Washington Car Insurance Requirements

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Sep 24, 2020

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Car insurance laws in Washington require drivers to maintain minimum bodily injury coverage of $25,000 up to a total of $50,000 per accident and a minimum property damage liability coverage of $10,000. This requirement is also known as 25/50/10.

Similar to Wisconsin and California, the state of Washington follows a tort system which effectively means that in the event of an accident, someone will be held to be at fault. Once the driver who is found at fault is determined, they will be held liable for the expenses related to the accident.

Required Coverage

All personal vehicles in Wisconsin require the following liability coverage requirements:

  • Bodily Injury
  • Property Damage
Minimum Washington Car Insurance Requirements
Bodily Injury Liability $25,000 / $50,000 Limit
Property Damage Liability $10,000 Limit

Additional insurance coverage can include:

  • Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage
  • Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

Uninsured / underinsured coverage protects you against a driver who is found at fault in the accident but does not have enough or any insurance coverage. It helps pay for damages incurred by the uninsured or underinsured driver.

Collision and comprehensive can cover what’s not covered with your basic insurance plan. Collision is used to pay for repairs to your vehicle after and accident and comprehensive insurance
basically covers any related damages or losses for incidents that aren’t collision-related. These can include the theft of your vehicle, fire damage, etc. Even if your vehicle isn’t on the list of most stolen vehicles in Washington, comprehensive insurance is strongly recommended.

Proof of Insurance and Financial Responsibility

Establishing proof of insurance and financial responsibility

  • Get a standard liability car insurance policy
  • If you (or your company) have 26 or more vehicles, you can qualify for to become self insured. You will need to contact the Washington Department of Licensing for more information.
  • Obtain a certificate of deposit with a bank set up for the state of Washington or the State Treasurer’s office for at least $60,000.
  • Post a liability bond for $60,000 from an insurance company licensed to do business in Washington

There are some vehicles that do not require the mandatory insurance:

  • Motorcycles
  • Motor driven cycles
  • Mopeds
  • Antique cars
  • Collector car that is more than 30 years old
  • State or publicly owned vehicle
  • Common or contract carrier with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

Required Documentation

  • Insurance ID card provided by your insurance company
  • Self insurance certificate
  • Certificate of deposit with the certificate number and name of the driver covered
  • Liability bod with the name of issuing company, bond number and name of the driver covered

You must maintain proof of insurance and financial responsibility and present it:

  • When asked by a police officer
  • Anytime you operate an insurable vehicle

Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility Penalties

If you are unable to show proof of insurance when asked, it will be presumed that you don’t have the necessary insurance coverage which is a traffic infraction that carries a minimum fine of $450.

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