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About 60 auto insurers currently make their headquarters in Washington state. These companies, regulated by the Washington Insurance Commissioner's office, set rates according to claims risk levels. Therefore, insurance and premium rates vary throughout the state, depending upon the risk rates in specific areas.
Car repairs and medical care costs seem to heighten every year, causing the cost of auto insurance to rise even further in response. This means premiums are also constantly escalating.
State-Mandated Coverage Requirements
Liability insurance, which covers bodily injury and property damage you cause others while driving your automobile, is a prerequisite for operating a motor vehicle in Washington. State law requires liability coverage in the following amounts:
These amounts are often referred to as 25/50/10 coverage, and are only minimum guidelines. Many Washingtonians choose to carry additional liability insurance, further protecting themselves from additional expense or suit due to accidents.
Various other coverages are also offered by many Washington auto insurance companies. Whether buying a new policy or renewing an existing one, check your policy declarations page to ensure all the coverage types you need are listed.
Some additional, non-required coverages include Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which pays for portions of medical expenses, lost wages and resulting child care costs-regardless who is at fault; medical payment coverage, which pays for medical and funeral expenses, and eases financial difficulties for families of injured parties; collision, which covers damage to your car caused by a collision; comprehensive, which covers damage to your car other than by collision; and uninsured/underinsured motorist, which covers personal injury or property damage caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
A licensed Washington auto insurance agent can help you determine whether you need any of these additional coverages.
Washington state auto insurance companies base premiums on a variety of factors. Your premium consists of a base rate, plus or minus certain amounts determined by:
Your auto's make, model and year of manufacture are also a consideration in premium calculations.
Unbeknownst to many Washingtonians, insurance premiums are calculated not only according to your own statistics, but also according to the statistics of other drivers living in your household. This includes both family members and roommates. Keep this in mind when looking for your Washington auto insurance.
You may be assigned an insurance score based on your credit history, which may then be used in deciding whether to accept or decline your coverage, and to set your auto insurance rates.
Auto Insurance Tips
Doing your homework is essential when shopping for your Washington auto insurance. This can be a confusing process, so make sure you understand all the implications of a proposed policy before you commit to it.
As you search for the best auto insurance policy, check all company and agent licenses. It is illegal for any unlicensed agent or company to sell auto insurance within state lines. Know required information such as your car's make, model, year and license number, and be ready to supply this information to ease the application process. Do your research ahead of time and know what you need so you can make specific, duplicate requests of each agent with whom you speak. Answer all application questions fully and accurately. Misrepresentations and omissions can cause your application to be rejected, or keep you from receiving appropriate reimbursement for claims filed later. Finally, comparison shop using a quoting service like InsureMe to ensure a suitable policy at an affordable price.
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