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Best Cheap Car Insurance in Washington for 2019

Jan. 2, 2019
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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Quotes for auto coverage can land all over the place depending on which companies you shop with, so comparing rates is crucial if you want cheap car insurance in Washington.

To help shoppers find the best deal, NerdWallet looked at rates from the nine largest car insurers in the state and found the cheapest options for several types of drivers.

» FIND YOUR MATCH: Who’s the cheapest carrier for you?

Cheapest for good drivers

Pemco was the cheapest insurer we found in Washington for drivers with clean driving and credit records, at roughly $66 per month, on average. State Farm and Geico came in second and third, respectively, with very similar average rates.

InsurerAverage priceGet your rate
*PEMCO is not rated because there is not enough data to evaluate it against larger companies.

NerdWallet rating: Not rated*

$795/year

$66/month

4.0 NerdWallet rating

$939/year

$78/month

4.0 NerdWallet rating

$942/year

$78/month

For this calculation, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with a clean driving record and good credit. With the exception of age, a large portion of drivers are closest to this profile, which carries standard "full coverage" insurance, including state-required coverage.

Cheapest for drivers with poor credit

Washingtonians with blemished credit might want to get a quote from Geico, which had an average price of $109 per month for this group. American Family and Pemco round out the list, with less competitive rates.

InsurerAverage priceGet your rate
*PEMCO is not rated because there is not enough data to evaluate it against larger companies.
4.0 NerdWallet rating

$1,308/year

$109/month

4.0 NerdWallet rating

$1,626/year

$135/month


NerdWallet rating: Not rated*

$1,732/year

$144/month

Poor credit can have a bigger effect on car insurance premiums than even a DUI conviction or a recent accident. To calculate these figures, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-olds with a clean driving record, poor credit as reported to their insurer, and standard "full coverage" insurance.

Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash

Washington drivers who have recently caused a wreck might get cheap car insurance from Pemco, which had an average rate of $90 per month for this group. State Farm and Geico take second and third place, respectively.

InsurerAverage priceGet your rate
*PEMCO is not rated because there is not enough data to evaluate it against larger companies.

NerdWallet rating: Not rated*

$1,085/year

$90/month

4.0 NerdWallet rating

$1,136/year

$95/month

4.0 NerdWallet rating

$1,430/year

$119/month

To get these figures, we averaged rates for 40-year-olds with one recent at-fault crash and the typical "full coverage" insurance. Your rates will remain high for three to five years after you cause an accident or have a moving violation. If you fall into this category, be sure to shop for new insurance rates just after the three-year and five-year anniversaries of your infraction.

Cheapest for low-mileage drivers

Pemco was the cheapest carrier we found for low-mileage drivers in Washington, at $60 per month, on average. Geico and State Farm wrap up the cheapest three options, with very similar average rates.

InsurerAverage priceGet your rate
*PEMCO is not rated because there is not enough data to evaluate it against larger companies.

NerdWallet rating: Not rated*

$721/year

$60/month

4.0 NerdWallet rating

$828/year

$69/month

4.0 NerdWallet rating

$830/year

$69/month

Whether you're retired, work at home or often use public transportation, you may be able to get cheaper car insurance simply because you drive less. The rates above are for 40-year-olds with typical "full coverage" insurance and a clean driving record who drive 5,000 miles per year instead of the standard 12,000.

Honorable mention: Metromile


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Metromile targets drivers who put relatively few miles on their cars, so consider getting a quote if you drive very little. We can’t get rate estimates because this company charges a monthly base rate, plus a per-mile rate each month. But the less you drive, the less you pay, and a road trip here or there won’t break the bank — the company won’t charge you for more than 250 miles per day.

Cheapest for minimum coverage

Pemco had the cheapest average rate for minimum coverage auto insurance in Washington, at roughly $30 per month. State Farm had the second-cheapest average rate, barely squeaking past Geico by roughly $11 per year.

InsurerAverage priceGet your rate
*PEMCO is not rated because there is not enough data to evaluate it against larger companies.

NerdWallet rating: Not rated*

$362/year

$30/month

4.0 NerdWallet rating

$423/year

$35/month

4.0 NerdWallet rating

$431/year

$36/month

We calculated these numbers by averaging rates for 40-year-old good drivers who have only the minimum mandatory insurance in their state. Such light coverage isn't typically recommended, since it might not cover all the bills resulting from a car accident, but it's better than nothing — especially if you can't afford much more.

Cheap for drivers with a military connection


NerdWallet is a free tool to find you the best credit cards, cd rates, savings, checking accounts, scholarships, healthcare and airlines. Start here to maximize your rewards or minimize your interest rates. Lacie Glover
Get a quote USAA is open only to active military members, veterans and their families.

If you’re an active military member or a veteran, or have an immediate family member who is, you can find pretty cheap car insurance in Washington from USAA, a company that’s unavailable to the general public. In fact, USAA was the cheapest option for every category listed above.

Minimum auto insurance limits required in Washington

Washington drivers are required to purchase liability insurance. If you’re ever found at fault in a car accident, liability coverage pays for others’ property damage and injury expenses so you don’t have to cover these bills out of your own pocket.

The minimum auto liability limits in Washington are:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per crash
  • $10,000 property damage liability per crash

While this will be enough to drive legally, it’s usually wise to select more than the bare minimum, because a serious crash could easily leave you owing more than, say, $10,000 in property damage. You might also want common optional coverages such as collision, comprehensive and uninsured motorist protection.

Check out NerdWallet’s guide to car insurance requirements by state to learn more about how the parts of your Washington auto policy work

Alternative car insurance in Washington

Drivers who are denied coverage on the voluntary market because of poor credit, a spotty driving record or other factors can apply for a policy through the Washington Automobile Insurance Plan.

Or, you could forego auto insurance entirely by posting a certificate of deposit with the state for at least $60,000 to prove your financial responsibility under Washington law.

For more help finding great rates on your Washington auto coverage, try NerdWallet’s tool for car insurance comparisons.

Here’s a summary of where you’ll find the cheapest insurance, by category:

Cheapest car insurance in Washington

CategoryCheapest option
Good driversPemco
Drivers with poor creditGeico
Drivers with one at-fault crashPemco
Low-mileage driversPemco
Minimum coveragePemco
Military familiesUSAA

Methodology

For our base-profile driver with good credit and a clean driving history, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers for 40-year-old men and women in 20 ZIP codes. The policy includes:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per crash.
  • $50,000 property damage liability coverage per crash.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per crash.
  • Collision coverage with $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with $1,000 deductible.

We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with poor credit, we adjusted the credit tier from “good” to “poor.”
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash.
  • For low-mileage drivers, we adjusted the miles driven from 12,000 per year to 5,000.
  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state.

We used a 2015 Toyota Camry in all cases. These are rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.


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