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Renata Balasco

Senior Content Strategist

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Renata joined The Zebra in 2020 as a Customer Experience Agent. Since 2021, she has worked as licensed insurance professional and content strategist.…

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Mark Friedlander

Director, Corporate Communications, Insurance Information Institute

Mark Friedlander has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. He is the Director, Corporate Communications, at the Insurance Informatio…

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Kristine Lee

Insurance Analyst

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty
  • 4+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a…

Here's what you need to know when driving in Washington

The average car insurance rate in the state of Washington is $1,224 per year — 20% less than the U.S. average. Car insurance rates are impacted by more than just your location. Auto insurance rates comprise many factors, including a driver's age and driving history. The Zebra's experts analyzed average Washington car insurance rates for these rating factors in an effort to help you find an affordable policy.

Read on to learn how much auto insurance costs in Washington based on these variables, or submit your ZIP code above to receive quotes from top insurers.

The best car insurance companies in Washington

Based on data from J.D. Power's 2021 Auto Satisfaction Study and The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey, we have compiled a list of the best car insurance companies in Washington.

1st place medal

Along with topping The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey, USAA received a score of 879 (out of 1,000) in J.D. Power's 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study for the state of Washington.

2nd place medal
State Farm

State Farm received second place in this region with a score of 844 on J.D. Power's 2021 Auto Satisfaction Study. This carrier also received 4.4 stars out of 5 on The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey.

3rd place medal
PEMCO Insurance

PEMCO Insurance placed third in this region with a score of 835 in J.D. Power's 2021 Auto Insurance Study.

Key takeaways
  • Washington drivers pay about 20% less for car insurance on average
  • The cheapest major car insurance company is PEMCO

The cheapest car insurance companies in Washington

These companies offer the cheapest rates in the following scenarios.

Cheapest full coverage insurance — PEMCO

The cheapest rates are from PEMCO at $962 annually or $80 per month.

medal for most affordable
Cheapest for minimum liability — PEMCO

For the minimum required coverage in Washington, PEMCO was also the cheapest on average.

Most affordable medal
Cheapest for DUI and at-fault accident — PEMCO

If you have a DUI or at-fault accident on your record, check out PEMCO for the most affordable average rates.

Company Avg. Annual Premium
PEMCO $962
USAA $1,192
Nationwide $1,392
Progressive $1,481
State Farm $1,564
Farmers $1,695
GEICO $1,870
Allstate $2,417

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool data methodology

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool for home and auto insurance rates utilizes the latest ZIP code-level rate filings from across the U.S., sourced from Quadrant Information Services and S&P Global. These filings, typically updated annually or biennially by insurers, are verified through Quadrant’s QA process and then integrated into The Zebra’s estimator.

The displayed rates are based on a dynamic home and auto profile designed to reflect the content of the page. This profile is tailored to match specific factors such as age, location, and coverage level, which are adjusted based on the page content to show how these variables can impact premiums.

For a comprehensive understanding, see our detailed methodology.

Washington auto insurance laws

Car insurance is mandatory in almost every state, including Washington. If you choose the legal minimum coverage level in Washington, expect to pay an average of $519 annually. This expenditure is less expensive than the nationwide average by 66%.

State minimum coverage

In order to drive legally in the state of Washington, you must carry at least the minimum liability limits listed below:

  • Bodily Injury: $25,000 per person
  • Bodily Injury: $50,000 per accident
  • Property Damage: $10,000 per accident

Optional coverage in Washington (varies by carrier):

  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Loan/Lease Payoff
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
  • Rental Car Reimbursement
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
car with blue windshield

If you opt for better coverage, you can choose a policy with comprehensive and collision, which will protect against the costs of car accidents, theft, vandalism or weather incidents. But better coverage comes with a cost: in Washington, a comprehensive insurance policy with a $1,000 deductible costs $1,141, 120% more than liability-only car insurance. For a comprehensive policy with a $500 deductible, expect to pay 155% more than you would for basic coverage.

The Zebra's guide to Washington car insurance laws

Learn more about car insurance requirements in the state of Washington with our helpful guide.

Compare car insurance rates from the best companies in Washington.

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Washington car insurance premiums by rating factor

Your rates are determined by a number of individual factors, including your coverage level, driving history, location and more. Explore average premium costs by rating factor below to get a better sense of how much you should be paying for auto insurance in Washington.

Cheap auto insurance in Washington for minimum coverage

Forgoing full coverage for liability-only at the state minimum level will make your car insurance significantly lower. In Washington, the average cost for minimum coverage is $43 per month, or $519 yearly — a savings of $802 compared to full coverage.

Company Avg. Annual Premium
PEMCO $338
USAA $441
Progressive $666
Nationwide $732
State Farm $740
GEICO $755
Farmers $830
Allstate $980

Cheap auto insurance in Washington with bad credit

While most states use your credit history in the underwriting process, Washington temporarily banned the practice. However, the state has since gone back to allowing credit as a rating factor. 

Bad credit can have a sizeable impact on your car insurance premiums. Those with poor credit should compare rates from multiple different car insurance companies to get the best rates.

Cheap auto insurance in Washington with an at-fault accident

Your driving history plays a big part in how much you pay. Insurance companies look for previous accidents for which you have been at fault to gauge the level of risk you pose as a customer. An at-fault accident in recent years could see your car insurance rates increase by as much as $699 per year.

Safe driver discounts

In addition to having a cheaper premium, some companies offer a safe driving discount. While the amount varies based on your company, it can range between 5 and 10%.

Company Avg. Annual Premium
PEMCO $1,211
USAA $1,642
State Farm $2,031
Nationwide $2,110
Farmers $2,268
Progressive $2,577
GEICO $2,628
Allstate $3,238

Cheap auto insurance for young drivers in Washington

Young drivers — aged between 16 and 25 — pay very high car insurance rates, with those aged 16 to 19 paying the most expensive premiums of all. Because of the risk presented by inexperienced drivers, teen drivers pay more than three times the national average for car insurance. In Washington, teen drivers pay especially high rates: $4,384 per year — $2,855 more than the nationwide average and over three times as much as a typical Washington driver.

Company Avg. Annual Premium
PEMCO $2,804
Nationwide $4,407
USAA $4,456
GEICO $4,816
Farmers $4,821
State Farm $5,400
Progressive $5,986
Allstate $7,088

Washington auto insurance rate by violation

In Washington, a bad driving record will cause your rates to skyrocket. If you receive a ticket or citation, your auto insurance premiums will probably rise. How much depends on the violation, your insurer's pricing standards, and differing local insurance regulations and risks. That's why tickets may have a different impact on insurance in your state compared to the national average.

See below average auto insurance rates in Washington after a few common citations.

Accident/Violation Avg. Annual Premium % Rate Increase $ Rate Increase
None $1,819 0% $0
One Med/PIP claim $1,824 0% $4
Not-at-fault accident $1,867 3% $48
Two Med/PIP claims $1,877 3% $58
One comp claim $1,890 4% $70
Two comp claims $1,959 8% $140
Child safety restraint $2,124 17% $305
Driving without lights $2,137 17% $318
Failure to show documents $2,158 19% $338
Failure to wear a seat belt $2,187 20% $368
Speeding 6 - 10 MPH over limit $2,190 20% $371
Speeding 16 - 20 MPH over limit $2,191 20% $371
Speeding 11 - 15 MPH over limit $2,191 20% $371
Driving too slowly $2,208 21% $389
Driving with expired registration $2,209 21% $389
Improper passing $2,239 23% $420
Failure to yield $2,243 23% $424
Illegal turn $2,243 23% $424
Wrong way/wrong lane $2,246 23% $427
Failure to stop at a red light $2,251 24% $432
Cell phone violation $2,253 24% $433
Following too closely $2,258 24% $438
Texting while driving $2,261 24% $441
Speeding in school zone $2,345 29% $526
Passing school bus $2,350 29% $531
Open container $2,363 30% $544
Speeding 21 - 25 MPH over limit $2,373 30% $554
At-fault accident - less than $1000 $2,390 31% $570
In 65 MPH zone $2,504 38% $685
At-fault accident - $1000-$2000 $2,560 41% $740
At-fault accident - greater than $2000 $2,571 41% $752
Operating a vehicle without permission $2,595 43% $776
Refusal to submit to a chemical test $3,103 71% $1,284
Reckless driving $3,158 74% $1,338
DUI $3,167 74% $1,348
Driving with a suspended license $3,170 74% $1,350
Racing $3,307 82% $1,487
Leaving scene of an accident/hit and run $3,322 83% $1,503

Washington DUI laws

In Washington, a DUI offense can increase your annual car insurance premium by an average of 74%, or over $1,300. Finding affordable auto insurance in the wake of a DUI violation isn’t simple. In fact, a DUI often brings about a bigger premium increase than any single road violation — more than an at-fault accident or reckless driving.

Low-cost car insurance after a DUI in Washington

If you're convicted of a DUI violation in Washington, it’s key to mull over each of your insurance choices carefully. Auto insurance premiums following a DUI can vary substantially by insurer. For example, the least expensive car insurance company with a DUI in Washington, PEMCO, advertises annual rates 56% less than the statewide average insurance rate with a DUI. The second-cheapest insurer for auto insurance after a DUI in Washington is Progressive, while the priciest firm is GEICO, with prices 1% above average.

Company Avg. Annual Premium
PEMCO $1,403
Progressive $1,798
Farmers $2,102
State Farm $2,407
USAA $2,615
Nationwide $2,659
Allstate $3,117
GEICO $3,200

There is no car insurer in particular that offers cheap DUI auto insurance. The recommended way to save in the wake of a DUI citation is to shop around.

Washington SR-22 insurance

An SR-22 is a routine legal requirement triggered by a violation such as a DUI conviction, a ticket for driving without insurance, an at-fault collision, driving with a suspended license or accumulating too many points on your license. It is not a type of insurance policy, but a form issued by your insurance company with the state of Washington to ensure that you remain insured.

Finding cheap auto insurance with an SR-22 in Washington might require some research, but it could pay off in the end.


How to acquire an SR-22 in Washington 

For currently insured drivers

If you already have auto insurance, getting an SR-22 certificate is straightforward. Contact your car insurance company and ask the company to file an SR-22 request for you. If your insurer isn’t willing to file a request, you'll need to look for a new insurer.


For uninsured drivers

When filing for a new policy, you might be saddled with an up-front fee to have your prospective insurer file an SR-22 request for you and to cover your high-risk driving profile. Needing an SR-22 might disqualify you from purchasing insurance from some companies, while others would be happy to sell you a policy.


For drivers without a vehicle

Not owning a vehicle makes it more difficult to obtain an SR-22, as you will need to furnish proof of insurance to receive the certificate. In this scenario, purchase a non-owners car insurance policy before filing an SR-22 request. Non-owners auto insurance is typically less expensive than traditional coverage since it doesn't protect against material damage to your vehicle.

Find an affordable policy in Washington in minutes!

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Rates by city

Car insurance companies calculate your rate based on many factors, the location of the vehicle being an important one. The cheapest car insurance is found in Anacortes, Washington, and the most expensive in Boulevard Park.

Have a look at the table below to see average car insurance costs in some of Washington's biggest cities.

City Avg. Annual Premium
Spokane $1,757
Vancouver $1,899
Bellevue $1,954
Seattle $2,157
Tacoma $2,201

Car insurance price trends in Washington

In Washington, average annual auto insurance costs increased by $15 in the past year. A typical Washington driver pays an average of $1,224 per year.

The recent pricing trend in Washington has been relatively steady over the last few years but still remains lower than the national average. The steepest decrease occurred from 2017 to 2018, while the highest surge took place from 2016 to 2017. At the same time, car insurance rates across the United States have stayed relatively steady in the past few years, moving from $1,521 in 2018 to $1,529 in 2021.

Year Avg. Annual Premium — Washington Yearly Change — Washington Avg. Annual Premium — US Yearly Change — US
2021 $1,224 $15 $1,529 $46
2020 $1,209 -$151 $1,483 -$61
2019 $1,360 $104 $1,544 $23
2018 $1,256 -$540 $1,521 $84
2017 $1,796 $234 $1,437 $69
2016 $1,562 -$323 $1,368 $88
2015 $1,885 $216 $1,280 $51
2014 $1,669 $155 $1,229 $34
2013 $1,514 -$63 $1,195 -$80
2012 $1,577 $323 $1,276 $82

If your rates are rising faster than the average in your state, compare quotes and find a better deal. The Zebra's car insurance comparison engine furnishes quotes based on your specific profile — enter your ZIP below to get started.

Washington car insurance FAQs

Below you'll find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding Washington auto insurance.

For our average user profile, PEMCO offers the cheapest rate ($481) for a six-month policy or $80 per month. USAA is the next cheapest ($596) for a six-month policy, or $99 per month.

Drivers in Washington pay $612 for a six-month full coverage policy. For drivers who only want the minimum amount of coverage to remain road-legal, rates are lowered to $260 for a six-month policy.

Premiums in Washington are 20% cheaper than the national average. If you're looking to lower your premium, use our comparison tool to view different options side-by-side.

Save money on your next car insurance policy!

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.