To find out just how much where you live can impact your auto insurance rates in Washington, we studied costs in over 50 cities in the state for a sample driver and coverage amounts. We found that car insurance costs can differ by 64% from the most expensive city (Seattle, WA) to the most affordable city (Walla Walla, WA). This means that our sample driver's costs could differ by as much as $670 just by living in a different city.
The graph below shows the five cities and towns where our sample motorist found his lowest quotes. They are mostly located around the southern half of the state. In these most affordable places, our drivers costs could vary 18 - 20% less compared to the statewide average. Most of the quotes obtained were nearly $300 lower than the mean quote in Washington for the same driver.
Walla Walla, WA
Our example driver here saw costs that were 20%, or $264, less than the state’s average car insurance cost. Home to about 32,000, Walla Walla is named after the Walla Walla Native American tribe that originally lived in the area. A diverse array of industries - including agriculture, wine making, distillery, corrections, health care, and transportation - play a large part in the city’s economy.
Our driver here had rates that were 19% lower – a $255 difference – compared to the Washington average. Richland was named after Nelson Rich, a state legislator and a land developer. This city has many forms of recreation with golf courses, as golf is a popular sport here, and parks along the Columbia and Yakima Rivers for all outdoor and water activities.
Ellensburg is third on our most affordable list. This city is surrounded by the Kittitas Valley, which is known for its timothy-hay. Timothy-hay grown and processed here have been exported to foreign countries. The first Friday of every month is celebrated with the First Friday Art Walk, a downtown festival featuring local art and businesses. Costs in Ellensburg were 19% less than the state mean, which our driver found to make a $246 difference on average.
Home to over 67,000 residents, Pasco takes the fourth spot on our list. Costs here were 19% lower than the state benchmark. The difference here was $244 less than the average annual premium we calculated in our analysis. Because there is a large agricultural presence, many large food processing companies have bases here, and there is an annual Pasco Farmers market every May through October.
Moses Lake, WA
Named after a Native American chief, Chief Moses of the Sinkiuse tribe, Moses Lake’s economy depends on agriculture, manufacturing, and technology for its 22,000 residents. Our drivers here saw rates that were 18% less than the state mean. In other words, our driver in Moses Lake paid $240 less that what he would have paid if he lived in the average Washington city for car insurance.
The five places our driver found to be the costliest to live in – for car insurance – were all located in King County. Depending on which city our driver was based in, he could pay between 19 - 31% more than the state average. Below is a graph of the five most expensive cities for car insurance in Washington with the average annual rate as well as how much their costs differ from the state mean.
Topping our list for most expensive city for car insurance in Washington is Seattle. The largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of America is home to over 662,000 residents, and is presided over by a famous landmark, the Space Needle. Costs for our profiled driver living in Seattle were 31% higher than the state benchmark - a $405 annual difference over the mean.
Burien was named after the Burians who owned two taverns in Seattle. They built one of the first cabins in the area, and turned the community into a town with their name. However, it was misspelled over the years. Costs for our driver were 20% more in Burien than the state average, a $263 difference, making it the second most expensive city in Washington.
Originally called Slaughter, Auburn was renamed when settlers from Auburn, NY moved into the area. Residents here can enjoy shopping, gambling, art and more. Our sample driver in Auburn faced the third most expensive rates, which were 20% higher compared to the state average. In other words, he paid $259 more than how much he would otherwise pay in a typical city in Washington.
Federal Way, WA
Federal Way ranks fourth on our list of most expensive cities. Auto insurance costs are 19% higher than the typical city in the Washington, meaning our example driver paid $256 more than the state average. Its over 93,000 residents can enjoy four city and state parks with hiking trails, picnic areas, sports field, and more.
Rounding out our list of expensive cities is Tukwila. Based on our benchmark profile, costs here were 19% more than the average city in Washington, equal to a difference of $252. Home to 20,000 people, “Tukwila” is a Chinook Jargon word for “hazelnut”, in recognition for the hazelnut trees that once grew here.
We looked at 58 cities in Washington and calculated the state's average annual insurance rate to be $1,317, based on our driver’s profile. However, depending on where he lived, he could pay anywhere from 20% less than to 31% more than that average rate.
|Rank||City/Town||Average Annual Rate||Rate % Difference From State Average|
How We Conducted the Study & Minimum Coverage Requirements
By collecting over 700 car insurance quotes from 58 cities for our 30 year old single male driver and only varying the location of where he lived, we were able to measure the impact of location on rates. For our study, we used coverage amounts that were more than enough to cover the state’s requirements. The policy limits are listed below:
|Coverage Type||WA Requirement Limits||Study Assumption|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident||$50,000 per person / $100,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$10,000||$50,000|
|Uninsured / Underinsured Motorists BI||Optional||$50,000 per person / $100,000 per accident|
|Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist PD||Optional||$50,000|