Washington Car Insurance Laws

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Ross Martin

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  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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Auto insurance requirements in Washington

The state of Washington requires all drivers to carry car insurance. Furthermore, you must provide proof of coverage in the event that you are pulled over or are involved in a collision. As penalties for driving without insurance can be quite steep, it’s important to know what insurance laws before hitting the road. Read on to find out more about mandatory and optional car insurance coverages in the state of Washington.

Minimum Liability Coverage: 25/50/10
$25,000 for bodily injury per person
$50,000 for bodily injury per accident
$10,000 for property damage per accident

While these are state-mandated requirements, those who finance or lease a vehicle could face additional coverage requirements from lenders or leasing companies, typically known as full coverage.

Liability coverage requirements in Washington

Liability coverage is the only legally required car insurance coverage in Washington. Liability pays for bodily injuries and property damage that you inflict in an at-fault accident. This coverage also covers the injured party’s lost wages and pain and suffering. Keep in mind that you can never receive a payout from your own liability coverage.

property damage

What are state-mandated car insurance limits? 

A car insurance limit is an amount your insurance company will pay out in the event of a claim. Liability coverage limits are determined by each individual state and are normally split into three categories: bodily injury per personbodily injury per accident, and property damage. In Washington, the minimum is listed as 25/50/10 and explained below:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person is how much will be paid for a single person that you injure in an auto accident.
  • $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident is how much that will be paid for all injuries that you cause in an accident in which more than one person is hurt.
  • $10,000 in property damage per accident is how much will be paid for damage that you cause in an accident.[1]

Do Washington's required minimums provide enough coverage? 

Washington’s car insurance minimums are about average when compared with most other states. Still, don’t be fooled into thinking that the legal limit is enough to fully protect you and your assets. Liability limits can be reached quite quickly with even moderate injuries. This is especially true if you injure multiple people. The $10,000 property damage is nowhere near the average cost of a new vehicle, meaning you could be on the line for any costs over this amount.

Furthermore, Washington doesn’t require coverage for your own vehicle. As such, if you want to ensure that you were properly covered, increasing these limits and adding extra coverage is a great idea.

Washington’s penalties for driving without proof of insurance

If you are found guilty of driving with no insurance in Washington, you can expect a fine of up to $550. If you are found at fault in an accident without insurance coverage, your license may be suspended. 

Optional car insurance coverage in Washington

Washington law requires liability insurance, but most insurance carriers offer a number of other helpful coverage options. Here is a list of some of the more common options available:

  • Comprehensive: This is a form of physical damage coverage that covers damages to your vehicle resulting from non-collision circumstances, including perils such as theft and damage related to weather events.
  • Collision: This covers physical damage caused by a collision with another vehicle or stationary object.
  • Loan/Lease Payoff: Oftentimes referred to as gap coverage, this coverage can help to pay the gap between what you owe on a loan and your car’s actual cash value. This can help in the event that you owe more than your car is actually worth.
  • Medical Payments: This coverage goes towards paying for the medical expenses you and those in your vehicle incur in an accident. It is available regardless of fault.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement: If your car is unable to be driven, this coverage will help pay for a rental car until yours can be fixed.
  • Roadside Assistance: Roadside assistance can help with flat tires, dead batteries, and towing expenses.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: If you’re injured by a driver who doesn’t carry enough insurance to cover your expenses, or doesn't have insurance at all, this coverage steps in to help cover you.

Why adhering to Washington’s car insurance requirements is important

All drivers in Washington are required to carry car insurance. This is not only a legal requirement, but it's also a smart way to protect yourself and your assets. To increase this protection, it’s always a good idea to consider adding coverage or increasing your current limits. However, if you’re worried about an increase in your insurance rates, you may want to consider shopping for a cheaper policyThe Zebra is a great way to begin your search, allowing you to compare auto insurance quotes side-by-side. Simply enter your ZIP below to get started. 

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.