Washington Auto Insurance Laws & Requirements

If you drive a vehicle that is required to be registered in Washington State, you must have one of the following:

Auto insurance

The car insurance policy must have liability 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.

Required proof of auto insurance

You will receive an identification card from your auto insurance company when you buy a policy. The card must include all of the following:

  • Name of the insurance company.
  • Policy number.
  • Effective date of the policy.
  • Expiration date of the policy.
  • Description of the year, make, or model of the insured vehicle and its VIN#.  It will also include the name’s  of the vehicle’s registered owner. The word “fleet” may be used for more than 5 vehicles owned by the same person or business.

Self insurance 

If you have 26 or more vehicles, you may qualify for self-insurance. For more information, contact :

Driver Records
Department of Licensing
PO Box 9030
Olympia, WA 98507-9030

Required proof of self insurance

The self insurance certificate may be printed on any size document and must include all of the following:

  • Self insurance certificate number we issued to you.
  • Effective date of the certificate.
  • Description of the year, make, or model of the covered vehicles, or the name of the covered driver. The word “fleet” may be used in place of the vehicle description.

Certificate of deposit

The certificate of deposit must be for at least $60,000. You can make a deposit of collateral with the State Treasurer’’ office or in a bank account set up for the state of Washington. You can get an application and instructions at the State Treasurer’s website:www.tre.wa.gov/documents/mvprf.pdfRequired proof of certificate of depositThe certificate of deposit  may be printed on any size document and must include all of the following:

  • Certificate number issued by the State Treasurer.
  • Name of the covered driver.

Liability bond

The bond must be for at least $60,000, and must be filed by a surety bond company authorized to do business in Washington.Required proof of liability bondThe proof of the liability bond may be printed on any size document and must include all of the following:

  • Name of the company that issued the bond.
  • Bond number.
  • Name of the covered driver.

Penalties

Failing to show acceptable proof of insurance is a traffic infraction. Operating a vehicle without the required coverage is a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of at least $450.  Knowingly providing false evidence of coverage is a misdemeanor.

Exceptions

You don’t need to have insurance when you operate a vehicle registered as any of the following:

  • Motorcycle.
  • Motor-driven cycle.
  • Moped.
  • Horseless carriage over 40 years old 
  • State or publicly-owned vehicle.
  • Common or contract carrier with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Vehicles registered in another state

When you drive a vehicle in Washington that is required to be registered in another state, you must have the type of insurance required by that state. You must be able to provide proof of this insurance to law enforcement if requested.

When to register your vehicle

When you move to Washington, you have 30 days to title and register your vehicle after it arrives in the state. Once you do so, you’ll be issued Washington state license plates.

  • It’s a good idea to get your Washington driver license before getting Washington plates because you must present an unexpired WA driver license when you register your vehicle.

How to register your vehicle

You may title and register your vehicle in Washington by mail or at a local vehicle licensing office.

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