What is the Average Cost of Car Insurance in Seattle?

Seattle, Washington is the largest city in Washington, as well as the largest in the Pacific Northwest region. The Census Bureau states the city population is 753,675, and the metropolitan area has a population of 3.98 million, the 15th largest in the country.

Although around one fifth of residents use the public transit system, Seattle has the eighth worst traffic congestion in the US and the tenth worst in North America. The average Seattle household owns one vehicle, and the average commute time is 27.1 minutes each way. That means Seattle residents spend around an hour on the road each day traveling to and from work, most likely in heavy traffic.

What do all those commuters have in common? Vehicle insurance. In order to register and plate your car or truck, you must first purchase an auto insurance policy. Because it’s not something you do every day, vehicle insurance can be confusing, and it can be difficult to get the best rate if you’re not sure what you’re buying. This guide takes a look at auto insurance requirements in Seattle, Washington as well as some options you might consider to be sure you buy enough coverage at the best price.

How Much Car Insurance Coverage Do I Need in Seattle

In Washington state you are required by law to carry:

  • Bodily injury coverage: $25,000 per person
  • Bodily injury coverage: $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage: $10,000
  • Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident

In the insurance industry this is referred to as 25/50/10. Note that this is the minimum required by law and, if possible, you should consider higher amounts of coverage, especially if you have a more expensive vehicle or you are worried about damage from something other than an accident. The average hospital cost for a car accident is over $56,000, over double the minimum coverage. Likewise, $10,000 is not nearly enough property coverage if you total a new vehicle.

Another item to consider is add-ons, called “riders”. One example is a theft rider and this is an excellent option because, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Seattle ranks number 22 in the country for auto theft. If your car is stolen and you don’t have a theft rider on your policy, you’ll likely have to pay for the loss out of pocket.

Most Expensive and Least Expensive Insurance Rates by Zip Code

Cheap Car Insurance in Seattle by Insurer

Your personal insurance rate is based on a wide range of factors such as age, education, sex, driving record, driving experience, and credit score. The following companies offer the best rates in Seattle though you should note that your personal rate will most likely be higher or lower, depending on factors specific to you.

Use this guide to compare auto insurance quotes from the best companies.

Low Cost Auto Insurance for Bad Credit in Seattle

A low credit score will cost you when it comes time to purchase auto insurance. Many people in Seattle suffer from a low credit score, and the following companies specialize in insuring drivers who have bad credit. Again, your personal rates will be lower or higher depending on your other personal information, such as age and driving record.

Find out how your car insurance rates are impacted with bad credit.

Difference Between Liability and Full Coverage

What is Liability-Only?

Liability insurance covers the possible cost of damage you cause to others while driving. This could mean the cost of medical care for those injured in an accident or repair costs of the damage you have caused to other vehicles.

With liability insurance, there are 3 key numbers: injury coverage per person, coverage for total injury per accident, and property damage coverage per accident. Each state has different requirements for car insurance minimums. In a policy that has coverage for 15/30/25 means $15,000 per injured person, with a maximum of $30,000 for all the people who are injured in an accident, and $25,000 in coverage for property damage.

Why You May Want Full Coverage Car Insurance

While liability insurance covers other people and vehicles in an accident where you were the one considered at fault, full coverage insurance can also cover you and your vehicle as well. Full coverage includes two different types of coverage combined into one insurance plan; comprehensive insurance and collision.

Comprehensive coverage is for the damage of other vehicles that are outside of driving situations such as weather damage, fire, or theft.

Collision coverage is basically to pay for damage that you caused while driving such as an accident with another vehicle, hitting an object, or driving off the road.

The difference between collision and comprehensive is, if a tree were to fall on your car and damage it, comprehensive insurance would cover it, however, if you were driving and hit a tree causing damage to your car, then it would be covered by collision.

Key Differences Between Full Coverage and Liability Only

The chief distinction between full and liability coverage is that full coverage ensures that any damage done to your car can be covered by insurance. Liability insurance only protects you from claims when you are at-fault in an accident. You will still need to pay for any damage to your own car, you just won’t have to pay for damage you caused to another person’s car. Full coverage can cover damage to your car even if the other driver is not insured and cannot compensate you for damages.

Finally, all states require that you carry at least a liability insurance policy so that collision victims receive compensation in the event of an accident. At-fault drivers are likewise protected from claims resulting from an automobile accident.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates in Washington by City

Additional cities in Washington you can check out.



Spokane Valley, WA

Utilize These Auto Insurance Discounts to Get a Lower Rate

The following auto insurance discounts can be used to help lower your premiums in Seattle:

  • Shop around

    As you can see from the quotes, there are wildly different prices for auto insurance for the same driver demographic by carrier. We found a thousand or more dollars of difference in most cases.

  • Keep your driving record clean

    If you can drive really defensively, you are going to save money. People with a lot of accidents and moving violations on their record have trouble getting insured at any rate.

  • Look for discounts

    Most auto insurance carriers have discounts for good driving and some student discounts. Sometimes, the agent will not automatically apply the discount. Look on the website to see what discounts they offer.

  • Drive an older vehicle you maintain well

    Since newer vehicles usually require full coverage because you are making payments on the vehicle, you can save considerable money on insurance if you drive an older vehicle that is not worth much money. You won’t need full coverage, although comprehensive insurance is advisable and cheap. This is especially true for young drivers in the family. If they drive used, well-maintained vehicles, they won’t need to pay for full coverage insurance. This can amount to a savings of one or more thousands of dollars each year in insurance costs.

  • Choose a higher deductible for collision insurance

    A higher deductible equates to a lower rate on expensive collision insurance, since you are footing more of the bill in the event of an accident.

Learn more about car insurance discounts with this guide.

Seattle, WA Car Insurance Premiums Cost – What Affects Your Rates?

As you can see, car insurance rates are influenced by a complex set of factors, all of them are determined by risk data for each insurance agency. How much each agency charges, though, based upon similar risk data, can vary widely. In the case of younger drivers, they can save literally thousands of dollars each year by shopping around. The insurance agencies will charge drivers different rates for their automobile insurance premiums by their age and marital status, driving record, area they live in, and whether they carry liability-only or full coverage insurance. If the customer opts for collision insurance, the carriers will charge more for a lower deductible.

Since there are so many factors to take into consideration in how much an insurance agency charges you for automobile insurance, it quite literally pays to thoroughly educate yourself about automobile insurance and to shop around for the best quote.

Learn how citations can affect your insurance premiums here.

Helpful Seattle, Washington Vehicle Resources:

Live Traffic and Accidents

DMV (Find Locations, Vehicle Registration, Titles and Insurance Info)


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