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Washington state car insurance laws are written to make sure you are able to pay for injuries or damages after a car accident.
Read more to learn about WA car insurance laws, programs, rates, and discounts.
Car Insurance Requirements
To fulfill Washington's mandatory auto insurance law, you must carry liability insurance to help pay for property damage or injuries resulting from a car accident that you cause.
Your liability car insurance must have the following minimums:
- $25, 000 for injuries or death per person.
- $50, 000 total for injuries or death per accident.
- $10, 000 for property damage.
Optional Car insurance
While Washington auto insurance laws only require you to have liability auto insurance coverage, there are several optional coverage types that can help further protect you financially.
Most WA car insurance companies offer the following types of optional coverage:
- Collision – Helps cover accident-related damages to your car.
- Comprehensive – Helps cover non-collision related damages to your car, such as those resulting from theft or vandalism.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist – Helps pay for your own injuries or property damage if you are involved in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver or a driver whose insurance is insufficient to cover your costs.
NOTE: As part of your loan or lease agreement, you may be required to purchase collision and comprehensive coverages for your financed or leased car.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal injury protection (PIP), or no-fault car insurance, will help pay for certain costs after a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident.
PIP will help pay for your:
- Medical costs.
- Loss of income.
- Funeral expenses.
While you are not required to carry PIP in Washington, car insurance companies are required to offer PIP to you.
If you decide to reject the PIP option, you must do so in writing.
Washington Proof of Insurance
Washington officials mainly monitor car insurance status via traffic stops.
If you are pulled over by a police officer, you are required to show your proof of insurance upon request.
Your insurance card, issued to you by your insurance carrier, acts as your proof of insurance.
Car insurance cards must include:
- The name of your car insurance company.
- Your policy number.
- Effective date of your policy.
- Expiration date of your policy.
- Year, make, model of your car.
You will be issued an insurance card every time you buy a new policy or renew your policy. Make sure to carry your most current card with you.
Insurance Violations and Penalties
If you are caught without your proof of insurance, you are subject to a fine.
If you had a valid insurance policy at the time of a traffic stop but were unable to show your insurance card, you may present the court with proof that you were insured at the time of the violation before your court date to have your charges removed. You may still have to pay a court-processing fee of $25.
If you are caught driving without car insurance, you face a minimum fine of $450.
WA Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Drivers who are considered high-risk because of past traffic violations or accidents may have a difficult time finding car insurance companies willing to cover them, and may have to take extra steps to comply with Washington auto insurance laws.
Washington Automobile Insurance Plan
While all drivers must be insured, Washington car insurance companies do have the right to deny coverage to drivers they feel are high-risk.
If you are unable to find a car insurance carrier, you may apply for coverage through the Washington Automobile Insurance Plan.
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