We studied auto insurance rates throughout Washington to help drivers determine which companies offered the best bang for your buck. Our research found that the average cost for a basic policy was about $534 for the four drivers we used as benchmarks - but this barely hints at the wide range of costs. One year insured at the most expensive company can pay for nearly three years at the cheapest insurer in Washington. That's why it's important to compare quotes from at least three companies in order to get a decent rate. Learn more below, or enter your zip code above to see a list of cheap auto insurance companies in your area to begin.
- Cheap Car Insurance Companies in Washington
- Cheapest Car Insurance in Washington: by City
- Best Auto Insurance Companies in Washington
- Cost of Car Insurance: by City
We looked at thirteen companies in our premium study to identify which ones had the best car insurance quotes in Washington for our four drivers: two single males, and two married couples. Below we've ranked seven of the top auto insurers in the Evergreen State in order from cheapest to most expensive based on the group's average annual rates:
Find the Cheapest Auto Insurance Quotes in Your Area
*California Casualty only insures members of select professions (teachers, nurses, public safety officers, etc.).
Amica, Grange, and State Farm were the cheapest auto insurance companies in Washington based on our data. Amica in particular comes in as the most affordable with yearly rates under $350 for our profiled drivers' basic policies. While these are the statewide rankings, insurers can quote the same driver living in different places quite differently depending on the company's record of insurance claims in that area. It's best to get at least three quotes - start by typing in your zip code above to see a list of companies active in your area.
Quotes were collected from a total of 13 Washington auto insurance providers for our benchmark drivers. Below is a table of all 13 ranked by the average quote our drivers received from the most affordable to the most expensive:
|Rank||Auto Insurance Company||Average Annual Rate|
The Most Expensive Auto Insurance Companies
Based on the quotes we obtained for the two single men and the two married couples (ages 30 and 65), Sentry, Bristol West, and Allstate had the three highest overall annual rates. The three providers quoted on average $797 for our group of motorists, which came out to be about 49% higher compared to the 13-company mean in the study. That also costs roughly twice the average quote at the three cheapest carriers (Amica, Grange and State Farm). Your actual quotes at these companies will, of course, differ - it's always best to shop around and compare quotes since companies have different targeted groups of drivers they want to insure.
Our data set also had city-specific data, so we delved into the quotes for the four driver profiles based on where they lived. Here is a table with the top 3 cheapest insurers in each of the 10 cities in our study. We will discuss the five most largest cities in Washington in more detail.
|City||Cheapest Insurer #1||Cheapest Insurer #2||Cheapest Insurer #3|
The Evergreen State's largest city, Seattle is home to 609,000 residents. It's here that the first gas station opened more than a hundred years ago, and the first Starbucks opened more than forty years ago. The city ranks as the eighth most expensive in the state for auto insurance. A year's premium to cover our four benchmark group's Camry cost $622, or 16% higher than the average city's costs in Washington. This is the cost for a policy that provides just slightly more protection than the minimum required coverage in Washington. If you're curious about how costs look depending on which neighborhood from Ballard to Georgetown, here is a different study.
There's room for saving though. Grange, Amica, Chubb, and State Farm are four cheap car insurance companies in Seattle that had some of the lowest rates around. On average, their quotes were 34% lower than the Seattle average. Single drivers on average pay 19% more for the even the same policy in Seattle, but we would recommend these motorists to add State Farm onto their insurer shortlist for a chance to save. Our benchmark single drivers' State Farm quote was $408 a year here.
Spokane is the second largest city in Washington, but also the third cheapest place to live in for motorists, based on our study. A year’s worth of basic coverage on average costs $455 for our two single men and two married couples, which is 15% lower than the state’s average. For even more affordable auto insurance in Spokane, we recommend starting with Amica, Grange, and State Farm in your comparison shopping. Based on what we saw in Spokane, these three carriers had some of the lowest premiums, averaging $306 a year, or 33% cheaper than the mean premium in the city. We also found a unique saving opportunity for drivers in certain professions. If you are a teacher, fire fighter, lawyer, or nurse, check out California Casualty, as it was the fourth cheapest insurer in Spokane.
Located in the Puget Sound near Mounta Rainier, Tacoma is the third largest city in Washington. The city was once an automobile racing hot spot in the early 1900s. Today, auto insurance costs about $601 a year, 12% higher than the state average. For three cheap auto insurance companies in Tacoma, take a look at Amica, Farmers, and Chubb to start. Average rates of $430 at these three insurers were about 28% lower than the citywide mean. If you are a single driver, then add Grange onto your list as well. Our single male motorists got the second lowest quote – $420/year – from Grange here, for a policy that is just slightly better than the state’s minimum policy.
The city of Vancouver has been recognized with a number of superlatives, including hosting one of the top ten national summer fairs, Clark County Fair. It has about 40 miles of urban trails, which has netted the city a Walkable Community Award. Drivers here pay about $512 a year for car insurance, which is $22 lower than the state average, based on our study. To save even more, we suggest you include Amica, Grange, Chubb, State Farm, and Farmers for some of the lowest car insurance rates. These five companies averaged $358 a year, which was 30% below the average in the city.
Nestled between Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains, the city is home to 122,000 residents and 100 parks. It costs about $529 a year to insure our benchmark drivers' cars in Bellevue, which is almost at par with the state average ($534). We suggest starting with Amica, Grange, and State Farm for some of the lowest car insurance rates in Bellevue. Bellevue motorists who work in the education, legal, fire-fighting, or as a nurse also have the chance to consider a policy from California Casualty Insurance Company. Rates among the three cheapest companies were 34% lower than Bellevue mean, about $351 annually. California Casualty, the specialty carrier, offered rates around $429 a year, which was still 19% lower than the city average.
To find the best auto insurance companies in Washington, we looked at the complaint index of the largest 46 licensed company groups* in the state. The complaint index measures an insurer's complaint share relative to its market share of premiums underwritten. This helps to identify how much better or worse an insurer is compared to the rest of its competition. The lower the index, the better: this insurer gets a smaller share of complaints relative to its size. An index number of 1 would be average for that market.
By this metric, in Washington, the best car insurance companies are Mutual of Enumclaw, Allied, and PEMCO. These top three insurers have well below average complaint index numbers, which indicate that they get fewer complaints compared to other companies their size. Amica and State Farm, two of our cheap auto insurance companies in Washington, fared better than average.
|Rank||Company||Total Written Premiums||Market Share||Complaint Index|
|1||Mutual of Enumclaw||$91,307,045||2.34%||0.22|
|6||Country Financial Insurance||53,331,911||1.37%||0.58|
|27||Eagle West Insurance Company||2,959,130||0.07%||1.66|
|38||Alpha Property & Casualty||5,348,892||0.13%||3.22|
|45||Workmens Auto Insurance||771,029||0.01%||38.24|
*Note that we've consolidated the individual underwriters under their corporate parent or marketing group. For example, QBE consists of auto insurance underwritten by Unigard Insurance Company and QBE Insurance Corporation.
While the most expensive cities in Washington all tend to be centered around large metro areas such as Seattle / Tacoma, the opposite is true for the cheapest cities. The five cheapest are much more suburban than urban, and a few would even classify as rural. The five priciest cities were located in Snohomish or King Counties. Generally speaking, all things being equal, less population density means fewer opportunities for car accidents and thus lower auto insurance premiums. However, exceptions exist, as the third cheapest city, Spokane, is also the second most populated city in the Evergreen State!
Below are all of the 10 cities in WA State that we analyzed for our study. The list shows average annual premiums in each city and is ordered from cheapest city to most expensive city. Check it out and see where your city stacks up against others in the state:
In order to drive in the Evergreen State, your auto insurance coverage has to be at least $25/$50/$10. The policy coverage limits we have used for our study, on the other hand, are basic coverage which is just slightly higher than the state’s minimum requirements:
|WA Minimum Limits||Study Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$10,000||$25,000|
|Uninsured Motorists BI (UM/UIMBI)||Optional||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident|
|Uninsured Motorists PD (UM/UIMPD)||Optional||$25,000|
We obtained quotes for insuring a 2010 Toyota Camry owned by each of our four benchmark drivers. Our sample motorists all have good credit and and they've opted for basic coverage. In a typical year, our hypothetical drivers log about 10 miles a day, and 12,000 miles in their vehicle, which is primarily used to commute to and from work. Our drivers have no accidents or traffic incidents or tickets in the past 5 years. Here are the four profiles:
- 30 year-old, Single Male
- 30 year-old, Married Couple (two drivers)
- 65 year-old, Single Male
- 65 year-old, Married Couple (two drivers)
Finally, we looked at quotes from 13 of the largest auto insurance companies in the state, and averaged the sample rates to come up with a city average. Other than the insurers mentioned in the study, some other companies we have looked at also included: CIG, American Family, National General, and Sentry Insurance.
Surveyed auto insurance costs in Washington are for illustrative purposes only and actual quotes will vary based on your physical residence, driving history, and other factors.