Best car insurance companies in Washington
According to our research, State Farm, Geico, Progressive, PEMCO and Allstate are among the best auto insurance companies in Washington. To determine which companies to feature, we analyzed key aspects of the largest insurers by market share in the state, including coverage offerings, discounts, average rates, J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores and financial strength scores from AM Best and Standard & Poor’s (S&P). We combined these metrics into a proprietary Bankrate Score on a scale of 0.0 to 5.0. Companies with higher Bankrate Scores received higher ratings in each individual category.
If you’re looking for the best Washington car insurance companies, you might want to start with these carriers:
|Car insurance company||Bankrate Score||Average annual full coverage premium||J.D. Power customer satisfaction score*|
State Farm received the highest official customer satisfaction score in the 2021 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study in the Northwest region. The company may be a great option for drivers who prefer face-to-face interaction when discussing their policies, as State Farm has local agents throughout the state. However, State Farm doesn’t offer quite as many endorsement options as some of its competitors. If you’re looking for a highly specialized policy, State Farm might not be the best fit.
Learn more: State Farm insurance review
Geico is known for affordable coverage, and in Washington, that reputation stands. With full coverage policies averaging $912 per year, Geico is the cheapest car insurance company on our list. The company offers plenty of discounts to help you save even more, including savings for federal employees, good students and safe drivers. Geico’s J.D. Power customer satisfaction score is lower than average for this region, which may indicate that policyholders aren’t generally satisfied with the company’s service.
Learn more: Geico insurance review
In addition to its low average rate, Progressive offers coverage options that could help you personalize your policy. For example, you could opt to add gap insurance and coverage for custom parts and equipment. However, Progressive received a lower-than-average customer satisfaction score from J.D. Power for this region. The carrier also received a lower-than-average overall claims satisfaction score in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, scoring a full 18 points below the industry average.
Learn more: Progressive insurance review
For drivers looking for local coverage, PEMCO might be a good fit. The company only writes coverage in the Pacific Northwest and its agents may be very familiar with the needs of drivers in this region. In addition to its lower-than-average premium, PEMCO offers a list of discounts that rivals Geico. You might save for owning a home, being a University of Washington graduate or being an educator. However, PEMCO does have the lowest AM Best financial strength score on our list at a B++ (Good). This could indicate that the company has historically been less financially stable than the other carriers.
Allstate’s average premium is the highest on our list and is higher than Washington’s state average, but you might still be motivated to get a quote. Its higher premiums may be partly due to the company’s endorsement options, which can help you personalize your coverage. You could opt to add custom equipment coverage, rideshare insurance or roadside coverage. Additionally, Allstate offers quite a few discounts to help you save on your custom coverage, including savings for new cars, responsible payers and smart students.
Learn more: Allstate insurance review
Average car insurance cost in Washington
The average Washington auto insurance policy costs $463 per year for minimum coverage and $1,176 per year for full coverage, according to 2021 rate data obtained from Quadrant Information Services. Compared to the national annual averages of $565 and $1,674 for minimum and full coverage, respectively, Washington drivers pay less. And when compared to surrounding states, Washington drivers do fairly well. Oregon drivers pay $1,346 per year for full coverage, on average, while California drivers pay an average of $2,065 annually.
|Average annual premium for minimum coverage in Washington||Average annual premium for full coverage in Washington|
How to find the best car insurance in Washington
Finding the best car insurance for your situation can take a bit of research, but you can make the process easier by knowing how to evaluate your needs. 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 can 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 cause 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 that, you’d need to purchase comprehensive coverage and collision coverage. This is commonly called “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 adds comprehensive coverage and collision coverage which provide you with financial protection against damage to your vehicle. 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. 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 can also evaluate their car insurance needs based on their individual circumstances. Understanding what you need from your policy can 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 can help you narrow down your options when shopping for coverage.
Car insurance discounts in Washington
Most major car insurance companies offer discounts to help drivers lower their insurance premiums. Taking the time to find savings opportunities that you qualify for could save you money on your premium. Some common discounts in Washington include:
- Young driver discounts: Car insurance for young drivers can be expensive, so finding the cheapest option is important for many families. Teens who go to school full time and earn good grades might qualify for good student discounts. If your child is away at school without a vehicle, you might also qualify for a distant student discount.
- Safe driver discounts: If you don’t have any accidents or tickets on your record in the last three to five years, you might be eligible for a safe driver or claims-free discount. If you’re a safe driver, you could also consider participating in a telematics program. These programs track your driving via a mobile app or plug-in device and you could earn a discount based on your driving habits.
- Other discounts: Bundling your home insurance and auto insurance with the same company often results in a discount on both policies. If you can afford to pay your premium in full, you might earn a paid-in-full discount. Finally, if you are a federal employee, military member or member of another qualifying profession, some companies will offer you savigns.
Each car insurance company offers a unique set of discounts. Talking with an agent or researching discounts online is usually an effective way to determine what savings you qualify for.
Frequently asked questions
What are the best car insurance companies in Washington?
Each Washington driver will need to determine the best company for them based on their unique situation. Depending on your needs and wants, you might be looking for a provider that offers certain optional coverage types, a digital app or highly-rated customer service, for example. Making a list of your needs can help you find the carriers that best fit your circumstances.
What is the cheapest car insurance company in Washington?
Just like the best car insurance, the cheapest car insurance in Washington will be different for every driver. Bankrate found that USAA, PEMCO and Geico offer the lowest average rates, but your rates will vary based on your personal rating factors. To find the lowest premium for your coverage, many insurance professionals recommend getting quotes from several different carriers so that you can compare the prices.
What are the factors that influence car insurance premiums?
Several factors influence your premium, including your age, the type of car you drive, your accident history and the coverage types and limits you choose. Car insurance companies in Washington were briefly banned from using your credit score to calculate your premium, but the ruling was recently overturned. Insurance companies may once again use credit as a rating factor. A new hearing to potentially ban the use of credit as a rating factor on a permanent basis is set for November 23, 2021. If the law passes, it will go into effect on January 1, 2022.
Is there a way to avoid having to buy car insurance in Washington?
Most drivers in Washington likely opt to buy car insurance to satisfy the state’s “financial responsibility law,” but you could also self-insure, provide a certificate of deposit or a liability bond. You can only self-insure if you own 26 or more vehicles, so it’s not likely to be an option for most drivers. Certificates of deposit and liability bonds must be at least $60,000 and also have other requirements. For most drivers, purchasing an auto insurance policy is the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective way to satisfy the law.
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 coverage that meets 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.
Bankrate Scores primarily reflect a weighted rank of industry-standard ratings for financial strength and customer experience in addition to analysis of quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services, spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C. We know it is important for drivers to be confident their financial protection covers the likeliest risks, is priced competitively and is provided by a financially-sound company with a history of positive customer support.
To determine how well the best car insurance companies satisfy these priorities, third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, NAIC, and Moodys had the most impact on the companies’ Bankrate Scores. As price is a common consideration for drivers, we analyzed quoted premiums based on 40-year-old male and female drivers with a 2019 Toyota Camry. This profile, assessed across more than 35,000 ZIP codes in the U.S., provided a basis on which drivers may compare each provider.
While coverage options, insurer availability, affordability and customer experience are often the top priorities, Bankrate also analyzed each insurer’s online and mobile resources for policy management and claims handling. Insurance is rapidly evolving to keep pace with our digital world, so these aspects also carried weight in determining Bankrate Scores.