Washington state has more bad drivers than the national average, and that makes a difference in car insurance rates.
According to a new study by QuoteWizard, car insurance rates have risen significantly in Washington since the beginning of 2016. Rate increases vary by insurance carrier, but three – State Farm, Liberty Mutual and Farmers – had the highest, ranging from 13-16 percent. QuoteWizard researched filing data from the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner to come up with its results.
Car insurance rates rise for people with bad driving records, and Washington drivers are worse than average, according to QuoteWizard’s data. Factoring in accidents, speeding tickets, driving under the influence, citations and fatalities, Washington ranked ninth worst in the country in 2016.
Seattle drivers are also not great when it comes to avoiding accidents. According to a recent report by Allstate, Seattle drivers average a collision every 7.1 years. Seattle ranked 183rd out of 200 cities studied for best drivers.
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Several factors make Seattle and Washington state prone to rising insurance rates, said Adam Johnson, content manager at QuoteWizard. The city and state are both experiencing strong population growth, which is creating more density and drivers. Traffic jams are also an issue, particularly in the Seattle area. Lousy weather is also cited as a factor.
One relatively new factor is the legalization of recreational marijuana, according to the report. Vehicle fatalities involving drivers that had used marijuana was up nearly 10 percent between 2014 and 2016, according to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety as reported by CNN.
Those factors have led to higher-than-average insurance rates in Seattle, according to the QuoteWizard report. The national average for car insurance is about $102 a month, while Seattle residents pay an average of about $139 a month. Seattle drivers between the ages of 18-24 pay the highest among different age groups, averaging $165 a month. Seattle drivers ages 55-64 pay the least among the different age groups, averaging $116 a month.
The report also notes that 20 percent of Seattle drivers have tickets or infractions, which raises premiums an average of $20 a month. The 20 percent total is about on par with other cities researched for the report, Johnson said.