Washington Minimum Car Insurance Requirements, Penalties and Other Auto Insurance Laws
Washington drivers need to have car insurance with a minimum of 25/50/10 coverage. However, it is not compulsory to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in the Evergreen State.
The minimum limit of 25/50/10 refers to a policy covering $25,000 in bodily injury per person, a maximum of $50,000 for the injured persons in an accident and $10,000 in property damage. You may face several penalties and fines if your policy does not meet Washington car insurance requirements.
What Is the Minimum Car Insurance Requirement in Washington?
How much car insurance should you have in Washington? Minimum car insurance requirements in the state are:
$25,000 in bodily injury per person
$50,000 for all the people injured in the accident
$10,000 for property damage per accident
Except for bodily injury and property damage car insurance coverage, the state does not require drivers to have any other form of insurance.
What Does This Minimum Coverage Mean?
The minimum car insurance coverage or liability coverage is the standard coverage that all drivers need to possess within a state.
In Washington, the minimum car insurance limits include $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person, up to $50,000 per accident and a maximum of $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident.
While this coverage is mostly cheaper than full coverage, it only covers other people’s injuries and any damage to their property if you become involved in an at-fault accident. You may need to buy additional coverage to protect yourself and your vehicle.
How Much Does the Minimum Car Insurance Cost in Washington?
Insurers in Washington charge different rates for minimum car insurance policies. Factors such as the driver’s age, driving record, credit score and ZIP code affect premiums. You might pay more or less than MoneyGeek’s estimated average rate, depending on the insurance company.
According to MoneyGeek's research, USAA provides the lowest car insurance rates for the minimum car insurance policy, at $324 per year. However, USAA policies are only available to military members and their families. The second cheapest insurer is Progressive, at $442 per year.
Cheapest Minimum Liability Car Insurance in Washington
These prices are only estimates based on rates for an average Washington driver and should not be used to compare insurance prices.
MoneyGeek collected car insurance costs used in this study from a full coverage policy that meets Washington’s minimum car insurance requirements of 25/50/10. We used a sample 2010 Toyota Camry driver in this case — a 40-year-old male with a strong driving history and a good credit score.
What Is the Minimum Car Insurance Requirement in Washington While Leasing a Car?
Insurance companies apply different minimum insurance requirements for leases in Washington. The standard liability coverage applies to all drivers in the state. However, your leasing company may propose different requirements, with most requesting full coverage car insurance with a 100/300/50 limit.
You should get information about your leasing company’s requirements before purchasing your policy.
Liability-only car insurance may be cheaper than full coverage insurance, but it does not provide coverage in all situations. MoneyGeek recommends that you need at least 50/100/50 in full coverage car insurance in Washington to protect against bodily injury and property damage in accidents.
Washington has a significantly high number of uninsured motorists at 21.7%. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, however, is not compulsory in the state.
Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Washington
Washington applies several penalties for individuals who drive in the state without car insurance. Individuals caught driving without the right coverage are subject to fines and potential license suspension. Fines vary depending on the severity of the violation.
In case of an accident, drivers must provide proof of insurance in hard copy or as a digital copy on an electronic device.
Suspension of your driver’s license for multiple offenses
Reinstatement fee varies based on the severity of the violation
In Washington, these penalties apply to all drivers — regardless of their driving record. If you are uninsured and become involved in an accident, you will need to pay for the damages out of pocket.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Insurance in Washington
Car insurance is a requirement in Washington. To help individuals looking to purchase insurance in the state, MoneyGeek has answered some commonly asked questions.
Yes. Drivers in Washington must possess car insurance with a 25/50/10 minimum coverage limit. You risk fines and punishment if you drive in the state without car insurance.
Yes. Drivers must provide proof of insurance that meets state minimums and other necessary registration documents.
Basic car insurance refers to the minimum car insurance limits acceptable by the state. Washington has a limit of 25/50/10 — at least $25,000 in bodily injury per person, up to $50,000 per accident and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
In most states, including Washington, insurance follows either the driver or the car, depending on the type of coverage and insurer. For instance, if you get involved in an accident, insurance coverage will follow the car, and the owner may need to pay for third-party injuries and damage. However, if personal injury and medical costs are involved, then these will follow you as the driver.
Washington car insurance lease requirements apply for accidents in leased vehicles.
Yes. However, insurance providers will ask for your license number to assess your driving history.
No. Washington is not a no-fault state, meaning that you will not be allowed to claim compensation from your insurer if you get involved in an at-fault accident. It also means that you may purchase no-fault personal injury protection as additional coverage to your standard car insurance, but this is not compulsory.
No. Drivers do not need PIP insurance in Washington but can purchase it for protection against bodily injury and personal property damage during accidents.
No. Washington drivers do not need to get uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of their standard policies. If you only purchase liability-only coverage in the state, you will not be covered for bodily injury and property damage for accidents with uninsured or underinsured motorists.
Washington is a diminished value state, allowing drivers to file diminished value claims for their cars after accidents for up to three years. The state, however, does not have uninsured coverage for diminished value.
For most states, no guideline dictates car insurance requirements after receiving a DUI. However, some insurance companies treat drivers with DUIs as high-risk individuals and charge higher car insurance premiums.
CARCO inspection checks the mileage and general condition of your vehicle, along with its accessories. The inspection is usually carried out free of charge and takes minutes to complete. However, it is only a requirement in five states, and Washington is not one of them.
Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.