Your auto insurance premium is determined by factors such as age, driving record, location and more. Ideally, you should look around and obtain quotes from multiple carriers to find the best coverage and prices. MoneyGeek rated the top vehicle insurance firms based on cost, customer satisfaction and other criteria to help you get the best car insurance in Washington. When you compare car insurance quotes from some of the top-rated companies in Washington, you could save up to $1,902.
The Best Cheap Car Insurance in Washington for 2021
The Cheapest and Best Car Insurance in Washington
Liability car insurance is the most economical car insurance option available, but it only covers the other driver's costs if you're at fault in an accident. Covering your own expenses requires comprehensive and collision coverage.
The cheapest car insurance companies in Washington for minimum coverage are:
- USAA: $324 per year (serves only current and former military members)
- Progressive: $442 per year
The most expensive car insurance for minimum coverage is MetLife, at an average annual cost of $1,562.
Average Cost for Minimun Liability Coverage
Keep in mind that the rates are averages and best serve as a guide for comparing quotes between providers.
These prices are only estimates based on rates for an average Washington driver and should not be used to compare insurance prices.
A minimum coverage policy in Washington only covers bodily injury and property damage liability costs. A full coverage policy might better serve drivers looking to safeguard against the cost of damages to their own car or increase their liability coverage.
A full coverage policy is more expensive than a liability policy, but it covers the costs of damages to your own car — not just the other driver’s. To protect you against most road accidents, a full coverage policy in Washington offers higher liability limits, as well as comprehensive and collision insurance. To reduce your costs, be sure to compare car insurance quotes from several providers.
The most affordable car insurance carriers in Washington for a full coverage policy are:
- USAA: $638 per year (serves only current and former military members)
- PEMCO: $800 per year
MetLife is the costliest provider of full coverage, with average rates of $2,540 per year.
Average Comprehensive and Collision Rates in Washington
Remember — your premiums will vary from these examples. The costs included above are for a policy with comprehensive and collision insurance and $100,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person, $300,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident and $100,000 in property damage coverage per accident.
The Best Car Insurance Companies in Washington for 2021
Based on MoneyGeek’s data, the best car insurance companies in Washington for most drivers are:
- Best Overall: The Hartford
- Runner-up: GEICO
USAA received the highest score in Washington by MoneyGeek's rating system. However, because USAA is only available to military members, veterans and their families, it is not listed as best overall.
To help you find the best car insurance company in Washington for your needs, MoneyGeek analyzed multiple factors, including financial strength, claims experience, affordability and customer satisfaction. To calculate each auto insurance firm’s final score out of 100, MoneyGeek reviewed data from AM Best’s financial strength ratings and J.D. Power’s U.S. Auto Insurance Study, both of which are industry standards for car insurance provider reviews and rankings.
USAA is MoneyGeek’s top choice in Washington, as it scores the highest possible marks in customer satisfaction, affordability and claims processing efficiency. However, the company only serves veterans, current military members and their families, so civilians will have to look elsewhere.
USAA ranks consistently as the highest quality insurer in Washington and most other states. The company offers a variety of perks, including discounts to policyholders whose parents are also USAA customers. Active military personnel can also get a rebate if they garage their vehicles on baseRead MoneyGeek's USAA auto Insurance Review
MoneyGeek selected Hartford as the runner-up in its Washington ranking. This carrier scores impressive marks for claims ratings and financial stability.
Hartford offers multiple useful features to its Washington customers. Auto insurance prices are protected for a full year, so your rate won't change every six months like it might with other insurers. Hartford also pays you back if you can't do household chores after injuring yourself in an accident. The company’s Advantage Plus package offers additional benefits, like disappearing deductible and accident forgiveness.Read MoneyGeek's The Hartford auto Insurance Review
While USAA scores highly in many areas, this provider is only available to military members, veterans and their families.
List of the Largest Insurance Companies in Washington
Going by market share, the three biggest insurance companies in Washington are State Farm (16.1%), GEICO (11.6%) and Liberty Mutual (10.4%). Market share is calculated as the number of premiums written by an insurance firm divided by the total number of premiums written in the state. If you desire additional security and the assurance of getting paid for your claim without difficulty, MoneyGeek recommends you purchase a policy from a large and established insurance provider.
- CompanyMarket Share
How to Compare Cheap Washington Car Insurance Quotes Online
Most insurers provide relatively accurate quotes on their websites. When you use these tools to receive quotes from multiple providers, be sure to use consistent limits. For example, if you get a quote from one company for $100,000 in bodily injury liability insurance, you should use the same limit when comparing quotes with another provider.
You can also use MoneyGeek’s price information to find quality company websites to shop on. Enter your ZIP code below to compare quotes. USAA, Progressive and GEICO offer the cheapest liability coverage in Washington, so we recommend you start your search with one of these providers.
What Is the Average Cost of Car Insurance in Washington?
Auto insurers calculate average annual premiums based on multiple unique factors. MoneyGeek determined the average prices for 100/300/100 comprehensive and collision insurance coverage for a 40-year-old man with a clean record driving a Toyota Camry. Your annual auto insurance rates may be higher or lower than these Washington averages depending on your age, coverage level, driving history and location.
- Average Driver: $1,264
- DUI: $2,172
- Speeding Ticket: $1,522
- Poor Credit Score: $2,036
- Seniors: $1,318
- Students: $2,479
A severe driving violation, like driving under the influence (DUI), can considerably hike your auto insurance premiums. In Washington, a driver with a DUI is charged an average annual rate of $2,172 for their car insurance coverage, compared to $1,264 for the average driver with a clean record.
The cheapest car insurance companies in Washington for a driver with a DUI and full coverage are:
- State Farm: $1,043 per year
- Progressive: $1,187 per year
Although PEMCO is the second cheapest full coverage insurer for Washington drivers with a clean record, State Farm offers lower rates for those with a DUI.
Average Car Insurance Rates With a DUI
Whether driving under the influence (DUI) results in an accident or not, doing so will have huge implications on your life — including your car insurance rates. While repercussions may vary based on the number of prior offenses, a driver cited with a DUI in the state of Washington can face anywhere from 24 hours to one full year of jail time, receive up to $5,000 in fines and can have their license revoked for up to a year.
Between 2009 and 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a total of 1,602 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in Washington. 1.5% of Washington drivers report driving after having too much to drink in the previous 30 days. Not only do insurance companies raise rates for DUI offenders in hopes to curb drunk driving, but they also do so because a DUI on your record signals that you are a high-risk driver.
Aside from the hundreds or thousands of dollars you will owe in fines and legal fees after a DUI, your insurance rates will double — likely overnight. In fact, the estimated increase in car insurance premiums over a 13-year period totals $40,000. However, finding cheap car insurance with a DUI in Washington is not impossible. Request multiple free quotes from more than one of the top insurance companies to help you find your best options.
While driving, you should take care to avoid even minor violations, like distracted driving, as even one ticket can increase your auto insurance prices. A Washington driver with a speeding ticket on their record pays an average annual amount of $1,522 for their car insurance, compared to $1,264 for the average driver with a blemishless record.
The most affordable car insurance carriers in Washington for a driver with a speeding ticket and full coverage are:
- USAA: $746 per year (serves only current and former military members)
- GEICO: $821 per year
GEICO offers lower rates for those with a speeding ticket on their record than PEMCO, the second cheapest company for drivers with a clean record.
Average Car Insurance Rates With a Ticket
If you are cited with a speeding or distracted driving ticket, some insurance companies will offer a reduced premium if you take a defensive driving course. Be sure to speak with your insurer — or compare car insurance quotes from multiple sources — to discuss the best option for you.
A healthy credit score can reduce your car insurance premiums. On the flip side, drivers with lower credit scores are charged higher premiums. A driver with bad credit pays $2,036 per year for auto insurance in Washington, compared to $1,264 for the average driver with a good credit score.
The least expensive car insurers in Washington for a driver with poor credit and full coverage are:
- USAA: $952 per year (only available for military members, veterans and their families)
- GEICO: $1,336 per year
PEMCO offers cheaper full coverage for drivers with healthy credit, while GEICO’s rates are lower for those with poor credit scores.
Average Car Insurance Rates for Drivers With Bad Credit
If you have a low credit score, ask prospective insurance companies if they use credit information, how they look at this information and how it will impact your rates. Understand how to improve your credit score so you can get the best insurance rates.
Car insurance for seniors in Washington tends to be slightly more expensive than it is for middle-aged and young adult drivers. The average cost of car insurance for senior drivers in Washington is $1,318 per year, compared to $1,264 for the average 40-year-old driver.
The cheapest car insurance providers in Washington for senior drivers with full coverage are:
- USAA: $752 per year (only available for military members, veterans and their families)
- GEICO: $765 per year
PEMCO’s full coverage prices are lower for the average 40-year-old driver, while GEICO offers cheaper premiums for senior drivers.
Average Car Insurance Rates for Seniors
Senior drivers face a unique set of benefits and challenges behind the wheel. Most mature drivers have more experience behind the wheel, but they also face a number of physical changes due to age, including vision impairment and shorter attention spans, which can be dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 13.6% of fatal Washington crashes in 2017 involved a senior driver.
Rates can vary for mature drivers based on a number of factors, including age, gender and previous driving history. If you’re searching for cheap car insurance for seniors in Washington, speak with Washington auto insurance companies about senior driver discounts to help lower your rates.
Car insurers consider teen drivers riskier to cover because they are inexperienced. As such, they’re charged much higher rates than the average driver. A student driver pays an average of $2,479 per year for their auto insurance, compared to $1,264 for the average driver in Washington.
The most affordable car insurance providers in Washington for student drivers with full coverage are:
- GEICO: $2,241 per year
- Allied: $2,407 per year
PEMCO offers less expensive full coverage insurance for the average adult driver, while GEICO’s premiums are lower for student drivers.
Average Car Insurance Rates for Students
Teen drivers are, unfortunately, often more expensive to insure due to their lack of experience behind the wheel, which puts them at a higher risk of being in an accident (according to the CDC, more than 2,400 teens lost their lives in car crashes in 2016). To keep premiums down, don’t be afraid to ask your insurance provider for a Good Student discount if your child maintains a B average in school and discuss the importance of a clean driving record with your child. When your teen goes off to college, you have more options for saving money on insurance premiums. If your child attends a college at least 100 miles from home and doesn't take a car, you may be eligible for a discount from your insurer.
There are a few different factors that impact the rates for young drivers specifically, such as their driving history, how far from home they are driving/attending school and how often they drive their vehicle. Speak with your provider about the different options available for cheap car insurance for teenagers in Washington.
Insurance Rate Information for Military Drivers and Veterans
Some insurance companies offer special discounts to active members of the military. For example, GEICO offers up to 15% off for active or retired members of the military. If you are temporarily stationed in Washington, you can either keep your registration from your home state or register your vehicle in Washington. Disabled veterans who received an honorable discharge may be eligible for a disabled veteran license plate. The state also offers a wide range of military license plates, which are available to active service members, veterans and their families.
Average Rates for Washington service members
Car Insurance in Washington: What You Need to Know
All motor vehicle owners registered in Washington must have insurance or show other evidence of financial responsibility.
Motorcycles — which make up 3% of registered vehicles in Washington — are exempt from the insurance mandate, even though they accounted for 15% of traffic fatalities between 2013 and 2017.
There are a few alternatives to purchasing insurance, but they are costly and cumbersome. Here are the options:
- Certificate of deposit for at least $60,000, set up with the Department of Licensing
- Liability bond for at least $60,000, filed by a surety bond company authorized to do business in Washington
- Self-insurance (if you own more than 25 vehicles)
If you are unable to buy automobile insurance in the private market due to your driving record, you may be able to access coverage through the state's Automobile Insurance Plan for high-risk drivers. To qualify, you must be a Washington resident (or member of the U.S. military), hold a valid Washington state driver's license and have no outstanding debt from previous car insurance.
Proof of Insurance in Washington
You must carry your Washington motor vehicle insurance identification card (or a version of it on your phone) in your vehicle at all times. If you don't have proof when pulled over by the police, they may ticket and fine you.
If you are later able to provide proof that you had insurance coverage at the time of the citation, you can present that proof in court or by mail and the citation will be dismissed, but you may still need to pay $25 in administrative fees.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements in Washington
Washington requires that all drivers have at least the following levels of coverage in the event of a crash:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death per accident
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
High-Risk Auto Insurance Program in Washington
Drivers who may have trouble finding standard insurance due to problems with their driving record can choose from several high-risk insurers, including State Farm, Allstate, Bristol West and Progressive.
Alternatives to Insurance in Washington
Many states provide alternatives to auto insurance to ensure that you can compensate others in the event of an accident. In the state of Washington, drivers can pay a $60,000 bond or deposit to the state, which allows them to hold you financially responsible should you ever be at fault in an accident.
How Much Coverage Do You Need in Washington?
Insurance experts and consumer advocates generally recommend carrying more than the minimum amount of insurance by law. The types and amounts of insurance you choose to carry depends on your personal situation, assets and priorities.
For example, since Washington has a high rate of uninsured motorists, you may choose to purchase uninsured motorist insurance. If you have a new car, you may also want collision and comprehensive insurance — if you have a car loan, your lender will almost certainly require it. It's best to talk with your insurance agent about your insurance needs.
Average Insurance Rate by City in Washington
FAQs About Car Insurance in Washington
To help consumers make an educated purchasing decision, MoneyGeek answered the most common questions about auto insurance policies and prices in Washington.
Expert Advice on Finding Cheap Car Insurance in Washington
To help you find trustworthy and accurate insight on car insurance in Washington, MoneyGeek received expert advice from established professionals. The perspectives and opinions shared are those of the individual contributor.
- What are the key factors drivers in Washington should look for when searching for the best auto insurance coverage?
- What steps can drivers in Washington take to find affordable car insurance?
- How do regulations and rules in Washington impact insurance pricing and how consumers might shop for coverage?
Assistant Professor of Finance at Seattle Pacific University
About the Author
- Geico. "Military Auto Insurance." Accessed March 10, 2020.
- iDrive Safely. "Auto Insurance Requirements in Washington State." Accessed March 10, 2020.
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "2018 Market Share Reports." Accessed March 10, 2020.
- Washington Traffic Safety Commission. "Motorcycles." Accessed March 10, 2020.