Washington Car Insurance Requirements
The state of Washington requires drivers to furnish some sort of financial protection against loss arising from a car accident. There are some exceptions to this rule including state owned vehicles, certain types of cars older than 40 years, or vehicles belonging to contractors working for the Utilities and Transportation Commission.
Where some states require minimum liability insurance as the only option, Washington offers its drivers several choices:
- purchase of a car insurance policy
- a deposit of cash or securities equal to $60,000; deposits can be made with the state treasurer or a state-approved bank
- a $60,000 surety bond through a state-approved bond company
- self-insurance f you have at least 26 vehicles registered in the same name
Most Washington drivers will choose to purchase car insurance if, for no other reason, than the cost of the other three options. When you choose the insurance option you’ll have the right to purchase just a basic liability policy or a more comprehensive one.
What Liability Covers
Liability insurance covers the costs you might incur in an accident that’s been determined to be your fault. However, those costs don’t include your own medical bills or the repair or replacement of your vehicle. They only include the costs of the victims you’ve injured or the property you’ve damaged that longs to others.
A basic liability insurance policy in Washington includes $25,000 to pay for bodily injuries or the death of a single victim and $50,000 for combined payments to multiple victims. It also includes $10,000 per accident to pay for property damage.
In Washington you’re not required to purchase personal injury protection, medical payments insurance, or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. All three are optional along with things like comprehensive and collision. You may want to consider some of these options if your circumstances dictate.
Penalties for Insurance Violations
There are a number of ways to be found guilty of violating Washington’s insurance law. You could be caught driving without insurance, you could be convicted of producing fraudulent insurance documents, or you could be guilty of allowing your insurance policy lapse. Each offense comes with its own penalties.
As an example, if you’re unable to produce insurance documents during a traffic stop the officer will automatically assume you have no insurance. The ticket you receive will be worth a $450 fine. If you can prove to the court you actually did have insurance the fine may be reduced or dismissed and you’ll be on your way. Otherwise the fine will remain in force. Subsequent violations may result in a suspension of your registration and license.