Auto Insurance Basics

Best Car Insurance Rates in Washington

Find the Cheapest Insurance Quotes in Your Area

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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 $1,259 for the driver we used as our benchmark - but this barely hints at the wide range of costs. One year insured at the most expensive company can pay for over four and a half 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

We looked at 15 companies in our study to identify which ones had the best car insurance quotes in Washington for our benchmark driver, a single 30 year old male. Below we've ranked five of the cheapest auto insurers in the Evergreen State in order from cheapest to most expensive based on the group's average annual rates:

This chart shows the five auto insurance companies where our profiled driver found the cheapest car insurance rates, compared to the statewide mean.

Find the Cheapest Auto Insurance Quotes in Your Area

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Grange Insurance Association, PEMCO, Farmers, Chubb, and Progressive were the cheapest auto insurance companies in Washington based on our data. These five companies offer an average annual rate of $864, which is a 31% discount to the state average. Grange in particular comes in as the most affordable with yearly rates under $800 for our profiled driver's coverage. 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 15 Washington auto insurance providers for our benchmark drivers. Below is a table of all 15 ranked by the average quote our drivers received from the most affordable to the most expensive:

RankAuto Insurance CompanyAverage Annual Rate
1Grange Insurance Association$753
2PEMCO$845
3Farmers$885
4Chubb$916
5Progressive$923
6American Family$942
7Allstate$1,056
8The Hartford$1,068
9GEICO$1,091
10National General$1,117
11Capital$1,248
12MetLife$1,276
13Encompass$1,547
14Bristol West$1,766
15Sentry$3,455

The Most Expensive Auto Insurance Companies

Based on the quotes we obtained for our benchmark driver, a 30 year old single man, Sentry, Bristol West, and Encompass had the three highest overall annual rates. The three providers quoted on average $2,256 for our group of motorists, which came out to be a staggering 79% higher compared to the 15-company mean in the study. That costs roughly 2.8x the average quote at the three cheapest carriers (Grange, PEMCO, Farmers). 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.

Cheap Car Insurance in Washington: by City

Our data set also had city-specific data, so we delved into the quotes for the profiled driver based on where he lived. Here is a table with the top three cheapest insurers in each of the 52 cities in our study. We will discuss the five largest cities in Washington in more detail.

CityAuto Insurance CompanyAverage Annual Rates
ArlingtonGrange Insurance Association$768
PEMCO$900
Progressive$911
AuburnGrange Insurance Association$840
PEMCO$972
Progressive$1,015
Bainbridge IslandGrange Insurance Association$624
PEMCO$744
American Family$756
BellevueGrange Insurance Association$828
PEMCO$900
Chubb$948
BellinghamGrange Insurance Association$696
PEMCO$708
Farmers$744
BothellGrange Insurance Association$816
PEMCO$900
Farmers$912
BremertonGrange Insurance Association$708
American Family$756
PEMCO$768
CheneyPEMCO$696
Grange Insurance Association$720
Farmers$768
ColvilleGrange Insurance Association$696
Farmers$756
PEMCO$768
EdmondsGrange Insurance Association$816
PEMCO$888
The Hartford$960
EllensburgGrange Insurance Association$624
PEMCO$660
The Hartford$672
EverettGrange Insurance Association$816
Allstate$876
PEMCO$888
Federal WayGrange Insurance Association$840
Progressive$1,000
PEMCO$1,008
IssaquahPEMCO$744
Grange Insurance Association$768
Progressive$962
KenmoreGrange Insurance Association$816
PEMCO$900
Chubb$972
KennewickGrange Insurance Association$636
PEMCO$720
Chubb$732
KentGrange Insurance Association$840
PEMCO$972
Progressive$1,017
KirklandGrange Insurance Association$828
Farmers$864
PEMCO$900
LaceyGrange Insurance Association$768
PEMCO$780
Farmers$828
Lake StevensGrange Insurance Association$768
The Hartford$876
Farmers$888
LakewoodGrange Insurance Association$876
Progressive$973
American Family$1,008
LongviewGrange Insurance Association$696
Farmers$768
PEMCO$780
LynnwoodGrange Insurance Association$816
PEMCO$924
Progressive$977
Maple ValleyGrange Insurance Association$840
PEMCO$888
Progressive$958
Mercer IslandGrange Insurance Association$828
PEMCO$900
The Hartford$912
MonroeGrange Insurance Association$768
PEMCO$900
Progressive$920
Moses LakeGrange Insurance Association$624
PEMCO$696
Farmers$708
Mountlake TerraceGrange Insurance Association$816
The Hartford$828
PEMCO$924
MukilteoGrange Insurance Association$816
PEMCO$888
Progressive$940
Oak HarborGrange Insurance Association$696
Farmers$720
American Family$732
OlympiaGrange Insurance Association$708
Farmers$756
PEMCO$780
OmakGrange Insurance Association$624
Farmers$744
PEMCO$768
PascoThe Hartford$612
Grange Insurance Association$636
PEMCO$720
PullmanGrange Insurance Association$624
PEMCO$696
Farmers$708
PuyallupGrange Insurance Association$900
Farmers$924
Progressive$968
RaymondGrange Insurance Association$624
Farmers$696
PEMCO$744
RedmondGrange Insurance Association$828
Farmers$840
PEMCO$900
RentonGrange Insurance Association$840
PEMCO$972
Progressive$996
RichlandGrange Insurance Association$636
PEMCO$720
Chubb$732
SammamishGrange Insurance Association$816
Farmers$876
PEMCO$900
SeattleGrange Insurance Association$864
Progressive$964
Farmers$1,032
SpokaneGrange Insurance Association$720
PEMCO$816
American Family$840
TacomaGrange Insurance Association$900
Farmers$972
Progressive$1,010
University PlaceGrange Insurance Association$876
Farmers$960
Progressive$980
VancouverGrange Insurance Association$744
Farmers$828
American Family$876
YakimaGrange Insurance Association$636
Farmers$744
PEMCO$780

Seattle, WA

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 is also home to the most expensive auto insurance in the state. A year's premium to cover our benchmark driver's Camry cost $1,659, or 32% higher than the average city's costs in Washington. This is the cost for a policy that provides full 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, Progressive, Farmers, Chubb, and PEMCO are five cheap car insurance companies in Seattle that had some of the lowest rates around. On average, they quoted our sample driver $1,016, which was 39% lower than the Seattle average.

This graph shows the five companies in Seattle with the lowest car insurance rates compared to the average of all companies surveyed.

Spokane, WA

Spokane may be the second largest city in Washington, but according to our study, it costs a little cheaper than average for motorists to insure their cars here. A year’s worth of basic coverage on average costs $1,183 for our benchmark driver, which is 6% lower than the state’s average. For even more affordable auto insurance in Spokane, we recommend starting with Grange, PEMCO, and American Family in your comparison shopping. Based on what we saw in Spokane, these three carriers had some of the lowest rates, averaging $792 a year, or 33% cheaper than the mean premium in the city. Also consider Chubb and Progressive as well. These two companies round out the top five and have rates that average $886, which is 25% less than the city wide average.

This graph shows which insurers ranked as the cheapest auto insurance companies in Spokane out of all the companies quoted.

Tacoma, WA

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 $1,496 a year, 19% higher than the state average. For three cheap auto insurance companies in Tacoma, take a look at Grange, Farmers, and Progressive to start. Average rates of $961 at these three insurers were about 36% lower than the citywide mean. Close behind the top three are American Family and Chubb with average rates of $1,026 (31% less than the Tacoma city wide average).

This chart plots the five companies with the cheapest annual car insurance costs in Tacoma, as compared to the citywide average.

Vancouver, WA

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 $1,298 a year for car insurance, which is $39 more expensive than the state average, based on our study. To save even more, we suggest you include Grange, Farmers, American Family, Chubb, and PEMCO for some of the lowest car insurance rates. These five companies averaged $850 a year, which was 35% below the average in the city. 

this graph compares the five most affordable car insurance companies in Vancouver as compared to the city wide average.

Bellevue, WA

Nestled between Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains, the city is home to 122,000 residents and 100 parks. It costs about $1,341 a year to insure our benchmark drivers' cars in Bellevue, which is 7% higher than the state average($1,259). We suggest starting with Grange, PEMCO, and Chubb for some of the lowest car insurance rates in Bellevue. Rates among the three cheapest companies were 33% lower than Bellevue mean, about $892 annually.

This chart answers the question of who has the lowest insurance costs for our Bellevue driver, as compared to the city average.

Best Auto Insurance Companies in Washington

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
2 Allied 10,920,209 0.28% 0.23
3 PEMCO 241,117,743 6.21% 0.32
4 Markel Insurance 7,125,167 0.18% 0.34
5 Encompass 17,010,361 0.42% 0.56
6 Country Financial Insurance 53,331,911 1.37% 0.58
7 USAA 305,062,128 7.84% 0.70
8 QBE Insurance 17,448,310 0.44% 0.70
9 ANPAC 7,693,992 0.19% 0.73
10 Liberty Mutual 230,145,789 5.92% 0.75
11 Amica 24,293,753 0.62% 0.81
12 Nationwide 45,911,924 1.17% 0.83
13 Allstate 366,012,635 9.41% 0.86
14 Progressive 342,488,473 8.81% 0.93
15 State Farm 609,783,669 15.70% 0.95
16 Travelers 42,623,732 1.09% 0.98
17 Esurance 25,635,036 0.66% 1.05
18 Chubb 4,139,917 0.10% 1.19
19 MetLife 46,794,818 1.20% 1.19
20 GEICO 317,701,791 8.17% 1.41
21 Bankers Insurance 1,706,232 0.04% 1.44
22 Ameriprise 52,595,581 1.35% 1.45
23 Hallmark Insurance 1,585,475 0.04% 1.55
24 Oregon Mutual 9,447,002 0.24% 1.56
25 Victoria Insurance 10,900,011 0.28% 1.58
26 Sentry 51,463,140 1.31% 1.64
27 Eagle West Insurance Company 2,959,130 0.07% 1.66
28 American Family 141,720,830 3.64% 1.66
29 21st Century 15,338,229 0.38% 1.87
30 Dairyland 7,902,657 0.20% 1.96
31 MAPFRE Insurance 22,714,297 0.58% 2.06
32 National General 52,343,042 1.33% 2.09
33 Hartford 124,577,952 3.18% 2.14
34 Horace Mann 5,118,922 0.11% 2.31
35 Safeco 171,178,960 4.39% 2.46
36 Fireman's Fund 1,584,251 0.04% 3.10
37 The General 774,122 0.01% 3.17
38 Alpha Property & Casualty 5,348,892 0.13% 3.22
39 Titan 2,093,148 0.05% 3.52
40 Patriot Insurance 7,338,255 0.18% 4.02
41 Pacific Star 3,548,864 0.09% 4.85
42 Infinity Auto 390,385 0.01% 6.29
43 Omni Insurance 14,254,000 0.36% 7.07
44 Farmers 328,423,998 8.45% 31.65
45 Workmens Auto Insurance 771,029 0.01% 38.24
46 Kemper 39,584,479 1.01% 53.45

*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.

Car Insurance Costs in Washington: by City

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.

Below are all of the 52 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:

This chart ranks the average cost of car insurance for 52 Washington cities from cheapest to most expensive.

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Washington

In order to drive in the Evergreen State, your auto insurance coverage has to be at least $25/$50/$10. There are certain coverages that you are technically required to hold but can waive them when purchasing your policy. Washington state auto insurance requirements are as follows:

  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident of bodily injury liability insurance
  • $10,000 property damage liability insurance
  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident of uninsured motorist BI*
  • $10,000 uninsured motorist PD*
  • $10,000 PIP*

*Note that Washington is a no-fault state, so drivers can waive having these coverages when they go to take out a policy.

Study Methodology

We obtained quotes for insuring a 2011 Toyota Camry owned by our benchmark driver, a single 30 year old male. Our sample motorist has good credit, a clean driving record with no accidents or traffic incidents or tickets in the last five years, and and has opted to receive full coverage. In a typical year, our hypothetical driver logs about 12,000 miles in his vehicle, which is primarily used to commute to and from work.

Finally, we looked at quotes from 15 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.

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