Car insurance for high-risk drivers in Washington

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Drivers with multiple at-fault accidents, moving violations or a DUI conviction may have a difficult time finding affordable car insurance rates. This type of reckless or high-risk driving in Washington could even result in your driver’s license being suspended, restricted or revoked. Washington high-risk auto insurance may be an option when traditional auto insurance is no longer available or affordable.

High-risk car insurance rates in Washington

Your Washington car insurance cost depends on factors like your driving history, vehicle type and coverage levels. Washington high-risk auto insurance is generally less affordable than standard auto coverage. Each auto insurer has its threshold of risk when pricing your insurance. One carrier may provide affordable insurance for a driver with speeding tickets but increase premiums sharply after a claim.

Car insurance rates after a speeding ticket

Getting a speeding ticket could increase your auto insurance rates slightly or significantly, depending on the carrier. There is no easy way to determine which insurance company will be cheaper after a speeding ticket. However, based on the insurers that Bankrate reviewed, USAA and Travelers are the cheapest carriers in Washington on average.

Car insurance company Washington average annual premium for full coverage before a speeding ticket Washington average annual premium for full coverage after a speeding ticket % difference
USAA $818 $913 12%
Travelers $876 $1,270 45%

If you complete an approved defensive driving course after receiving a speeding ticket, you may be able to avoid an increase in your insurance rates. Contact your insurance provider to see if this is an option.

Rates after an accident

In Washington, being held responsible for a car accident will increase your premiums more than a speeding ticket. However, high-risk auto insurance rates in Washington vary immensely from one insurance company to another.

Car insurance company Washington average annual premium for full coverage before an accident Washington average annual premium for full coverage after an accident % difference
USAA $818 $1,095 34%
Travelers $876 $1,262 44%
Geico $912 $1,363 50%

USAA car insurance may start out as the cheapest coverage for safe drivers, but a single accident could increase your annual premiums by 34%. Meanwhile, Travelers’ rates increased 44% after an at-fault accident. Finally, Geico rates increased 50% after an accident.

Auto insurance rates after a DUI

Driving under the influence may be the most dangerous risk a driver could take both financially and safety-wise.

Here’s how getting a DUI can impact auto insurance rates.

Car insurance company Washington average annual premium for full coverage before a DUI Washington average annual premium for full coverage after a DUI % difference
USAA $818 $1,708 109%
Travelers $876 $1,395 59%
Geico $912 $2,350 158%

Drivers convicted of a DUI in Washington will need to ask their insurance company to file a certificate of financial responsibility (SR-22) with the DMV to drive legally. The SR-22 must remain active for 36 months from its filing date.

Insurance rates for teen drivers

Car insurance premiums for parents who add their teenagers to their Washington policies see a higher-than-average rate in the state. The table below represents the additional annual premium on top of current premiums for adding a 16-year-old to an auto insurance policy.

Car insurance company Average annual premium for full coverage
USAA $2,197
Travelers $2,134
Geico $2,048

*16-year-old on their parent’s policy

Who is a high-risk driver?

Auto insurers generally consider drivers with a DUI conviction or multiple accidents or moving violations high-risk drivers.

You could receive a driver’s license suspension in Washington after accumulating enough tickets on your driving record. For example, if you receive six moving violations within 12 months or seven moving violations within 24 months, your license could be suspended for 60 days.

How to lower your rate if you’re a high-risk driver

High-risk drivers may have limited carrier options and higher premiums. One way to offset the limited options is by finding ways to lower the cost of coverage:

  • Shop around and compare multiple auto insurers to find the cheapest coverage based on your most recent driving history. Make sure your rates are assessed based on recent incidents on your record to avoid any surprises later.
  • Apply as many discounts as possible, such as low mileage, student driver or multi-policy discounts.
  • Complete an approved driving safety course to remove a convicted ticket from your record.
  • Increase your comprehensive and collision deductibles to the highest amount you can afford. Just remember that the higher your deductibles, the more you pay out-of-pocket during a claim.

Saving as little as 5 to 10 percent on your auto insurance could translate to hundreds of dollars a year.

Frequently asked questions

What is an SR-22?

An SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility that confirms you have at least the minimum amount of car insurance required to drive in the state. It’s a form filed by your insurer with the DMV on your behalf. Generally, an SR-22 has to remain active for three years from the date it is filed.

I’m a high-risk driver. Do I need extra car insurance?

All Washington drivers are required to have liability insurance with minimums of $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident and $10,000 in property damage liability per accident. However, it is worth considering carrying more coverage to help avoid paying out of pocket in the event of an accident.

Methodology

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.

High-risk drivers

Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

Written by
Lizzie Nealon
Insurance Writer
Lizzie Nealon is an insurance writer for Bankrate. Her favorite part of the job is making home, auto and life insurance digestible for readers so they can prepare for the future.
Edited by
Insurance Editor