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Why You Need To Maintain Your Car Insurance In Washington State!

  • By: Antonio Garguile, Esq.
  • Published: June 10, 2020
Car Insurance In Washington State

A recent study revealed that a shocking amount of people in Washington State are driving around without car insurance. According to the Insurance Research Council’s analysis, nearly 20% of motorists driving on the roadways are uninsured, ranking Washington as one of the worst states in the nation for uninsured drivers.

Did you know that failing to show proof of car insurance is considered a traffic infraction? To legally drive in the state of Washington, drivers are required by law to have car insurance and must be prepared to show proof of it to law enforcement at any time when operating their vehicle. Those who drive without car insurance can receive a fine of $550, and if you’re the party at fault in an automobile collision, your license can be suspended if you fail to pay the resulting damages and/or injuries.

The only exception for vehicles that do not require auto insurance include:

  • Moped scooters
  • Horseless carriages over 40 years old
  • State or publicly owned vehicles
  • Common or contract carriers with the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission.

All other vehicles are required to be registered, and their insurance policy must have limits of at least:

  • $25,000 of bodily injury or death of 1 person in any 1 accident.
  • $50,000 of bodily injury or death of any 2 people in any 1 accident.
  • $10,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any 1 accident.

Minimum Requirements in Washington State:

In the state of Washington, a liability insurance policy will include Bodily Injury and Property Damage coverage. The Washington Mandatory Auto Insurance law requires that a driver’s liability insurance coverage must equal to or be more than the following limits:

Bodily Injury (BI): Minimum limits of $25,000 per person and a total of $50,000 for two or more people in one accident. Bodily Injury coverage pays out for the injuries or death of people in the other car in an accident that you caused. And if the other party sues you, Bodily Injury coverage will also take care of the legal fees and any rulings against you, depending on your policy’s limits. Licensed insurers in Washington may offer up to 300/500 Bodily Injury limits, which varies by the insurance company.

Property Damage (PD): $10,000 minimum limit per accident. Property Damage liability insurance covers the costs to repair any property damage that you cause in an accident, whether the property damaged was a car, mailbox, etc. Higher limits of as much as $100,000 are available in Washington and vary by insurer.

Am I covered? Can someone drive my car, or can I drive someone’s car?

Auto insurance typically follows the car instead of the driver. Still, the specifics of a claim can differ because insurance laws and coverage vary depending on the insurance policy and types of coverage.

As long as a driver has the vehicle owner’s permission to operate the vehicle, the owner’s insurance policy will provide coverage no matter who the driver is. The vehicle owner’s car insurance policy should cover injuries and property damage. However, there can be exceptions depending on the circumstances. Therefore, it is always a good idea to double check your policy.

Washington Penalties for Driving without Car Insurance:

The current fine for driving without auto insurance is $550.00, but that cost could be much higher if you are at fault in an automobile collision, and you do not pay for the resulting damages and/or injuries. Under the Financial Responsibility Law, uninsured drivers and vehicle owners are required to be responsible for collision damages if there is a reasonable possibility that a court will make a judgment against them. A driver’s license can be suspended for up to 3 years if they fail to pay accident damages.

The Financial Responsibility Law applies only to collisions that meet all of the following conditions:

  • A driver involved in the collision was uninsured.
  • There was damage to a person’s property of at least $1000, or any type of bodily injury.
  • There is a reasonable possibility that a court judgment would be filed against the uninsured driver or vehicle owner.

What should I do if I get a no insurance ticket?

– Get insurance and show proof to the Court to get your fine lowered.

What if I had insurance but couldn’t provide it?

– Show proof, and it will be dismissed with $25 admin cost. (RCW 46.30.020)

Should I hire an attorney for a no insurance ticket?

– If it is only a no insurance ticket, it will not make sense. But since the police only find out about insurance after they pull you over, there will likely be another infraction in addition to the no insurance ticket. If that other ticket is a moving violation, it makes sense to use an attorney.

With the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people will be driving uninsured. You may want to consider upgrading your coverage for uninsured motorists. For any questions regarding auto insurance coverage and more, please don’t hesitate to give Garguile Law a call today at 253-201-2001.

Antonio Garguile, Esq.

About the Author Tony was born and raised in Bremerton, Washington. He is an
energetic attorney and currently focuses his attention on the
representation of clients in both civil and criminal traffic matters.