The Best Washington Auto Insurance Companies
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 slightly under the national average of $1,009.
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% between 2014 and 2016. Washington is also cracking down on driving under the influence of your phone; receiving an E-DUI may lead to a premium increase.
How We Found the Best Washington Auto Insurance Companies
We evaluated the top five insurance providers in Washington using the same methodology we applied to our review of nationwide auto insurance providers. We looked at each insurer’s financial strength and ability to pay its claims and studied customer service reviews to learn whether consumers were happy with their experience. We also 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 looked at online resources and educational tools, too — 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.
The 5 Best Auto Insurance Companies in Washington
State Farm is one of the top picks in our review of nationwide auto insurance providers. 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 to protect Uber and Lyft drivers while they’re on the job. It’s one of only two companies on this list, along with Farmers, to offer rideshare insurance in Washington. If you’re one of the 14,000-plus 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 habits through OnStar communication service or a mobile device. You get a discount just for signing up and even bigger savings if you prove to be a safe driver. 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 through State Farm’s Steer Clear program.
Allstate boasts solid ratings in the customer service and financial stability arenas. Consumer Reports gives it an “excellent” rating for timely claims payments, and A.M. Best gives it an “A+” for financial stability — not quite the “A++” mark you’ll find next to State Farm, but still a very solid score.
We especially appreciate Allstate’s tools to help teen drivers (and their parents). Its Drivewise app lets parents and teens receive driving feedback, noting safety violations such as speeding. Allstate also teamed up with Cellcontrol, which is a service that lets parents disable teens’ mobile devices while they drive to help prevent distractions. If you complete the teenSMART program, you could receive a discount on your premium.
These helpful resources extend to all ages and driving levels. 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 the different types of insurance coverage offered and how to compare rates.
You’ll find a respectable range of discounts at Allstate. Though it doesn’t have quite as many options as other companies on this list, you can still trim costs if you’ve purchased a new car or paid your premiums in full, in addition to standard money-savers like discounts for having anti-lock brakes or holding multiple policies. Try getting a quote to see how much these discounts can save you on an Allstate policy.
Liberty Mutual received an “A” ranking from A.M. Best, and its claims payments garnered a “very good” from Consumer Reports. That’s why it’s fourth on our list — it’s good, but not excellent.
That said, there are aspects of Liberty Mutual that we loved, such as its MasterThis online course series (developed in cooperation with HowStuffWorks). If you take a two- to three-minute course on basic car repair, for example, you can learn when to DIY a windshield repair and when to take your car to an expert. 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, or for being a recent graduate, recently married, or recently retired. You can also save money if you drive a hybrid — a perk even State Farm and Allstate don’t offer.
In terms of coverage options, Liberty Mutual is roughly in line with the competition. We particularly like that it offers coverage designed specifically for teachers. This covers you if your car is vandalized on school property, for example, and it covers the cost of replacing stolen educational materials. So, if you are an educator, or if you’re interested in exploring Liberty Mutual’s educational tools, we’d suggest checking it out.
Like Liberty Mutual, Farmers Insurance received an “A” ranking from A.M. Best, and its timely claims payments earned a “very good” rating from Consumer Reports. It also offers the most supplemental coverage options of any of our top picks.
For example, Farmers is one of only two companies listed here that provides rideshare coverage in Washington, along with State Farm. It’s also unique in carrying equipment coverage (think subwoofers and spinning rims), which may be a smart purchase if you’ve put a lot of money into upgrading and customizing your car.
Unlike the other insurers on this 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. All told, Farmers didn’t do much to stand out amongst an already impressive roster of providers. However, prices are personal — and if you require any of the specialty coverages offered by Farmers, it’s certainly worth getting a quote.
If you have a history of military involvement — or a family member who does — we suggest considering USAA for car insurance. The company brings in a stellar five out of five points in J.D. Power’s overall satisfaction survey, and it boasts the highest reader score from Consumer Reports on this list: 96 out of 100. These rankings make it clear that customers are pleased with their USAA experiences. It’s also the only other provider on our list (along with State Farm) to bring in an “A++” for financial stability from A.M. Best.
The one drawback to USAA is that it only insures active or former members of the U.S. military and their families — so most people won’t qualify for coverage. But if you do make the cut, we highly recommend pulling a quote from USAA.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Washington
Average Annual Premium by Company
|Car Insurance Companies||Average Annual Premium|
|Mutual of Enumclaw||$650|
Quadrant car insurance rate data as of 07/01/2019.
Average Annual Premium by Credit Tier
|Credit Rating Tier||Average Annual Premium|
|Average Across Credit Rating Tiers||$969|
Quadrant car insurance rate data as of 07/01/2019.
Top 3 Cheapest Companies
- USAA: $489
- Pemco Insurance: $536
- Progressive: $548
Top 3 Most Expensive Companies
- Allied Insurance: $792
- Travelers: $675
- GEICO: $659
The cheapest auto insurance companies in Washington are USAA, Pemco Insurance, and Progressive. With a majority of the population residing in the western portion of the state, many drivers must endure on average almost 40 inches of rain a year. This can significantly impact the frequency of weather-related accidents, raising rates accordingly. Washington is also home to major cities like Seattle, Bellevue, and Spokane. Urban areas generally have a higher cost of living, and with insurance this holds true as well. Overall, Washington can be home to low rates, but more likely in less urban areas of the state.
Guide to Washington Auto Insurance
Understand 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 car insurance world, this type of coverage is known as 25/50/10 — you’ll need a 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 totals a $60,000 luxury car; your insurance would only pay $10,000, and you’d be on the hook for the rest.
Avoid hikes in your premium
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 — 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.
If you’re looking for the best auto insurance in Washington, you’ll want to get quotes from multiple insurers. Start with the top providers 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 wide range of rates and options. To see which insurer provides the best value for the most coverage, you should be prepared to comparison shop.
Washington Auto Insurance FAQ
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ most recent report says that Washington residents pay around $968 per year for their auto insurance premium. This is relatively close to the countrywide average of $1,009.
Yes. 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.
Auto insurance rates are primarily determined by your personal “risk factors” — things like age, accident record, the type of car you drive, and so on. However, there are a few big factors taken into consideration that might surprise you.
For example, insurers use credit scores to help determine individual premiums; the better your credit score, the lower your rate. This feeds into a practice called price optimization. Insurers actually look at your personal data, including Social Security and spending habits, to tailor a number to what they think you’ll be willing to pay. This is why it’s so important to shop around.
Insurers might also raise your rates if you freeze your credit report. In fact, many people froze their credit reports after the 2017 Equifax hack without realizing that it could affect their car insurance rates. If you receive an adverse 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 the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
The Best Washington Auto Insurance Companies: Summed Up
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We worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide data on auto insurance rates by company and credit score. Quadrant makes this information available using rate data insurers are required to file with state Departments of Insurance. Rates are based on sample profiles created by Reviews.com for comparative purposes.