Auto Insurance in Washington (WA)

If You Are Paying More Than $1,276.22 on Auto Insurance in Washington, You Are Paying Too Much.

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Auto Insurance Industry in Washington

  • An average consumer pays $1,638.00 on auto insurance
  • 382 of every 100,000 vehicles are reported stolen every year
  • Accident fatality rate of 0.87%
  • Of all accidents: 58% are road-way accidents, 23% are intersection accidents, and 8% of all accidents involve at least 1 truck.

The state of Washington requires that every driver maintain financial responsibility. Driving is a privilege and the cost is to ensure that you can pay the medical expense and property damage after an accident.

Washington's Minimum Requirements on Auto Insurance

There are minimum auto liability insurance requirements for driving in Washington. This insurance coverage is required to legally drive on state roads. You can purchase a policy from an authorized insurance carrier that includes the following amounts per accident:

  • $25,000 to cover physical injury or death to one individual
  • $50,000 to cover physical injury or death of two individuals
  • $10,000 property damage

In addition to purchasing minimum liability coverage, Washington offers other ways that you can establish financial responsibility. You can file a $60,000 liability bond with an authorized surety bond company. Purchasing a $60,000 certificate of deposit through the State Treasurer’s office is another alternative.

Regardless of which one you choose, you must keep proof of financial responsibility in your vehicle. Your auto liability insurance carrier will give you an identification card that details your policy. A print out of your certificate of deposit or liability bond serves as proof.

The state of Washington has penalties for drivers who fail to maintain financial responsibility. You can receive a $450 fine if you are in a vehicle accident without proof of insurance. Having false information is a misdemeanor.

Consumer Car Licensing Information in Washington

You must apply for a personal driver’s license (PDL) as first-time adult driver or a new resident to Washington. Residents over 18 will need to pass a written test, vision screening and road skills test to receive a license.

All tests are administered at a local Department of Licensing (DOL) office. Appointments are not required for the written test. However, you must make an appointment to take the road test. Before going to a DOL office, make sure you have the following:

  • Completed driver’s license application
  • Proof of legal identity
  • Proof of your age
  • Social security number
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship

The driver’s license fee is $45 for a first-time license. This includes a fee for the required test. If you are a new Washington resident and have a driver’s license from another state, you can transfer the license for $35. You must apply for the license within 30 days of becoming a resident. You only need to take the vision screening. Rather than surrendering the out-of-state license, it will be cancelled and returned to you.

Motorcycle Licensing Information in Washington

The DOL issues a motorcycle endorsement to residents who wish to drive a motorcycle through Washington’s highways and streets. You can receive the endorsement by completing required training and tests. These include examinations of your written knowledge and on-cycle skills for motorcycle riding. Appointments are not required for the written test; you will need to schedule an appointment for the on-cycle test.

Generally, you have two options for obtaining a motorcycle endorsement in the state of Washington. First, you can complete a motorcycle rider training course from a state-approved vendor. With this option, you can forego taking the written and on-cycle tests. Simply take your certificate of completing to a licensing office within 180 days after you pass the course.

Second, you must take the written test to receive a motorcycle instruction permit. This permit gives you an opportunity to practice before taking the on-cycle test. Permits are issued to residents who are at least 16 years old and have a valid Washington driver’s license.

The application fee for the instruction permit is $5. While driving with a motorcycle permit, you cannot ride at night or carry passengers. The motorcycle endorsement fee is $25.

Insurance is not required in the state of Washington for motorcycles. However, you are still required to maintain the minimum amounts of financial responsibility for insurance. If you have an accident without insurance and are ruled at-fault, you may need to make a $25,000 bond or cash deposit with the DOL.

Commercial Vehicle Licensing Information in Washington

Commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) are available to residents who are at least 18 years old and need to drive commercial vehicles within Washington. You must be at least 21 years old to drive commercial vehicles outside the state. Washington issues Class A, B and C CDLs to everyone who successfully completes the application process. In addition to meeting the age requirement, you must also:

  • Provide proof of your legal identity
  • Provide a valid social security card
  • Have a regular Washington driver’s license
  • Pass a written knowledge test
  • Pass a road skills test
  • Meet federal medical standards
  • Pay CDL fees

Washington has exemptions from obtaining a CDL for certain types of drivers. Typically, you are not required to have this license if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • Work as a farmer who transports goods to and from the farm in a vehicle that weighs less than 40,000 lbs.
  • Work as a law enforcement official or firefighter driving emergency vehicles and have successfully completed an accident prevention program.
  • Drive an RV, horse trailer or two-axle rental truck for noncommercial use.
  • Serve in the military and are driving a military vehicle issued by your service branch.

Fees for a CDL in Washington include:

  • $10 for the written knowledge test or learner’s permit
  • $100 for the road skills test
  • $75 for the road skills test if you are driving for an early childhood education program
  • $75 to transfer a CDL from another state
  • $10 for each endorsement
  • $40 for CDL

In addition to paying the $10 hazmat endorsement fee, you must also receive a background check and finger printing. This is in line with federal guidelines and will cost an additional $89.25.

More Resources on Auto Insurance in Washington

Department of Insurance

  • 5000 Capitol Blvd., SE Tumwater, WA 98501
  • Phone: 800-562-6900, 360-725-7080
  • TDD: 360-586-0241
  • Email:
  • Fax: 360-586-2018