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Washington Auto Insurance

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The state of Washington uses a Tort insurance system. If you are found at fault in an accident, you and your insurance company have to reimburse the other drivers for their material losses and pay for the eventual medical expenses.

Minimum insurance requirements in Washington

Washington requires its motorists to hold at least a 25/50/10 Liability insurance:

  • at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability per injured passenger,
  • at least $50,000 for all injured passengers,
  • at least $10,000 to cover property damage incurred by others.

A certificate of deposit or a liability bond is also accepted. Alternatively, if you own more than 26 cars registered in Washington you can be self-insured.

Average insurance costs in Washington

Insurance costs in Washington are on an ascending trend since the beginning of 2012, yet still below the national average. Statistics show Washington residents pay $1,568 per year, while the rest of Americans pay an average of $1,678. Rates may vary from one location to another. It may cost, for instance, around $1,690 in Seattle, $1,479 in Spokane, $1,551 in Bellevue, $1,998 in Federal Way, $1,602 in Yakima, $1,268 in Bellingham, $2,000 in Kent, $2,052 in Tacoma, $1,815 in Everett or $1,644 in Vancouver.

Driving and using a cellphone

Washington State has decided that drivers may only use cellphones together with hands-free devices. Texting while driving is prohibited. Moreover, young drivers in the GDL program aren’t allowed to use handheld devices altogether.

Teenage driving regulations

The Graduated Driver Licensing program is open to all Washington residents of at least 15 years old. Provisional license holders are subject to a series of restrictions:

  • they may not drive unless assisted by a parent, legal guardian or licensed driver of 25+ years old who has had an unrestricted license for at least five years;
  • they may not transport passengers under 20, except for immediate family members;
  • may not drive between 1 am and 5 am in the first year, except for going to or coming back from work or school

Violations of these restrictions will result in the extension of the restriction period.

Penalties for driving uninsured in Washington

Driving without acceptable insurance in Washington is a traffic violation and is punishable by a fine of at least $250. The rest of the fees and assessments that usually go with such a penalty will amount to another $200. You will also have to take a public education and assessment course. A ticket for operating a vehicle without insurance will go on your WA driving record.

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