Washington state car insurance laws provide a platform for you to be able to pay for damages or injuries following a car accident. Read and learn more about Washington car insurance laws, rates, programs and discounts.
Car Insurance Requirements
For you to fulfill a mandatory Washington auto insurance law, you need to carry a liability insurance to cater for injuries and damages following a car accident that you caused. The following minimums must be contained in your liability car insurance:
- $25,000 for death or injuries per person
- $10,000 for property damage
- $50,000 total for death or injuries per accident.
Optional Car insurance
Besides the Washington auto insurance laws that only require you to have liability auto insurance coverage, several other optional coverage types that can help protect you further financially do exist. Various types of optional coverage are offered by Most of the Washington car insurance companies as shown below:
- Collision – Covers accident-related damages to your car
- Comprehensive – Covers non-collision related damages to your car, i.e. those resulting from theft or vandalism.
- Underinsured/ Uninsured motorist – Pays for your own injuries or damages to property when you’re involved in a car accident driven by a driver whose insurance is insufficient to cover your costs or simply uninsured driver.
Personal Injury Protection
PIP will help pay: Loss of income Medical costs Funeral expenses. Though you’re not required to carry PIP in Washington, the car insurance companies are ought to offer PIP to you.
Washington Proof of Insurance
Car insurance status in Washington is monitored by officials via traffic stops. If you are pulled over by a police officer, then you need to show your proof of insurance upon request. Car insurance cards must include:
- Year, make and model of your car
- Expiration date of your policy
- The name of your car insurance company
- Your policy number.
Every time you buy a new policy or renew your policy, you’ll be issued an insurance card. So, be sure to carry your most current card with you.
Insurance Violations and Penalties
You’ll be subjected to a fine if you’re caught without your proof of insurance. But if you did have a valid insurance policy during a traffic stop but you didn’t show it to the policy, you might have to show it before the court and have your charges removed; though, you’ll have to pay $25 for court proceedings. If you are found guilty of driving without car insurance, you’ll have to pay a minimum of $450.
Washington Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Finding car insurance companies for drivers considered high-risk due to past traffic violations or accidents may be difficult because companies may fear to cover them. They’ll have to take extra steps to comply with Washington auto insurance laws.
Washington Automobile Insurance Plan
Though it’s a right for drivers to be Insured, Washington car insurance companies do also have a right not to insure drivers considered to be high-risk. If you have difficulties in finding car insurance carrier, you need to apply for coverage via Washington auto insurance plan. Through this plan, Washington car insurance companies share all the risks of covering drivers considered high-risk.
SR-22 in Washington
Committing certain violations might require you to file proof of financial responsibility, SR-22 certificate (also known as referred to as SR22 insurance). The following is what might make you file an SR-22:
- If your driver’s license is suspended
- If you have been convicted of certain offenses
- If you failed to pay judgment fines
- If you drove or owned a car involved in an accident.
Generally, you must maintain your SR-22 filing for a period of 3 years. Most of insurance providers file SR-22s for their clients; but there are others who don’t offer these services.
Car Insurance Regulation
Car insurance can be complex, so Washington has various programs to help consumers deal with various car insurance issues.
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) is there to help you if you have a question or concern about your insurance policy or provider. The OIC can:
- Help you communicate with your insurance company effectively
- Help you to understand your policy
- Help you determine whether your insurance company violated the terms of your policy or not
- Help to Review a complaint and facilitate a resolution
- Recommend programs or places that can better help you.
The OIC cannot:
- Make medical judgments
- Give you legal advice
- Determine a falter in a car accident
- Establish the facts in a case
- Determine the value of a claim.
Car Insurance Fraud
Common forms of Washington car insurance frauds include:
- Falsifying property damage
- Falsifying injuries
- Staging car accidents.
You can report suspect insurance fraud to the OIC by filling out their online form.
Determining Your Insurance Rates
The following factors will be considered by various car insurance companies when shopping for car insurance so as to determine your rates:
- Driving record
- Credit history
- History of insurance claims
- Your car’s Make, Model and Year
- Marital status.
Washington Car Insurance Discounts
The following discounts are offered by most of Washington car insurance companies:
- Good driver
- Safety device
- Defensive driver course (Available to drivers 55 years old and older)
- Good student
- Anti-theft device.
Most Stolen Cars in Washington
Those owning cars considered to be the most targeted for theft will have to pay more car insurance rates. According to www.nicb.org, the following is a list of Washington’s most stolen cars in 2013:
- Acura Integra
- Toyota Camry
- Honda Accord and Honda Civic
- Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
- Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
- Subaru Legacy
- Ford Pickup (Full Size)
- Nissan Sentra
- Chevrolet Pickup (Small Size).