High-risk auto insurance in Washington will not be cheap, as premiums for high-risk policies in the state average $1,812 per year. That’s about 47% more than the average cost of car insurance in Washington overall. Nevertheless, high-risk drivers in Washington should still be able to find suitable car insurance options after comparison shopping.
Drivers defined as high-risk typically have a history of serious driving violations and face higher rates because they are statistically more likely to cost insurers more than the average driver. For this reason, many insurance companies won’t even sell coverage to high-risk drivers. However, other insurers specialize in high-risk coverage, so drivers with a checkered record have options.
The best high-risk auto insurance companies in Washington are State Farm, The Hartford, Geico because they are financially strong and have few customer complaints. Deficiencies in either area could be a sign you’ll have a hard time getting payouts if you need to file a claim. Some of the most common complaints about car insurance companies concern denials, low settlements, and delays in processing claims. These companies also tend to be among the most affordable in Washington for high-risk drivers, but you should always shop around to compare rates.
Best High-Risk Auto Insurance Companies in Washington
|Company ||State Farm ||The Hartford ||Geico |
|Average Driver Annual Premium ||$1,153 ||$1,069 ||$1,690 |
|Average High-Risk Annual Premium ||$1,695 ||$1,571 ||$2,484 |
|Complaint Ratio (NAIC) ||2.58 ||6.27 ||1.21 |
|Strength Rating (AM Best) ||A++ ||A+ ||A++ |
Pro Tip: Look for an insurer with at least an “A” grade for financial stability and a complaint score close to or below the national median of 1.
Cost of high-risk auto insurance in Washington
How much more high-risk drivers pay for auto insurance in Washington depends on why they are classified as high-risk. Your combination of risk factors determines how much more you’ll pay for high-risk auto insurance in Washington. Car insurance companies decide if you are a high-risk driver based heavily on driving factors like accidents, speeding tickets, reckless driving, racing, and DUI/DWI.
For example, Washington drivers with two accidents in their claims history see their rates jump by an average of 92%. If you’re convicted of a DUI, you’ll see an increase of about 28%. And if you’re caught going more than 20 MPH over the speed limit, expect your rates to go up by about 26%, on average.
Non-driving factors like your age, location, insurance history, credit score, and vehicle can also affect how much more high-risk auto insurance costs in Washington. If you get caught driving without insurance, the coverage lapse alone could raise your premium by about 9%. If you have no credit, you can expect to pay about 50% more than drivers with excellent scores.
In other words, your individual combination of risk factors determines how much more you specifically will pay for high-risk auto insurance in Washington.
Tips for finding affordable high-risk car insurance in Washington:
- Comparison shop. The best way to get affordable car insurance is to compare rates from at least three insurance companies. In Washington, the most expensive policies are around $1,498, and the least expensive cost about $994. That means drivers could save as much as $504 simply by comparing quotes. At a minimum, check rates three and five years after a traffic violation to get a lower rate when it falls off your record.
- Avoid filing claims. Claims can dramatically increase your premium. In Washington, the average collision claim raised rates $542. Before filing a claim, calculate whether the cost of the damage exceeds your deductible plus future premium surcharges.
- Have a practical car or go car-free. Some vehicles are more expensive to insure than others. Your car’s make, model, year, safety features, and price tag all impact how much you’ll pay. Consider a practical vehicle that’s more affordable to insure if you’re already high-risk. If the premium is still more than you can afford, you could switch to non-owner car insurance or go car-free for a while.
- Drive safely. The easiest way to avoid traffic violations is to obey traffic laws and drive safely. You can’t undo the past, but you can make good choices now. Focus on keeping a clean driving record and consider a driver safety course to potentially lower your premiums right away.
Last-resort options for high-risk drivers in Washington
If you’ve been denied coverage from traditional insurers, look into Washington’s assigned risk program. With assigned risk insurance, drivers who cannot get accepted normally are assigned to insurance companies that collectively pool together to take the risk of insuring them. It’s a last resort, and you’ll have to prove that you’ve tried and failed to get insurance multiple times to qualify.
In the end, the need for high-risk car insurance is a temporary situation. Serious violations like DUIs are on your record for 15 years in Washington, but most violations fall off your record within three to five years. No matter how long it takes, your high-risk status will eventually change with time if you can prove you’re a safe and responsible driver again.
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