Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Compare Quotes from Top Companies and Save

Auto Insurance Companies

Is Washington a no-fault car insurance state?

Here's what you need to know...
  • Washington State is not a no-fault insurance state
  • Washington State is a comparative-fault insurance state
  • You can carry a no-fault insurance policy in Washington even though it’s not a no-fault state
Every state has its own laws and rules regarding fault in car accidents. The only thing every state has in common is the requirement that all drivers carry at least a minimum car insurance policy as regulated by state officials.

However, each state gets to determine whether it’s a no-fault state. A no-fault state is essentially a way of saying it doesn’t matter who causes a car accident because you’re responsible for contacting your own insurance company for payment and claims.

Washington is not a no-fault state, which means you’re not responsible for calling your own insurance company for protection if you’re hit by another driver and the accident is their fault.

Washington state is a comparative fault state. The law requires all people who are involved in accidents be considered for their own level of fault when an accident occurs.

Insurance in Washington is no more expensive than it is in any other state, but you do want to check to see that you are getting the best rates for your policy. Compare rates today with our free quote tool above! 

It’s profitable to shop around and compare rates with various companies to ensure you’re getting the best rates and the best coverage. It’s going to mean the difference between getting good coverage for a high premium and getting great coverage for a lower price.

Car Insurance Requirements in Washington State


Every state regulates insurance requirements for drivers who reside in the state. This means you must pay for at least the minimum amount of insurance in any state in which you live, including the requirements in place by Washington lawmakers.

  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $10,000 underinsured motorist coverage
  • $10,000 property damage
  • $10,000 personal inury protection

You must also carry property damage worth at least $10,000, underinsured motorist coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury and $10,000 for property damage.

Personal injury protection of at least $10,000 is required for all drivers. If you fail to pay for this type of insurance, you are subject to fines, penalties, and even jail time depending on the number of times you’ve broken this law.

The only stipulation you should be aware of regarding minimum insurance requirements concerns ownership of your vehicle. If it’s leased or financed, you do not own the vehicle according to the title.

A lender owns it, and lenders are given the right to regulate their own insurance requirements for all drivers.

If you fail to meet their insurance requirements, you’re going to find it’s impossible to get away with this before the lender sends a warning letter or issues their own insurance policy on your behalf.

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Washington

Driving without insurance in Washington is a misdemeanor crime. You’re going to face fines, penalties, and potential jail time.The minimum fine if you are caught driving without insurance is $450.

Your license is suspended until you’re able to prove you’ve purchased an insurance policy that meets or exceeds the state’s requirements, and you’re facing a $75 fee to reinstate your license.

If you are driving under the influence, cause an accident, or refuse to pay the fines when you’re caught driving without insurance, you face more severe penalties.

This might include jail time. If you cannot afford to pay your penalty, you may ask the court to allow you to work on paying it off with a payment plan or the court could reduce the fine and send you to jail instead.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

Who pays for the damage in an accident in Washington?

Washington is a comparative fault state, which means the person who caused the accident is the person who is also responsible for covering the cost of damages including car repairs and medical bills.

If you are driving and someone else hits you causing an accident due to negligence on their part, it is them and/or their insurance company responsible for paying for your damages, medical bills, lost wages, and any other financial problems that result from the accident.

If you and the other driver are both to blame for the accident according to the police report and/or subsequent investigation into the cause of the accident, the responsibility changes.

If you are 50 percent responsible and the other driver is 50 percent responsible, anything you win by filing a lawsuit or claiming with the other driver’s insurance company is reduced by 50 percent because this is your portion of fault.

It also depends on what kind of insurance coverage you have. If you have a traditional policy, you’re going to file a claim with the driver who caused the accident to seek damages.

Even though Washington is not a no-fault state, you’re permitted to carry a no-fault policy. If you have one of these, you’re calling your own insurance company no matter who is to blame for this accident.

How do I handle an accident in Washington?

Knowing who is financially responsible for an accident is only part of the problem in Washington. Your entire case is much easier to handle when you take the time to handle it correctly from the beginning.

Your insurance agency and the insurance agency of the other driver will both be better able to handle claims following an accident in which proper procedure is used.

This means calling the police following the accident. Their report plays a significant role in determining where the fault lies in an accident. They can use the evidence, witness testimony, and other factors to determine who is at fault.

While this is not foolproof if you or the other driver decide you’d like to launch an investigation to determine fault with your insurance agency, it is helpful when it’s time to follow a claim.

It’s also imperative you seek medical attention right away even if you’re confident you sustained no injuries. Some injuries are internal and don’t show up right away. If you are injured without realizing it, it’s better to find out right away and have your injuries treated than to find out later when they’re worse.

If you wait to seek medical treatment and later learn you’re facing lost wages, long-term medical care needs or more, you might find it’s more difficult to file a personal injury claim.

The other driver’s insurance company can argue your medical issues occurred at a later date and not as a result of the accident if you wait.

Finding the Best Insurance

The best insurance in Washington depends on what you drive, how much it’s worth, and how safe it is.

You can ask for discounts if you drive a vehicle with a high safety rating with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, one that’s not on the list of most stolen vehicles, and for being retired, married, or even having more than one car on your policy.

What’s important is realizing that you must have the proper coverage in Washington if you want to have repairs covered in the event of an accident.

Even a minor fender-bender can be excessive in terms of repair bills and potential medical bills, which is why comparing policies to find the best one is your best bet. Make sure you are covered with our free quote tool below!

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Compare Quotes from Top Companies and Save

Copyright © 2024 Washington Car Insurance