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As a resident of and driver in the State of Washington, you must comply with auto insurance laws. These laws provide you and other people on the road you encounter with financial protection. Drive without the mandatory Washington car insurance coverage, and you will find yourself facing penalties or even high out-of-pocket expenses for medical and property damage costs.

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Average cost of car insurance in Washington

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) claim that the average person pays roughly $838.30 for car insurance in Washington each year.

They broke this figure down to:

$569.42 is the average annual liability insurance expenditure.

$243.50 is the average annual collision insurance expenditure.

$101.12 is the average annual comprehensive insurance expenditure.

Young Drivers in Washington

One of the factors that can make a significant difference in auto insurance premiums is the coverage level. Our case study suggests that a young driver in the Evergreen State can expect a yearly average of:

  • $1691.6 for state minimum coverage1,
  • $2683.2 for basic full coverage2 and
  • $3809.2 for premium full coverage3.

Those new to the road pay more than the more experienced motorists since they still lack experience. And experience is a big factor insurers use when determining how much to charge a client. New and teen drivers haven’t had enough time to hone their defensive driving skills, so they have lower chances of avoiding collisions and other accidents.

Female Drivers in Washington

Statistically, women put great importance on driving safety. This is why records show they infrequently get into accidents on the road. And since this makes them low-risk in the eyes of insurance companies, they can enjoy affordable premium averages of:

  • $772 for state minimum coverage,
  • $1154.8 for basic full coverage and
  • $1552.8 for premium full coverage.

Our methodology4 shows that women spend hundreds of dollars less than those belonging in the young driver category. Premiums still vary from individual to individual though, since there are other factors involved, such as driving record and age.

Senior Drivers in Washington

A senior driver in WA can expect to have a premium average of:

  • $702.4 for state minimum coverage,
  • $1050 for basic full coverage and
  • $1404.8 for premium full coverage.

Of the three types of drivers we studied, our case study showed that senior citizens can enjoy the lowest premiums. 

Minimum car insurance requirements

Liability insurance is the only coverage the state requires its motorist to purchase. However, it does also obligate all motorists to keep their policies updated with the proper coverage minimums.

Liability insurance serves the function of giving you financial assistance for covering the costs of medical fees and property repair when you injure others or damage their property after a road traffic accident. As long as you maintain the required minimums, your insurer will provide you with the help you need. Make sure that your policy has the following: $25,000/person for bodily injury (or death) coverage minimum, $50,000/accident for total bodily injury/death (in case there are multiple victims) coverage minimum, and $10,000/accident for property damage coverage minimum.

Your policy will also feature the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This covers your own expenses for both bodily injuries and property damages in case you get involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t carry insurance or has insufficient coverage. The required coverage minimums include the following: $25,000/person/accident for bodily injury, $50,000/accident for total bodily injury (in case there is more than one victim), and $20,000/accident for property damage.

Most motorists choose to upgrade their policies though, seeing as a more robust one protects them better. In WA, your optional insurance coverage types include collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Violations and Penalties 

In Washington, failure to abide by the auto insurance regulations will just result in you having to face penalties. When law enforcement officers catch you driving without the proper insurance coverage, you can expect them to charge you with a fine of up to $250. You would also need to pay some other fees amounting to $37. The authorities may also require you to complete community restitution.

Driving safety in Washington

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 97% of Washington drivers and front-seat passengers wear their seatbelts. This is 11% higher than the national average of 86%.

The National Highway Safety Administration performed an assessment of alcohol impaired driving casualties in the state. In 2015, a total of 568 fatal driving cases occurred, 148 of which involve alcohol impaired motorists.

This number places the overall vehicle occupant death rate in WA at 3.9 per 100,000 residents, according a separate study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported.

Final thoughts

There is no way for you to predict whether or not you will get involved in a road traffic accident. This is why you shouldn’t undermine the value of having sufficient Washington car insurance coverage. Learn more about car insurance by reading this article, Car Insurance: The Facts.

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licensed drivers in Washington, 2014
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privately insured vehicles in Washington

Source: StatistaInsurance Information Institute

1State minimum coverage includes the minimum liability insurance limits required in your state but excludes the following:
  • No Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
  • No Towing Coverage
  • No Rental Car Coverage
  • No Full Glass Coverage
2Basic full coverage includes:
  • $50,000 Bodily Injury Liability Per Person/$100,000 Per Accident
  • $25,000 Property Damage Liability
  • $50,000 Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage Per Person/$100,000 Per Accident
  • $25,000 Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage
  • $750 Deductible Collision And Comprehensive Coverage
  • $50 Towing Coverage
  • No Rental Reimbursement Coverage
  • No Full Glass Coverage
3Premium full coverage includes:
  • $250,000 Bodily Injury Liability Per Person / $500,000 Per Accident
  • $100,000 Property Damage Liability
  • $250,000 Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage Per Person / $500,000 Per Accident
  • $100,000 Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage
  • $250 Deductible Comprehensive Coverage And No Deductible Collision Coverage
  • $75 Towing Coverage
  • $30/day Rental Reimbursement, Max Of $900
  • Full Glass Coverage
4Methodology: To achieve accurate results we obtained estimates for 10 cities in the state: 5 of the largest cities and 5 randomly picked smaller cities. For each city, we collected premiums for 3 levels of coverage: state minimum coverage, basic full coverage and premium full coverage. We used 3 different driver profiles for the case studies. For the young driver profile we used a 20-year-old single male or female with 1 year driving experience. Second, the profile fit that of a 35-year-old married female with 12 years of driving experience. The last profile we used in our studies is a male senior driver who was 68-year-old with 45 years of driving experience. The vehicle we used for all three driver profiles was a 2012 Honda Accord EX.
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