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If you’re like most people, you’d jump at the chance to reduce your monthly expenses. One of the easiest ways to do so is to find cheap auto insurance in Washington. Unfortunately, this task is easier said than done since there are dozens of insurance companies competing for your business.
To simplify the process, our Geeks crunched the numbers to find the best cheap car insurance companies in the state. On this page, you’ll find:
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Washington
The best way to find the cheapest car insurance rates in Washington is to compare quotes from multiple providers. Below are our recommendations for specific types of drivers:
|Liberty Mutual||Safe Drivers|
|USAA||Drivers in the Military|
|Metromile||Drivers with Low Annual Mileage|
|Esurance||Drivers Who Pay Their Premiums Upfront|
|State Farm||Drivers with a DUI|
Best Car Insurance Companies in Washington
Our Geeks considered complaint data and reviews to identify the best car insurance companies in Washington. The table below summarizes our findings:
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Washington
All motorists in Washington are required by law to purchase auto insurance that meets these minimum liability limits:
- $25,000 For Bodily Injuries To One Person In One Accident
- $50,000 For Total Bodily Injuries In One Crash
- $10,000 For Property Damage
Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance in Washington
In Washington, you are expected carry proof of insurance with you at all times while driving. This includes both printed and electronic evidence. If you’re stopped by authorities while on the road, and cannot produce proof of insurance, law enforcement officers will conclude that you are driving uninsured. Unfortunately, this applies in all situations, even if you have purchased the correct policy but have mislaid or forgotten to bring along the appropriate documents before heading off. Our Geeks recommend keeping printed proof – such as a copy of your Declarations Page – stashed in your glove compartment at all times.
Failure to produce adequate proof will result in a traffic infraction and some of the following penalties:
- Community Restitution service
- Fines totaling $450
- License and registration suspension
Take note: In most cases, your license and registration will only be suspended if you fail to pay your fine in full.
In Washington, you can appeal your fine if you were insured at the time of the infraction. You will need to approach the courts to have the charges dropped. As part of your appeal, you will need to show the courts proof you were covered up to the state’s mandated minimum liability limits at the time of the traffic violation. While this will help you avoid paying $450 in fines, you may still need to fork over money to cover the courts expensive appeal processing fees.
Washington Car Insurance FAQs
How Can I Reduce My Premium After a License Suspension in Washington?
If you are caught driving without insurance, this violation will be etched into your permanent driving record. For insurers, that infraction is a warning that you are now a high-risk driver. As a result, you may be charged far more than other motorists for the same coverage.
Why? The answer is simple: According to insurance industry’s comprehensive statistics, high-risk drivers are not just far more likely to be involved in an accident, but also have a higher chance than average of causing an accident.
While you can’t scrub infractions from your driving record, you can still reduce your rates over time by avoiding accident for a few years, learning safer driving habits, not committing traffic violations, and completing a safe driving course.
What Is Community Restitution?
Rather than send the road’s rulebreakers to prison, those convicted for driving without insurance in Washington can serve a Community Restitution sentence. Typically, this penalty includes requires you to complete a certain number of hours of community service – such as picking up litter or helping at the local soup kitchen – under the strict supervision of probation officers. You may also need to pay additional fees and fines as part of your Community Restitution sentence.
What Are Some Important Traffic Laws in Washington?
Struggling to make sense of Washington’s dense traffic code? We’ve compiled a list of the state’s most important traffic laws below:
Child Safety Seat Laws
When Autumn Alexander Skeen lost control of her SUV, causing the vehicle to roll, she also lost her four-year-old son. The boy was sitting in the front seat wearing a seatbelt, but the straps – designed to fit an adult – didn’t hold him in place. While Skeen survived, her son was thrown from the vehicle and killed. In the years that followed, Skeen campaigned tirelessly to introduce some of the child safety seat rules listed here:
- Children under 8 years old or shorter than 5 feet, must always travel in a car or booster seat;
- The seat must be installed and utilized in accordance with both the vehicle and car seat manufacturer’s instructions;
- Cars equipped with lap-only safety straps are exempt from booster seat requirements; and
- Children older than 8 years and who are 5 feet or taller who are wearing a seat belt must ensure that the chest and waist straps are positioned correctly.
Using the appropriate child safety seat will ensure your child is protected from impact forces in a crash. You should always install your restraint device in the rear passenger seats of your vehicle.
You can browse our list of the best rated child car seats for expert advice on the safest restraint system for your little one.
Drunk Driving Laws
Washington is home to hundreds of quaint craft breweries and secluded bars. But before you indulge, you should be aware that law enforcement takes a hard line against drivers caught driving under the influence.
The state’s blood alcohol limit is 0.08%. For the average person, this is the equivalent of drinking a glass of wine, 12-ounce can of domestic beer, or shot of hard liquor. However, if you are driving a commercial vehicle, the blood alcohol limit is even stricter, limiting you to a blood alcohol content of 0.04%. And drivers under the age of 21 should avoid liquor at all times as authorities will likely charge younger motorists who test above 0.02% blood alcohol content.
If you are caught driving under the influence, you will be arrested on the spot and will have to appear in court. The penalties for a Driving Under the Influence conviction include:
- Between 1 to 365 days behind bars;
- Up to $5,000 in fines; and
- License suspension (between 3 months to 1 year for your first offense and up to 4 years for your second, third, or subsequent violation).
You will also have to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle at your own expense. This gadget prevents you from starting your car until you’ve completed a breathalyzer test to prove you are sober. You can only remove this device once your sentence has been completed.
In Washington, you can often opt to complete a 24/7 Sobriety Program instead of serving prison time. This program involves round-the-clock drug and alcohol testing, such as portable breath testing for alcohol, or saliva and drug-patching testing for common banned substances. If you fail any of these tests at any point in the program you could spend as long as a week behind bars.
Restricted License Laws
Drivers with license revocations or suspensions can apply for a restricted license. A specialist will then review and asses the case. Those deemed to meet the standards will be issued either an Ignition Interlock License or an Occupational License. Both will allow drivers to go to work, school, court-mandated programs, and healthcare appointments. Restrictions may include what vehicle may be driven, when it can be driven, and in what areas.
Distracted Driving Laws
An estimated 30% of all accidents in Washington are caused by distracted drivers. In a bid to curb these common crashes, lawmakers introduced a series of laws this year prohibiting road users from engaging in a wide range of activities while on the road. These activities include:
- Grooming; and
However, officers will not pull you over if you are spotted doing any of the actions above. Rather, if authorities stop you for another traffic violation and discover that these activities interfered with your ability to drive safely, you will be cited for distracted driving.
You cannot hold any electronic device while stopped at a traffic light or intersection, or while driving. If you are spotted violating this law, an officer can, by law, pull you over and cite you for distracted driving. However, you are allowed to use your phone if you are contacting emergency services or are have to come to a complete stop on the side of the road.
Marijuana, whether smoked or eaten, can pose just as much risk to motorists as alcohol. It has been shown to cause slower reaction times, an impaired ability to focus, sleepiness, and an increased sensitivity to light. The effects can linger for five hours.
Driving with more than the legal limit of marijuana in your system is prohibited. Anyone found with a THC/marijuana level of 5.00 nanograms per milliliter of blood can be arrested and penalized.
Open Container Laws
It is illegal for drivers and passengers in Washington to have an open container or alcohol or marijuana. The state defines an open container to be one with the seal broken and/or the contents partially removed. There are exceptions for the living portion of a motor home.
What Car Insurance Terms Should I Know Before Buying a Policy?
Shopping for auto insurance but can’t make sense of the jargon? This glossary of common terms will help you understand the most important parts of an auto insurance policy:
Collision Coverage: This individual policy feature protects you against financial loss as a result of damage to your property caused in a collision with an object or vehicle. For example, your insurer will compensate you for repairs for damage as a result of hitting a parking meter, colliding with another motorist, flipping your car, or running over a hidden pothole.
Declarations Page: The front page of your auto insurance policy document is a quick recap of what’s covered and for how much. It includes information about the policy period, the amount of coverage, your monthly or annual rates, the insured property, and your particulars. Our Geeks recommend keeping a copy of this page in your glove compartment to present as proof as insurance to law enforcement.
Deductible: Certain policy features have what is called a deductible. This represents how much you will have to pay to cover the cost of treating injuries and repairing damage to your property before your insurer compensates you for the remainder. A low deductible will trivialize the costs associated with a severe crash but will result in a higher premium. A high deductible will help you reduce your rates, but won’t provide the same protection as a lower deductible.
Fault State: Washington is a so-called “Fault State”. As a result, the party responsible for causing an accident can be held liable for damages sustained by other parties involved. Typically, claims adjusters will portion out blame in the form of a percentage point. For example, you may be held 30% responsible for an accident, with the other driver liable for the remaining 70% of the costs. If you are involved in a crash, you can file a claim with your provider, file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, or file a claim with the at-fault driver’s provider.
Premium: This represents the amount, either monthly or annually, you will have to pay to maintain your policy. Insurers calculate your rates based a wide variety of factors including your gender, age, education, occupation, driving record, car make, car safety features, and more.