Driving in Washington: Statewide Stats
The best ways to save money on your car insurance are to know as much about your state’s driving conditions, and to re-shop your policy every few months. Thankfully, we are here to help with both! With so many online tools available, it’s easier than ever to explore all the unique options for cheap insurance Washington agents can offer.
There were over 6 million registered vehicles in the state of Washington, over 5.1 million licensed drivers, and almost 100,000 reported traffic accidents (1/3rd of which resulted in injury). Over 42,000 cell phone or texting tickets were issued to drivers in 2012, and over 450,000 speeding citations.
Data is taken from the Washington Dept. of Transportation report for 2012.
About 16% of drivers in Washington are uninsured, which helps contribute to the rising cost of auto insurance which hit $1,499 as of December, 2012. Operating a vehicle without insurance is punishable by a fine of at least $450.
Exceptions to his include driving a motorcycle, moped, or state or publicly-owned vehicle.
Washington State Car Insurance Requirements
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident (two or more persons)
- $10,000 per accident for property damage
- Optionally, you may pay a deposit to the State Treasurer, or have a liability bond of at least $60,000
More information on insurance requirements can be found at the Washington Department of Insurance website.
Did you know?
- Approximately 60% of Washington residents live in the Seattle metro area.
- The state has several active volcanoes, and Mount St. Helens is currently actively erupting (Mt. Rainier is considered the most dangerous volcano in the continental U.S.)
- Significant economic industries include aircraft design and manufacture, computer software development, and lumber.
- There is no state income tax.
- The harassing of Bigfoot, Sasquatch or other undiscovered species is a felony in the state.
- No person may walk in public if he/she has the common cold.
- And for the most out-dated law: All motor vehicles must be preceded by a man carrying a red flag (during the day) or a red lantern (during the night) fifty feet in front of the vehicle.
Department of Motor Vehicles.
Washington’s DMV services are handled by the State Dept. of Licensing. Their website can be found here, and offers the normal registration and licensing services, as well as a database of traffic and insurance statistics, accident reports, and other helpful resources.
A guide to local offices can be found here.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, there were 145 drunk driving fatalities in 2012 (representing 33% of all total traffic deaths). The DOT reports that there were 34,701 DUI arrests in 2012.
Like many states, Washington law can require ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers (as of 2009). In fact, Washington state has some of the stiffest penalties for drunk driving in the nation.
First time offenders will face the following penalties:
- Mandatory, minimum fine between $865 and %5,000.
- Driver’s license suspension for up to one year.
- Ignition interlock device installed in offender’s vehicle.
Further violations can result in felony charges, thousands of dollars in fines, and complete loss of drivers license. More information can be found here.
The Bottom Line
Seattle’s concentrated population means that most of the state’s drivers live and commute with it’s metro area, so insurance rates are higher (which partly accounts for the state’s higher than average insurance rates). However, if you live elsewhere in the state, or even in Seattle’s suburbs, you will be surprised at how reasonable the insurance rates can be.
If you are new to Washington, or are a life-long resident, it’s always a good idea to have a licensed professional periodically review your various insurance policies. There are often competing companies that will offer you lower rates! If you are shopping for insurance, or are looking for a better deal, give us a call at the number above so that one of our licensed professionals can help guide you through the process.
Or, if you prefer local help, check out one of our city pages below!