Washington Car Insurance Guide
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Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Attorneyhttps://www.carinsurance.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/jeffrey-johnson.jpg

UPDATED: Feb 28, 2020

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

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Washington
Washington Statistic Summary
Road Miles 80,338
Registered Vehicles 6,489,082
State Population 7,535,591
Percentage of
Uninsured Motorists
17.4%
Driving Deaths Speeding: 172 Drunk Driving: 178
Average Premiums Annually
Liability: $596.67 Collision: $265.74 Comprehensive: $106.38
Cheapest Provider: Provider Allied

Washingtonians have some of the best sightseeing to do in the nation. With so many destinations and activities to visit in Washington — from hiking Mount Rainier, surfing in Half Moon Bay, rowing the Wenatchee, or climbing Frenchman Coulee — you have a nearly endless stream of year-round fun.

To get to all those places, however, you’re probably going to need a car. And with a car comes insurance. While finding the best deal (let alone truly understanding all the add-ons, coverage options, and laws) can seem daunting, we’re here to help you.

In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know when it comes to car insurance. By the end, you’ll be set to hit the roads with confidence (and hopefully some extra cash).

So let’s get started! And if you want to get right to comparing quotes and saving money, enter your ZIP code above.

Table of Contents

Washington Car Insurance Coverage & Rates

Before we dive into the factors that affect your rates and which companies rank the highest, let’s go over some basics.

Washington’s Car Culture

Subarus reign supreme in Washington. With so much outdoor terrain to explore, these cars make a perfect fit for comfort, safety, and adventure. If they aren’t using all-wheel-drive to drive through rugged terrain, Washingtonians are likely lowering their carbon footprint and hitting the roads in electric cars.

Survey data showed one out of 10 car owners in Seattle and Spokane own a Subaru. That’s a considerable increase compared to the national average of one out of every 35.

Washingtonians care so much for the planet, they set a goal to get 50,000 electric cars on the road by 2020. Residents reached the halfway point in June 2017, showing a 36 percent increase from the prior year.

The effort put Washington into the number-one spot for electric car motorists nationwide.

Regardless of what you drive, you’re going to need to meet the state’s minimum car insurance requirements. Let’s take a look.

Washington Minimum Coverage

Liability insurance covers a minimum of damages if you cause an accident.

INSURANCE REQUIREDLIMITS
Bodily Injury Coverage$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
Property Damage Coverage$10,000

Washington is a “comparative fault” state, meaning if an accident is your fault, you’re responsible for all damages unless a judge rules both parties share responsibility.

Washington requires that you carry the following amounts:

  • $25,000 – covers bodily injury or death per person
  • $50,000 – covers bodily injuries or death per accident
  • $10,000 – covers property damage per accident

Remember, these are minimum requirements and do not cover injury, death, or damage to yourself or your passengers. If you want to make sure you are covered for those, you’ll need additional coverages we’ll discuss later on.

Forms of Financial Responsibility

If you own a registered vehicle in Washington and choose not to get liability auto insurance, you will be required to have one of the following forms of financial responsibility:

Liability bonds are a line of credit paid for by an annual premium. In case of a liability claim, you may borrow any required sum of money from your bond; however, drivers are expected to reimburse the surety company for any losses sustained due to your actions.

Now you know how much liability insurance you should carry, but much does the average Washingtonian spend on auto insurance? In the section, we’ll help fill in the details.

Premiums as a Percentage of Income

Washington boasts the eleventh-highest average annual disposable income in America — $45,143. Some more good news: even with this increased income, average insurance premiums are roughly on par with the national average, at $952.10

PERCENTAGE OF INCOME201420132012
Washington2.11%2.13%2.07%
US Average2.40%2.43%2.34%

As you can see, the is consistently ~0.3 percent beneath the national average. That means Washingtonians can enjoy using their disposable income outside of the car insurance market. These figures are average numbers. They do not reflect annual income, driving record, or preferred deductibles.

To figure out what percent of your income goes to your car insurance, use our handy (and free) calculator.

CalculatorPro

Core Coverage

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) tracks average rates for each coverage level. The most recently available data is in this next table.

COVERAGE TYPESANNUAL COSTS IN 2015
Liability$596.67
Collision$265.74
Comprehensive$106.38
Combined$968.80

Washington experienced an 8.15 percent increase in average rates from 2011 to 2015, a bit lower than the nationwide increase of 10 percent over the same period.

Add to this slower increase in rates the chance to shop around for quotes, and find a plan to fit your budget and needs. You’ll be looking at serious savings. Stick with us to learn more.

Additional Liability

We’ve discussed the extra liability coverage you may consider purchasing to protect yourself in the event of an accident. The loss ratio is an essential factor in deciding which company will keep you protected.

In short, loss ratio represents the amount of claims companies settle compared to premiums earned through customers’ monthly payments.

If a company’s loss ratio is higher than 100 percent, the company paid more in claims than it earned through premiums. This wouldn’t be a profitable situation for your insurance company and could mean you end up paying more to cover the difference. A loss ratio under 5 means a company isn’t paying out on claims, not a good sign for making sure you’ll get the money needed if the time comes.

LOSS RATIO201320142015
Personal Injury Protection76.6274.1976.77
Medical Payments (Med Pay)139.33124.33127.61
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist74.8976.0076.36

For medical payments, loss ratio has been over 100 percent consistently, meaning insurers in Washington are making losses on Medical Pay coverage.

Another coverage option worth considering in Washington is the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). This protects you if a driver who is not insured or who is underinsured hits you.

As per data from the Insurance Information Institute, around 17.4 percent of motorists in Washington are uninsured. It’s the seventh-ranked state in terms of the number of uninsured motorists.

If you are hit by a motorist who doesn’t have adequate coverage, or no coverage at all, you might end up needing to pay for damages out of pocket, but with UM/UIM coverage, you’re covered by your insurance company for any expenses, even if the driver can’t pay.

Add-Ons, Endorsements, & Riders

To ensure you’re fully protected on the road, you can add on a variety of coverages. Here are some of the most popular:

To add on any of these coverages, talk to your agent. They will help ensure you are set for all your unique needs and cover any associated costs.

From there, your agent applies the necessary coverages to your policy.

Male vs. Female Rates

So, you’re beginning a policy with a new insurance company. You go to your agent, discuss the coverage you want, and poof — your premium appears.

Several factors are taken into account when determining your rates. In this section, we’ll look at the impact of age and gender.

COMPANYMARRIED 35-YEAR OLD FEMALEMARRIED 35-YEAR OLD MALEMARRIED 60-YEAR OLD FEMALEMARRIED 60-YEAR OLD MALESINGLE 17-YEAR OLD FEMALESINGLE 17-YEAR OLD MALESINGLE 25-YEAR OLD FEMALESINGLE 25-YEAR OLD MALE
Allstate F&C$2,076.46$2,054.07$1,919.38$2,011.85$7,306.88$8,456.50$2,206.95$2,292.07
American Family Mutual$1,958.34$1,958.34$1,787.39$1,787.39$7,444.49$10,177.95$1,958.34$2,631.93
Farmers Ins Co of WA$2,106.20$2,160.58$1,928.90$2,179.61$4,781.38$5,126.04$2,651.77$2,761.52
Geico General$1,741.67$1,773.53$1,636.13$1,636.13$3,760.90$4,926.25$2,930.56$2,144.04
First Nat'l Ins Co of America$1,781.98$1,950.41$1,596.99$1,871.63$9,875.56$10,891.02$1,909.10$2,081.18
Allied P&C AXCM$1,379.41$1,410.32$1,282.59$1,334.83$3,703.82$4,511.88$1,642.80$1,773.07
Progressive Direct$1,528.34$1,427.27$1,374.92$1,392.37$7,688.90$8,614.41$1,828.39$1,821.58
State Farm Mutual Auto$1,565.66$1,565.66$1,407.45$1,407.45$4,512.95$5,714.10$1,779.29$2,045.65
USAA$1,133.34$1,118.30$1,090.31$1,091.29$4,883.26$5,777.50$1,433.41$1,569.85

Age plays a huge role in premium costs. Single, 17-year-old drivers pay significantly higher rates than any other age group. This is due to the general understanding that they are riskier, less-experienced motorists. Younger males are charged even higher than their female counterparts because younger males are seen as more dangerous drivers.

If you’re young and looking not to break the bank, Geico and Allied P&C AXCM could be your best bet.

After turning 25, rates stay stable, and other factors become more critical in the calculation of rates.

Cheapest Rates by Zip Code

Where you live also influences rates. In general, drivers living in an urban area are more likely to be in an accident and thus, face higher premiums.

Most Expensive Zip Codes in WashingtonCityAverage by Zip CodeMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
98118SEATTLE$4,079.23American Family$5,926.17Liberty Mutual$5,257.26USAA$2,872.67Nationwide$2,911.83
98108SEATTLE$4,032.13American Family$5,698.95Liberty Mutual$5,084.70USAA$2,820.35Nationwide$2,911.83
98168SEATTLE$3,956.75American Family$5,534.73Liberty Mutual$5,133.20USAA$2,534.97Nationwide$2,796.55
98144SEATTLE$3,947.84American Family$5,269.57Liberty Mutual$4,923.17USAA$2,730.82Nationwide$2,911.83
98106SEATTLE$3,946.95American Family$5,269.57Liberty Mutual$5,121.42USAA$2,781.61Nationwide$2,911.83
98126SEATTLE$3,946.53Liberty Mutual$5,427.31American Family$5,269.57USAA$2,689.39Nationwide$2,911.83
98178SEATTLE$3,918.31American Family$5,260.03Liberty Mutual$5,020.17Nationwide$2,796.55USAA$2,915.44
98404TACOMA$3,907.01Liberty Mutual$5,237.40Allstate$4,925.98Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,877.60
98158SEATTLE$3,898.72American Family$5,534.73Liberty Mutual$5,156.82USAA$2,471.62Nationwide$2,694.23
98444TACOMA$3,875.05Liberty Mutual$5,480.53Allstate$4,797.69Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,744.14
98188SEATTLE$3,869.30American Family$5,534.73Liberty Mutual$5,300.63USAA$2,471.62Nationwide$2,703.77
98447TACOMA$3,857.85Liberty Mutual$5,480.53Allstate$4,797.69Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,744.14
98408TACOMA$3,852.24Liberty Mutual$5,287.27Allstate$4,925.98Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,796.05
98134SEATTLE$3,831.61American Family$5,269.57Liberty Mutual$5,247.71Nationwide$2,575.17GEICO$2,580.97
98136SEATTLE$3,812.97American Family$5,260.03Liberty Mutual$4,990.17USAA$2,654.45State Farm$2,911.32
98146SEATTLE$3,812.22American Family$5,260.03Liberty Mutual$4,800.78USAA$2,694.59Nationwide$2,796.55
98057RENTON$3,790.67American Family$5,260.03Liberty Mutual$5,163.65Nationwide$2,571.50USAA$2,813.89
98409TACOMA$3,787.39Liberty Mutual$5,101.97Allstate$4,598.34Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,808.78
98055RENTON$3,776.55American Family$5,260.03Liberty Mutual$5,163.65Nationwide$2,571.50USAA$2,813.89
98422TACOMA$3,774.49Allstate$4,925.98Liberty Mutual$4,907.14Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,705.65
98023FEDERAL WAY$3,772.89Liberty Mutual$4,827.97American Family$4,646.13Nationwide$2,786.48USAA$2,792.23
98418TACOMA$3,770.43Liberty Mutual$5,287.27Allstate$4,598.34USAA$2,296.38Nationwide$2,620.93
98031KENT$3,768.74Liberty Mutual$4,856.97American Family$4,818.72Nationwide$2,703.77USAA$2,708.12
98166SEATTLE$3,768.14American Family$5,132.10Liberty Mutual$4,964.65USAA$2,549.27Nationwide$2,694.23
98125SEATTLE$3,765.22American Family$5,088.26Liberty Mutual$5,068.33USAA$2,673.53Nationwide$2,705.40

USAA and Nationwide offer the cheapest insurance across almost every zip code. Although these are average rates and your insurance rate will depend on your case, these companies may be worth checking out.

Least Expensive Zip Codes in WashingtonCityAverage by Zip CodesMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
98368PORT TOWNSEND$2,461.54Liberty Mutual$3,312.18American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$1,912.00
98382SEQUIM$2,482.65Liberty Mutual$3,343.26American Family$3,076.05Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$1,821.70
98278OAK HARBOR$2,512.24Liberty Mutual$3,560.47American Family$2,989.30USAA$1,745.19Nationwide$1,891.73
98362PORT ANGELES$2,515.10Liberty Mutual$3,509.95American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$1,986.87
98277OAK HARBOR$2,515.42Liberty Mutual$3,560.47American Family$2,989.30USAA$1,726.12Nationwide$1,891.73
98221ANACORTES$2,528.16Liberty Mutual$3,652.24Allstate$3,111.86USAA$1,711.97Nationwide$1,912.08
98245EASTSOUND$2,528.40Liberty Mutual$3,442.69Allstate$3,070.79Nationwide$1,870.56USAA$1,890.06
98261LOPEZ ISLAND$2,534.30Liberty Mutual$3,423.17Allstate$3,111.86Nationwide$1,870.56USAA$1,890.06
98326CLALLAM BAY$2,535.13Liberty Mutual$3,472.71American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,868.80USAA$1,954.28
98363PORT ANGELES$2,536.42Liberty Mutual$3,598.12American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,868.80USAA$1,954.28
98339PORT HADLOCK$2,540.36Liberty Mutual$3,469.33American Family$3,076.05Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$2,068.16
98250FRIDAY HARBOR$2,541.29Liberty Mutual$3,624.73Allstate$3,111.86USAA$1,765.85Nationwide$1,870.56
98325CHIMACUM$2,546.91Liberty Mutual$3,464.63American Family$3,076.05Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$2,051.90
98239COUPEVILLE$2,547.28Liberty Mutual$3,567.99Progressive$3,000.27Nationwide$1,891.73USAA$1,962.49
98331FORKS$2,548.79Liberty Mutual$3,630.14American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,868.80USAA$1,954.28
98305BEAVER$2,560.25Liberty Mutual$3,718.88American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,868.80USAA$1,954.28
98225BELLINGHAM$2,560.50Liberty Mutual$3,468.06American Family$3,215.37USAA$1,897.96Nationwide$1,937.63
98226BELLINGHAM$2,564.69Liberty Mutual$3,376.85American Family$3,226.63Nationwide$1,937.63USAA$1,998.33
99163PULLMAN$2,567.07Liberty Mutual$3,688.52American Family$3,494.22USAA$1,760.55Nationwide$1,794.51
99136HAY$2,568.28Liberty Mutual$3,688.52American Family$3,310.40Nationwide$1,794.51State Farm$1,952.71
99333HOOPER$2,570.68Liberty Mutual$3,688.52Allstate$3,485.59USAA$1,760.55Nationwide$1,794.51
98857WARDEN$2,571.68Liberty Mutual$3,483.46American Family$3,310.40Nationwide$1,822.61USAA$1,921.87
99111COLFAX$2,575.68Liberty Mutual$3,688.52American Family$3,434.49Nationwide$1,794.51State Farm$1,952.71
98365PORT LUDLOW$2,577.28Liberty Mutual$3,611.58American Family$3,076.05Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$2,051.90
99125ENDICOTT$2,580.52Liberty Mutual$3,688.52American Family$3,434.49Nationwide$1,794.51State Farm$1,952.71

Cheapest Rates by City

Urban areas like Seattle and Spokane tend to have higher rates than towns in rural areas, though in some cases, only a few dollars more per month.

Most Expensive Cities in WashingtonAverage by CityMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
Boulevard Park$3,994.44American Family$5,616.84Liberty Mutual$5,108.95USAA$2,677.66Nationwide$2,854.19
Bryn Mawr-Skyway$3,918.31American Family$5,260.03Liberty Mutual$5,020.17Nationwide$2,796.55USAA$2,915.44
Midland$3,907.01Liberty Mutual$5,237.40Allstate$4,925.98Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,877.60
Parkland$3,875.04Liberty Mutual$5,480.53Allstate$4,797.69Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,744.14
SEATAC$3,869.30American Family$5,534.73Liberty Mutual$5,300.63USAA$2,471.62Nationwide$2,703.77
Renton$3,783.61American Family$5,260.03Liberty Mutual$5,163.65Nationwide$2,571.50USAA$2,813.89
Browns Point$3,774.49Allstate$4,925.98Liberty Mutual$4,907.14Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,705.65
Burien$3,771.66American Family$5,217.39Liberty Mutual$4,889.82USAA$2,571.83Nationwide$2,728.33
Algona$3,750.43Liberty Mutual$5,177.43American Family$4,593.45Nationwide$2,633.52USAA$2,747.15
Federal Way$3,749.88Liberty Mutual$4,761.79American Family$4,603.10Nationwide$2,786.48USAA$2,860.16
Kent$3,726.02Liberty Mutual$4,762.20American Family$4,760.96Nationwide$2,668.65USAA$2,790.43
Seattle$3,724.65American Family$5,076.81Liberty Mutual$5,060.37USAA$2,613.06Nationwide$2,687.32
East Hill-Meridian$3,721.61Liberty Mutual$4,836.29American Family$4,750.66Nationwide$2,637.64USAA$2,674.33
Auburn$3,710.10Liberty Mutual$4,833.42American Family$4,658.57Nationwide$2,633.52USAA$2,773.88
Tacoma$3,707.36Liberty Mutual$4,982.08Allstate$4,662.26Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,647.08
Newcastle$3,706.71Liberty Mutual$4,895.49American Family$4,682.60Nationwide$2,579.34USAA$2,604.43
Seahurst$3,698.19Liberty Mutual$4,964.65Allstate$4,399.28USAA$2,635.41Nationwide$2,694.23
Covington$3,694.80Liberty Mutual$5,028.45American Family$4,673.55Nationwide$2,625.11USAA$2,706.99
Des Moines$3,694.01American Family$5,132.10Liberty Mutual$4,586.21USAA$2,551.88Nationwide$2,703.77
Clover Creek$3,677.71Liberty Mutual$5,138.08Allstate$4,676.26Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,713.67
Milton$3,654.19Allstate$5,160.65Liberty Mutual$4,584.59Nationwide$2,601.58USAA$2,756.13
Pacific$3,650.77American Family$4,721.34Liberty Mutual$4,482.65Nationwide$2,633.52USAA$2,747.15
Waller$3,643.68Allstate$5,002.33Liberty Mutual$4,985.35Nationwide$2,620.93USAA$2,743.96
Fife$3,639.40Allstate$4,925.98Liberty Mutual$4,741.12Nationwide$2,601.58USAA$2,732.13
Lakewood$3,626.43Allstate$4,730.41Liberty Mutual$4,636.39USAA$2,577.37Nationwide$2,620.93

Boulevard Park and Bryn Mawr-Skyway have the highest average premiums in the state, mirroring the national trends.

Least Expensive Cities in WashingtonAverage by CityMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
Port Townsend$2,461.54Liberty Mutual$3,312.18American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$1,912.00
Carlsborg$2,482.64Liberty Mutual$3,343.26American Family$3,076.05Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$1,821.70
Whidbey Island Station$2,512.24Liberty Mutual$3,560.47American Family$2,989.30USAA$1,745.19Nationwide$1,891.73
Oak Harbor$2,515.42Liberty Mutual$3,560.47American Family$2,989.30USAA$1,726.12Nationwide$1,891.73
Port Angeles$2,525.76Liberty Mutual$3,554.04American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,844.45USAA$1,970.58
Anacortes$2,528.16Liberty Mutual$3,652.24Allstate$3,111.86USAA$1,711.97Nationwide$1,912.08
Eastsound$2,528.40Liberty Mutual$3,442.69Allstate$3,070.79Nationwide$1,870.56USAA$1,890.06
Lopez Island$2,534.30Liberty Mutual$3,423.17Allstate$3,111.86Nationwide$1,870.56USAA$1,890.06
Clallam Bay$2,535.12Liberty Mutual$3,472.71American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,868.80USAA$1,954.28
Port Hadlock-Irondale$2,540.36Liberty Mutual$3,469.33American Family$3,076.05Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$2,068.16
Friday Harbor$2,541.29Liberty Mutual$3,624.73Allstate$3,111.86USAA$1,765.85Nationwide$1,870.56
Chimacum$2,546.91Liberty Mutual$3,464.63American Family$3,076.05Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$2,051.90
Coupeville$2,547.28Liberty Mutual$3,567.99Progressive$3,000.27Nationwide$1,891.73USAA$1,962.49
Forks$2,548.79Liberty Mutual$3,630.14American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,868.80USAA$1,954.28
Beaver$2,560.25Liberty Mutual$3,718.88American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,868.80USAA$1,954.28
Hay$2,568.28Liberty Mutual$3,688.52American Family$3,310.40Nationwide$1,794.51State Farm$1,952.71
Bellingham$2,569.25Liberty Mutual$3,407.26American Family$3,219.12Nationwide$1,937.63USAA$1,971.40
Hooper$2,570.67Liberty Mutual$3,688.52Allstate$3,485.59USAA$1,760.55Nationwide$1,794.51
Warden$2,571.68Liberty Mutual$3,483.46American Family$3,310.40Nationwide$1,822.61USAA$1,921.87
Colfax$2,575.68Liberty Mutual$3,688.52American Family$3,434.49Nationwide$1,794.51State Farm$1,952.71
Port Ludlow$2,577.28Liberty Mutual$3,611.58American Family$3,076.05Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$2,051.90
Endicott$2,580.52Liberty Mutual$3,688.52American Family$3,434.49Nationwide$1,794.51State Farm$1,952.71
Marrowstone$2,580.67Liberty Mutual$3,520.43American Family$3,076.05Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$2,068.16
Sekiu$2,586.92Liberty Mutual$3,868.27American Family$3,040.02Nationwide$1,868.80USAA$1,954.28
Quilcene$2,587.08Liberty Mutual$3,885.74American Family$3,076.05Nationwide$1,820.10USAA$2,051.90

Best Washington Car Insurance Companies

You’re probably wondering by this point:

“How do I choose which insurance company is best for me?”

While it can be tempting to go with the cheapest provider, there are some other important things to keep in mind. Considerations such as the financial stability of an insurer, customer satisfaction ratings, credit ratings, and loss ratio should all come into play when making your decision.

But don’t get overwhelmed; we’ll go over everything you need to figure out which insurer best suits your needs.

The Largest Companies’ Financial Rating

The first, and maybe most important, aspect to consider when finalizing which companies to look at is financial strength. You want to be sure your insurer isn’t going under any time soon, leaving you with inadequate coverage and probably a lot of lost money.

Since not everyone has a business degree to analyze the balance sheet of insurance providers, we’ve consulted the financial ratings from A.M. Best Credit Rating. A.M. Best is one of the most reputable credit rating agencies in the insurance industry.

Leading Insurance ProvidersA.M. Best Ratings
State FarmA++
GeicoA++
Liberty MutualA
Allstate InsuranceA+
ProgressiveA+
USAAA++
Farmers InsuranceA
PEMCO Mutual Insurance CoB++
American Family InsuranceA
Hartford Fire & CasualtyA+

A.M. Best assigns ratings in the scale of A++ to D, which rate insurance providers from superior to poor ability to meet insurance obligations in the long term.

Washington car insurance companies are doing incredibly well across the board. The lowest grade (PEMCO Mutual Insurance Co with a B++) is still well above average. So wherever you get your insurance from, you shouldn’t have to worry about your company going under.

Companies with Best Ratings

Customer satisfaction, for many drivers, is their top priority. No one wants to be treated poorly by their insurance company in the event of an accident.

J.D. Power Circle Ratings looks at a wide variety of auto insurance customer satisfaction variables. These ratings cover the northwest region, which is comprised of five states, including Washington.

JD Power Northwest

USAA, PEMCO, and The Hartford have the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the northwest region.

Companies with Most Complaints in Washington

On the other side of things, knowing which companies have the highest complaint rates also matters. This next table looks at the complaint ratio of companies and includes all successful complaints lodged against an insurer.

The complaint ratio is the number of complaints received per 100,000 policies written. A high ratio for a company compared to peers indicate that the quality of service may be less than satisfactory.

Here’s the data for complaints in Washington:

INSURERLOSS RATIOCOMPANY COMPLAINT RATIO 2017
State Farm Group66.82%0.44
Geico73.35%0.68
Liberty Mutual Group66.42%5.95
Allstate Insurance Group55.27%0.5
Progressive Group62.83%0.75
USAA Group79.28%0.74
Farmers Insurance Group59.54%0
PEMCO Mutual Insurance Co66.30%0.14
American Family Insurance Group78.07%0.79
Hartford Fire & Casualty Group73.22%4.68

Just because a company is ahead in the Washington market doesn’t always mean customers are satisfied. If you feel unhappy with the service provided by an insurer, you can complain to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

Cheapest Companies in Washington

While customer service may keep your business, price usually gets you in the door. Each company takes different factors into account when they quote you, and by shopping around, you’ll find the best rates.

COMPANYAVERAGE PREMIUMCOMPARED TO STATE AVERAGE ($2,986.69)
Allstate F&C$3540.52+$553.83
American Family Mutual$3713.02+$726.33
Farmers Ins Co of WA$2962.00-$24.69
Geico$2568.65-$418.04
First Nat'l Ins Co of America$3994.73+$1008.04
Allied P&C$2129.84-$856.85
Progressive$3209.52+$222.83
State Farm$2499.78-$486.91
USAA$2262.16-$724.53

On average, USAA, Allied, and State Farm offer the cheapest policies in Washington.

Commute Rates by Companies

Across Washington insurers, increases in your annual mileage don’t have much impact on premiums. So head to the beautiful Olympic National Park, or wherever your adventures in the Evergreen State take you, without worry.

Insurance Providers10 miles commute/6000 annual mileage25 miles commute/12000 annual mileage
Allstate$3,540.52$3,540.52
American Family$3,636.77$3,789.27
Farmers$2,962.00$2,962.00
Geico$2,536.39$2,600.92
Liberty Mutual$3,994.73$3,994.73
Nationwide$2,129.84$2,129.84
Progressive$3,209.52$3,209.52
State Farm$2,431.07$2,568.48
USAA$2,239.79$2,284.53

While most of the companies don’t show any increase, there is a very slight increase in price with some providers. So if you have a long commute, a policy with Allstate, Progressive, Farmers, or Liberty Mutual might fit best, as they don’t charge any extra for extra miles driven.

Coverage Level Rates by Companies

Many drivers think more coverage means higher rates, and while Washington insurers do tend to charge more for more extensive policies, by shopping around, you can get higher levels and still save a good deal of money.

Here’s a table comparing rates by coverage level across companies.

Insurance ProvidersLowMediumHigh
Allstate$3,340.56$3,529.25$3,751.75
American Family$3,514.54$3,708.11$3,916.41
Farmers$2,760.41$2,963.13$3,162.46
Geico$2,415.05$2,570.26$2,720.65
Liberty Mutual$3,755.57$4,001.80$4,226.82
Nationwide$2,015.38$2,129.08$2,245.06
Progressive$2,916.39$3,128.02$3,584.15
State Farm$2,334.70$2,510.27$2,654.36
USAA$2,119.91$2,260.74$2,405.82

If you want higher coverage, Nationwide and USAA offer the cheapest policies in Washington and could save around $2,000 annually compared to more expensive insurers.

Credit History Rates by Companies

If you received a premium rate in the mail with a high price tag, your credit score might be to blame.

Insurance companies use your credit history to judge your likelihood of making a claim and the ability to pay on time.

The table below compares each company alongside average rates for good, fair, and poor credit scores.

Insurance ProvidersPoorFairGood
Allstate$4,390.41$3,354.12$2,877.04
American Family$4,383.33$3,578.15$3,177.58
Farmers$3,619.24$2,726.81$2,539.95
Geico$3,057.61$2,446.29$2,202.06
Liberty Mutual$5,710.24$3,515.42$2,758.54
Nationwide$2,532.91$1,993.82$1,862.79
Progressive$3,538.50$3,154.29$2,935.78
State Farm$3,631.16$2,177.12$1,691.05
USAA$2,854.97$2,092.36$1,839.15

According to the data, Progressive is the most forgiving if your credit score suddenly plummets.

However, Liberty Mutual’s and State Farm’s rates increase the most and charge folks with poor credit scores the highest rates.

Driving Record Rates by Companies

Expect your premium to increase when the unfortunate happens: a speeding ticket, an accident, or a DUI.

COMPANYCLEAN RECORDWITH 1 SPEEDING VIOLATIONWITH 1 ACCIDENTWITH 1 DUI
Allstate$2,978.15$3,331.86$3,724.36$4,127.71
American Family$2,978.87$3,649.37$3,811.59$4,412.26
Farmers$2,454.67$3,045.19$3,052.21$3,295.93
Geico$1,980.32$1,980.32$2,534.71$3,779.26
Liberty Mutual$3,409.23$3,899.59$4,290.97$4,379.12
Nationwide$1,657.44$1,811.31$2,240.59$2,810.03
Progressive$2,600.49$3,138.85$4,063.71$3,035.03
State Farm$2,273.58$2,499.77$2,726.00$2,499.77
USAA$1,664.33$1,966.78$2,409.13$3,008.40

Rates increase 10-24 percent when you get a speeding ticket, 20-56 percent when you get into an accident, and 10-91 percent when you get a DUI.

In Washington, it looks like Geico and Nationwide are the most lenient when it comes to speeding tickets. However, State Farm and Progressive are the most lenient when it comes to DUIs.

It’s no surprise that, with any company, an accident guarantees a rate increase.

Largest Car Insurance Companies in Washington

The below chart will show which companies write the most in Washington.

Insurance ProvidersDirect Written PremiumsLoss RatioMarket Share
State Farm$867,12166.82%16.75%
Geico$563,54373.35%10.89%
Liberty Mutual$549,85366.42%10.62%
Allstate$485,50855.27%9.38%
Progressive$440,83962.83%8.52%
USAA$406,04879.28%7.85%
Farmers$384,64559.54%7.43%
PEMCO Mutual Insurance Co$287,31366.30%5.55%
American Family Insurance$178,68478.07%3.45%
Hartford Fire & Casualty$127,97973.22%2.47%

State Farm and Geico, two of the largest providers nationwide, hold the most market share in Washington.

Number of Insurers in Washington

Usually, when one hears “foreign,” they automatically think outside of the United States. In the insurance world, “foreign” means a company is based outside of the operating state. So, if the home office is located in Florida, but they are writing in Washington, they are considered foreign. Domestic, meanwhile, are companies based out of, and only operating in, the state.

Type of InsurerNumber
Foreign854
Domestic7

As you can see, there are many more foreign insurers in Washington than there are domestic.

Washington Laws

Before you consider yourself a master of the Evergreen State roadways, you have to know more than just the types of insurance coverage and best car insurance companies. You need a good understanding of state laws related to driving and car insurance to stay safe (and ticket-free) on the road.

Too many drivers end up with skyrocketing premiums after getting ticketed for a violation they weren’t aware existed. With laws changing and getting updated so frequently, it can be hard to keep up. That’s where this section comes in.

Let’s get started!

Car Insurance Laws

Washington enacted a mandatory liability insurance law in 1989 under the authority of the Washington State Department of Licensing.

The law mandates drivers carry liability insurance above the state-mandated minimum levels.

Now, let’s get into a few rules and regulations to keep your drive safe.

Windshield Coverage

In Washington, insurance law does not mandate providers to offer any exclusive coverage for windshield repair or replacement. However, most insurers provide glass protection with comprehensive coverage.

Your insurer may provide aftermarket or used parts as a replacement for a damaged windshield. You can choose to stick with an OEM part, but any difference in cost will have to come out of pocket.

High-Risk Insurance

If you have a poor driving record, you might face difficulties in finding insurance coverage. The Office of the Insurance Commissioner of Washington State recommends you shop around to seek insurance coverage.

However, in the event, you are denied coverage by the voluntary market, you can contact the Automobile Insurance Plan (AIP) to get an insurance provider assigned to you. Premium rates under the AIP are generally higher than the voluntary market, and you will have to submit an SR-22 form with the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL).

An SR-22 form is submitted to the DOL on your behalf by the insurer and proves you have valid liability insurance for a designated period.

To avoid these hassles, stay safe and follow the laws on Washington roads.

Low-Cost Insurance

Currently, Washington doesn’t offer a specific plan for low-cost insurance.

The best bet for cheaper rates, according to the Office of Insurance Commissioner, is to shop around. You can also check out if you qualify for any discounts, here’s a quick tip guide.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in Washington

Insurance fraud can be (and is) committed by any party involved in insurance transactions — applicants, policyholders, providers, or professional service firms and health care providers working on behalf of the needs of claimants.

The insurance industry estimates that from 2013-2017, the annual cost of property and casualty insurance fraud was $30 billion.

Auto insurance fraud includes the filing of the intentionally false claim amounts, staged accidents, submitting claims for accidents that didn’t happen, and providing incorrect information on an insurance application. While it may seem like only companies suffer from fraud, consumers face a lot of the consequences.

Losses from fraud end up passed on to the cost premiums. That means a part of your monthly dues go to covering the false statements of other claimants and companies. Rates can be exceptionally high in zip codes where fraud is more common.

In Washington, per the state legislature, fraudulent claims are considered a gross misdemeanor or a class C felony if the claim amount is more than $1,500.

If you come across a person, provider, or situation that seems fraudulent, you can report to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is the amount of time you have from the time of an accident to bring your lawsuit and claim to court.

Washington permits three years from the date and time of the accident to the filing.

If the driver or a passenger dies after the accident (before the end of the three years), an exception is made. In this case, the statute of limitations timeline starts on the date of death.

Comparative Negligence

Washington is a “pure comparative fault” state. This means if you choose to take an at-fault driver to court, and you are found to be partly responsible for the accident, the amount of damages you recover will be reduced by the percentage that you are at fault.

For example, if the other driver ran a red light, but you turned right on red somewhere it is prohibited, a judge or jury will decide the percentage of fault each driver had in the accident.

Vehicle Licensing Laws

Maintaining a valid license is an essential component of driving throughout the U.S. Let’s find out about Washington’s licensing requirements for various demographics.

REAL ID

The Federal REAL ID Act was passed in 2005 and will come into effect in October 2020. From October 1, 2020, onward, citizens will need a REAL ID-compliant ID to board domestic flights, enter federal buildings, or cross U.S. border crossings.

But what is a REAL ID-compliant ID, and do Washingtonians need an Enhanced Driver’s License?

If you possess any of the following documents, you already in compliance with REAL ID:

  • U.S. Passport
  • Foreign Passport
  • U.S. Military ID
  • Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)

In case you do not have any of the above documents, you should opt into an Enhanced Driver License (EDL). To apply for the EDL, you need to carry this documentation to a nearby Driver Licensing Office.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

If caught driving without insurance, you could be fined upwards of $550. If you cause a collision and cannot cover damages in the absence of liability insurance, you may have your driver’s license suspended.

Aside from the penalties, drivers put themselves in substantial financial risk if they get into an accident without having insurance. If you are at fault, you will be personally responsible for all costs of damages and/or injuries.

Don’t get caught with hundreds or thousands of dollars to pay out of pocket. Compare quotes and find a policy right for you.

Teen Driver Laws

YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING LAWSAGE RESTRICTIONSPASSENGER RESTRICTIONSPASSENGER RESTRICTIONS
Learner's Permit15 and 6 months or 15 with driver's education
Supervised driving and family members only1 a.m. - 5 a.m.
(secondarily enforced)
Provisional License6-month holding period; completion of driver's education if under 18; supervised driving of 50 hours, 10 of which must be at nightFirst 6 months: no passengers under 20
Second 6 months; no more than 3 passengers under 20
(secondarily enforced)
1 a.m. - 5 a.m.
(secondarily enforced)
Full License16; completion of driver's education if under 18; with a violation, must wait until 18Lifted at age 17Lifted after 12 months or age 18 (minimum age 17)

In Washington, just like most other states in the union, teen drivers have to follow some particular rules and jump through some hoops before legally being allowed behind the wheel.

In 2016, 2,433 teenagers between the age of 16 and 19 were killed in motor vehicle accidents, and 292,742 received emergency treatments as a result of injuries.

With such high rates of teen accidents, it’s no wonder rates are so high and lawmakers are more strict when it comes to teenage driving regulations.

Older Driver License Renewal Procedures

Older drivers don’t have to do much extra to get a license renewal in the state of Washington than the general population. Here’s a table of all the requirements:

RENEWAL PROCEDURESGENERAL POPULATIONOLDER POPULATION
License renewal cycle6 years6 years
Mail or online renewal permittedboth, every other renewalnot permitted 70 and older
Proof of adequate vision required at renewalevery renewal70 and older, every renewal

Mostly, the policies are the same. The only difference is that after the age of 70, drivers will need to complete their license renewals in person rather than by mail or online.

New Residents

Welcome to the Evergreen State, new residents. Now that you’re here, soon enough you’ll be enjoying the outdoorsy activities, food capitals, and perfect weather this beautiful state offers.

But, before you hit the roads, you need to sort out your new Washington driver’s license.

The law states as a new resident, you must get a Washington driver’s license within 30 days of the date you became a resident. The good news is that drivers can exchange valid out-of-state licenses for a Washington driver license — no tests needed!

For non-citizens, the licensing process is identical to the described process above.

However, when you head to the Department of Licensing offices, bring along your residency paperwork (including visa, residency status documents, etc.). To apply for a standard Washington driver’s license, drivers need:

  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of Washington residence
  • To pass a written knowledge test and driving test (if you have a medical condition)
  • To pass a vision exam

Not every Department of Licensing offices administers both the written knowledge and driving test.

Rules of the Road

Washington’s driving laws keep you safe and help keep rates at a happy low cost.

Let’s check them out.

Fault vs. No-Fault

As we mentioned above, Washington follows the Pure Comparative Negligence at-fault system. To refresh, what is Pure Comparative Negligence?

In Washington, drivers are only liable to cover their percentage of fault.

The at-fault driver can also recover damages from you in proportion to the percentage of your responsibility for an accident.

Take this example: a driver merges into your lane without indication and hits you – they might be deemed at fault for the accident. Suppose you take this driver to court, and the judge finds you partially responsible due to speeding. Consequently, your accident settlement may be reduced according to the percentage of your fault for the accident.

Seat Belt & Car Seat Laws

Seat belts are vital in keeping passengers safe in case of an accident.

Washington law requires all people 16 or older driving or riding in a car to wear seatbelts. Washington follows primary enforcement for seat belt laws, meaning a police officer can pull you over if they see you or your passengers riding without a seatbelt. The base fine for the first offense is $124.

In early 2019, the child restraint legislation was amended to include the following:

AGETYPE OF SEAT
2 years or youngerRear-facing car seats
4 years or youngerForward-facing child harness seat
4 years and olderOlder than 4 but less 57 inches tall should use booster seats
12 years and olderIf the height is more than 47 inches should use adult seats with lap and shoulder seat belts

If you are looking for a car seat for your child, check out this buying guide from consumer reports:

Keep Right & Move Over Laws

If driving below the average speed of traffic, Washington drivers must keep right unless turning left or passing on the left.

Washington’s move over laws also requires drivers to vacate the lane closest to emergency vehicles and tow trucks.

If unable to move into another lane, drivers must slow down within 200 feet of the vehicle and are not permitted to speed up until 200 feet past the vehicle.

Speed Limits

The maximum posted speed limits in Washington are 70 mph (60 mph for trucks) on rural interstates, 60 mph on urban interstates, 60 mph on limited-access roads, and 60 mph on all other roads.

Certain rural interstates may have 75 mph speed limits posted if based on traffic and engineering studies.

Of course, these are maximums. Please follow all posted speed limits to avoid ticketing.

Ridesharing

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft require all their drivers to maintain personal car insurance policies. These must meet, at the minimum, coverages required by Washington law.

If a driver wishes to obtain special coverage, which can keep them covered when driving for a rideshare service (but without an active passenger in the vehicle), there are five companies to choose from in Washington.

For specialized rideshare coverage, drivers can contact Allstate, Metlife, Metromile, State Farm, and USAA.

Automation on the Road

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “automation is the use of a machine or technology to perform a task or function that was previously carried out by a human. In driving, automation involves using radar, camera, and other sensors to gather information about a vehicle’s surroundings, which is then used by computer programs to perform parts or all of the driving task on a sustained basis.”

Currently, Washington is testing automated vehicles per a June 2017 executive order. Operators are not required to be in the vehicle, but if there is an operator present in the car, they must be licensed and carry liability insurance.

Safety Laws

In this section, we’ll look into laws on distracted and impaired driving and some other pertinent info to stay safe on Washington roadways.

DUI Laws

In Washington, the first through fourth driving-under-the-influence offenses are considered misdemeanors. A fifth violation is regarded as a felony. The lookback period is seven years.

OffensePrison TimeFines
First OffenseJail Time: 1 day
Electronic home monitoring of 15 days or 30 days in 24/7 Sobriety Program
$350 to $5,000
Second OffenseJail Time: 30 days$500 to $5,000
Third OffenseJail Time: 90 days$1,000 to $5,000

Washington is one of 10 states requiring a treatment and/or prevention education program after a first offense.

Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board states that if you are 21 years or older, it is illegal for you to drive with five ng/ml of THC or more.

For drivers 21 years or younger, Washington State has a zero-tolerance policy for driving with any amount of THC in your system.

Because it is difficult to determine your ng/mL based on how high you feel, and THC can stay in your system for hours after consumption, the best way to safely operate a motor vehicle without taking the chance of being issued a DUI is to avoid recreational use of marijuana altogether. Consider public transport or ridesharing services.

For cannabis users who plan to drive, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board provides some guidance: published research says that for some, it can take up to three hours for THC levels to drop below five ng/ml after using marijuana — or longer, depending on body size.

The Board also reports some people may still exhibit impaired behavior with less than five ng/ml of THC in their blood.

The Board encourages marijuana smokers or vapors to wait five hours at least before getting behind the wheel. For those who use marijuana edibles, they recommend waiting 10 hours, because THC can remain in your system much longer.

In a 2014 Washington roadside survey conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation, 44 percent of the drivers reported driving within two hours of using marijuana in the past year.

Distracted Driving Laws

While some state’s distracted driving laws are vague, like “no texting,” others are more specific. Washington has precise laws. Essentially, drivers can receive citations for engaging in any activity not related to the operation of the vehicle if it makes them a dangerous driver.

Drivers are prohibited from holding any personal electronic device or using fingers to interact with a device. One-touch activation of an app or function is the sole exception.

Don’t be tempted to check your email or texts while stopped in traffic or at a traffic light. Effective July 2017, drivers are not permitted to touch devices while stationary on a public highway.

Driving Safely in Washington

Insurers also consider theft and accident data in your locale when calculating premiums. While driving involves inherent risk, knowing about theft and accident data can help you stay safe.

Vehicle Theft in Washington

These are the top 10 stolen cars in Washington:

VehicleTotal Thefts (2016)
Honda Accord3,757
Honda Civic3,113
Ford Pickup (Full Size)745
Acura Integra640
Toyota Camry602
Subaru Legacy599
Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)562
Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee362
Toyota Corolla332
Nissan Sentra296

The most stolen car in Washington is a 1997 Honda Accord.

The following data, sourced from the FBI, shows the number of vehicle thefts in Washington cities in 2018.

CITYMOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Aberdeen61
Airway Heights28
Algona2
Anacortes20
Arlington107
Auburn2653
Bainbridge Island7
Battle Ground23
Bellevue309
Bellingham164
Bingen1
Black Diamond0
Blaine9
Bonney Lake58
Bothell106
Bremerton200
Brier1
Buckley0
Burien3543
Camas36
Carnation36
Castle Rock2
Centralia115
Chehalis32
Cheney23
Chewelah3
Cle Elum3
Clyde Hill2
College Place20
Colville5
Connell1
Cosmopolis1
Covington360
Darrington4
Des Moines242
Dupont5
Duvall3
East Wenatchee14
Eatonville6
Edgewood38
Edmonds71
Ellensburg49
Elma12
Enumclaw24
Ephrata22
Everett938
Everson1
Federal Way944
Ferndale24
Fife161
Fircrest7
Forks2
Gig Harbor23
Gold Bar4
Goldendale7
Grand Coulee13
Grandview28
Granite Falls18
Hoquiam21
Ilwaco5
Issaquah103
Kalama4
Kelso45
Kenmore344
Kennewick189
Kent1,314
Kettle Falls1
Kirkland226
Kittitas0
La Center7
Lacey126
Lake Forest Park23
Lake Stevens80
Lakewood378
Liberty Lake17
Long Beach11
Longview142
Lynden4
Lynnwood180
Mabton6
Maple Valley337
Marysville301
Mattawa11
Medina0
Mercer Island22
Mill Creek45
Milton46
Monroe49
Montesano2
Morton1
Moses Lake85
Mossyrock1
Mountlake Terrace86
Mount Vernon121
Moxee1
Mukilteo49
Napavine6
Newcastle325
Normandy Park17
North Bend9
Oak Harbor27
Oakville0
Ocean Shores2
Odessa1
Olympia204
Oroville0
Orting15
Othello30
Pacific38
Pasco167
Port Angeles55
Port Orchard66
Port Townsend11
Poulsbo27
Prosser16
Pullman10
Puyallup226
Quincy15
Raymond0
Reardan1
Redmond111
Renton881
Richland51
Ridgefield12
Ritzville5
Roy3
Royal City7
Ruston11
Sammamish339
SeaTac3471
Seattle3,630
Sedro Woolley24
Selah10
Sequim11
Shelton46
Shoreline3176
Snohomish50
Snoqualmie9
Soap Lake2
South Bend1
Spokane1,737
Spokane Valley435
Stanwood22
Steilacoom9
Sultan15
Sumas2
Sumner65
Sunnyside52
Tacoma2,086
Tenino3
Toledo0
Toppenish70
Tumwater96
Twisp2
Union Gap39
University Place88
Vancouver1,063
Walla Walla66
Wapato54
Warden17
Washougal18
Wenatchee48
West Richland6
White Salmon4
Winlock3
Winthrop0
Woodinville353
Woodland22
Woodway0
Yakima564
Yelm30
Zillah3

Road Fatalities in Washington

In this section, we will analyze some of the data on driving fatalities in Washington.

Most Fatal Highway in Washington

The Washington section of the I-5 is the busiest and most dangerous in the state. On average, 25 fatal crashes are reported each year. The highway has seen 245 crashes and 258 fatalities in its history.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition & Light Condition

Light and driving conditions can also increase the risk of accidents.

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal
Normal1988888281403
Rain2716171061
Snow/Sleet6451016
Other2370113
Unknown159132443
Total248120130326536

Though some may be surprised that most accidents happen in daylight, this is when the majority of drivers are on the road. In comparison to the percentage of drivers operating vehicles at night, crashes are statistically more likely.

Fatalities (All Crashes) by County

Next, we compare the counties’ fatal crash rates.

County Name20132014201520162017
Adams County5811510
Asotin County00121
Benton County910112215
Chelan County78662
Clallam County646711
Clark County2035242028
Columbia County00100
Cowlitz County1497512
Douglas County27361
Ferry County41242
Franklin County665810
Garfield County02002
Grant County2413171916
Grays Harbor County745710
Island County61955
Jefferson County33822
King County8083109100111
Kitsap County816182117
Kittitas County3381912
Klickitat County84123
Lewis County56141314
Lincoln County12653
Mason County128876
Okanogan County7961011
Pacific County30150
Pend Oreille County54332
Pierce County4248667357
San Juan County01110
Skagit County101114811
Skamania County04832
Snohomish County3233534442
Spokane County3629362641
Stevens County710984
Thurston County1415141719
Wahkiakum County00110
Walla Walla County411752
Whatcom County1815111225
Whitman County44658
Yakima County2435353048

Much like other states, Washington’s largest counties have the highest fatality rates.

Fatalities by Person Type

Here, we look at fatalities broken down by type of person: meaning what kind of vehicle they were driving or if they were a pedestrian.

Person Type20132014201520162017
Passenger Car183177230192190
Light Truck - Pickup5256675463
Light Truck - Utility4246436464
Light Truck - Van1017171925
Large Truck553109
Other/Unknown Occupants94968
Total Occupants301307375348362
Light Truck - Other01133
Bus01500
Total Motorcyclists7369758180
Pedestrian49758483103
Bicyclist and Other Cyclist117141714
Other/Unknown Nonoccupants24376
Total Nonoccupants6286101107123
Total436462551536565

The vast majority of accidents involve a passenger vehicle. Motorcycle fatalities are the second most common, accidents involving pickup trucks following closely behind.

Fatalities by Crash Type

Shockingly, single-car accidents are the second-leading cause of traffic fatalities.

Crash TypeNumber of Fatalities (2017)
Single Vehicle340
Involving a Large Truck77
Involving Speeding172
Involving a Rollover101
Involving a Roadway Departure306
Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)122

Stay vigilant when driving by yourself.

Five-Year Trend For the Top 10 Counties

Unfortunately, the state totals of traffic fatalities have been on a steady rise for the last five years.

County20132014201520162017
King County8083109100111
Pierce County4248667357
Yakima County2435353048
Snohomish County3233534442
Spokane County3629362641
Clark County2035242028
Whatcom County1815111225
Thurston County1415141719
Kitsap County816182117
Grant County2413171916
Top Ten Counties304322386374404
All Other Counties132140165162161
All Counties436462551536565

Some of the more rural counties, like Grant County, have seen a slight decrease over the same period.

Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

Speeding continues to be a problem across the country. See the next table for data on fatalities involving speeding.

County20132014201520162017
Adams11404
Asotin00100
Benton21074
Chelan32210
Clallam01010
Clark1310749
Columbia00100
Cowlitz82134
Douglas12020
Ferry10211
Franklin15141
Garfield00001
Grant61454
Grays Harbor11213
Island10312
Jefferson11100
King3038373041
Kitsap89975
Kittitas11243
Klickitat20011
Lewis31132
Lincoln11010
Mason04151
Okanogan23421
Pacific10020
Pend Oreille52221
Pierce2617221922
San Juan00100
Skagit56313
Skamania02201
Snohomish1713141617
Spokane1075510
Stevens24312
Thurston77765
Wahkiakum00010
Walla Walla03001
Whatcom1244612
Whitman22331
Yakima11118910

King and Pierce Counties, two of the largest in the state have the most speeding fatalities. Generally, across the nation, the more drivers are in an area, the more likely a speeding fatality becomes.

Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County

Here, we look at the rates of alcohol-impaired driver accident fatalities.

County20132014201520162017
Adams00112
Asotin00120
Benton13385
Chelan21120
Clallam22052
Clark910868
Columbia00000
Cowlitz51312
Douglas12021
Ferry21120
Franklin23114
Garfield00001
Grant64575
Grays Harbor21022
Island10302
Jefferson01110
King3127312541
Kitsap44444
Kittitas10422
Klickitat11000
Lewis42424
Lincoln00011
Mason22342
Okanogan26333
Pacific10020
Pend Oreille22221
Pierce2215152621
San Juan01100
Skagit35414
Skamania01501
Snohomish113141310
Spokane101013119
Stevens42223
Thurston23466
Wahkiakum00010
Walla Walla12121
Whatcom44138
Whitman00122
Yakima131471021

Once again, King and Pierce Counties hold the top spot. If you live in a densely populated area take caution when driving on the roads, especially late at night when drunk driving is most common.

Teen Drinking & Driving

In 2017, Washington police arrested 167 teens for driving under the influence. This number grew from 121 arrests in 2016.

Some good news: in 2016, Washington saw 0.7 under-21, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 population.

This is significantly less than the national average of 1.2 deaths per 100,000 population.

Teens and Drunk DrivingData
Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Per 100K Population0.7
Higher/Lower Than National Average (1.2)Lower
DUI Arrest (Under 18 years old)121
Rank in US29th
DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old) Total Per Million People74.26

As the table above shows, compared to other states, Washington ranks 29th in the nation for DUI arrests amongst teens per million. However, fatality rates for teens who drink and drive are slightly higher than the national average.

EMS Response Time

Depending on where an accident happens, EMS arrival times can vary widely.

Type of RoadTime of Crash to NotificationArrivalArrival at Scene to HospitalTime of Crash to Hospital
Rural5 minutes14 minutes45 minutes1 hour, 3 minutes
Urban4 minutes8 minutes33 minutes35 minutes

Like most of the country, rural accidents face longer wait times and arrivals at hospitals.

Transportation in Washington

Chances are, If you live in Washington, you are part of a two-to-three-car household. You also most likely drive alone to work and spend 10-34 minutes commuting.

These next sections all feature data sourced from DataUSA.

Car Ownership

On average, households in Washington owns two cars, on par with the national average.

Commute Time

Washington ranked above the national average commute of 25.3 minutes in 2017, with an average commute time of 26.1 minutes, and 3.01 percent of Washington residents suffer a “super commute,” spending 90 minutes or more in the car.

Commuter Transportation

As per DataUSA, almost 72 percent of commuters in Washington drive alone to work, a bit less than the national average of 76 percent.

Traffic Congestion

As 84 percent of Washington residents live in urban areas, traffic can be tough in the Evergreen State.

Seatle ranked sixth in the U.S. for worst traffic, according to the INRIX Scorecard. Seattle drivers sit in traffic for 138 hours per year — equating to $1,932 annually per driver.

The average speed is just under 22 mph during peak commute hours in Seattle. During off-peak times, the average speed is just over 39 mph.

You did it!

We made it through everything you need to know about driving in Washington. So get out there and enjoy driving safely. If you’re ready to begin comparing rates, click below to get quotes and start saving.

References:

  1. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/washington-car-insurance-requirements.html
  2. https://www.dol.wa.gov/
  3. https://www.dol.wa.gov/forms/210005.pdf
  4. https://www.naic.org/
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  8. http://www.ambest.com/home/default.aspx
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  35. https://newsroom.uw.edu/news/washington-updates-child-car-seat-law-improve-safety
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  37. https://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/laws/driving-automation
  38. https://lcb.wa.gov/mj-education/safety
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  48. http://inrix.com/scorecard/

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