How to find the best car insurance in Washington
Finding the best car insurance for your situation may take a bit of research, but you can make the process easier by knowing how to evaluate your needs. The best auto insurance in Washington for you will likely be one that meets your needs while also remaining within your budget. Bankrate’s analysis may help you feel empowered to find the right company and coverage for your needs.
Consider minimum insurance requirements in Washington
Like most states, Washington’s car insurance laws require drivers to carry at least minimum levels of certain coverage types. If you live in the Evergreen State, you must purchase at least the minimum required levels of bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage to drive legally. Insurance companies must also offer you underinsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection (PIP), although these may be declined in writing.
Minimum coverage is often the cheapest option to purchase, but it could leave you with high out-of-pocket costs if you are deemed at fault for an accident and the damages exceed your insurance limits. Most insurance agents recommend that you purchase higher liability limits if you can afford to. Additionally, minimum coverage doesn’t give you any coverage for damage to your own vehicle. For coverage for damage to your vehicle, you may want to consider purchasing comprehensive and collision coverage, commonly referred to as "full coverage."
Consider lender requirements
If you finance your vehicle with a loan or lease, you’ll likely have to purchase full coverage as a requirement of your loan. This type of policy commonly adds comprehensive coverage and collision coverage which should provide you with financial protection against damage to your vehicle in case of a covered event.
You might also want to consider gap insurance, which is designed to pay for the difference between the cash value of your vehicle and the financed amount if your vehicle is totaled or stolen and not recoverable. Finally, if you lease your car, you should know that lessors often require certain minimum liability limits that are in excess of the state minimum.
Consider your individual needs
Drivers may also evaluate their car insurance needs based on their individual circumstances. Understanding what you need from your policy could help you choose a company and coverage options. For example, if you have a teen driver to insure, you might want to look for a company that offers several young driver discounts that could help lower your policy costs. If you’re a high-risk driver who has accidents, tickets or a DUI conviction on your record, you might need to research non-standard car insurance options. Getting a sense of what your specific situation calls for could help you narrow down your options when shopping for coverage.