For Consumers

Domestic abuse and insurance

The Washington state Legislature passed a law in April 1998 that bans insurance companies from discriminating against domestic-abuse victims.

What is domestic abuse?

According to Washington state law (leg.wa.gov), domestic abuse is when:

  • Bodily injury, assault or fear of impending physical harm occurs between family or household members or an intimate partner.
  • A family or household member or intimate partner sexually assaults another family or household member or intimate partner.
  • A family or household member or intimate partner stalks another family or household member or intimate partner (leg.wa.gov).
  • Someone purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes damage to property to intimidate or attempt to control another family or household member or intimate partner.

Your insurance rights

If you've been or may be a victim of domestic abuse, insurance companies cannot use this information to:

  • Change the policy terms or your property coverage
  • Charge you a different premium for the same coverage
  • Deny you coverage
  • Refuse to renew your policy
  • Cancel your policy

Filing an insurance claim

Insurance companies can't deny your claim if a covered loss is due to domestic abuse and you didn't help cause the loss.

If you are a domestic-abuse victim and you file an insurance claim to recover your portion of the property loss, you must file a police report, and cooperate with any law-enforcement or insurance investigation.

Your insurance company may choose to seek repayment from the person held liable for the property loss.