Washington Car Insurance Laws—All You Need to Know

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  • Requirements
  • Liability coverage
  • Limits
  • Is minimum enough?
  • Penalties
  • Optional coverage
  • Where to buy
  • FAQs
Washington law mandates all drivers to have liability insurance. The state-mandated limits for minimum liability coverage in Washington follow a 25/50/10 pattern: $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident, and $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident.
Driving without insurance is illegal in Washington state, and the penalty for doing so is a fine of up to $550.
The car insurance comparison app Jerry has put together a guide for everything you need to know about car insurance requirements in Washington. Jerry helps you find the cheapest rates on your car insurance by automating the comparison shopping process—this means less work and more savings for you!
Here’s everything you need to do about car insurance mandates in Washington.
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Car insurance requirements in Washington

This is a brief summary of the minimum car insurance limits for Washington:
Minimum Liability Coverage: 25/50/10
$25,000 bodily injury per person
$50,000 bodily injury per accident
$10,000 property damage per accident
Key Takeaway Washington drivers must hold liability coverage following a 25/50/10 pattern.

What is liability coverage?

Liability coverage covers the medical expenses and property damage of others when you are at fault in an accident.
This might include expenses like another driver’s hospital bills or repairs for a dented car door. Liability coverage does not cover your own medical expenses or property damages.

State-mandated car insurance limits

A car insurance “limit” is the maximum amount of coverage your provider will give you in a particular coverage category. A state-mandated car insurance limit is a legally required minimum that you must have with your insurance provider.

State-mandated limits for liability coverage in Washington

Drivers requiring auto insurance in Washington must have liability coverage that follows a 25/50/10 pattern.
Here is a more detailed explanation of what these limits mean:
  • $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person: This is the most that your insurance provider will contribute to bodily injury coverage per person in an accident where you are at fault.
  • $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident: Your insurance provider will contribute no more than $50,000 in bodily injury coverage in total per accident in an accident where you are at fault.
  • $10,000 in property damage liability per accident: This means that your insurance provider will contribute no more than $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident in an accident where you are at fault.
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Do Washington’s required insurance minimums provide enough coverage?

Washington’s minimum requirements for car insurance are, for the most part, on par with other states, but this does not mean that they are enough to adequately cover you.
If you cause a bad collision, liability limits can be hit very quickly—especially if you injure multiple people or damage a very expensive vehicle.
You are best off purchasing higher limits for your liability insurance (for instance, you could purchase liability limits that follow a 50/100/50 pattern). You can also purchase additional forms of car insurance.
Read on to learn about optional car insurance coverage in Washington.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Washington

The penalty for driving without proof of insurance in Washington is a fine of up to $550.
On top of this, remember that driving without insurance is incredibly risky and being liable for damages in a collision you cause without insurance can be financially detrimental.
Key Takeaway It is illegal to drive without insurance in Washington, and the penalty for doing so is a fine of up to $550.

Optional auto insurance coverage in Washington

On top of purchasing higher limits for your liability coverage in Washington, it’s a good idea to look into additional forms of car insurance coverage. Here are some of the most popular coverage options that are available through most providers.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage covers your own medical expenses if you are the victim of a collision with an at-fault driver who doesn’t have insurance.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage can cover the costs of physical damages to your vehicle that are not the result of a collision (such as vandalism).
  • Collision coverage: Collision coverage can help you cover the cost of repairs for your vehicle after a collision with another vehicle or fixed object.
  • Medical payments (MedPay) insurance: MedPay covers the cost of medical bills or funeral expenses that are the result of a collision.
  • Roadside assistance: Roadside assistance helps with things like fixing flats, towing, or jumping batteries. The type of coverage will vary among policies and companies.
  • Rental car reimbursement: Rental car reimbursement will cover the cost of a rental vehicle if you are unable to drive your car.

Where to buy car insurance in Washington

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FAQs

Is car insurance mandatory in Washington state?

Yes. All drivers in Washington must have liability coverage following a 25/50/10 pattern: $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident, and $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident.
The penalty for driving without proof of insurance in Washington is a fine of up to $550.

Does insurance follow the car or the driver in Washington?

Insurance typically follows the car in Washington. Bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage always follow the car in Washington.
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