Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Nov 12, 2020

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Washington state flagAs the 42nd state to join the United States, Washington has long been loved by residents and tourists alike for its lush green rainforests, mountains and oceanic views. The state’s landscapes are truly wondrous; a few hours of driving can take one from glaciers to desert and back again. Driving, of course, requires auto insurance – so let’s take a look at how car insurance works in Washington State.

Washington Auto Insurance Laws And Requirements

In Washington, the state minimum coverage requirement is liability with limits of:

  • Bodily Injury Liability Coverage – $25,000 per person
  • Bodily Injury Liability Coverage – $50,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Liability Coverage – $10,000 per accident

Take a look at how Washington’s minimum rates compare with surrounding states.

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Optional coverage in Washington (varies by carrier):

  • Comprehensive Coverage
  • Collision Coverage
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
  • Rental Car Reimbursement Coverage
  • Roadside Assistance / Towing Coverage
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Similar to the majority of states around the country, Washington’s state insurance laws are based around the “tort” system. This means that when an accident occurs, one of the drivers will be determined as the “at fault” party, and their insurance will pay out claims accordingly. This also means that the driver can be sued for damages when things are a bit more severe than a typical accident.

Washington state law is a bit more lenient that some states when it comes to minimum coverage amounts that are required to be considered fully insured. Slugly, Washington has just two areas that coverage is legally mandated: Bodily Injury Liability insurance, and Property Damage Liability insurance.

Bodily Injury Liability coverage is the auto insurance policy that kicks in to cover injury treatment costs for another party when you are considered to be the at fault party in an accident. Bodily Injury Liability doesn’t cover the insured driver or anyone else in their car – it’s strictly for covering costs related to injuries that you cause. Bodily Injury Liability insurance will cover medical treatment, rehabilitation, lost wages to due to work loss, and any other related costs stemming from the injuries sustained in the accident. Washington state law requires that drivers have minimum coverage of $25,000 per person, per accident and $50,000 for all parties in a single accident.

Property Damage Liability insurance covers the damage that you cause to another person’s automobile or property when you are at fault for an accident. For instance, if you swerved to avoid an obstacle and hit a parked car and a fence, your PDL coverage would pay out both the damage to the car and the damage to the fence. Again, Property Damage Liability insurance isn’t for any damage to the insured driver’s car, but just for damage that they cause to other property. The minimum coverage required by state law is $10,000.

Car insurance rates in Washington are fairly middle-of-the-road compared to the other states in the nation.

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The statewide average for auto insurance is just under $1,100 per year, which is less than $100 a month. Of course, this rate does increase as we get closer to Seattle or Tacoma.

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There are a lot of factors that auto insurance companies take into consideration when determining your rates. Take a look at our overview here.

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While many of these factors are simply based on your own driving record, two things that affect even the safest of drivers are age and gender. As with most states, males typically pay higher auto insurance rates than females.

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Washington Auto Insurance Rates And Statistics

When you consider the median rates statewide, drivers in Washington will end up paying right around the national average for automobile insurance. In 2010 the average auto insurance premium in Washington was $1476, which comes out to about $123 per month, slightly higher than the national annual rate of $1439. Things get a bit worse for those who live in the Seattle area, as the metropolitan area median auto insurance rate was just north of $1600 per year. On the plus side, things have trended down a bit in the first few months of 2011, and look to be staying that way for the near future.

Though the state boasts very average auto insurance rates overall, let’s take a look at how rates vary between some of the largest companies.

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But which companies are the largest, holding the most market share percentage in the region?

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Washington drivers appear to be taking road safety to heart as crash rates have been coming down over the past few years. In 2009, the state saw a total of 102,859 crashes, with 453 fatalities resulting from these accidents. Compared to 2005’s numbers, this is a drop of almost 25 percent in just five years! Fatalities also dropped over 20 percent in that time frame as well. As Washington’s drivers continue to take more care while on the roads, and law enforcement initiatives increase, these numbers will drop even further.

News is also good for Washington’s automobile owners when it comes to auto theft rates as well. Between 2005 and 2009, statewide incidences of vehicle theft dropped by more than 50 percent, from 49,287 to 23,680! This is one of the largest drops in auto theft reported in any state, and is a direct result of heavy pressure from police and other law enforcement officials to reduce auto theft crimes.

Cheap Auto Insurance In Washington

It’s worth it to spend a bit of time researching auto insurance rates among the various companies that offer insurance in Washington to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Most drivers qualify for a range of discounts that require some digging to find out about, so put in a bit of work and you’re sure to come out paying the lowest premiums possible for your coverage!

To get some of the best Washington auto insurance rates available, head back up to the top of the page and enter in your ZIP code to get started!

Washington Auto Insurance Agents

Washington Auto Insurance Agents

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Addition State of Washington auto insurance resources