If you live in Washington State, you have to be ready to handle lots of rain — and, if you’re in the Seattle/Tacoma metro area, lots of traffic. But despite these challenges, Washington drivers pay an average of $969 per year, coming in just a little under the national average of $1009.

To keep your premium from going up, be aware that Washington is cracking down on impaired driving. While marijuana has been legalized in the state, it remains illegal to drive under the influence: Vehicle fatalities involving drivers who used marijuana increased by nearly 10 percent between 2014–2016. Washington is also cracking down on driving under the influence of your phone: Receiving an E-DUI may lead to a premium increase.

Washington Minimum Liability

Here’s the minimum amount of insurance you need to drive in Washington:

  • $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $10,000 property damage coverage per accident

In the insurance world, this type of coverage is known as 25/50/10 — you’ll need an insurance policy that provides at least this much. However, you’ll probably want to go beyond a 25/50/10 policy and purchase additional coverage. (Let’s say you’re at fault in an accident that damages a luxury car. Your insurance will pay $10,000, and you’ll be on the hook for the rest.)

If you’re looking for the best auto insurance in Washington, you’ll want to get quotes from multiple insurers — starting, of course, with the top insurers in the state. Depending on your personal situation (accident history, credit score, even the type of car you drive) you’re likely to get quoted a range of rates and options. To see which insurer provides the best value for the most coverage, you should be prepared to comparison shop.

How We Found the Best Auto Insurance in Washington

We evaluated the top four insurance providers in Washington using the same methodology we applied to our nationwide auto insurance review. We looked at each insurer’s financial strength and ability to pay its claims; we also studied customer service reviews to learn whether consumers were happy with their experience. We compared each insurer’s coverage options, and checked to see how many discounts they offered. Can you get a reduced rate if you have anti-lock brakes? What about if you drive a hybrid?

We also looked at their online resources and educational tools — because the more you know about how to be a safe and responsible driver, the better off you (and everyone else on the road) will be.

Washington Auto Insurance Reviews

State Farm

State Farm got an honorable mention in our nationwide insurance review. It earned an A++ financial rating from A.M. Best, and Consumer Reports rated its claims payment speed as “Excellent.”

State Farm offers all the basics — plus rideshare coverage as an add-on to your personal policy. If you’re one of the 14,000 Uber drivers in the Seattle area, you'll want to compare quotes from these two providers.

State Farm also offers a few select discounts. We like its Drive Safe & Save program, which tracks your driving through your OnStar communication service or mobile device. You get a discount just for signing up with the service, but you can get an even bigger discount if you drive safely. If you’re under 25 and you’ve had no at-fault accidents or violations in the past three years, you could also qualify for an additional discount if you complete State Farm’s Steer Clear program.

Allstate

Like State Farm, Allstate got an honorable mention in our review of nationwide auto insurance providers. Consumer Reports gave Allstate an “Excellent” rating for timely claims payment, but Allstate only received an A+ ranking from A.M. Best — not the A++ awarded to State Farm.

An A+ is still pretty darn good, though — and that isn’t all Allstate has to offer. Like State Farm, Allstate’s insurance options include rideshare coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers. Allstate also offers an outstanding set of tools to help teen drivers (and their parents). The company’s Drivewise app lets parents and teens receive driving feedback, noting safety violations such as speeding. Allstate’s Cellcontrol service lets parents disable teens’ mobile devices while they drive, to prevent distracted driving. Allstate also offers discounts for teens who complete teenSMART driving programs.

Allstate offers a respectable range of discounts for adults, too, although not as many as the other providers on our list. But you can still trim your costs if you’ve purchased a new car, or if you pay your premiums in full, in addition to standard money-savers, like discounts for having anti-lock brakes or holding multiple policies.

One of Allstate’s major selling points is its comprehensive set of educational resources. Start with Bumper to Bumper Basics, an interactive tool that helps you decide what insurance coverage you need. Then read Allstate’s informative articles to learn more about different types of insurance coverages and how to compare insurance rates — and maybe get a quote while you’re there, so that you can compare all your options.

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual received an A ranking from A.M. Best and its timely claims payment garnered a “Very Good” rating from Consumer Reports. That’s why it’s fourth on our list — it’s very good, but not excellent.

There are aspects of Liberty Mutual that we truly loved, such as its MasterThis online course series (developed in cooperation with HowStuffWorks). If you’re interested in taking 2 and 3 minute courses on basic car repair, for example, you can learn when to DIY a windshield repair and when to take your car to an expert — and Liberty Mutual will also set you up with a discount when you book your maintenance services through OpenBay.

This isn’t the only discount you can get with Liberty Mutual. You can get discounts for safety features like anti-lock brakes. You can get discounts if you’re a recent graduate, recently married, or recently retired. You can get discounts if you’re a good student. You can also get a discount if you drive a hybrid — a perk that isn’t offered by State Farm or Allstate.

In terms of coverage options, Liberty Mutual is roughly in line with the competition — you can’t get rideshare coverage with Liberty Mutual, but you can get special coverage designed for teachers (it covers you if your car is vandalized on school property, for example, and it covers the cost of replacing stolen educational materials).

If you are an educator — or if you’re interested in exploring Liberty Mutual’s educational tools — we’d suggest checking it out.

Farmers Insurance

Like Liberty Mutual, Farmers Insurance received an A ranking from A.M. Best and its timely claims payment garnered a “Very Good” rating from Consumer Reports. However, it doesn’t offer as many features as our other insurers, and we weren’t as impressed with its insurance packages and discounts.

Farmers offers the most insurance options of any of our top picks, including rideshare coverage and equipment coverage (think subwoofers and spinning rims) — but some of these coverage options may not be worth the extra money you’ll pay for them. We weren’t sure we’d want to pay extra each month to cover our stereos, for instance, when we could put that cash into an savings fund to eventually replace our equipment.

Unlike the other insurers on our list, Farmers doesn’t offer discounts for basic safety features like anti-lock brakes or anti-theft devices. It does offer a discount for hybrid car drivers. Farmers also offers a discount for drivers under 24 who complete a safety course, but the drivers have to be covered under a parent or grandparent’s policy.

You can dig up a few educational resources on Farmers’ site, but we didn’t find the information particularly insightful or unique. Still, if you’re quote shopping or looking for additional options, Farmers is still a solid choice. It just didn’t do much to stand out amongst an already impressive roster of providers.

Tips for Auto Insurance Coverage in Washington

High-risk drivers should look into the Washington Automobile Insurance Plan.

If you are a high-risk driver — maybe because of a lengthy accident history — you might have difficulty getting auto insurance. The state of Washington recommends that you pursue as many private insurers as possible. If you get rejected by all of them, ask one of the agents if they can help you get set up with the Washington Automobile Insurance Plan. This plan provides the minimum 25/50/10 coverage required to legally drive in Washington, and you have the option to pay a higher premium and increase those coverages.

Avoid E-DUIs — they're expensive and could raise your insurance rates.

Washington’s Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act is a 2017 law that forbids drivers from using electronics such as smartphones or tablets while driving — yes, even if you’re stopped at a red light or stuck in traffic. You should also program your car’s GPS while you’re parked, because typing an address while driving counts as “using electronic devices.”

If you get an E-DUI, the first infraction will cost you $136 and the second infraction will cost $234. Your insurance rates will probably go up, too — so let the emails and texts wait until you’ve reached your destination.

Don’t let your insurer raise your rates just because you froze your credit report.

Lots of people froze their credit reports after the 2017 Equifax hack — without realizing that it could affect their car insurance rates. Insurers use credit scores to help determine individual premiums (the better your credit, the lower your rate) and if they suddenly lose access to your credit score, they might raise your rate as a result.

If you receive an adverse action notice from your insurer announcing that your rate is going up, contact them and ask if it’s because you froze your credit report. If that’s the case — and if your insurer doesn’t reduce your rate right away — it’s time to file a complaint with Washington’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner.