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Washington Auto Insurance Requirements

July 28, 2023

In Washington, all motorists must carry at least the minimum required auto insurance in order to drive legally. If you are pulled over by the police or are in a collision, you must be able to provide proof of your car insurance coverage to officers. Failing to provide proof of insurance coverage may result in a suspended driver’s license. If you are at fault in a car accident and do not have insurance to provide coverage for an injury victim, you could be responsible for their damages, including property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Before you get behind the wheel in Washington, it’s important to ensure that you’ve met the state’s minimum requirement for auto insurance coverage for your own protection as well as for the protection of others on the road. If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, speak with an experienced Seattle auto accident lawyer to learn about your legal options for recovering financial compensation.

Washington Auto Insurance Requirements

What is the Minimum Required Auto Insurance Coverage in Washington?

Washington requires all drivers to have at least the following coverage in their auto insurance policy:

  • $25,000 per person in bodily injury coverage: this provides coverage for any medical expenses in the event that you cause an accident that injures someone else as well as coverage for yourself and any other listed family members when driving your vehicle or another vehicle (with permission)
  • $50,000 in total bodily injury coverage per accident: this provides coverage in the case of multiple injured persons in an accident
  • $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident: this covers damage to the other vehicle as well as any other property damage, such as damage to a resident’s fence or a smashed cellphone or laptop destroyed in an accident in which you were at fault

These are the state’s mandatory requirements for driving legally in Washington. It’s important to note that financed or leased vehicles may have additional insurance requirements by their lender or a leasing company. Most lenders require full or comprehensive coverage which includes coverage for auto theft and break-ins.

Showing Proof of Auto Insurance

Your insurance provider should send you a card to carry in your wallet or store in your vehicle’s glove box. This card is your proof of insurance and includes your insurance contract number. You are required to show this proof whenever you have an accident or in the event that you’re stopped by an officer for a traffic violation. Even if you have coverage in place, if you don’t have evidence of your coverage at the time of your traffic stop you could get a ticket for a traffic violation, and law enforcement may require you to provide proof of your coverage at the courthouse in your jurisdiction within a specified number of days.

Exceptions to Washington’s Auto Insurance Requirements

All motor vehicles, including motorcycles, must have at least the state’s minimum required insurance coverage except for the following exceptions:

  • Mopeds and motor scooters
  • Antique vehicles with special licensing that are over 40 years old
  • State vehicles or publicly owned vehicles
  • Common or contract carriers for the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

Even if the law does not require you to carry coverage for your motor vehicle, you may still acquire protection through insurance coverage to protect yourself from liability in the event of an accident. This ensures that you aren’t held personally responsible for paying for any damages you cause in a collision.

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