Last updated: November 2023
In Washington, beauty is everywhere, and adventure is just a short drive away. There are multiple mountain ranges towering above surrounding areas, hundreds of miles of Pacific coastline, and major cities with stunning views. But whether your idea of fun is shopping in downtown Seattle or hiking in the Cascades, affordable auto insurance coverage can help protect you on all your adventures.
Direct Auto Insurance is proud to offer car insurance in Washington, the “Evergreen State” and in this guide, we’re teaching you which coverages are mandatory, which ones are optional, and how Direct Auto can help you find cheap Washington car insurance. Get a free quote to see how much money you can save with Direct.
Washington Car Insurance Laws
Do you have to have car insurance in Washington?
Washington law requires all drivers to provide proof of financial responsibility for any vehicle they have registered in the state. Washington auto insurance policies must at least meet the minimum liability coverage limits, typically expressed as three numbers representing thousands of dollars. For example, the liability limits in Washington are 25/50/10, as shown below under Washington Minimum Car Insurance Requirements.
Washington Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
Wondering what your insurance policy needs to meet Washington’s legal requirements? Here’s a quick breakdown by coverage type.
Is It Required by Law?
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage provides financial protection if you cause an accident that injures another person. It helps pay for their medical expenses and your legal services (if necessary).
Yes. $25,000 bodily injury per person/$50,000 bodily injury per accident.
Property Damage Liability Coverage helps pay to repair or replace other people’s property that is damaged in an accident you cause. It typically involves damage to another vehicle, but it could help pay to repair a house, fence, mailbox, and more.
Yes. $10,000 property damage per accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) helps pay for your medical bills and related expenses if the other driver has no coverage (UM), insufficient coverage (UIM), or can’t be identified due to hit and run. In some states, UM/UIM can also help pay for property damage.
Personal Injury Protection helps pay for your medical and related expenses stemming from an accident, regardless of fault.
Collision Coverage helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if you collide with another car, tree, guardrail, or another object, regardless of fault.
Comprehensive Coverage helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged by something other than a collision, like fire, floodwaters, falling branches, vandalism, or contact with an animal.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While purchasing liability-only coverage ensures you follow Washington’s insurance laws, it doesn’t necessarily protect you and your vehicle in every circumstance. You would need to add additional coverage, like UM/UIM, comprehensive and collision, to protect yourself and your vehicle from damages.
1Your lender may require these coverages if you lease or finance your vehicle.
Are there additional coverage options?
For added peace of mind, Direct Auto offers add-on services and other insurance products for Washington drivers:
- Roadside Assistance*
- Emergency Protection Plan (EPP)*
- Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay)
- Towing & Labor Coverage
- Rental Reimbursement Coverage
Washington Proof of Financial Responsibility and Penalties
What if I don't meet Washington’s minimum car insurance requirements?
If you’re thinking of letting your coverage lapse and driving uninsured, think again. Even if you feel like you can’t afford car insurance coverage, the consequences of being caught driving uninsured will make you reconsider. You could be facing steep fines or fees, according to the Consumer Federation of America. Ultimately the punishment depends on which offense it is, if you cause an accident, or more. For example, if you cause a significant traffic collision, the penalties could include a driver’s license suspension.
Therefore, vehicle owners should make sure to avoid any coverage lapses and always be able to provide current proof of insurance.
Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License in Washington
It’s against the law to operate a vehicle without a valid driver’s license in Washington. The exact penalty for driving with a suspended license depends on a few factors. However, it can include serious fines, jail time, or both. You might also be forced to fulfill SR-22 requirements to get your license reinstated.
SR-22 Insurance in Washington
In many states, high-risk drivers are also required to keep an SR22 (also known as a certificate of financial responsibility) on file with the state verifying they have purchased auto insurance coverage that satisfies the state’s minimum coverage requirements. Drivers might be required to fulfill SR-22 requirements if:
- They have been caught not maintaining proper liability coverage.
- They were convicted of a DUI/DWI.
- They have committed other serious driving violations.
If you have any questions about SR-22 filings, we’d be happy to help. Our agents specialize in helping people find affordable car insurance coverage, regardless of their history.
High-Risk Auto Insurance in Washington
Most individuals don’t have a spotless driving record, and after a certain number of violations or a serious enough violation, drivers can be considered a major risk to insure. While some companies try to steer clear of these individuals, other insurance companies offer non-standard insurance (another name for high-risk auto insurance) to provide financial protection for these drivers.
At Direct Auto, we're proud to offer non-standard coverage to Washington drivers. We believe your driving history shouldn't define you forever, and we work hard to help you get quality, affordable coverage, regardless of your past.
Where can I find the cheapest car insurance rates in Washington?
Car insurance costs vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The amount & type of coverage you choose
- The year, make, and model of the vehicle you drive
- How much you drive, where you drive, and where you live
- Your demographics
- Your driving record
- Your credit history
Other Washington Auto Insurance Resources
- Office of the Insurance Commissioner
- Washington State Department of Licensing
- Official Website of Washington
Find Cheap Car Insurance in Washington with Direct Auto!
Looking for affordable and cheap car insurance in Washington? Get a free car insurance quote for a Direct Auto policy today that meets your state’s requirements, fits your needs, and includes any discounts you’re entitled to receive so your premium is the lowest price possible. Call, click, or come in to get a Washington car insurance quote today!
*Emergency Protection Plans (EPP) and Roadside Assistance are not insurance and are administered through Nation Safe Drivers, Boca Raton, FL. Not all benefits available in all states.