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D.C. Auto Insurance Guide

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D.C. Minimum Insurance Requirements

From the National Mall to the National Cathedral, Capitol Hill to the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. has miles of roadways. They’re used by nearly 400,000 licensed drivers, who each average over 5,700 miles each year. Along the way, they’re involved in thousands of traffic accidents, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in America’s Capital, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to Washington D.C.’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.

Washington D.C. state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines. Washington D.C. has a tort system, which means that if you are found to be at fault in a car accident, you can be sued for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damages (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering. However, Washington D.C. also allows you to purchase personal injury protection.

The bare minimum car insurance requirement for The District of Columbia drivers is:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
  • $50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability
  • $25,000/$50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury
  • $5,000 uninsured motorist property damage per accident, with $200 deductible

Washington D.C. does not require you to carry additional coverage such as personal injury protection or Collision and Comprehensive. However, if you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.

Penalties for Failure to Carry The District of Columbia Auto Insurance

Washington D.C. requires you to carry minimum liability insurance or proof of financial responsibility and provide proof if a law enforcement officer asks to see it. Failure to do so may result in a minimum fine of $30. You can incur additional fines of $150 for the first 30 days your are uninsured and $7 for each additional day up to a maximum of $2,500. You must have valid Washington D.C. insurance to register or renew registration for your vehicle. If your insurance is terminated or canceled, you must immediately turn in your vehicle tags and registration to the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

The District of Columbia Car Insurance Premiums

Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:

  • The type of car you are insuring
  • Prior auto insurance coverage
  • How much you drive
  • Your driving record
  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your marital status
  • Your geographic location
  • How long you’ve been driving
  • Whether or not you use your car for business

The District of Columbia also allows insurers to consider your credit history to determine your premium.

How to Get the Cheapest The District of Columbia Car Insurance Policy

You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:

  • Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
  • Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
  • Eliminate unnecessary coverage
  • Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer

  • New The District of Columbia Driving Laws

    Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in The District of Columbia. The following laws have recently been enacted in The District of Columbia and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.

    • Washington D.C. has a ban on texting for all drivers
    • Washington D.C. bans the use of handheld devices for all drivers
    • Washington D.C. bans the use of all cell phones (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers.

    The District of Columbia Regulating Agencies and References

    District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking

    District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles

    Insurance Information Institute

    National Association of Insurance Commissioners



    Last Updated: 3/7/2014