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.

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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 charge different car insurance rates in Washington for minimum coverage 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 most affordable car insurance in Washington for minimum coverage, 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.

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.

MoneyGeek also ranked the best car insurance companies in Washington for those who want strong service and affordable rates.

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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.

The following penalties apply in Washington for drivers caught without insurance:

  • A fine of up to $550
  • Increased coverage rates
  • 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.

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About Mark Fitzpatrick

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Mark Fitzpatrick has analyzed the property and casualty insurance market for over five years, conducting original research and creating personalized content for every kind of buyer. Currently, he leads P&C insurance content production at MoneyGeek. Fitzpatrick has been quoted in several insurance-related publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Fitzpatrick earned a master’s degree in economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his knowledge of economics and insurance to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.