Like many states, Washington requires all automobiles on the road to be covered by car insurance, but shopping for affordable car insurance can feel like a challenge. Fortunately, there are many resources to help drivers like you find the best car insurance in Washington. It’s important to understand that every individual is different and insurance companies use various personal details to determine your rate. One of the best ways to find affordable car insurance in Washington that fits your needs is to do your research and request quotes from more than one provider.
The Best Cheap Car Insurance in Washington for 2020
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- The Best Affordable Car Insurance in Washington for 2020
The Best Cheap Car Insurance Companies for Washington Drivers in 2020
While shopping for cheap insurance in Washington, most drivers will be able to choose from five of the top-rated auto insurance companies in the state. Remember that car insurance quotes will vary from person to person based on a variety of factors such as age, gender, and driving history, so we recommend comparing free car insurance quotes from at least three providers and understanding how much coverage you need to find the best deal for you.
This table demonstrates the approximate cost for the average Washington driver, but rates may differ for you based on your unique set of characteristics like age, gender, the type of car you drive, and your driving history.
The Best Car Insurance Companies in Washington for 2020
MoneyGeek ranked the ten top auto insurance providers in Washington to help drivers find the best coverage. These top-rated car insurance companies were scored equally by weighing four consumer and industry reviews: AM Best's financial strength rating and JD Power's customer satisfaction rating, claims score and affordability scores. While receiving a low rate is the ultimate goal, it’s also important to take reliability and customer satisfaction into consideration.
Market Share by Company
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, State Farm holds 16.05% of the market share, making it the largest insurer in the state of Washington. The following table demonstrates the top four Washington auto insurance companies, including State Farm. Getting free car insurance quotes from the largest companies in the state can ensure you get the best rate.
Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With a DUI in Washington
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 in jail time, receive up to $5,000 in fines, and can have their license revoked for up to a year.
Between 2003 and 2012 a total of 1,921 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in Washington. Not only do insurance companies raise rates for DUI offenders in hopes to curb drunk driving, they 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.
Cheapest Car Insurance for WA Speeding or Distracted Driving Tickets
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving accounted for 497 vehicle crashes in Washington in 2018. For many insurance providers, distracted driving and speeding (and other traffic violations) signify a risk. A ticket will most likely bump up your insurance rates, even if you were not involved in an accident. How much your rates increase will depend on your insurance provider and your previous driving record.
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. Speak with your insurer — or compare car insurance quotes from multiple sources — to discuss the best option for you.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in WA for Drivers With Bad Credit
In data provided by Experian, the average FICO credit score in the United States in 2019 was 703 (the average score in Washington was 723), meaning most people have a “good” credit score. However, having bad credit is more than just a number. Bad credit is viewed as a financial risk to insurers, so your rates will likely go up.
If you have bad credit, ask insurance companies if they use credit information, how they look at this information, and how it will impact your rates. Understand what causes bad credit and how to fix it before shopping for insurance quotes, and request that your insurance provider reevaluates when you improve your credit.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Washington 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 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 discounts to help lower your rates.
Cheapest Car Insurance for Students
Washington Car Insurance: How Much a Teen Driver Will Cost You
Median annual price change for families with a teen driver on their policy:$1,534 INCREASE
This is a difference of 122%.
Young 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.
Premium Comparison by Student Type
Premium comparison for two adults + a 16-year-old
Town and Country Limiteds$2,594
This is 30% less expensive.
Cheaper premium for college vs. high school drivers
Median premium change with a college student vs. high school driver:
This is a savings of 28%.
Potential discounts for teens in Washington
Impact on annual premium with good student and defensive driving discounts:
Washington students: a long-distance discount
You may pay a smaller annual family premium if your child lives 150 miles or more away from home.
$2,592 at home
$2,003 at school
$589 IN SAVINGS
$2,287 at home
$1,866 at school
$421 IN SAVINGS
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 percent 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.
Age savings for Washington service members
Median auto insurance for service members: $1,041
Who Needs Car Insurance in Washington?
All motor vehicles registered in Washington must be insured 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 percent 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:
- A certificate of deposit for at least $60,000, set up with the Department of Licensing
- A liability bond for at least $60,000, filed by a surety bond company authorized to do business in Washington.
- Self-insurance (if you operate more than 25 vehicles)
If you are unable to buy automobile insurance in the private market (due to your age or 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, you will get a ticket and be fined.
If you are later able to provide proof that you were legally insured 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 be charged $25 in administrative fees.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements in Washington
Washington requires that all motor vehicle drivers have at least the following levels of coverage in the event of a crash:
- $25,000 of bodily injury or death of one person
- $50,000 of bodily injury or death of two or more people
- $10,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others
High-Risk Auto Insurance Program in Washington
High-risk drivers who may have trouble due to problems with their driving record can choose from a number of insurers, including State Farm, All State, Bristol West, and Progressive.
Alternatives to Insurance in Washington
Many states provide alternatives to auto insurance to ensure that you can still 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 in an accident.
Car Insurance Requirements in WA: How Much Coverage Do You Need?
What percentage of drivers in Washington lack vehicle insurance?
National average: 12.6%
Source:Insurance Information Institute.
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 will depend on your personal situation, your assets, and your priorities.
For example, since Washington has a high rate of uninsured motorists, you may choose to purchase uninsured motorist insurance. If you have an expensive new car, you may want collision insurance. (If it's being financed, the lender will probably require it.) It's best to talk with your insurance agent about your insurance needs.
Compare Auto Insurance Rates
Ensure you're getting the best rate for your car insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.
Expert Advice on Finding Cheap Car Insurance in Washington
- 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?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Motor Vehicle Safety." Accessed February 17, 2020.
- Driving Laws Published by NOLO. "DUI Laws by State." Accessed March 11, 2020.
- Everquote. "Do You Have to Have Car Insurance." Accessed March 14, 2020.
- Experian. "2019 Consumer Credit Review." Accessed March 11, 2020.
- Geico. "Military Auto Insurance." Accessed March 11, 2020.
- iDrive Safely. "Auto Insurance Requirements in Washington State." Accessed March 11, 2020.
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "2018 Market Share Reports." Accessed March 11, 2020.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Index of FARS." Accessed March 11, 2020.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Traffic Safety Facts - 2017 Data: Older Population." Accessed March 11, 2020.