For Consumers

What is auto insurance?

Auto insurance provides coverage for property, medical expenses, and liability. Washington state law requires liability coverage, however, there are other coverages you may want to consider.

What type of auto coverage do I need if I finance or lease my vehicle?

Most lenders require you to have comprehensive and collision coverage, and leave the choice of the insurance company up to you.

If you don't maintain coverage, the lender can buy coverage to protect its interest and charge you for it.

What about young drivers?

Most insurance companies require all drivers in the household to be listed on the policy. This includes all family members of driving age, regardless of whether they'll be driving your auto.

Ask your agent about good-student discounts. Some companies offer discounts to young drivers who receive good grades in school.

You also might want to learn more about how to prepare your teen for safe driving (www.insureuonline.org).

What happens with my auto coverage if I'm called to active duty?

Contact your agent or company to find out if your policy covers you while driving in the area where you'll be stationed. Make sure you provide your agent with your current address, so the agent can send you information about your policy.

Am I covered if I drive my friend's car?

It depends on your friend's policy. Before you drive someone else's car, check to find out if you're covered by their insurance. If their policy doesn't cover you, then review your policy with your agent or company.

Can I lose my auto insurance coverage once I've bought a policy?

Insurance companies can non-renew or cancel your auto policy.

Non-renewed auto policies

If your insurance company doesn't renew your auto policy, it must give you 20 days advance notice before the non-renewal date takes effect. It must also provide you with a reason for its decision.

Cancelled auto policies

Your insurance company can cancel your auto policy if:

  • You fail to pay the premium. However, the company must give you 10 days advance written notice.
  • The Department of Licensing (www.dol.wa.gov) suspends or revokes your driver license or the driver license of someone else in your household.
  • It's been 30 days or less since you bought the policy.