at least 50/100/50
  • between $50,000 and $100,000, choose at least 100/300/100
  • more than $100,000, choose at least 250/500/100

If you're leasing or financing your car, you automatically need coverage of 100/300/100 or higher.

Collision and comprehensive

Collision pays for damage to your car from an accident. The average annual cost for collision coverage in WA is $383, according to CarInsurance.com’s data analysis. Comprehensive pays to replace stolen cars and for damages to your car from theft, fire, flood waters, hail, animal strikes, falling objects and vandalism. The average annual cost for comprehensive coverage in WA is $87. These are optional coverages. If your car is:

  • less than 10 years old, you should strongly consider buying collision and comprehensive.
  • more than 10 years old, only buy collision and comprehensive if your car is worth $3,000 or more, if you couldn’t afford to replace your car if it’s wrecked, or if you just want more protection on your policy.

If you buy comp and collision, check our guide to choosing a deductible amount. 

Uninsured/underinsured motorist

Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage pays for damages if you’re hit by a driver with no insurance or a driver with coverage that’s insufficient to pay for your repairs and medical expenses. These should match the liability limits you choose. In Rhode Island, insurers are required under state law to offer these, but you can opt out if you want to carry only state minimum liability limits.

Medical coverage (MedPay)

Medical payments coverage can help pay for the medical or funeral expenses of covered drivers and passengers after an accident, regardless of fault, up to $25,000. In most states, including Rhode Island, it's an optional addition to your car insurance policy. MedPay does the following:

  • Covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses
  • Pays for expenses after health insurance limits are exceeded
  • Offers additional protection to insured drivers who are hit by a car while walking or biking

If you and your passengers:

  • Don’t have health insurance, or have a plan that doesn’t cover car accidents or has low limits, we recommend that you add medical coverage of at least $5,000 to your car insurance policy.
  • Do have health insurance, it’s still a good idea to have medical coverage if you want the best protection in your policy, as it can pay out after your health benefits are maxed out.

Gap insurance

If you got a loan to pay for your car and have an accident, gap insurance pays the difference between the cash value of your car and the current outstanding balance on your loan or lease.

  • If you’re financing your car, your car is less than one year old and you’ve put less than 20 percent down on it, you should buy gap insurance. If not, you don’t need gap insurance.
  • If you’re leasing your car, it’s a good idea to buy gap insurance if you don't already have the coverage in your lease agreement.
  • If you own your car outright, you don’t need gap insurance.

Cheapest car insurance in Washington by company

Below you'll see average annual rates for Washington, ranked cheapest to most expensive, for three coverage levels:

  • State minimum liability requirements
  • Liability limits of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident and $50,000 property damage
  • Liability of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident and $100,000 property damage, with comprehensive and collision at $500 deductible

Low cost auto insurance for Washington drivers with recent accidents

Filing an accident claim means you are likely to pay more for your car insurance coverage. However, how much more you pay depends on several factors, and your car insurance company plays is one of those significant factors. Each company assesses risk differently, so that's why the increase after an accident will vary among insurers. Here is how major carriers compare after at-fault accidents for the average Washington driver with a full coverage policy:

Who has the cheapest Washington car insurance for drivers with speeding tickets?

If you get a speeding ticket, chances are you'll see an increase in what you pay for car insurance, upon your policy renewal. Typically, you'll pay more for three years. But even with a traffic ticket, comparison shopping can save you money. For instance, you'll see that the difference between the highest rate and the lowest in the table below is more than $989, on average, according to CarInsurance.com's rate analysis. That's how much you can save by comparing car insurance companies.

How much does it cost to add a teen to your policy in Washington?

No matter where you live, adding a new driver to your family policy will hike your rate significantly. In Washington, you can expect your rate to go up by an average of 154 percent when adding a driver age 16 to your coverage, according to CarInsurance.com rate data. You'll see in the table below how much it costs, on average, to add a teen driver in Washington, and how major insurers compare on price. NICOA had the lowest auto insurance cost for adding a driver age 16 to a full coverage family policy, among insurers surveyed.

Cheapest Washington auto insurance for young drivers: Ages 18 to 25

Enter an age from 18 to 25 to see who has the best rates for young drivers in Washington, by company.You’ll see in the chart below which car insurance companies have the lowest rates for young drivers buying a full coverage policy. Average car insurance rates by age data shows that drivers typically pay higher rates until age 26, when rates begin to drop as drivers gain more experience on the road. But even young drivers can save money by comparing car insurance rates to see which company has the lowest rates, by qualifying for student discounts and by staying on their parents’ policy as long as possible.

Senior drivers: Cheap auto insurance for Washington drivers age 65 to 85

Below you can see average rates by company for drivers age 65 and over, buying a full coverage policy. While comparing car insurance quotes is always one of the primary ways to save on coverage, you can also see if you qualify for a mature driver discount or if you can trim rates by taking a defensive driving course.

Car insurance for Washington drivers with bad credit

Car insurance for drivers with bad credit costs significantly more than it does for those with good credit. Washington ranks 36th  among the worst states for drivers with bad credit, as CarInsurance.com's data analysis shows. Compared to good credit drivers, those in Washington with bad credit pay 62 percent more, on average. The good news is that you can still shave some money off your coverage costs if you compare car insurance companies. You'll see below that the difference among major insurers is nearly $1,337 for a full coverage policy for a driver with bad credit. That's how much you can potentially save by comparing car insurance quotes.

Best car insurance companies in Washington

Scores are based on Insure.com’s “Best Insurance Companies” customer review survey of 3,700 customers. Policyholders ranked insurers on claims handling, customer service, value, mobile apps/website usefulness and were asked if they would renew their coverage and if they would recommend the company. All scores are out of 100.

 

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Largest car insurance companies in Washington

Source: A.M. Best; State/Line (P/C Lines)  - P/C, US; Data as of:November 28, 2018

Washington Car Insurance Laws

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.

Average annual car insurance rates for major cities in Washington

Below you'll see how average annual rates for several of the largest cities in the state compare to state and national averages. Rates are for coverage of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident in liability and $50,000 of property damage coverage, with comprehensive and collision carrying a $500 deductible.

Show Tablular Data

STATE CAR INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS

To drive legally in Washington, you must have liability insurance with at least limits of:

25 / 50 / 10

Bodily injury liability limits of $25,000 per person you injure in an accident, $50,000 per accident and property damage liability of $10,000.

Click here for an explanation of liability requirements numbers

HOW MUCH IS CAR INSURANCE IN WASHINGTON? The average car insurance rate in Washington is:
$1,191 per year
38th most expensive state in the U.S.
DRIVING IN WASHINGTON
In our independent study of the best and worst states for driving, Washington was the
42nd WORST STATE
67% percent of roads are in poor/mediocre condition
16% of the drivers on the roads are uninsured
6.5% traffic-related deaths per 100,000 population
2.8% of the average annual median household income is spent on car insurance
63 hours of commuter delay per year 

Full report: Best and worst states for driving