There are more than 5 million licensed drivers in Washington state. Any resident with a vehicle registered in the state is legally required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance.
Of the over 5.7 million licensed drivers in Washington state, over 21% are estimated to be uninsured. Washington has the fifth-highest percentage of estimated uninsured drivers in the nation. Despite this, drivers in the Evergreen State still pay less than the national average for car insurance. The average cost of car insurance in Washington is $463 per year for minimum coverage and $1,176 per year for full coverage.
Bankrate has analyzed the average annual premiums, obtained from Quadrant Information Services, for the biggest car insurance companies by market share in Washington state. If you are shopping for cheap car insurance in Washington, this information might help you find affordable coverage.
The cheapest car insurance in Washington
Like in most states, car insurance is a requirement in Washington. However, just because it is a required purchase does not mean that you have to strain your budget. By understanding what companies offer low average rates and comparing quotes from several insurance carriers, you might find coverage that fits your needs and finances.
If you are shopping for the cheapest auto insurance in Washington, these companies might be a good place to start:
|Car insurance company||Average annual premium for minimum coverage||Average annual premium for full coverage|
USAA exclusively sells insurance to active duty and retired military personnel and their eligible family members. The company is highly rated for its customer service, claims handling and coverage options, and consistently offers low average prices. If you qualify for coverage, you may want to consider getting a quote from USAA.
USAA’s website claims that drivers save an average of $725 when they switch from another provider. With a variety of discounts, like garaging a vehicle on a military base, being a smart student, insuring a new vehicle and being claims-free for at least five years, you may be able to lower your rate even more.
Learn more: USAA Insurance review
Pemco is a regional provider, selling insurance just in the Pacific Northwest. If you are looking for a company that focuses on the unique needs of drivers in this region, Pemco might be a good choice. Pemco also has local agents who may be able to help you with your car insurance search.
The company offers numerous discounts geared toward Washington drivers. In addition to more common discounts like savings for insuring both your auto and home, having certain vehicle safety features and being a good student, you might also save if you are a University of Washington alumni, if you pay in full or if you are an educator.
Geico is often one of the top picks for drivers who want cheap, basic coverage without added endorsements. While the company does offer standard auto insurance coverages like liability, collision and comprehensive coverage, there are not many options for customization.
Geico’s car insurance endorsement options are limited, but the company does offer a long list of discounts that may interest you if saving money is your primary concern. There are discounts for federal employees, military members, employee/membership groups, having a vehicle with certain safety features, being a good student and being a safe driver.
Learn more: Geico Insurance review
Progressive is another popular insurance company in Washington. The company is known for its wide range of coverage options, discounts and online tools. Progressive’s average full coverage premium is the highest on our list but is still below Washington’s average.
To help offset the cost of car insurance, Progressive offers impressive discounts. Many drivers are familiar with Progressive’s Snapshot safe driver program, which could lead to an individualized discount based on your driving habits. Progressive also allows you to use the Name Your Price Tool to find coverage options within your personal price range.
Learn more: Progressive Insurance review
State Farm is the largest car insurance company in the country, with over 16% of the total market share. With low average rates, good coverage options and several discounts, State Farm might be a good fit for your needs. If you prefer to work with an in-person agent rather than handling your insurance needs digitally or by phone, State Farm might be especially appealing. The company has local agents stationed across Washington state.
With State Farm, drivers get access to two safe driver discount programs, Drive Safe & Save for adults and Steer Clear for drivers under 25. There are also discounts for being a good student, being a student away at school, being accident-free and having a vehicle with certain safety features.
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review
Minimum coverage requirements for Washington drivers
The state of Washington requires drivers to carry at least minimum limits of liability coverage to drive legally. In Washington, you must have at least the following minimum coverage limits:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident
- $10,000 property damage
Washington also requires the following to be offered, but policyholders can reject them in writing if they wish:
- $25,000/$50,000 underinsured motorist bodily injury
- $10,000 underinsured motorist property damage
- $10,000 basic injury protection
Drivers who opt for minimum coverage pay some of the lowest rates. However, most insurance companies recommend that you purchase coverage beyond the minimum required amount if you are financially able to do so. If you cause an accident and damages exceed your policy’s coverage limits, you are responsible for paying the difference out of pocket.
If you have a loan or lease on your vehicle, or if you simply want coverage for damage to your vehicle, you will need full coverage, which includes comprehensive and collision. These options provide coverage for damage to your vehicle from a variety of scenarios.
How to get cheap car insurance in Washington
Besides choosing a cheap car insurance company, there are several other ways that drivers in Washington can get more affordable coverage:
- Get multiple quotes: When researching providers, get quotes from a few companies and compare them. That way, you can see which provider can offer the lowest rate for the type and amount of coverage you need.
- Look for discounts: Seek out insurance companies that offer multiple discounts you can take advantage of. Sometimes you can save money simply by signing up for automatic payments or enrolling in paperless billing statements.
- Choose coverage strategically: It can be tempting to purchase add-on coverages, like accident forgiveness and OEM coverage, but those options do cost extra. If you are going to buy endorsements, choose the coverages that are most important to you.
- Pay in full: If you can afford to pay your premium in full, you may save some money on your policy.
If you are unsure what coverages, discounts or policy features that might be best for you, talking with a licensed agent may be helpful.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance in Washington?
The best car insurance company in Washington varies. The best provider is likely different for every driver. This is because every driver has a different set of needs and wants. Drivers looking for the lowest price may choose a different company than drivers who are looking for a specific coverage. When you are shopping for insurance, getting quotes from numerous companies might help you find the company that best suits your needs.
What is the average cost of car insurance in the U.S.?
The average U.S. driver pays $1,674 per year for a full coverage car insurance policy and $565 for minimum coverage. In Washington, the average driver pays $1,176 per year for full coverage and $463 for minimum coverage.
How do insurance companies calculate policy rates?
Car insurance rates are personalized. Insurance companies look at factors like your age, ZIP code, claims history and the type of car you drive when calculating your rate. Because of that, you could pay more or less than the statewide average rate based on your rating factors. Car insurance companies in Washington are not allowed to use your credit score as a factor when calculating your premium.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.