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There’s a big market for car insurance in the state of Washington, with 5,635,715 licensed drivers on the road as of 2016. That data comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and shows that there’s a big business for auto insurance in Washington. This guide to shopping for car insurance will help Washington drivers figure out what they need, what to look for, how much to budget, and why insurance is priced the way it is.

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Get great auto insurance coverage at an even better price.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Washington

The rates shown here are based on a study performed by Quadrant Information services on behalf of U.S. News. The study examined rates from 10 largest car insurance companies in the United States, using certain driver profiles. Your rates will differ.

How We Found the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

At U.S. News, we’re all about helping people make life’s important decisions. Our college rankings, launched in 1983, set the standard in educational rankings. Our ranking in other fields, like healthcare, government, and the automotive sphere, help people and thought leaders make choices that make lives better. Now we’re continuing to empower you with the information you need to make the right choices for your life with our Cheapest Car Insurance Rankings.

Our Study Rates

For this study, U.S. News worked with Quadrant Information Services to analyze a report of insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies, though not every company operates in every state Quadrant obtained publicly available rate data that car insurers file with state regulators. Our study rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150, with annual mileage ranging from 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations of certain driver archetypes. To get the state-wide study rates shown here, we computed the mean rate for male and female drivers ages 24, 35 and 60 who drive 15,000 miles per year, have medium coverage, good credit and a clean driving record.  The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Because car insurance rates are based on individual factors, your car insurance rates will differ from the rates shown here.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in Washington?

See the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

The Quadrant Information Services study and data will help you figure out what to expect as you shop for car insurance in Washington. The data shows differences in average insurance premiums among Washington’s eight largest car insurance companies based on a variety of factors.

Data from Quadrant Information Services shows that the average car insurance study rate in Washington from the eight largest insurance companies comes out to $1,052.45, though there is still a lot of variation among the state’s biggest insurance companies. For example, study data shows that Allstate has the highest average study rate in the state, coming in at $1,353.27. Farmers is the next most expensive, at $1,303.69. From there, American Family comes in at $1,197.40, and Geico comes in at $1,170.26. State Farm’s average study rate is $1,033.31. Nationwide checks in at $855.11, and Progressive at $769.41. USAA comes in the cheapest with a statewide average study rate of $737.15.

Washington Car Insurance Rates by Age

To find the average rates in or study based on gender and age, we created driver profiles for males and females in each of the following ages: 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. The profiles also have a clean driving record, insurance coverage for 12,000 miles per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

Here, we’ll take a look at average rates based on age and gender as revealed by the Quadrant Information Services data. We’ll start with the 25-year-old driver profiles, who generally pay the highest rates of the three age groups in the study. Study data shows that in Washington, the insurance companies in the study charge an average representative rate of $1,249.42 for the female profile and $1,276.08 for the male profile in this age group. The female driver profile shows an average high of $1,924.91 with Geico in our analysis and an average low of $835.75 with USAA. The male driver profile  faces an average high study rate of $1,677.03 with Farmers and an average low of $912.72 with USAA.

The next age group in the study is 35-year-old women and men. These two groups typically enjoy lower rates. In Washington, the average study rate for the female driver profile in this group is $983.29 and for the male driver profile, it’s $988.63. The female driver profile we used has a range that tops out at an average representative rate of $1,343.66 with Allstateand has a low average of $683.36 with USAA. The high average rate in our analysis for the male driver profile is $1,330.76 with Allstate and the low average is $674.83 with USAA.

The last group is 60-year-old women and men, who typically can expect to pay the lowest auto insurance rates of the three age-based driver profiles we’ll examine. According to Quadrant Information Services, the average study rate for the female driver profile in this age group in the state of Washington is $889.76, and for the male driver profile, it’s $927.51. The high average for the female profile comes from Allstate, at $1,243.05, and the low average is from Progressive, at $634.20. Data for the male profile shows a high average representative rate from Allstate at $1,299.16, and on the low side is Progressive with an average of $649.65.

Company

25-year-old male

25-year-old female

35-year-old male

35-year-old female

60-year-old male

60-year-old female

Allstate

$1,476.37

$1,426.62

$1,330.76

$1,343.66

$1,299.16

$1,243.05

American Family

$1,577.34

$1,163.18

$1,163.18

$1,163.18

$1,058.77

$1,058.77

Farmers

$1,677.03

$1,599.72

$1,204.42

$1,160.79

$1,188.23

$991.93

Geico

$1,272.55

$1,924.91

$1,036.34

$983.77

$901.98

$901.98

Nationwide

$1,071.26

$976.82

$812.86

$788.70

$757.14

$723.86

Progressive

$943.45

$945.78

$693.55

$749.81

$649.65

$634.20

State Farm

$1,277.93

$1,122.60

$993.07

$993.07

$906.60

$906.60

USAA

$912.72

$835.75

$674.83

$683.36

$658.51

$657.70

Washington Car Insurance Rates by Annual Mileage

Next, we’ll look at how annual mileage affects insurance rates in Washington, using driver profiles for males and females in each of the following ages: 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. The profiles also have a clean driving record, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

Quadrant Information Services broke down our driver profiles into two groups, with average travel of 6,000 miles annually or 12,000 miles annually. In some cases, driving more each year won’t make a difference, since four of the eight companies studied show the same average study rates for both groups. Those companies are Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide, and Progressive. For the lower mileage driver profile, the average study rate across the eight companies is $1,011.88, with a high of $1,353.28 from Allstate and a low of $704.35 from Nationwide. For the higher mileage group, the average representative rate is $1,052.45. The high average comes from Allstate at $1,353.27 and the low is from Nationwide at $737.15.

Company

6,000 miles annually

12,000 miles annually

Allstate

$1,353.28

$1,353.27

American Family

$1,085.08

$1,197.40

Farmers

$1,303.69

$1,303.69

Geico

$1,098.90

$1,170.26

Nationwide

$855.11

$855.11

Progressive

$769.41

$769.41

State Farm

$925.23

$1,033.31

USAA

$704.35

$737.15

Washington Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Level

Next up, we’ll be looking at how the level of insurance coverage you buy affects your rates, though perhaps not as much as you might think. We compared driving record representative profiles of 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles of mileage per year and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

For each of the eight insurance companies in the study, average rates are the lowest with low coverage, increase with medium coverage, and increase more for high coverage, which seems obvious enough, but in many cases, high coverage doesn’t cost that much more than low coverage. In other words, it’s worth considering if this is an area where you really want to cut corners. For the low coverage driver profile, our study data shows that the statewide average for these eight insurance companies is $984.00. Allstate has the highest average for our driver profile at $1,286.64, and USAA’s average is cheapest, at $690.04. Next is the profile with medium coverage, with a statewide average representative rate of $1,052.45, a high average of $1,353.27 from Allstate, and a low average of $737.15 from USAA. Finally, the driver profile with high coverage has a statewide average study rate of $1,135.14, a high average of $1,434.82 from Allstate, and a low average of $789.75 from USAA.

Company

Low

Medium

High

Allstate

$1,286.64

$1,353.27

$1,434.82

American Family

$1,121.55

$1,197.40

$1,289.81

Farmers

$1,213.67

$1,303.69

$1,407.42

Geico

$1,090.08

$1,170.26

$1,252.59

Nationwide

$799.45

$855.11

$920.98

Progressive

$719.39

$769.41

$872.55

State Farm

$951.19

$1,033.31

$1,113.19

USAA

$690.04

$737.15

$789.75

Washington Car Insurance Rates by Credit Score

Credit history is another factor affecting Washington drivers’ car insurance rates. Insurance companies look at credit scores as a factor in rates because a credit score lends insight into a customer’s likelihood to be a responsible driver. Our study reviewed the effects of credit score on car insurance rates using male and female driver profiles with ages of 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. We created a profile for each level of credit score (good, fair, and poor) and assigned the profiles a clean driving record, a medium level of insurance coverage, and 12,000 miles of annual mileage. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are the vehicles used in our analysis.

Our study data shows that the driver profile with good credit has an average rate of $1,052.45 across Washington. The highest average study rate for this driver profile comes from Allstate at $1,353.27, and the lowest comes from USAA, at $737.15. The driver profile with fair credit shows an average representative rate of $1,218.91, a high average of $1,573.78 from Allstate, and a low average of $835.19 from USAA. Finally, the driver profile with poor credit sees average study rates of $1,692.45 across the state. The highest average is from Farmers at $2,392.40 and the lowest average is from Nationwide at $1,110.18.

Company

Good

Fair

Poor

Allstate

$1,353.27

$1,573.78

$2,124.54

American Family

$1,197.40

$1,342.49

$1,633.38

Farmers

$1,303.69

$1,490.23

$2,392.40

Geico

$1,170.26

$1,300.08

$1,624.81

Nationwide

$855.11

$904.96

$1,110.18

Progressive

$769.41

$982.08

$1,336.77

State Farm

$1,033.31

$1,322.49

$2,187.67

USAA

$737.15

$835.19

$1,129.88

Washington Car Insurance Rates by Driving Record

Driving records are, obviously, another important factor in auto insurance costs. We we compared driver profiles including those with a clean record, those with one speeding violation, those with one accident, and those with one instance of driving under the influence (DUI). These driving record representative profiles included 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles of mileage per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

Based on the eight insurance companies’ rates as examined by our study, Washington drivers with a clean driving record pay an average of $1,052.45.

For the most part, drivers with a single speeding violation pay more than drivers with a clean record, but less than drivers with an accident or a DUI. The exception here is Progressive, which, on average, charges Washington drivers slightly higher rates for a speeding incident than for a DUI, but less than with an accident. Washington drivers with a speeding violation pay an average study rate of $1,262.95. The high average rate comes from American Family, at $1,701.25, and the lowest average is from USAA, at $862.14.

The driver profile with a single accident on the record shows generally higher rates than those with a single speeding violation but less than those with a DUI. In Washington, Allstate, Progressive, and State Farm are exceptions to this rule, since both charge higher rates for an accident than for a DUI. The statewide average for this driver profile in our analysis is $1,564.33. The highest average representative rate for this profile in the state is $1,838.11 from Progressive, and the cheapest is $1,025.07 from USAA.

Last up on the list of the ways a driving record can influence insurance rates is arguably the worst examined by the study. That would be a single DUI offense, and insurers seem to agree on its severity since most of the eight companies in the study charge the highest rates for this group. The average study rate statewide for this driver profile is $1,794.17. The highest average overall comes from Geico, at $2,686.59, and the lowest comes from Progressive, at $996.45.

Company

Clean record

With 1 speeding violation

With 1 accident

With 1 DUI

Allstate

$1,353.27

$1,484.03

$1,835.22

$1,778.29

American Family

$1,197.40

$1,701.25

$1,784.10

$2,332.02

Farmers

$1,303.69

$1,699.38

$1,756.11

$2,057.75

Geico

$1,170.26

$1,170.26

$1,657.06

$2,686.59

Nationwide

$855.11

$968.30

$1,391.80

$1,851.26

Progressive

$769.41

$1,088.03

$1,838.11

$996.45

State Farm

$1,033.31

$1,130.23

$1,227.20

$1,130.23

USAA

$737.15

$862.14

$1,025.07

$1,520.78

Washington Car Insurance Rates by City

Insurance rates are also influenced by the city or town in which a customer lives, based on insurance companies’ statistics on risk factors such as crime and accident rates. We used our driver profiles to look at average rates for 10 cities and towns in Washington to show how your location can affect what you pay for auto insurance. The highest rates in our analysis were found in Federal Way and Kent. Both of these cities had study rates over $1,300 per year. On the opposite end is Spokane Valley, with a representative premium less than $1,000 per year.

City

Average Rate

Seattle

$1,291.75

Spokane

$1,032.86

Tacoma

$1,295.89

Vancouver

$1,108.37

Bellevue

$1,175.30

Kent

$1,310.96

Everett

$1,191.21

Renton

$1,285.14

Federal Way

$1,314.82

Spokane Valley

$992.14

Washington Auto Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements

The state of Washington requires specific types of coverage with minimum limits. The state of Washington requires bodily injury liability coverage in the minimum amount of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, as well as a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. The minimums for underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. The minimum for underinsured motorist property damage coverage is $10,000 per accident. There is also a requirement for basic personal injury protection of $10,000 per accident. However, state law allows consumers to waive coverage for underinsured motorist bodily injury, underinsured motorist property damage, and basic personal injury protection.

Cheapest Car Insurance in Washington

Note: Due to USAA's limited membership, we excluded them from this segment evaluation.

Category

Cheapest Company

Drivers with a Military Affiliation

USAA

Single Young Adult Drivers

Progressive

Married Adult Drivers

Progressive

Senior Drivers

Progressive

Drivers with Good Credit

Progressive

Drivers with Poor Credit

Nationwide

Drivers with a Clean Record

Progressive

Drivers with One Speeding Violation

Nationwide

Drivers with One Accident

State Farm

Drivers with One DUI

Progressive

Low-mileage Drivers

Progressive

High-mileage Drivers

Progressive

Drivers with Low Coverage

Progressive

Drivers with High Coverage

Progressive

Drivers with Used Cars

Progressive

Drivers with New Cars

Progressive

If you’re looking for the cheapest car insurance in Washington, the data we just examined shows that there are some factors you can control and some you can’t. Your age, gender, and marital status all play a role, but aren’t really up to you. Though you choose the city or town you live in, car insurance shouldn’t really be the deciding factor there. However, you can shop around, look for discounts, and maintain a clean driving record.

Why Car Insurance Rates Vary in Washington

Car insurance rates vary based on the risk you, as a customer, pose to your insurance company. The entire business model of a car insurance company is based on figuring out how likely you are to make an insurance claim and how much that will cost the company. As you saw based on the Quadrant Information Services data above, inexperienced drivers such as teens pay the highest rates, and other risk factors, such as an established history of poor driving, also raise rates. Where you live also plays a role.

How to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance in Washington

To find the cheapest car insurance in Washington, it’s important to manage the factors within your control. Maintaining a clean driving record is key here. Next, you should plan to shop around periodically, particularly when your policy is up for renewal. Be sure to ask your current insurance company, and competitors, about your eligibility for common car insurance discounts. These include the multi-policy or bundling discount, which is usually offered to available to customers who purchase more than one insurance policy from the same carrier, like combining multiple vehicles, homeowners insurance, or renters insurance. If you have teens in the household, look for student discounts or good student discounts. Also look for good driver discounts, and employer or affinity discounts (which you may be eligible for if you work for a company or are a member of a club that has negotiated a group rate with an insurance company). If you are a teacher or have a military affiliation, you may be eligible for a discount. Also ask about options if you have a short commute, if you have a newer car equipped with specific safety or anti-theft technology, or if you are willing to complete a driver training course approved by your insurance company. Many insurance companies now offer tracking programs, which use a car-based device or smartphone app to record and report your driving habits, which can result in a discount. Also look for discounts for choosing paperless, online billing, or automatic payment plans.

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Washington Driving Laws and Punishments

Laws for driving and their associated penalties may be different in Washington than in other nearby states or around the country. It’s a driver’s responsibility to be aware of potential violations, and such violations can affect your auto insurance rates even if you don’t live in the state where the violation occurred.

Drivers in Washington may not use hand-held cell phones while driving, stopped in traffic, or at a stop light. Drivers may use hands-free devices and may use phones to contact emergency services.

The first offense results in a ticket of at least $136, with subsequent offenses within five years costing at least $234. A ticket for other types of distractions, such as eating or smoking, will cost $99.

There are three main ways to be convicted of a DUI in Washington. The first is an “impairment” DUI, in which the driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol to the point in which the ability to drive was affected. If the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .08 percent or greater, that’s considered a per se DUI, in which visible impairment is not a factor. And, since marijuana consumption is legal in Washington, the state has ruled that having a concentration of five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood is a per se marijuana DUI, and again, visible impairment does not need to be a factor. Note that refusing a chemical test or showing a BAC of .15 or greater can result in more strict penalties.

The state separates penalties for first-time offenders into two categories, administrative and criminal. The administrative penalties don’t necessarily need a conviction to take effect. For a per se alcohol or per se marijuana arrest, the penalty is a 90-day license suspension. For refusal of a chemical test, the penalty is a year license suspension. After a conviction, the offender must use an ignition interlock device for at least a year, and if the offender had a passenger under age 16 in the vehicle, the minimum for the ignition interlock device is 18 months. Criminal penalties are imposed in a criminal court. For a per se marijuana, per se alcohol offense with a BAC under .15, or impairment offense, the penalties may include up to a year in jail, electronic home monitoring, treatment programs, a 90-day license suspension, and between $550 and $5,200 in fines. Penalties are similar, but generally doubled, for a chemical test refusal or a BAC of more than .15 percent.

Subsequent offenses result in higher fines, longer license suspensions and jail time, and possible vehicle seizure.

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Drivers in Washington are required to provide proof of auto insurance upon request from law enforcement. Failure to do so can result in a minimum fine of $450, additional fees, and penalties such as community service. Failure to pay the fine can result in a loss of driver’s license.

Washington Car Insurance FAQs

Is car insurance required in Washington?

Drivers in Washington must abide by the state’s minimum requirements for car insurance.

Which cars are required to be insured in Washington?

Vehicles registered in Washington must be insured according to state law.

When should I get car insurance in Washington?

Plan to show proof of insurance to register a vehicle in Washington.

What happens if my car is not properly insured in Washington?

Drivers who fail to provide proof of insurance in Washington are subject to a minimum fine of $450, plus additional fees and penalties, such as community service. Providing false proof of insurance is a misdemeanor. Failing to pay the fines and fees for lack of car insurance can result in your driver’s license being revoked. If you are in an accident and don’t have insurance, you’ll be responsible for collision damage and may have your license suspended for up to three years.

Is Washington a no-fault state?

Washington is not a no-fault state. Washington uses a comparative fault system, which means the fault of all parties involved is evaluated to determine compensation for an accident. Drivers in Washington are encouraged to add no-fault personal injury protection when buying a car insurance plan.

Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in Washington?

Washington requires underinsured motorist coverage with specific minimums. The minimums for underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. The minimum for underinsured motorist property damage coverage is $10,000 per accident. However, state law allows consumers to waive this coverage.

Is liability insurance required in Washington?

The state of Washington requires bodily injury liability coverage in the minimum amount of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, as well as a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability coverage.

Does Washington accept digital insurance cards?

Digital insurance cards are legal in Washington as an alternative to a paper insurance card. If you need to show proof of auto insurance and your insurance company offers digital insurance cards, you can use your smartphone to comply.