If you are looking for information about Washington D.C. auto insurance, you have come to the right place. This page will let you know what coverage you need to drive in the District, what penalties you could face for driving without insurance, and what you need to know when purchasing auto insurance in Washington D.C..
Mandatory insurance laws in Washington D.C.
All drivers in Washington D.C. must have auto insurance. You are legally obliged to prove that you have auto insurance in the following situations:
- When police ask to see proof of auto insurance
- Road accidents
- Registering your vehicle
- Renewing your vehicle registration
- Vehicle inspections
Minimum Washington D.C. coverage requirements
Washington D.C. law requires auto insurance policies to provide certain minimum amounts of coverage. These are shown in the table below.
|Required coverage type
|Property damage liability
|Third party liability
||$25,000 per person; $50,000 per accident
|Uninsured motorist bodily injury
||$25,000 per person; $50,000 per accident
|Uninsured motorist property damage
||$5,000 subject to $200 deductible
Liability coverage pays out for medical bills and repair bills if you or someone else driving your car causes an accident. However, there is always a cap on the maximum amount that insurance companies are willing to pay out.
In Washington D.C., your policy must include at least $50,000 of coverage to pay for the medical bills of all people involved in an accident. The minimum amount of property damage liability is $10,000. If you want better protection, you can purchase an auto insurance policy that provides more than the minimum legally required amount of coverage.
It is important to remember that liability coverage does not pay for the medical bills or repair bills of the driver who caused the accident. Only the victims’ costs are covered.
Washington D.C. legal minimum coverage requirements are higher than in some other states. This reflects the higher than average cost of living in the District. Even though the minimum amounts might seem reasonable, it’s often a great idea to purchase far more than the minimum amount of cover to ensure you will not be left facing a large bill in the event of an accident.
Penalties for Driving Uninsured
Driving without auto insurance in Washington D.C. can end up being extremely expensive. Not only will you have to pay for victims’ medical and repair bills if an accident occurs, but you could also face a fine and other penalties if you are caught.
The fine for driving without insurance in Washington D.C. can be up to $500. On top of this fine, you could also face 90 days in jail. Washington D.C. law also allows authorities to suspend your vehicle registration and confiscate your plates so you cannot drive if you are caught driving without insurance.
How auto insurance claims work in Washington D.C.
Unlike many other states, Washington D.C. follows a no-fault system for auto insurance claims. In the majority of cases, this means that you cannot make a claim against another driver after an accident. In general, you file a claim with your auto insurance company, receive a payout from them, and that’s as far as it goes. However, there are exceptions to this no-fault policy.
If the expenses you incur in medical bills and loss of income as a result of the accident exceed the limits of your insurance policy, you could be eligible to make a claim against the other driver. Similarly, you could be able to make a claim if you experience injuries that cause permanent scarring, disfigurement, or impairment lasting for more than 180 days. Of course, you should work with a lawyer closely through any such process.
Unlike many other states, Washington D.C. follows a contributory negligence law. This means you can only receive compensation following an accident if the other driver was completely at fault and you played no part in causing the accident.
Washington D.C. auto insurance rates
Washington D.C. auto insurance rates are somewhat higher than rates in other parts of the country. While the nationwide average is $1,009, Washington D.C. drivers pay on average $1,331 per year.
The following factors can affect how much you pay for auto insurance in Washington D.C..
- Driving safety record
- Years of driving experience
- Annual mileage
- Credit history
- Vehicle type
- Claims history
- Secondary driver characteristics
Auto insurance discounts in Washington D.C.
Drivers in Washington D.C. can lower their auto insurance rates by taking advantage of discounts.For example, many insurance providers offer discounts to members of AARP.
The best way to get a low auto insurance rate in Washington D.C. is to shop around. There are plenty of insurers willing to offer lower rates to safe, experienced drivers. Even if you are relatively new to driving or have a poor credit history, there are insurance products available to help you get the coverage you need at a lower than average cost.