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Washington sees sharp rise in auto insurance premiums

People are looking for ways to save as auto insurance rises across the state.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Last year, the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner approved a 24% average base rate change for insurance companies.

Washington hasn’t seen an increase that high in some time, and people in Tacoma are shocked.

“I bought a new KIA hybrid because I drive a lot as a musician, and my insurance went up, like … a lot,” said Sarah Viens of the Lincoln District.

Washington law requires drivers to have liability insurance or another way to assume financial responsibility for potential damages. Car owners in the state spend $128 per month on average on car insurance, which is still less than the national average.

Now people are trying to find ways keep their payments down as rates rise.

“I was surprised that it went up so much, especially since they’d been stable for so long,” said Paul Hemez, who lives in the Lincoln District. “Our first thought was to look for other options to see if we can get better rates.”

“You shouldn’t be forced to have a certain amount of coverage, because what if you literally can’t afford it?” asked Viens. “I’m lucky that I was able to cover the costs of my insurance, but I know a lot of people can’t do that.”

So what can you do to save money on auto insurance? 

  • Consumer Reports recommends you shop around, prices vary by company. 
  • Increase your deductible. This can bring your annual premium down considerably. 
  • Look for bundling options using the same insurance company for auto and homeowners or renters insurance – that often leads to savings.
  • Finally, be a safe driver. Speeding tickets, collisions and traffic violations can drive up those premiums.

You can also drop car insurance you don’t need to save money, such as collision insurance depending on your car’s worth. Improving your credit score also helps keeps rates down.


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