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Searching for the cheapest auto insurance in Washington D.C. can seem like an impossible task given the sheer number of providers to choose from. Our Geeks set out to reduce the headache of finding low cost insurance by comparing quotes and complaint data from leading providers to identify the best car insurance companies and most affordable rates.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Washington D.C.
To snag the most affordable car insurance premiums in Washington D.C., you’ll need to look at quotes from multiple providers. The following table outlines the results of our comparison study:
|Liberty Mutual||Safe Drivers|
|USAA||Drivers in the Military|
|State Farm||Drivers with a DUI|
Best Car Insurance Companies in Washington D.C.
Our Geeks researched consumer reviews and complaint data to evaluate car insurance companies in Washington D.C. and identify the best carriers. The table below breaks down the results of our analysis:
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Washington D.C.
In Washington D.C., all drivers must carry auto insurance coverage that meets these minimum limits:
- $25,000 In Coverage For Bodily Injuries To One Individual
- $50,000 In Coverage For Bodily Injury In One Wreck
- $10,000 In Coverage For Damage To Property
- $25,000 In Uninsured Motorist Coverage For Bodily Injury To One Individual
- $50,000 In Uninsured Motorist Coverage For Bodily Injury In One Accident
- $5,000 In Uninsured Motorist Coverage For Property Damage
Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance in Washington D.C.
Driving without insurance is a dangerous risk in Washington D.C. Not only do state authorities use advanced systems to keep tabs on vehicles in the state, but law enforcement officers are also always on the lookout for errant motorists taking chances on the road.
If you let your insurance lapse, there is nowhere to hide. The state’s insurance database will immediately alert authorities that your vehicle is no longer covered. As a result, your registration tags could be suspended. You will also have to fork over $150 in fines – provided you purchase or renew your policy within 30 days of this lapse in coverage. If you are unable to present proof of up-to-date coverage after a month, you will be charged an additional $7 per day until you have fulfilled the state’s requirements. These fines are capped at $2,500.
If you’re stopped while driving without insurance and cannot produce proof of insurance when requested to do so by police officers, you will be fined an additional $30. Take note: In some cases, your license may be suspended and you will have to fulfil SR-22 filing/certificate requirements before your driving privileges are reinstated.
Washington D.C. Car Insurance FAQs
What Are the SR-22 Certificate Requirements in Washington, D.C?
If your license is revoked due a serious traffic infraction – such as driving without insurance, reaching the points threshold on your license, or failing to compensate other drivers for an accident you caused – you will first have to fulfil the state’s SR-22 filing requirements before your driving privileges are restored.
An SR-22 is a form/certificate showing proof of financial responsibility. You will need to find an insurer willing to file this form on your behalf. A policy including these filing services is known as SR-22 coverage or “high-risk” insurance. Typically, SR-22 coverage premiums are higher than a standard policy. Rather than having the option of spreading these costs throughout the year, you will have to pay policy rates up front.
You may need to maintain this type of policy for a set window before the requirements are lifted. During this time, it’s important to maintain unbroken coverage as any lapse or cancellation can result in the resuspension of your registration tags and driver’s license. Additionally, you may have to restart the process from scratch.
SR-22 is a heavy financial burden for any driver. While there is no way to circumvent or expedite this process, you can take steps towards reducing your premium. Typically, insurers reward safe drivers who:
- Avoid accidents for the duration of your SR-22 filing period;
- Don’t commit traffic offenses;
- Enroll in and complete a driving safety course; and
- Purchase a vehicle that is cheaper to ensure (such as a car equipped with advanced safety features).
You can also choose to swap out your current vehicle for a cheaper model, using the money you’ve saved to shoulder the costs of your new SR-22 coverage.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Washington D.C. has some of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country. More than 14% of the state’s motorists are driving without coverage meeting the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. But what does this mean for you?
In an effort to protect law-abiding citizens, authorities have included uninsured motorist coverage as part of the state’s minimum insurance requirements. This component of your policy will kick in to pay for the costs of damages and injuries when another driver does not have the means to do so.
This type of insurance is split into two categories in D.C.:
Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Bodily Injury (UMBI): Even minor injuries can cost a small fortune to treat. While your health insurance policy will cover health complications stemming from a crash, this type of car insurance is an added layer of protection that can absorb these exorbitant costs after you’re involved in a crash with an uninsured, at-fault driver. UMBI covers the medical expenses of anyone listed on your policy, and will also reimburse you for other financial loss, such as wages lost due to injuries sustained.
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage: This feature will reimburse you for any property damage you sustain in a crash involving an at-fault uninsured driver. Often, this mandatory addon will work in tandem with collision coverage to ensure all your expenses are covered in the aftermath of an accident.
What Is Accident Forgiveness?
Many insurers in the state offer accident forgiveness as an added feature to incentivize motorists. If you are involved in an accident – that wasn’t your fault – this addon will trigger to keep your premiums from rising. Think of this as your “get-out-of-jail-free card” after you are involved in a crash. However, keep in mind that this feature won’t protect you against premium increases for accidents you cause or subsequent crashes following your first.
What Should I Do If I Get into a Car Accident in Washington D.C.?
Even if you’re a safe driver, there’s a high chance you will be involved in a car crash at some point in your life. If you are, it’s important to stop, render medical aid to injured parties, call the police and/or an ambulance, and exchange personal and insurance-related information. Never leave the scene of an accident prematurely.
If you injure an animal with your car, call the police immediately. They will contact a veterinarian or medical hospital to care for the creature. If you damage an unattended vehicle or other property, attempt to find the owners and trade relevant details. Leave a note with those details in the event the owners cannot be located.
What Are Some Important Washington D.C. Traffic Laws?
A clean driving record will net you cheaper rates and lucrative discounts. Brush up on Washington D.C.’s rules of the road and stay in line with our guide to the state’s most important traffic laws:
Washington D.C. Drinking and Driving Laws
Whether you’re out at the bar or enjoying sundowners at your friend’s apartment, it pays to keep track of how much you’ve had to drink. Washington D.C. imposes strict penalties on anyone caught driving under the influence.
The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is the state is 0.08% for adult motorists over age 21. This is the point at which there is enough alcohol in the average person’s system to significantly impair judgment, slow reaction times, and limit vision. The bottom line: Driving under the influence will increase your risks of causing an accident. Take note: Drivers under age 21 must adhere to a far stricter 0.02% limit, and motorists operating commercial vehicles must stay below 0.04% BAC.
If you are caught driving under the influence and over the limit, you can expect to face the following consequences:
- Fines up to $1,000
- Up to 3 months behind bars
- Driver’s license suspended for six months
- Fines up to $5,000
- Up to 365 days behind bars
- Driver’s license suspended for 1 year
Third / Subsequent Offense
- Fines up to $10,000
- Up to 365 days behind bars
- Driver’s license revoked for 2 years
If you refuse to take a chemical test for drugs and/or alcohol, you could be charged for violating the state’s strict “implied consent” laws. This is an unspoken contract you enter in to when you first acquire a driver’s license in the state agreeing to alcohol or drug testing at any point while you’re on the road. If, law enforcement officers request you take a chemical test and you refuse to do so, your license could be revoked for a full calendar year.
Washington D.C. Distracted Driving Laws
Texting while behind the wheel is prohibited on Washington D.C.’s public roads and highways. These laws aren’t just limited to smartphone use. According to the state’s traffic code, texting can include any handheld electronic device capable of composing, receiving, or sending images or text messages.
If law enforcement officers spot you using your cellphone while driving, you could be stopped and ticketed for violating the state’s texting and driving laws. However, if your vehicle is stopped on the shoulder of the road or parked in a place where it is legal to do so, you may make use of your cellphone in your car.
Washington D.C. “Click It or Ticket” Laws
Buckling up is your best bet against life-threatening injuries in a crash. In Washington D.C. strict laws and standards require all drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts while travelling on the road. Police officers can and will stop motorists suspected of breaking these laws.
If you are caught driving without buckling up, you can be fined $50 and may receive 2 points on your license. Take note: If you are travelling with younger passengers between the ages of 8 and 16, failure to secure each child using your vehicle’s seatbelts will result in added penalties, such as $75-$150 fines.
Children younger than 8 must travel in the safety of an appropriate restraint system, such as a booster seat, infant safety seat, or convertible car seat.
How Can I Reduce My Insurance Rates After an Accident in Washington D.C.?
- Trim unnecessary features. For example, if you own an older car, chances are that certain features such as collision or comprehensive coverage are an unnecessary expense that will cost you more than they save.
- Adjust your deductible. Your deductible has a significant effect on your rates. Opting for a higher deductible will score you a discount on your premiums.
- Switch to low-mileage insurance. If you drive infrequently, low-mileage insurance could be your best bet. This new type of policy will help you score discounts for driving less. Ask your insurer if you qualify for this cost-saving offering.
- Transfer your policy. Many providers offer discounts for transferring over your existing policy. You could score a reduction on your rates (and added features, including accident forgiveness) with just a call to another insurer.
- Bundle your insurance. You already need home insurance, life insurance, and other kinds of coverage. Many providers offer reduced rates to motorists who want to bundle their policies under one unified plan.
Washington D.C. Car Accident Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 2003 and 2012, there were 124 people killed by a drunk driver in Washington D.C. Additionally, 1.8 percent of adults reported drinking and driving.
In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined the number of deaths related to drunk drivers in the District of Columbia to be 16. The total amount of traffic fatalities that year was 31.