Washington state auto insurance laws require all drivers to carry a minimum of bodily injury protection. This protects you from any injuries or damages you cause to other drivers. Depending on your needs, you may consider buying additional insurance.
What Are Washington State Auto Insurance Laws?
Washington state requires all drivers to have auto insurance. The state requires drivers to have the following:
- $25000 bodily liability coverage per person
- $50000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $10000 property damage liability per accident
- $10000 underinsured property damage
- $10000 basic personal injury protection (PIP)
Each of these requirements falls into liability coverage. This means that it covers damages and injuries that you cause to another driver or their passengers. This coverage does not provide you with compensation following an accident. Additionally, all Washington state drivers are required to carry proof of insurance when driving.
Some drivers may choose to opt-out of Washington states insurance requirements by:
- Giving a Certificate of Deposit (CD) to the Department of Licensing for $60000
- Setting up a surety bond of $60000
According to ExpertInsuranceReviews.com, self-insurance may also be available to commercial fleets with 26 or more vehicles. It can also be helpful to know other Washington state driving laws, including a ban on the use of all handheld phones. Drivers cannot text or make phone calls unless they are using a hands-free program.
Consequences for Driving Without Insurance in Washington State
If you are caught driving without insurance in Washington, you could be subject to the following consequences:
- Legal fines up to $450
- Suspended license
- Requirement of an SR-22 for three years
Failing to provide proof of insurance following an accident is also considered a civil infraction in the state of Washington and if you provide false information, it can be considered a misdemeanor. This is according to information from Drive Safely.
Additionally, if you cause an accident and don’t have insurance, then you could be personally liable for damages. This means that you may have to pay out-of-pocket for all medical bills, vehicle damages, lost wages, and legal fees of the other drivers.
Driving without insurance will usually lead to a requirement of an SR-22. This is a form that you will have to keep on file with the state, proving that you have insurance.
Optional Insurance Policies Available In Washington
Because bodily liability injury only pays for minimal damages, some drivers may choose to buy additional insurance coverage. Here are a few add-on insurance policies to consider:
- Comprehensive: Comprehensive is a type of physical damage coverage that pays for damages to your vehicle that are non-collision-related. This might include weather damages or theft.
- Collision: Collision covers the damages to your vehicle following an accident, whether or not you were at fault. It also covers damages due to a collision with an object.
- Loan/lease payoff: If you’re in an accident and your vehicle is totaled, loan/lease payoff coverage will pay off any leftover payments. This is beneficial coverage if your loan is more than your vehicle’s value.
- Medical payments: Medical payments pays for your medical bills following an accident, whether or not you were at fault.
- Rental car reimbursement: If you have to rent a vehicle to get to work while you wait for repairs or replacement, this coverage will cover the costs.
- Roadside assistance: If you have to call for a tow truck or have tire problems, roadside assistance will cover the related costs.
- Uninsured/underinsured coverage: Uninsured/underinsured coverage pays for your damages or medical bills if you’re in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver. While some uninsured coverage is a requirement in Washington, you may decide to up this coverage amount to ensure you have what you need.
Bodily injury is the only requirement in Washington state. However, you may decide to up your coverage so that you don’t have to pay as much as if you’re in an accident. Additionally, if you drive a vehicle that is a lease, or you have an auto loan, your lender may require that you have full coverage insurance to protect their investment.
How Does Washington State Calculate Insurance Rates?
It can be helpful to know what factors go into determining your rate. Washington insurance providers consider the following factors:
- The type of vehicle you drive
- If you have had continuous coverage
- The number of miles you drive daily
- Your driving record
- Your age
- Your gender
- Your marital status
- Your location
- Your level of driving experience
- If you use your vehicle for personal or business purposes
Once you know what factors go into calculating insurance rates, you can have a better idea of what to expect with your own rates.
Drivers with a lot of traffic violations or DUIs on their record may have a hard time finding insurance in Washington state. However, Washington state has a Washington Automobile Insurance Plan, which provides high-risk drivers with an insurance company to use. The policy can be expensive but is usually a last option for drivers who may have been denied coverage everywhere else.
How to Get the Best Washington State Insurance Rates
Whether you choose to carry minimum coverage, full coverage, or you want a policy somewhere in the middle, there are a variety of ways to get the best insurance rates:
- Ask about available discounts, including multi-vehicle, multi-policy, or paperless discounts.
- Compare quotes from a variety of insurance providers.
- Review your insurance policy and get rid of any unnecessary coverage.
- Maintain a good driving record.
These are just a few good ways to get the best insurance rates in Washington state. Continue to evaluate your insurance needs and if your provider increases your rates, shop around. Additionally, any time you make changes to your policy, like adding a new vehicle or driver, you may consider also requesting quotes from other providers.
Washington state auto insurance laws must be followed by all Washington residents. Failing to do so can lead to expensive fines and even a suspended license.
Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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