Washington Car Insurance

From the mountains to the desert to the ocean, Washington has it all – but just because the state is a paradise for outdoor adventurers doesn’t mean you can just wander carefree into the wilderness. To get to that remote mountain trail most Washingtonians drive long stretches of road in their Subarus and Volvos, and a good insurance policy is a must. That’s why The Simple Dollar has put together this one-stop resource to help you get all the information you need about your car insurance.




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Stats in Your State

Below we’ve compiled a few sets of data into graphs to better illustrate the factors that go into the car insurance industry in Washington. Readers can compare their rates with average Washington car insurance rates as well as the U.S. average, and can see how traffic fatalities and car repair costs affect insurance premiums.

Auto Insurance Premiums

Washington’s miles of scenic driving make for risky roads, as evidenced by the state’s relatively high insurance premiums. From 2000 to 2008, Washington drivers consistently paid more than the national average each year – even if just a dollar more, as was the case in 2004.

Traffic Fatalities over time

Washington’s traffic deaths decreased by roughly one third between 2005 and 2011, a result of a combination of factors including driver awareness campaigns against cell phone usage and stricter safety standards for U.S. auto manufacturers. The steady decrease over the second half of the decade follows a nationwide trend.

Auto Repair Costs

Washington residents paid more for car repairs than the U.S. average by $30 in 2010 and by about $15 in 2011. These numbers indicate the Washington economy was stronger, with more residents affording the luxury of making additional car repairs during the economic downturn.

Rules in Your State

To help Washington drivers keep their insurance rates low and their driving records clean, we’ve laid out some of the basic rules of the road for insurance requirements, teen drivers, and drunk driving.

Required Minimum Car Insurance in Washington

According to Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner:

  • $25,000 of bodily injury to another person
  • $50,000 of bodily injuries to all other persons
  • $10,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident

Required Proof of Insurance in Washington

  • Name of Insurance Company
  • Insurance Policy Number
  • Effective Date/Expiration Date of Policy
  • Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
  • Name of Insured Driver

Washington Licensing Facts for Teen Drivers

If you are a teen driver or parent of a teen driver, be sure to read up on the following rules:

Hardship License for Minors? No.

Learner’s Permit Age: 15 years, 6 months. Drivers must log at least 50 practice hours of driving and hold a permit for at least 6 months prior to applying for a restricted license.

Restricted License Age: 16 years. For the first 6 months, teen drivers with a restricted license cannot carry any passengers under 20 years old, except immediate family; for the next 6 months, no more than three passengers under 20 years old, except immediate family. Driving between 1am and 5am and using a cell phone while driving is forbidden for the first 12 months.

Full License (Unrestricted) Age: 17 years.

Additional Washington Insurance Rules

Below readers can get familiar with the specific unfair claims practices defined by the Washington Insurance Commissioner, as well as the regulations for property and casualty insurance claims. Read up on additional insurance regulations through the same websites.


Driving under the influence is not only illegal, it's dangerous. Washington Department of Licensing and the Washington Courts stipulate:

Administrative license suspension 1st offense? 90 days to 4 years
Restore driving privileges during suspension? If hardship is demonstrated, driving privileges may be restored sooner.
Are ignition interlocks mandatory for first offenders for the following offenses? Yes
Are ignition interlocks mandatory for repeat offenders for the following offenses? yes
Fine for first offense? $940.50 to $5,000
Jail sentence for first offense? 24 hours to 1 year

Representatives & Resources in Your State

While some Washington drivers may aim to be wholly self-sufficient in terms of their lifestyle and insurance coverage, it’s always good to have a helping hand in times of need. The Office of the Insurance Commissioner provides consumer advocacy and support for troublesome insurance claims, and is also a great resource of information. Additional state agencies are listed below for road safety and vehicle and license services.

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner
PO Box 40255
Olympia, WA 98504-0255
Contact Information
File a Complaint
Consumer Guides and Brochures
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has great guides and brochures to help consumers better understand their options for insurance coverage in Washington.

Washington Department of Licensing
Contact Information

Washington Department of Transportation
310 Maple Park Avenue SE
Olympia, WA 98504-7300
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Contact Information