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General Washington Insurance Guidelines
Washington currently requires that all drivers be covered under liability insurance. Proof of insurance must always be accessible in the vehicle. Washington drivers are required to show their insurance info when requested by an officer.
Minimum Liability Coverage in Washington
Washington's minimum liability amounts are as follows:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person.
- $50,000 total bodily injury per accident.
- $10,000 total property damage per accident.
These are only the minimum requirements set by the state. Experts advise protecting your assets by getting more coverage than the state-mandated minimums as these limits tend not to keep pace with the ever increasing costs of car repairs and medical bills. Most drivers also add collision and comprehensive coverage to their policies to cover possible damage to their own cars as well.
Penalties for Driving without Insurance
The penalties for driving without insurance in Washington are:
- If you neglect to maintain Washington auto insurance, you will be charged a minimum of $450
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Some states require drivers to carry UM/UIM, or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage protects a driver if they get in an accident where the other party does not have auto insurance. Washington does not require UM/UIM coverage.
Some states have “No-Fault” laws where a policy holder will be reimbursed by their insurance company without proof of fault, and restricted in the right to seek reimbursement through the court system for losses caused by other parties. Washington is not a “No-Fault” state.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Some states have Personal Injury Protection or “PIP” regulations requiring drivers to carry PIP insurance. This is an extension of auto insurance that covers medical expenses, lost wages and/or other damages. Washington does not require drivers to purchase PIP insurance.
SR-22 Requirements for Washington
An SR-22 form is a vehicle liability insurance document to be filed with a state’s DMV as proof that a driver has the minimum required liability insurance coverage for that state. SR-22 filings are usually only required to reinstate driving privileges after an offense such as a DUI conviction, uninsured auto accident or driving without insurance. Washington requires an SR-22 filing for driver’s license reinstatement.
Washington DUI Laws
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in the United States with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level of 0.08% or higher. All states have driver's licensing laws that state that a licensed driver has given implied consent to a field sobriety test and/or method of determining BAC. This means that a driver is required to take such tests if a law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds for administering one, with automatic penalties for refusing to comply. If BAC is determined to be above the legal level a driver will be penalized in various ways. The first DUI offense penalties for Washington are:
- Up to 1-year imprisonment or 15 days electronic home monitoring
- 2 days to 1-year if BAC is above 0.15% or 30 days electronic home monitoring
- Minimum $865.50 - $5,000 fine
- Minimum $1,120.50 - $5,000 fine if BAC above 0.15%
- 90-day license suspension
- 1-year license suspension if BAC above 0.15%
- Ignition interlock (add 60 days if minor under 16 in vehicle)
- SR-22 Insurance required
- Possible substance abuse education
Additional Information on Insurance for Washington
For more information, please contact Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner: 1-800-562-6900 or visit their website at www.insurance.wa.gov.
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