Washington Car Insurance Requirements

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Washington state requires a form of auto insurance or acceptable equivalent to own and operate a passenger vehicle. If the car, truck, or SUV is registered in another state, then Washington will accept the other state’s requirements. When the vehicle is registered in Washington, it can meet either the liability requirement or alternative equivalent as detailed in the following paragraphs.

Liability Insurance Requirements

If the owner of the vehicle opts to go with liability insurance, Washington state maintains minimum requirements. They can be met with an auto insurance policy that has the following coverages listed below:

* $25,000 of coverage for bodily injury or the death of a person in an accident.
* $50,000 of coverage for bodily injury or the death of two or more persons in an accident.
* $10,000 of coverage for destruction of or damage to someone else’s property in an accident.

Financial Responsibility Equivalents

Individuals and businesses in Washington state may choose another route besides traditional auto insurance. These equivalents come in the form of either liability bonds, certificates of deposit, or self insurance. Individuals may work with the first two methods in place of liability insurance.

When a liability bond is chosen, the person must provide one that has a minimum value of $60,000. Such a bond has to be registered by a company that is allowed to do business in Washington. The other choice is for a certificate of deposit in the amount of $60,000. This can be affected by doing a collateral deposit with the office of the Washington State Treasurer, or by establishing a bank account in this amount for Washington state.

Businesses may avail themselves of self insurance in place of traditional auto insurance. To qualify, they must have minimally twenty-six different vehicles. Additional information is available by contacting Driver Records at the Department of Licensing.

Proof Of Insurance

In order to demonstrate proof of insurance or equivalency, Washington requires that one of a few documents be carried in the car. Inability to show such proof at the request of a police officer gives an officer the assumption that the person does not possess the mandatory insurance or equivalency. Persons who opt for the liability insurance must show an insurance identification card. These are provided by the insurance company and must contain the insurance company name; date, expiration date, and policy number; and description of the vehicle with the insured person’s name.

Those who opt for self insurance must show a self insurance certificate. It has to display a Department of Licensing number; effective dates; and a description of the vehicle model, make, and numbers. Fleet can be utilized instead of the description of the vehicle.

For liability bonds or certificates of deposit, two different sets of information will suffice for proof. Liability bond proof must be information printed on any document, including the company name that issued the bond, the number of the bond, and the name of the driver on the bond. Certificates of deposit have to include the state treasurer issued certificate number and the driver’s name that is on the certificate of deposit.

Penalties for Failing to Maintain Financial Responsibility

Washington requires proof of insurance or financial responsibility. If a vehicle owner and operator is caught driving without this coverage, then a penalty will be enforced. This penalty takes the form of a traffic violation that includes a fine of minimally $450.

Regulatory Information for Washington State

Washington state has other regulations. Information on their state legal environment can be found by going to their insurance website. This is located at: http://www.insurance.wa.gov/.

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