Car insurance rates in the Evergreen state are climbing. Washington, home to apple orchards, Boeing, rain and Microsoft, is also home to growing car insurance premiums.
To see how car insurance rates have changed over the last two years, QuoteWizard researched rate filing data. Each insurance company has to file requests with the State of Washington Insurance Commissioner’s office in order to increase rates. We parsed the information to establish rate increase percentages involving a dozen leading car insurance providers. The following list shows which car insurance companies raised their rates the most in Washington since the beginning of 2016.
|Insurance Company||Total % Increase|
|First National Insurance||6.90%|
|Mutual of Enumclaw||3.30%|
Rates Are Raising across the Country
If you're feeling the squeeze of rising insurance premiums, you're not alone. Drivers throughout America are experiencing rate hikes due to grim financial forecasts for insurance companies. What's causing the rise? A few things:
- More drivers: A recent economic boom plus low gas prices has put a record-setting number of drivers behind the wheel. Busier roads and higher mileage leads to more accidents. Car insurance companies respond by raising rates.
- Distracted driving: There are more drivers on the road than ever before, and many aren't paying attention to the road. Smartphones are now ubiquitous, and experts say they're to blame for many accidents. In fact, vehicle-related deaths rose 8 percent from 2016 to 2015.
- Medical costs: Rocky political climates contributed to the skyrocketing price of healthcare. Many states are seeing double digit percentage increases in medical costs. With frequent car accidents and expensive medical bills, car insurance companies are hiking their premiums to pay for hospital visits.
- Expensive car repairs: New cars contains more technology and custom equipment than ever before. What used to be an easy bumper repair today involves replacing back-up cameras and sensors. Also, many modern car parts are under proprietary patents, making a simple part-swap more expensive than before.
How Much do Seattle Drivers Pay for Car Insurance?
Seattle drivers pay more for car insurance than the rest of the country, on average. QuoteWizard conducted a survey study of car insurance rates in Seattle, and here are our findings:
- While the national average for car insurance is about $1,222 per year, Seattle residents pay an average of $1668 per year. That comes out to $139 per month.
- Unlike the rest of the country, Seattle women pay more than men for car insurance. Women pay an average of $143 per month, while men pay $133 per month.
- Seattle drivers ages 18 to 24 pay $165 per month, the most of any age group. On the other side, drivers ages 55 to 64 pay $116 per month.
- 20 percent of Seattle drivers have tickets or infractions, raising their premiums by an average of $20 more per month.
Washington Drivers Aren't Great
Car insurance is more expensive for people with bad driving records. Washington's rising rates may be related in part to subpar performance behind the wheel. According to our data, Washington drivers are worse than average.
By analyzing incident data and fatality data from the Federal Highway Administration, we created a list of the best and worst drivers by state. Our rankings are a sum of accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, citations, and fatalities.
Our data shows that Washington residents are the ninth worst drivers in the country. This poor ranking may be a factor in Washington's rising rates.
Seattle drivers aren't earning any driving plaudits either. Allstate ranked Seattle 183rd out of 200 cities in their 2016 Best Drivers Report. According to Allstate, Seattle drivers average a collision every 6.9 years – 46 percent higher than the rest of the country.
Why Is Washington's Car Insurance Going Up?
Rates are rising across the country, but is there anything unique to Washington's increases? There are several factors that may contribute specifically to Washington's insurance premiums:
- New residents: Seattle and Washington are both experiencing explosive growth. Seattle's population grows by a monthly average of 3,125 residents. Washington is keeping the pace as well – their 8.38 percent population growth since 2010 is the 8th highest in the country. Large population increases lead to greater density and more drivers. That, in turn, puts more drivers at risk of collision.
- Terrible traffic: Seattle's gridlock is becoming worse by the minute. So bad, in fact, that Seattle has earned the dubious honor of the second worst evening commute in the country. Traffic wears vehicles down and leads to more accidents.
- Lousy weather: Washington isn't winning any awards for blue skies and agreeable climates. The Evergreen State placed 10th on the ranking of states with the worst weather. Inclement weather is a warning sign for car insurance companies, as it is a common culprit behind accidents and damage.
- Bad drivers: Washington placed 9th on our list of the worst drivers by state. Drivers in Washington rack up more accidents and citations than most other states.
- Legal weed: Vehicle fatalities involving stoned drivers increased by nearly 10 percent after Washington legalized cannabis in 2014. Also, the percentage of drivers who used marijuana within hours of an accident doubled.
One thing that is certain is that insurance rates are fluid. We at QuoteWizard will continue to monitor and periodically report local, regional, and national findings.