Best car insurance in Washington for 2021

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Washington drivers usually pay less for car insurance than the national average of $1,674 per year for full coverage. The average cost of full coverage car insurance in Washington is $1,176 per year, according to Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums. However, Washington state presents challenges that drivers in other states may not have to consider, such as fog or heavy snow. For the state’s 5.7 million drivers, safety is a serious consideration. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Washingtonians drove more than 62.5 million miles in 2019. The state tallied 494 fatal motor vehicle crashes, resulting in 519 deaths.

Even with more affordable car insurance rates, choosing appropriate coverage could be a daunting task. Most people consider premiums, policy options and discounts when comparing coverage, but there are a multitude of factors that may impact your final decision. To aid your search, Bankrate researched multiple Washington auto insurance providers to narrow down 2021’s best options for car insurance.

Best car insurance companies in Washington

We have found the five best car insurance companies in Washington based on 2021 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study rankings in the Northwest region, where Washington state is located, and average quoted premiums within the state. Each company was further assessed for its coverage options and available savings for drivers.

Company 2021 J.D. Power score (Northwest region) Average annual full coverage premium
Geico 821 / 1,000 $912
PEMCO 835 / 1,000 $952
Progressive 817 / 1,000 $974
State Farm 844 / 1,000 $951
USAA *884 / 1,000 $818

*USAA is considered rank-ineligible by J.D. Power due to membership restrictions

Geico

Geico is known for affordable coverage, and in Washington, that reputation stands. With full coverage policies averaging $912 per year, Geico quotes some of the cheapest rates of this year’s picks. Aside from its standard coverage options, Geico has options for emergency roadside assistance coverage, rental reimbursement and mechanical breakdown insurance. There are more than 15 discounts available, ranging from simple checks such as wearing a seat belt to being accident-free for five years.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

PEMCO

For Washingtonians looking for local coverage, PEMCO may be your first place to start the search. Based in Seattle, Washington, the company earned the third-highest customer satisfaction ranking in the Northwest region. PEMCO has options exclusively available to drivers in the state such as key replacement and recoding, custom parts and camper, canopy and tonneau cover coverage. If you have a pet, you can add additional protection up to $1,000 in a covered loss. Other coverages include rideshare and rental cars. PEMCO also offers multiple discounts, including one for being a University of Washington graduate.

Progressive

In addition to cheap car insurance rates, Progressive offers gap insurance and coverage for custom parts and equipment. If you are looking for policies that allow you to save in addition to discounts, Progressive has disappearing deductibles, where drivers can save $50 off their full coverage premium every six-month policy period.

Learn more: Progressive Insurance review

State Farm

State Farm received the second-highest customer satisfaction score in the 2021 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study. With local State Farm car insurance agents in every Washington city, it could be a great option for drivers who prefer face-to-face interaction when discussing their policy. Whether you are a teen driver, have a vehicle equipped with safety features or plan to have multiple policies with the company, there are savings opportunities with many discounts ranging from at least 10-25%. While not offered in all states, State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save discount program is available to Washington drivers and has the potential to save you up to 30% or more on premiums for safe driving.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

USAA

With several military bases in Washington, USAA may be your first check for auto insurance in the state. Though it only writes policies for military members, veterans and their families, USAA has some of the most affordable coverage for those who qualify for membership. The company consistently earns high J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores, though it is rank-ineligible due to membership restrictions. Its coverage and discounts have military members in mind, like its 15% discount for garaging a vehicle on base. USAA also launched a new safe-driving program this year called SafePilot, which allows policyholders to receive a 10% discount for signing up and up to 30% off your policy after renewal with safe driving habits.

Learn more: USAA Insurance review

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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. Compared to the national annual averages of $565 and $1,674 for minimum and full coverage, respectively, Washington drivers pay as much as $498 less per year.

Average annual premium for minimum coverage in Washington Average annual premium for full coverage in Washington
$463 $1,176

State minimum insurance requirements in Washington

Like many states, car insurance is required in Washington. A Washington driver must carry for a registered vehicle a minimum coverage of 25/50/10, which includes:

  • $25,000 of bodily injury or death of one individual in an accident
  • $50,000 of bodily injury or death of two individuals in an accident
  • $10,000 of property damage coverage in an accident

Comprehensive insurance coverage is not mandatory, but is encouraged by most insurance experts, as it may protect you from costly repair and medical bills. Failure to show proof of coverage at an accident could result in a fine.

How to get the best car insurance

Every driver will have their own personal criteria when looking for car insurance providers, whether they are brand new to coverage or looking to make a carrier switch. Washington drivers will likely want to consider factors in the state as a first step, including minimum requirements and average rates, and then begin submitting for quotes.

Evaluate your individual needs

Drivers can evaluate their car insurance needs based on their circumstances. Various factors go into the total cost of your annual car insurance premium such as gender, age, marital status, driving record and history, vehicle make and model, and more. Drivers must understand their circumstances and discuss them with their local agent when shopping for the right car insurance premium.

Consider state factors.

Considering Washington’s various geographical and environmental factors across the state, drivers might consider add-ons depending on location. For example, Seattle gets on average 37 inches of rain across half the year. Those living in Seattle may want to consider add-ons like engine protection cover and emergency roadside assistance.

According to the III, 21.7% of Washingtonian motorists are uninsured, ranking Washington as the fifth-highest state with uninsured motorists. Because of this, Washington drivers may want to consider adding on uninsured motorist coverage to protect them against any charges from an accident with an uninsured driver.

Car insurance discounts in Washington

Most car insurance companies offer discounts to help drivers lower their insurance premiums. Some of the general discounts include good student, good driver and multi-policy. However, depending on the Washington car insurance company you choose, providers may offer additional discounts for:

  • Military service: There are often additional discounts for active members of the military and veterans. Companies like USAA are known for offering additional military discounts.
  • Students: If you are a teen driver, you could save money on your policy with extra discounts for good grades. There are often discounts for college students, as well.
  • Professionals: Military and students are not the only groups to receive a discount. Some professionals can also earn special discounts, such as first responders and teachers.
  • Bundling: When you purchase more than one policy from the same provider, you can often save extra money on your policy. Consider bundling your home and auto insurance or purchasing another type of insurance coverage, like homeowners, renters, or condo insurance.

Many Washington residents own two vehicles per household and have an average commute time of 26.5 minutes. Considering these factors, you may want to target companies that offer multi-vehicle discounts or even consider other ways to commute, like by public transport, to see if you can save on premiums with reduced usage. These factors and more could impact which policy is the best for you.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best car insurance companies in Washington?

Washington is home to many of the best car insurance companies. Depending on your needs, you may opt for a provider offering more local coverage and state-exclusive discounts, or you may choose one that is nationally trusted and well-reviewed. Consulting third-party sources ratings such as J.D. Power can help you review multiple providers quickly.

What is the cheapest car insurance in Washington?

The cheapest car insurance in Washington will be different for every driver. To find the best rates for your situation, one option is to get online quotes from the top car insurance companies in the area and see how they compare. Discounts can significantly lower your premium. While State Farm, Geico, and Progressive offer competitive discounts for a variety of circumstances, it will be necessary to contact each auto company to see how your rates could be affected by applicable discounts.

What are the factors that influence car insurance premiums?

Several factors like your ZIP code and the age of drivers on your policy could impact your insurance premiums. Car insurance companies in Washington are not allowed to use your credit score to calculate your premium in Washington. Depending on your car insurance needs, you may also want to opt for more coverage than a standard policy includes, like mechanical breakdown coverage. Upon renewal, rates may increase or decrease based on any changes to those variables, namely your driving history.

Is there a way to avoid having to buy car insurance in Washington?

An individual can opt to self-insure if there are 26 vehicles or more. Proof of this self-insurance must always be carried by drivers of the vehicles. A driver can also opt to have a liability bond of at least $60,000 from a surety bond company authorized by Washington or a certificate of deposit to pay your liability insurance in lieu of auto insurance. Motor scooters and mopeds do not require auto insurance, but motorcycles do.

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.