Washington Car Insurance Laws

State of Washington with blue background
Motorists in Washington must be able to provide proof of financial responsibility before being legally allowed to drive. According to the State Office of the Insurance Commissioner there are multiple ways of accomplishing this. The majority of vehicle owners choose to purchase liability auto coverage with minimum limits equal to $25,000 for bodily injury or death of a single person with $50,000 per accident, and $20,000 for property damage. This form of protection is designed to pay for property damages or bodily injury caused by the policyholder while operating a motor vehicle.

Vehicle owners in Washington may also make a certificate of deposit of $60,000 in either cash or securities to the State Treasurer, or obtain a liability bond in the amount of the required limits. No matter how an individual fulfills the state's financial responsibility requirements, drivers must be able to provide proof of insurance if stopped by an officer of the law or risk a fine of up to $450 and the potential of additional fines being added through the courts for various reasons. If a vehicle owner has purchased an automobile protection plan, the policy provider is required by law to supply the insured with documentation stating the name of the company, policy number, policy effective and expiration dates, and a description of the vehicle and/or the name of the insured driver.

It may be difficult for high-risk drivers in need of Washington auto insurance to locate a company willing to provide coverage because of the increased likelihood of filing a claim in the future. These motorists are typically referred to as non-standard drivers, and although there are insurers available that cater specifically to such motorists, finding a suitable policy may still be difficult. If a vehicle owner is unable to locate a vehicle protection plan because of a poor driving record, a history of claims, or lack of driving experience, residents are given the option of utilizing the Automobile Insurance Plan. This program was created over 55 years ago by the Washington State Legislature in order to provide coverage to drivers who would otherwise be unable to locate a policy. In order to qualify drivers must be a resident of WA or a member of the United States military, have a valid driver's license, and be free of any debts with previous vehicle insurers.
Silhouette of the state of Washington
Fortunately, there are various avenues that can be utilized by Washington's motorists to help locate the most affordable car insurance for their specific situation. By taking the time to comparison shop and choosing a carrier and policy carefully a driver should be able to comply with the state's financial responsibility laws.