Washington State Requires Insurers to Better Explain Auto, Home Rate Increases

Policyholders getting rate hikes at renewal must request explanations in writing for now, but automatic notices are coming in 2027.

Evelyn Pimplaskar
Evelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content
  • 10+ years in insurance and personal finance content

  • 30+ years in media, PR, and content creation

Evelyn leads Insurify’s content team. She’s passionate about creating empowering content to help people transform their financial lives and make sound insurance-buying decisions.

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Chris Schafer
Edited byChris Schafer
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
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  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

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John Leach
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John LeachSenior Insurance Copy Editor
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John leads Insurify’s copy desk, helping ensure the accuracy and readability of Insurify’s content. He’s a licensed agent specializing in home and car insurance topics.

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Published June 6, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT | Reading time: 2 minutes

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Home and auto insurers in Washington state will have to provide renewing policyholders with specific reasons why their premiums are increasing under a new rule from the state’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

The rule takes effect in two phases. The first, effective June 1, 2024, requires insurers to place a disclaimer at the beginning of renewal notices or billing statements notifying policyholders that they can request, in writing, details about increased premiums. The second takes effect June 1, 2027, and requires insurance companies to automatically send the notice at least 20 days before policy renewal dates when the policy rate will increase by 10% or more.

“If your insurance company is going to increase your premium, you have a right to know why,” Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a news release. “Hundreds of consumers, every year, have told us they are unable to get a clear answer from their insurance company about why they’re being charged more. This is pretty basic information that should be available, and now it will be.”

Clearer explanations for rate increases

Insurance companies use numerous data points — or “rating factors” — to determine premiums for home and car insurance. For example, a home’s age, location, claims history, value, and more influence home insurance premiums. A driver’s age, gender, credit history, driving record, and more affect auto insurance premiums.

Going forward, insurers in Washington state will have to share with policyholders the specific rate and rating factors causing their premiums to increase. And they’ll have to do it “in terms that are understandable to an average policyholder, which enable the policyholder to figure out the basic nature of any premium increase,” the rule requires.

The rule also sets out language for increase notices, which must include:

  • The original premium amount and increased amount

  • The specific factor or factors driving the increase

  • A clear explanation of each factor

  • The percentage or dollar change to the renewing premium

  • Contact information for the insurer, including phone, email, postal address, or web address

Insurance costs in Washington

Compared to other states, Washington has moderate home and auto insurance costs. The average cost of home insurance in the state is $1,437 annually, according to Insurify data. By comparison, the national average cost of home insurance is $2,377. Floridians pay the most for home insurance — $10,996, on average — while Vermont homeowners pay the least, at just $918 per year.

Washington’s average car insurance costs, on the other hand, are higher compared to most other states. The average cost of a minimum-coverage policy in Washington is approximately $121 per month, while full-coverage policies average $189 monthly, Insurify data shows. Nationally, car insurance averages about $105 monthly for a liability-only policy and $215 for full coverage.

What’s next: Penalties for insurers

The first phase of the rule is already in effect, and insurers have another three years to comply with phase two. Currently, insurers have 20 days to respond to a policyholder’s request for an explanation, whether they receive it through postal mail or email.

As of June 1, 2027, homeowners and auto insurers will need to send a notice at least 20 days before a policy’s renewal date if the premium will increase by 10% or more.

Insurers that fail to comply with the new rule could face fines and penalties.


Evelyn Pimplaskar
Evelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content

Evelyn Pimplaskar is Insurify’s director of content. With 30-plus years in content creation – including 10 years specializing in personal finance – Evelyn’s done everything from covering volatile local elections as a beat reporter to building fintech content libraries from the ground up.

Before joining Insurify, she was editor-in-chief at Credible, where she launched and developed the lending marketplace’s media partnership’s content initiative and managed the restructuring of the editorial team to enhance content production efficiency. Formerly, as tax editor for Credit Karma, Evelyn built a library of more than 300 educational articles on federal and state taxes, achieving triple-digit year-over-year growth in e-files from organic search.

Her early career included work as a content marketer, vice president and managing officer of a boutique public relations agency, chief copy editor for 14 weekly Forbes publications, reporting for large and mid-sized daily newspapers, and freelancing for the Associated Press.

Evelyn is passionate about creating personal finance content that distills complex topics into relatable, easy-to-understand stories. She believes great content helps empower readers with the information they need to make important personal finance decisions.

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris SchaferSenior Editor
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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John Leach
Reviewed byJohn LeachSenior Insurance Copy Editor
Photo of an Insurify author
John LeachSenior Insurance Copy Editor
  • Licensed property and casualty insurance agent

  • 8+ years editing experience

John leads Insurify’s copy desk, helping ensure the accuracy and readability of Insurify’s content. He’s a licensed agent specializing in home and car insurance topics.

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