Driving Without Insurance in Washington: Penalties and Risks

If you’re on your way to hike in the Olympic National Park, visit the Space Needle in Seattle, or enjoy the San Juan Islands, make sure you have valid car insurance. If you decide to drive anyway, without car insurance in Washington; then please read on.

Washington law requires all drivers to have insurance, regardless of their driving record. Drivers with multiple tickets and accidents, such as multiple violations or major violations, are considered high-risk drivers and may have trouble getting insurance. Source URL

Documents You Need to Legally Drive in Washington

All motor vehicle owners registered in Washington state must have insurance or show proof of financial responsibility. Source URL

  • Registration fees
  • Completed vehicle certificate of ownership (title) application
  • Title
  • Purchase agreement or bill of sale
  • Odometer disclosure statement (vehicles up to 10 years old)

The penalties for driving without insurance in Washington can be steep, so you should get insurance right away and have proof of coverage at all times. Source URL

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Washington

Driving without car insurance in Washington state is illegal. If you are caught driving without insurance, you can be fined up to $450 and/or convicted of a misdemeanor. Your driving privileges are suspended. Source URL, Source URL

Moreover, the Washington Department of Licensing will suspend your driver’s license for up to three years, and you may have to pay a $75 fee to reinstate your license. Source URL

If you have been convicted of driving without insurance in Washington, you can serve a Community Restitution sentence. This is a punishment that requires you to perform a certain number of hours of community service, such as picking up litter or helping at a soup kitchen. Source URL

If you’re the at-fault party in an accident without the required coverage, your license could be suspended if you are unable to pay for damages. Source URL

Unininsured Drivers in Washington

According to the Washington Department of Motor Vehicles, 17.4% of Washington drivers drive without insurance. This means that if you are hit by an uninsured driver, you will likely have to pay for your own car repairs and medical bills. Source URL

States that Require Uninsured Motorist Property Damage includes Washington

In these states’ drivers must carry uninsured property damage coverage unless they specifically reject it in writing:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington

In Delaware and Illinois drivers must be offered UMPD but are not obligated to buy it. In Utah drivers can request UMPD if they don’t have collision coverage. Source URL

Washington’s Rank with Uninsured Motorists

If you are involved in an accident and the negligent driver leaves the scene without identifying themselves, then at that point this driver becomes uninsured according to the clause in your car insurance contract. However, most insurance companies will accept a license plate number as appropriate identification.

To calculate UM ratios the insurance research council compared the collision and property damage portions in Uninsured Motorists clauses. Source URL

The 10 states with the highest frequencies were:

  • Oklahoma: 25.9%
  • Florida: 23.8%
  • Mississippi: 22.9%
  • New Mexico: 21.6%
  • Michigan: 21.0%
  • Tennessee: 20.1%
  • Alabama: 19.6%
  • Rhode Island: 17.0%
  • Colorado: 16.2%
  • Washington: 16.1%

Required Car Insurance Coverage in Washington

Washington state laws only require you to insure yourself against bodily injury and property damage liability, so it’s up to you to decide whether or not to add coverage for yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle. Source URL

Citation List