North West Associated Arts

Car Insurance Requirements in Washington State

In order to legally drive a vehicle in the State of Washington, you need to have automobile insurance. This is to protect all drivers on the road if their vehicles are damaged in an accident or if they are injured in an auto accident in Seattle or elsewhere in the state.

In order to legally register a vehicle, you would need to show proof of insurance. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) would require that you show your insurance card, which includes the name of your insurance company; your policy number; the effective and expiration dates of the policy; and the year, make, and model of your vehicle.

Without this information, you would not be allowed to register your vehicle. When it is time to renew your registration, you would also be required to show your insurance card. If you are going to be renewing your registration online or through the mail, you would need to include all of the information on your insurance ID card, and it will be verified by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

If you are pulled over while driving, the officer who makes the traffic stop will require you to show proof of insurance along with your drivers license and your vehicle’s registration. If you don’t have your insurance card with you, you are subject to a fine of at least $450.

If you did have an effective policy at the time that you were pulled over but you didn’t have the card in your vehicle, there is a way that you can avoid paying such a hefty fine. If you can show the court that you did have an effective policy at the time that you were pulled over, you can have the charges reversed. You may still need to pay $25 for a court-processing fee.

Minimum Car Insurance Required

In order to abide by Washington’s vehicle information law, you would need to carry liability insurance. This will protect the other vehicle’s driver and passengers if you cause an accident. To abide by the law, you must have the following minimums:

  • $25,000 for each injury or death for each person in the vehicle
  • $50,000 in total for the injuries or deaths involved per accident
  • $10,000 for any property that you damage during the accident

Optional Automobile Insurance

If you want to have more protection than what liability insurance offers, you can purchase additional coverage. This will cost more money, however, many drivers are willing to pay the extra money for the extra protection.

  • Collision: If you cause an accident and your vehicle is damaged, this insurance will cover the damage to your vehicle. Liability insurance doesn’t provide this level of protection. If you are paying off an automobile loan or if you are leasing your vehicle, the lender would require that you carry this insurance.
  • Comprehensive: If your vehicle is damaged in a non-collision related accident, such as by vandalism, theft, or extreme weather, this insurance would cover it. Like collision, lenders would require that you carry this insurance if you are still paying off your loan or if you are leasing your vehicle.
  • Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist: If you are involved in an accident that was caused by a driver who has no insurance or who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages to your vehicle and your injuries, this insurance would cover you. Also, if you are a victim of a hit-and-run, this insurance would cover you, as well.

Personal Injury Protection

Personal injury protection is also known as PIP or no-fault car insurance. If you are in an accident, regardless of whose fault it was, there are certain expenses that would be covered under this type of insurance:

  • Your medical costs that might not be covered in full by any other type of insurance
  • If you are unable to work due to your injuries, your lost wages would be covered
  • If you or anyone in your vehicle is killed in an accident, the funeral expenses would be covered

In the State of Washington, you are not required to have PIP insurance. If you don’t want this insurance, you would need to reject it in writing.

Washington Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

If you have a long history of traffic violations or accidents, you might not be able to get insurance from a Washington insurance firm. These firms have the right to reject high-risk drivers. Since you do need to have insurance in the State of Washington, you can apply for coverage through the Washington Automobile Insurance Plan. The rates for this insurance are much higher than the rates from an insurance firm; however, you would need to pay the price to legally drive.

If you are a new driver in the State of Washington, it is important that you know the Washington car insurance requirements. You should also understand the additional types of insurance that provide more protection.