The best cheap car insurance rates have been on the rise nationwide, and this also holds true for the state of Washington. Some car insurance experts speculate that the thriving economy and low gas prices in Seattle, Spokane, and other cities throughout the state actually contribute to this growing trend. When more people can afford vehicles and gas, it means that there are more drivers, more accidents, and higher premiums. What are the best cheap car insurance companies for Washington State?

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Pier 70 in Seattle overlooked by the Space Needle
Pier 70 in Seattle overlooked by the Space Needle

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Car Insurance Laws in Washington

To get a clearer idea of how auto insurance works and how to find the best car insurance companies in Washington, let’s first take a look at how Washington state laws regulate drivers, their insurance, and their vehicles.

According to the Washington State Department of Licensing, drivers must abide by the following regulations:

  • If you choose not to obtain car insurance in Washington, you must be self-insured, have a security deposit, or a liability bond.
  • Not all vehicle types require insurance (or one of the above alternatives). Mopeds, carriages, and state vehicles are legally excluded from this requirement in Washington.
  • For drivers that do need insurance, the state of Washington requires the following mandatory minimum coverage:
    • Up to $25,000 in coverage per injury or death
    • Up to $50,000 per accident  (for injury or death)
    • Also up to $10,000 per accident (for property damage)
  • Car insurance policies must be obtained from an insurance provider authorized to do business in the state of Washington.

How Car Insurance Rates are Determined in Washington

As of the latest data, good drivers in Washington pay an average of $1,206 annually for auto insurance or about $100 per month. Rates vary by the insurance provider, location, insurance type, and the level of coverage. However, these rates are also highly dependent on drivers.

When an insurance provider is calculating your rates, they will look at the following factors:

  • Location – Generally, if you live, commute, or work in an urban area (like Seattle, Spokane, or Tacoma), your rates will be higher, as accidents are more prevalent in densely-populated regions. However, other location-based factors are important, too, like adverse weather conditions and reports of vandalism.
  • Age – Statistically, younger drivers get in more accidents. This means that the younger you are, the more you will need to pay in insurance premiums. The average age in Washington is 38, which is on par with the national average.
  • Gender – Men are more likely than women to get in accidents, so your gender could impact your auto rates as well.
  • Marital Status – Typically, married couples take fewer risks than their single counterparts, and this holds true for driving. Married couples get in fewer accidents, and therefore pose a smaller risk for insurance providers.
  • Driving Experience – While this metric is similar to age, it is still slightly different. Usually, the older you are, the longer you have been driving, but that is not always true. Nonetheless, people who have held a driver’s license for longer are more experienced, and therefore pay lower premiums.
  • Driving Record – A driver’s record is one of the most important factors that insurance providers consider. If you have a history of frequent speeding tickets, DUIs, or other infractions, you will have to pay more.
  • Claims Record – It is also important to consider how many claims you have made to insurance providers in the past (if any). At-fault claims will cause your premiums to rise, while not-at-fault collisions will generally have no impact on your rates.
  • Credit History – Your credit is a good indicator of how financially responsible you are, but the research also shows that people with low credit tend to file more claims, making them a greater risk for insurance providers.
  • Previous Insurance Coverage – If you have maintained auto insurance without any gaps, your new insurance provider will see this as a good sign. However, if you went for several years, months, or even days without any insurance, you will be seen as high-risk.
  • Vehicle Type – Certain cars are driven differently, which means that certain cars are more prone to accidents. Some cars are also more prone to theft or vandalism.
  • Use of Vehicle – When you exclusively use your vehicle for personal use, you are less likely to get in an accident. However, if you take long business trips or frequently drive for your work, you increase your chances of a collision.
  • Annual Mileage – How much you drive directly impacts your chances of getting in an accident. No matter how you use your vehicle (personal or business use), if you put a lot of mileage on your car, you are more likely to file a claim with your insurance provider.
  • Number of Policies – Finally, the type of insurance you want/need will help determine your rates. The more policies you have (liability, comprehensive, uninsured motorist, etc.), the more you will need to pay.

Cheapest Minimum Coverage Rates by Company

When looking at rates across the entire state, there are 4 major insurance companies that consistently provide low rates for good drivers. Additionally, there are several other companies that provide low rates in certain cities and counties but do not consistently provide low rates statewide. In any case, let’s take a look at some of the lowest auto insurance rates and best car insurance companies available in the state of Washington:

ProviderAnnual RateMonthly Rate
State Farm$894$74
American Family$1,217$101


Cheapest Full Coverage Rates by Company

It is important to note that the table above shows the average rates for the minimum coverage required by the state of Washington. For standard, comprehensive, or “full coverage,” the rates are significantly higher:

ProviderAnnual RateMonthly Rate
State Farm$1,250$104
American Family$1,548$129


These are approximate rates based on statewide polling for 40-year-old men and women with good driving records. Naturally, individual rates will vary. Additionally, insurers like PEMCO Insurance, Farmers, and Allstate provide low rates for certain areas and applicants.

So, in order to get a better picture of auto insurance rates around the state, let’s look at how rates vary by city.

Best Auto Insurance Rates in Washington by City

Aside from your driving history, your location is one of the most important factors when calculating the cost of your auto insurance. Population, crime rates, weather conditions, and the cost of living can all affect the amount you pay each year. Individuals who live and work in rural areas typically have the lowest rates.

However, the majority of Washington residents live in urban or suburban areas, where rates tend to increase.

The table below shows the average yearly auto insurance rates for 40 of the most populated cities in Washington, in alphabetical order. These are approximate rates based on statewide polling for 40-year-old men and women with good driving records. Additionally, this data is taken from all of the best car insurance companies in Washington.

Here is what the data shows:

CityAverage Yearly Rate
Bainbridge Island$1,214
Battle Ground$1,317
Cottage Lake$1,400
Des Moines$1,518
Federal Way$1,624
Mercer Island$1,534
Mount Vernon$1,072
Mountlake Terrace$1,659
Oak Harbor$1,098
Port Angeles$1,163
Spokane Valley$1,267


Now, let’s take a closer look at the top-5 largest cities in Washington and compare their respective auto insurance rates:


In Seattle, the average annual premium is $1,136 for minimum liability insurance and $1,642 for full auto coverage. With a population of over 700,000, Seattle is the largest city in the state by far. As a result, traffic congestion is a major issue.

This means that auto collisions occur on a regular basis. So, while comprehensive insurance is more expensive in Seattle, it is better for local residents to have good coverage. Additionally, Seattle is also known for heavy rainfall, which only worsens the traffic problems.


In Spokane, the average annual premium is $910 for minimum liability insurance and $1,269 for full auto coverage. Spokane has lower rates than many other large cities in the state for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, the climate is Spokane is much more stable. There is not as much precipitation in Spokane as there is in cities like Seattle. That said, poor road quality adds extra wear-and-tear on vehicles, with more than a third of Spokane’s roads in need of repair.


In Tacoma, the average annual premium is $1,006 for minimum liability insurance and $1,591 for full auto coverage. Much like Seattle, Tacoma has a rainy season that lasts for nearly 6 months. Daily rainstorms cause traffic congestion, collisions, and generally hazardous road conditions.

So, while Tacoma’s cost of living is low, and it is not as large as either Spokane or Seattle (and thus has fewer drivers on the road), auto insurance rates are still relatively high.


In Vancouver, the average annual premium is $960 for minimum liability insurance and $1,373 for full auto coverage. Not to be confused with the much larger Canadian city, Vancouver, Washington has a population well under 200,000. However, thanks in large part to nearby Portland, Vancouver deals with daily traffic congestion.

Additionally, like many cities throughout the state, Vancouver has high rates of precipitation throughout the year. Nonetheless, the city is known for its safe drivers and high-quality roads, which both help keep insurance rates relatively low.


In Bellevue, the average annual premium is $1,107 for minimum liability insurance and $1,595 for full auto coverage. Though it is the smallest city on this list, Bellevue has some of the highest insurance rates, second only to Seattle.

Bellevue is technically considered part of “Greater Seattle,” so it suffers from many of the same issues. Traffic congestion, high frequency of accidents, and bad weather all contribute to higher auto insurance premiums throughout the city.


As you can see, there are a lot of variables that affect the cost of auto insurance in the state of Washington. Additionally, the figures provided above are averages based on adults with good driving records, so the exact rates you pay may differ.

Nonetheless, we hope that this information helps you when you’re ready to obtain a new policy or upgrade your current one with one of the best car insurance companies in Washington. If you’d like to learn more about acquiring auto insurance in your state, consult our other car insurance guides and resources.

If you’re looking for more information about Washington auto insurance, consult the Washington State Department of Licensing.

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Matthew Jones