Are Washington state car insurance rates increasing?

Car insurance rates are increasing across the country due to record levels of inflation and supply chain shortages, but Washington state still has affordable rates compared to other parts of the country.

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Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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The odds are good that drivers in Washington are paying more for car insurance today than they were paying last year. Record high rates of inflation, supply chain shortages, and the increased value of used cars due to the reduced number of new cars on the market are all contributing to the rising cost of car insurance across the country.

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That said, in comparison to the rest of the country, average car insurance rates in Washington are just that — average. And Washington drivers who’ve seen recent rate increases can still look for more affordable car insurance by shopping around to find cheap coverage.

Key takeaways

  • The average cost of full coverage car insurance in Washington is $1,651 per year, which is almost exactly in line with the U.S. national average of $1,652.

  • A traffic ticket or an at-fault car accident can affect your car insurance rates, but each company has their own internal system for determining how much impact a moving violation will have on your insurance.

  • There are several reasons car insurance rates may be going up in Washington, including high inflation rates, supply chain disruptions, and changing laws regarding how your credit score impacts your insurance rates.

Are car insurance rates going up in Washington state?

Yes, car insurance rates are going up in Washington state. However, this isn’t specific to Washington. Car insurance rates are going up all across the country, for a few different reasons.

Inflation

According to the New York Times, inflation rates went up 8.3% from April 2021 to April 2022 [1] The country hasn’t seen inflation rates like this since the 1980s and these high inflation rates are impacting the cost of car insurance, since car insurance companies are paying more for rent, supplies, and other expenses due to the rate of inflation.

Supply chain disruptions

In addition to high inflation rates, the value of both new and used cars went up significantly from 2021 to 2022, due in part to supply chain issues that have affected auto manufacturing. The cost to repair or replace a used car after an accident has gone up about 26% and the cost of new vehicles has gone up 10%, which means insurance companies are paying more for claims than they were last year. [2] This increase in insurance expenses means rates are going up for insured drivers everywhere, not just in Washington state.

Credit score

In March 2021, Washington’s Insurance Commissioner issued an emergency order preventing insurance companies from using your credit score to help set your rates. [3] Many people with excellent credit have seen their insurance rates increase, sometimes significantly, because of the order. However, other drivers who have lower credit scores have seen their rates come down because of the change. 

This emergency order was overturned in October 2021 and then reinstated in March 2022, so Washington residents may have seen their rates vary significantly from one policy renewal to the next. In 2022, the rule was updated to include a requirement that insurance companies provide a written explanation for any rate changes. [4]

Changes to your policy or driving

Insurance rates are based on a number of factors specific to you, including your marital status, ZIP code, driving history, and the type of car you drive. If something in your life has changed, like moving to a new ZIP code or being in an at-fault accident, you may see an increase in your rates.

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How much is car insurance per month in Washington state?

Drivers in Washington state pay an average of $1,651 per year for full coverage car insurance, which breaks down to about $137 per month. Washington is the 27th most expensive state in the U.S. for car insurance, putting it right in the middle when it comes to car insurance costs.

However, rates can vary significantly from one city to another. Here are the average rates for the ten largest cities in Washington by population.

  • Seattle: $174 per month

  • Spokane: $138 per month

  • Tacoma: $174 per month

  • Vancouver: $151 per month

  • Bellevue: $158 per month

  • Kent: $176 per month

  • Everett: $161 per month

  • Spokane Valley: $131 per month

  • Renton: $171 per month

  • Kirkland: $153 per month

Spokane Valley has the cheapest car insurance of the biggest cities in Washington, while Kent has the most expensive car insurance rates in the state. No matter where you are in Washington state, the best way to find affordable car insurance is to shop around and compare quotes before you pick a policy, and then to reshop every year before your policy renews.

Will a moving violation affect my insurance in Washington state?

A traffic ticket or an at-fault car accident can affect your car insurance rates, but each company has their own internal system for determining how much impact a moving violation will have on your insurance. 

That said, a car accident will probably raise your rates if you’re a Washington state driver. Here’s how much drivers in Washington state pay for car insurance after different kinds of accidents or violations.

ViolationAverage annual ratePercent increase
Hit and Run$2,72157%
DUI$2,52946%
Driving with a suspended license$2,78661%
Racing$2,73958%
Reckless Driving$2,67755%
At-fault Accident$2,52346%
Driving with an open container$2,22829%
Speeding Ticket$2,21928%
Passing a school bus$2,23429%
Improper passing$2,12923%
Following too closely$2,14524%
Illegal turn$2,12923%
Failure to stop at a red light$2,12923%
Failure to yield$2,09021%
Failure to show documents$2,11122%
Driving without Lights$2,17025%
Driving with expired registration$2,15124%
Not at-fault Accident$1,7300%

What car is cheapest to insure in Washington state?

From Seattle to Spokane Valley, the type of car you drive impacts how much you pay for car insurance. Because of recent inflation and supply chain shortages, insurance rates are going up for all types of cars, no matter their make or model, so keep the cost of insurance in mind when you are shopping for a new car.

VehicleAverage annual premium
Ford F-150$1,665
Honda CR-V$1,673
Toyota Tacoma$1,714
Ford Escape$1,735
Subaru Outback$1,744
GMC Sierra$1,748
Chevrolet Equinox$1,755
Jeep Wrangler$1,771
Jeep Grand Cherokee$1,797
Subaru Forester$1,805
Nissan Rogue$1,814
Toyota Highlander$1,818
Ford Explorer$1,822
Chevrolet Silverado$1,826
Toyota RAV4$1,865
Honda Civic$1,925
Toyota Corolla$1,945
Ram 1500$1,947
Toyota Camry$1,949
Nissan Leaf$1,955
Honda Accord$1,990
Chevrolet Bolt EV$2,015
Tesla Model 3$2,855
Tesla Model Y$2,884

Although all cars may be seeing an increase in rates, of the most popular models on the roads, the cheapest cars to insure in Washington are the Ford F150, Honda CR-V, and Toyota Tacoma.

Cars cost different amounts to insure based on a number of factors. For example, electric cars are usually more expensive to insure because of their specialized parts, but that isn’t always the case, so make sure to get a quote based on the specific make and model of the car you are considering to find out exactly how much you will pay to insure that vehicle before you buy it.

What car insurance is required in Washington state?

Some drivers may want to reduce the amount of car insurance they have in order to account for a recent increase in insurance rates. Washington state law says that all vehicles are required to have a minimum of 25/50/10 in liability coverage, which breaks down to:

Washington drivers are also allowed to choose one of these alternate forms of minimum coverage:

  • A certificate of deposit that guarantees financial responsibility for an accident with the state’s Department of Licensing

  • A liability bond of at least $60,000

If you have an older vehicle that you can afford to replace out–of-pocket, you may be able to purchase liability-only coverage. However, the state required minimum level of insurance is low, which means it may not be enough to cover all the damages if you are at fault in a serious accident. Drivers should work with their insurance representative to make sure they have enough coverage to meet their needs. 

Is low income car insurance available in Washington?

Some states have special car insurance policies available for low income residents, but Washington isn’t one of them. The best way for drivers in Washington state to save money is to compare quotes from multiple car insurance companies to make sure they get the best rate.

Washington drivers can also take advantage of any available discounts and keep their driving record clean to save even more money on their auto insurance rate. Some insurance companies offer discounts that aren’t about your driving history at all, like setting up autopay with your credit card or bundling your auto insurance with your homeowners insurance or other policies.

If you live in Washington and you need financial assistance, the state has multiple programs designed to help low income residents. [5]

  • General Assistance Unemployable (GAU): GAU is a state-funded grant program designed to provide medical benefits and cash grants to residents who are unemployable for 90 days from the date of application. Residents who think they may qualify for the program can call 1-877-501-2233 for more information.

  • Emergency Cash Assistance: If you have an emergency and could benefit from a one-time cash payment to stay afloat, you may be eligible for this government assistance program. Call 1-800-737-0617 for more information.

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Frequently asked questions

Is Washington a no-fault state?

No, Washington is an at-fault state, which means the driver who is responsible for the accident is held liable for all the bodily injury and property damage costs associated with the accident. A driver who is at fault for an accident but doesn’t have enough insurance will be expected to pay out-of-pocket for any costs above and beyond their insurance limits.

Does your credit score affect your car insurance rate in Washington state?

No, as of 2022, Washington state law prevents insurance companies from using your credit score to help determine your rates.

Is auto insurance expensive in Seattle?

The average rate for full coverage insurance in Seattle is $2,085 per year. Compared to the state average of $1,651 per year, car insurance is more expensive in Seattle than other parts of the state.

Who has the best car insurance in Washington state?

According to our research, USAA has the cheapest car insurance in Washington at $1,033 per year. Other cheap car insurance options are PEMCO Insurance at $1,145 per year and State Farm at $1,162 per year.