Washington State Car Insurance Laws

Woman calling car insurance company after a car accident

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If you reside in Washington State, it is important to understand the state’s unique car insurance laws. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—which also lists lives lost to drunk and distracted drivers—there were a total of 37,133 highway-related deaths in 2017. There are even more car accidents that result in injuries and damage but do not result in death. With such staggering statistics, you are literally putting your life into your hands every time you get behind the wheel of a car.

The Ongoing Risk of Accidents

No matter how cautious you are, there is always the risk of being involved in an accident each time you drive. While there is no way to completely protect yourself from a car accident, there is a way to protect yourself should you be involved in an accident: car insurance.

Car insurance provides you and other drivers with financial protection should an accident occur. It can help to cover both the property and the medical damages that can occur as a result of an accident, which can end up saving you some really big bucks.

While car insurance is required in most states in order to legally drive in the United States, insurance laws vary from state to state. In order to ensure that you are driving safely and legally, you need to be sure that you have the right coverage for your state.

Minimum Car Insurance Coverage in Washington

Most states require drivers to have valid car insurance in order to drive on the road, and every state that does has determined a minimum amount of car insurance coverage that is required. This minimum is determined by the rate of car accidents that occur within a state as well as the damages incurred from these accidents.

In Washington State, your car insurance policy must provide:

  • $25,000 coverage for each person who suffers injuries in a car accident
  • $50,000 for an accident, should more than person suffer an injury
  • $10,000 per accident for any property damage.

While these are the minimums under Washington State law, it is always a wise idea to have more coverage than the minimum. The more coverage you have, the more protected you, your passengers, and other drivers will be. Of course, if you purchased your vehicle with financing from a third party, this coverage probably isn’t optional but rather required.

Washington State Uninsured and Underinsured Laws

While it is against the law to drive without car insurance, not everyone abides by the law. There are those who drive without the minimum amount of insurance coverage, or who drive without any car insurance coverage whatsoever. In the event that you are involved in an accident with someone who is underinsured or uninsured, you could end up in serious financial trouble.

It is not necessary for motorists to carry uninsured and underinsured coverage; however, insurance companies make this type of coverage available to drivers who would like to carry it. It’s an excellent idea to purchase this coverage.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Whenever you drive a car in Washington State, you are required to show your car insurance coverage card to law enforcement officials if asked. This means that if you are involved in an accident or just pulled over in a routine traffic stop, you have to be able to show proof of your insurance coverage when asked.

Your proof of coverage must clearly show the name of the insurance company, your policy number, the date that the policy is effective and the date it expires, as well as the description of the year, make, and model of the vehicle that is insured.

If you are asked to show proof of insurance and are unable to do so, you will be found guilty of a traffic infraction and likely charged a hefty fine. If you drive a car without the necessary insurance, you will also be found guilty of a traffic infraction, which will cost you a minimum of $450.

Washington State Car Insurance Liability

In the state of Washington, the person who is responsible for the car accident must cover the cost of the damages through their insurance company. This is known as a pure comparative negligence state. If more than one person was responsible for causing the accident, the amount each owes will be determined by the relative levels of the fault of each person. If they both equally were responsible, for example, they will have to split the costs 50/50.

When it comes to driving, making sure that you and others are as safe as possible is vital. Car insurance provides the necessary protection for drivers and others on the road.