Washington, DC’s average annual car insurance cost is $1,574.09 per year or about $131 per month, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). This makes DC 32% more expensive than the national average rate, which stands at $1,190 per year.
The NAIC’s auto insurance data considers both state minimum car insurance policies as well as those with extras like collision coverage. Because car insurance costs depend on many factors about you, your car and your location, your rates may come in higher or lower than DC’s average.
Minimum car insurance requirements in Washington, DC
Washington, DC requires every driver to carry basic liability coverage which protects other drivers in an accident. You may see the amount of liability coverage required written as 25/50/10. These amounts are called the coverage limits, and they tell you the maximum amount that your insurance will pay for damage.
In DC, you’re also required to carry uninsured motorist coverage, which protects you against uninsured or underinsured drivers. Let’s break down what’s covered by DC’s minimum coverage requirements.
Bodily injury liability
- $25,000 for bodily injuries to one person
- $50,000 for injuries to more than one person
Washington, DC requires at least 25/50 for bodily injury liability, which pays up to $25,000 for injuries to one person and up to $50,000 total if you injure more than one person in the same accident. These limits are a common requirement across other states.
That said, consider higher liability limits to avoid paying for someone else’s medical bills or pain and suffering out of pocket. Bodily injury coverage applies to other drivers, passengers or pedestrians if you cause the accident.
Property damage liability
- $10,000 in property damage liability
In DC, you also need $10,000 for property damage liability at least, which pays for damage to the other driver’s car or personal property like a smartphone or property owner’s fencing. This limit is a low level of coverage, so think about choosing higher limits to help you repair or replace someone else’s car or property.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist
- $50,000 for uninsured motorist injuries to multiple people
- $25,000 for uninsured motorist injuries to one person
- $5,000 for uninsured motorist property damage with $200 deductible
Washington, DC also requires you to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which pays for your car damage or medical bills if you get hit by a driver with little to no insurance. The coverage also applies to hit-and-run accidents.
The coverage pays up to $25,000 for injuries to one person or $50,000 if multiple people get injured, such as you and your passengers. For car or personal property damage, you’ll pay a $200 deductible before your insurance shoulders up to $5,000 worth of damage.
Finder tip: DC’s minimum coverage isn’t enough
Washington, DC might keep similar requirements to many states, but its minimums won’t offer enough protection in moderate or serious car accidents. For example, if your car gets totaled by an uninsured driver, your insurance would pay only $5,000 to replace it. That amount won’t cover the full price of buying a new car.
Think about raising your coverage limits and adding optional coverage, depending on your budget.
In Washington, DC, drivers choose between fault or no-fault coverage
Washington, DC keeps a choice no-fault law for car insurance, which means that you choose between traditional tort liability or no-fault laws, according to the legal website Nolo.
If you choose tort liability, you can sue other drivers for pain and suffering with no limitations. If you choose no-fault coverage, you’ll file injury claims under your personal injury protection unless you suffer a serious injury.
However, DC’s no-fault laws don’t apply to property damage like car repairs. Your insurance company and legal authorities will determine who’s at fault for this damage. For property damage, the District considers whether both drivers are partially at fault under its contributory fault law, according to Nolo. This law won’t let you receive any payment from the other driver if you’re found partially at fault.
For instance, if the other driver is 95% at fault and you’re 5% at fault, you won’t get reimbursed for your damages by the other driver. Instead, you’d file under your own collision or personal injury protection if you bought these optional types of coverage.
7 factors that affect your car insurance premium in Washington, DC
Factors are characteristics specific to you that car insurance companies use to set how much you’ll pay for car insurance. The less risky each of your factors is, the less you pay. And the riskier you are, the more you’ll pay. We’ll break down rating factors in Washington, DC to keep in mind.
|Factor||How it affects your rates|
|How old you are is a top factor in determining your car insurance rates. With each passing year, you earn more experience on the road. More experience can equal cheaper rates. Teen drivers pay the most, but rates begin to level off around your 20s with drivers over 50 paying the least.|
|Washington, DC takes gender into account when determining your rates. On average, men in Washington, DC pay less for car insurance than women. The average annual premium across all age categories for men is $1,463 while women pay an average of $1,487.|
|Where you live affects your rates, including where you park your car. High theft rates, high traffic and a high number of uninsured drivers could mean higher rates.|
When it comes to vehicle theft, Washington, DC comes in second-highest in the country. For every 100,000 inhabitants, approximately 476.8 vehicles were stolen, according to Statista. The national average across the US is 246 cars for every 100,000 inhabitants.
As for uninsured drivers, 19.1% of Washingtonians on the road are uninsured. That ranks the state 9th out of 50 states for uninsured drivers, according to Insurance Information Institute.
|The better your record, the lower your premium. If you’re in an at-fault accident you could see rates increases from 20% to 50%. A DUI in Washington, DC can increase your rate by an average of 72%. These types of violations typically stay on your record for about five years.|
Washington, DC drivers with a clean driving record pay approximately $1,463 annually while Washington, DC drivers with one speeding violation pay approximately $2,085 annually.
Vehicle and mileage
|Your car’s make, model and trim directly affect how much you’ll pay for car insurance. Things like its cost, safety ratings, the likelihood of theft and sportiness all help insurers determine its cost to insure.|
Safer and cheaper vehicles score the lowest rates, with luxury vehicles with higher repair costs resulting in higher premiums.
And, the more you’re on the road, the more at-risk you are to get in an accident, which means higher premiums. According to the Bureau of Transportation, Washingtonians drive around 19.4 miles per day, which is nearly half the national average of 36.1 miles per day.
|Your credit score is included in your credit-based insurance score which insurers use to help calculate rates. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there is a strong correlation between your insurance score and claims filings. A good credit-based insurance score could mean lower rates.|
Washington, DC insurers charge the highest coverage rates for drivers with poor credit histories. Drivers with good credit scores could see an annual insurance rate of about $1,535. These rates rise to about $2,545 with a fair credit score and approximately $3,213 for those with poor credit.
|The more coverage you get and the higher limits you choose, the more protection you’ll have and the more you’ll pay in monthly premiums. If you opt for full coverage car insurance that includes comprehensive and collision, the amount of your deductible weighs into your costs too. Higher deductibles mean lower monthly premiums.|
Low coverage costs in Washington, DC average to about $623 yearly, whereas high coverage can be anywhere around $1,537 on average.
Coverage that we recommend for DC
The purpose of car insurance is to help you recover financially after an accident. While Washington, DC’s required coverage is a starting point, you need extra protection to cover different kinds of damage. Coverage you may need:
Higher liability limits
Since DC requires low limits of 25/50/10 for liability coverage, think about upping those limits. The higher limits make sure that your insurance pays for all damage that you cause, including if someone takes you to court.
Talk over the limits that make sense for you with your insurance agent or financial adviser.
For accidents where you’re at fault, liability coverage won’t pay for your car’s damage — it pays for damage to someone else’s property. Instead, you’d need collision coverage to pay for your car damage. Collision coverage is optional, so you have to choose it for your policy.
Consider collision coverage if . . .
- Your car loan requires it.
- It costs less than your car’s value.
- You can’t pay for car repairs or another car out of pocket.
- You drive your car regularly, such as for commuting.
Since DC drivers experience theft nearly twice as much as in other states, you may want comprehensive coverage. This optional coverage helps you recover from damages like theft, vandalism, windshield cracks or weather damage.
Consider this coverage if . . .
- It’s required for your car loan.
- You can’t repair or replace your car out of pocket.
- Your area is known for theft or severe storms.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
While optional in DC, think about adding personal injury protection to help if you or your passengers get injured. PIP kicks in no matter who’s at fault in the accident. It pays for your or your passengers’ medical bills, lost income or home services during your recovery.
Consider this coverage if . . .
- You don’t have health insurance or have a high deductible.
- You want peace of mind that your medical bills are covered.
- You want coverage for lost income.
Top auto insurance companies in USA that serve Washington, DC
See the top insurers by market share nationally that serve in Washington, DC, according to S&P Global. To help you decide on the right company for you, we list each company’s ratings from top rating agencies, including:
- The Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating scores how a business interacts with its customers, rating insurers as high as A++.
- J.D. Power scores companies based on customer satisfaction with their price, billing, claims and customer support. The agency scores out of 1,000 points.
- The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) complaint index shows how a company’s number of complaints compares to similar companies. Scores lower than 1.00 show that the company sees fewer than the average number of complaints. Scores above 1.00 show more complaints than average.
- Our Finder score rates companies based on their coverage, discounts as well as the BBB, J.D. Power and NAIC ratings.
Cheapest car insurance in Washington, DC
|Company||Average annual rate||Learn more|
|USAA||$713||Get a quote Read review|
|State Farm||$936||Read review|
|Allstate||$1,074||Get a quote Read review|
|Progressive||$1,338||Get a quote Read review|
Compare car insurance providers in Washington DC
Can I get SR-22 insurance in DC?
Yes, you can get SR-22 insurance in Washington DC. You might need this kind of coverage if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, if you were caught driving without insurance or if you’ve accumulated too many violation points on your driving record.
Having an accident — regardless of who’s at fault or how serious it is — can be traumatic. Prepare by staying current with your protection. To get the cheapest coverage for your needs, carefully research your car insurance options when driving inside the Beltway.
- Average Premiums and Expenditures, NAIC, 2018
- Automobile Financial Responsibility Limits By State, III, October 2021
- District of Columbia Car Insurance Rules, Nolo
- Washington D.C. Personal Injury Laws & Statutory Rules, AllLaw
- Motor vehicle theft rate in the United States in 2020, by state, Statista, 08 October 2021
- Top 10 Highest And Lowest States By Estimated Percentage Of Uninsured Motorists, 2019, III
- State Transportation by the Numbers, BTS
- Largest private auto insurers posted combined ratios under 100% in 2020, Spglobal, May 4 2021
Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Washington, DC
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