For Consumers

What is auto insurance?

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

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 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.

Things to consider before changing an auto policy

There are several reasons why you may want to change or cancel your policy, such as finding cheaper rates or maybe you sold your car and no longer need auto insurance. It’s important to avoid any gaps in coverage — as gaps can lead to higher rates. Whatever your reason, here are some suggestions to ensure things go smoothly:

  • Make sure you have a replacement policy in place before you cancel your existing policy 
  • Ask your agent or insurance company about their cancellation policy and if there are any cancellation fees
  • Read your auto policy’s cancellation terms
  • Follow up with a letter to the company or agent