Quotes for auto coverage can land all over the place depending on which companies you pull from, so comparing rates is crucial if you want cheap car insurance in Washington.
To help shoppers find the best deal, NerdWallet gathered rates from the eight largest car insurers in the state and found the cheapest options for these types of drivers:
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Cheapest for good drivers
For drivers with no at-fault accidents, DUIs or moving violations.
The average price for good drivers among the three cheapest options was about $856 per year. Geico notched the best deal among insurers we looked at, with an average rate of $805 per year, or roughly $67 a month. Pemco and Farmers Insurance were the next most affordable choices.
For additional savings, look into discounts that companies provide to safe drivers, such as perks for avoiding claims or moving violations for an extended time.
Cheapest for young drivers
For drivers in their early 20s.
Drivers in their early 20s often don’t need as much coverage as older motorists, who may have extensive savings and assets to protect from crash lawsuits. To reflect this, we gathered quotes for young drivers carrying the minimum required coverage, which explains why this group has relatively cheap car insurance in Washington.
Geico had the lowest average rate in our analysis, $627 per year. That’s $178 per year, or about $15 a month, less than the best deal we found for our 30-year-old good drivers, who carried fuller policies.
Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash
If you’ve caused a crash, you can generally expect your rates to go up when you renew your policy. Because prices for drivers with spotty records vary quite a bit among companies, this can be a good time to shop around and make sure you’re getting competitive rates.
The lowest average quote we found was $1,120 per year from State Farm. This was $315 higher than the cheapest rate available for drivers of the same age with no crashes. However, State Farm’s price was over $1,100 less than the most expensive estimate overall for this group, which goes to show the importance of comparing costs.
Cheapest for drivers with poor credit
For those placed in the “poor credit” tier.
Frustrating as it can be, your credit makes a difference when it comes to finding cheap car insurance in Washington. Drivers with poor credit tend to face higher quotes than many other motorists.
For example, the cheapest quote for this group was $1,004 from Safeco — almost $200 higher than the best deal we found for good drivers with no credit issues. Having poor credit is no reason to settle for the first quote you get, however. The priciest estimate we retrieved was over $2,200 per year, so there’s still plenty of incentive to shop around.
Cheapest for retired drivers
For drivers in their mid- to late 60s who no longer use their car for commuting.
Retirees, given their reduced time behind the wheel compared with commuters, can find relatively cheap car insurance in Washington.
We collected rates for motorists in their 60s who drive half as much in a year as other groups. Geico led the field with the cheapest average quote, $600 per year. That’s over $200 cheaper than the best deal we found for drivers half that age who get to work by car.
If you’re 55 or older, you stand to save even more by completing a state-approved collision prevention course and earning a discount from your insurer. You can find a list of approved courses through the Washington Department of Licensing.
Drivers with a military connection
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 Washington car insurance requirements
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 liability limits 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.
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
|Drivers with one at-fault crash||State Farm|
|Drivers with poor credit||Safeco|
For most categories, NerdWallet averaged rates for 30-year-old men and women in 10 ZIP codes and with the following coverage limits:
- $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 a 2013 Toyota Camry in all cases. Our sample retired driver was 67 and drove 50% fewer annual miles than other groups. Our sample young driver was 22 and carried the minimum required coverage levels. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.
Alex Glenn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated March 14, 2017.