As we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, state insurance commissions and insurance providers are constantly changing regulations and practices surrounding monthly payments, claim payouts, and more. To stay up to date with the latest on auto insurance reimbursements in your area, be sure to check with your state’s insurance commission and your current auto insurance provider.

If your driving habits have changed due to COVID-19, find a new, cheaper, ready-to-buy auto insurance policy on Insurify by comparing dozens of quotes at once.

Trying to save on car insurance in The District? It’s possible no matter which ward you call home.

The Capital: land of Senators, free museums, and arguably the best food truck scene in North America. But for residents of D.C., finding affordable car insurance is as infuriating as getting delayed due to the POTUS motorcade. (Deep breaths.)

While we can’t do much about those motorcades, we can offer tons of strategies and tips for saving major cash when it comes to buying your next auto insurance policy. Read on to learn how.

Spoiler alert: hands down the easiest and most crucial way to save is to comparison shop every time your policy is up for renewal. Doing so can save you hundreds of dollars year over year. With a tool like Insurify, it’s easy as one-two-three. Enter your driving information, review your options, and choose the policy that’s right for you. 

Cheapest Car Insurance Quotes in Washington, D.C.

As the saying goes: location, location, location. Even in a place as small as the District of Columbia, which ward you live in can make a big difference when it comes to car insurance costs.

Location affects insurance in a number of different ways, including:

  • Claim rates
  • Crime rates
  • Traffic patterns
  • Road conditions

If you’re considering a change-of-address within or to D.C., be sure to check out the average cost of car insurance for your potential area of residence. Knowing what to expect on premiums will give you a more accurate idea of the costs associated with living in one ward over another. 

Here are the cheapest insurance companies in Washington, D.C. for the following user profile: a single, 30-year-old male with a clean driving record who drives a 2012 Honda Accord and pays a $1,000 deductible for minimum liability insurance. We averaged auto insurance rates for the twenty most populous cities in Washington, D.C.

Insurance CompanyQuotes
Erie$39/month
GEICO$34/month
Nationwide$123/month

Most Popular Car Insurance Companies in Washington, D.C.

How did we decide who’s popular in Washington, D.C.? By calculating which companies have the largest share in the car insurance market. Thanks to research at the Insurance Information Institute (III), we examined which car insurance companies underwrite the most car insurance policies in D.C. The more policies are written, the more popular the company.

According to the III, these are the most popular car insurance companies in Washington, D.C. by market share:

  1. GEICO
  2. State Farm
  3. USAA
  4. Progressive
  5. Allstate

Cheapest Auto Insurance Quotes in Washington, D.C. by Profile

Here are the cheapest insurance companies in Washington, D.C. based on averaged sample car insurance rates for four driver profiles that included varied gender, age, driving history, credit, marital status, prior insurance, higher education, employment, and military service

Cheap Car Insurance Quotes for Washington, D.C. Drivers with a DUI

This one really hurts. Not only is driving under the influence extremely dangerous for you and other drivers on the road, but the costs associated with it are very high. First, there are legal costs, including:

  • $1,000 fines
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Ignition interlock device required for six months
  • Vehicle impoundment

But then, for years after, drivers with a DUI/OWI/DWI will face some of the highest premium increases for a traffic violation. Finding relief is tricky, but it is possible to qualify for many insurance discounts like paperless, multi-car, and bundling auto with a renters or homeowners policy.

For drivers who still can’t find an affordable policy, downsizing to a more affordable vehicle or dropping collision or comprehensive coverage (if possible) may be their best bet to lowering costs. 

Here are the best rates we could find for D.C. drivers with a DUI on their record:

Insurance CompanyQuotes
Erie$69/month
USAA$75/month
GEICO$76/month

Cheap Car Insurance Quotes for Washington, D.C. Drivers with Speeding Tickets

Okay lead-foot, it’s time to take stock. That first speeding ticket may not seem like much, but over time it can cost you a lot. Single or multiple infractions can really add up and can affect your premium costs for years to come. 

First things first: slow down. Maintaining a clean driving record is very important to lower your costs in the future. Consider a telematics program—a program where your driving habits are monitored—to encourage safer, slower driving. 

Here are the lowest monthly premiums we could find for D.C. drivers with speeding tickets:

Insurance CompanyQuotes
USAA$52/month
GEICO$53/month
State Farm$81/month

Cheap Car Insurance Quotes for Washington, D.C. Drivers with an At-Fault Accident

Getting into an at-fault car accident is one of the most common ways for drivers to see a big spike in their rates. It’s also one of the more expensive driving infractions out there. However, there are still ways to save even when you lose a safe driving discount. 

  • Pay-in-full, electronic billing, and automatic payments
  • Low mileage programs
  • Dropping policy components like collision or comprehensive coverage when possible

Additionally, comparison shopping regularly will help you stay on top of your lowest rate as it shifts from time to time. And costs can shift at any moment. The reasons for a shifting low rate is often due to the way different companies calculate your risk or conduct look-back periods. 

Here are the cheapest rates we could find for Washington, D.C. drivers with an at-fault accident on their records:

Insurance CompanyQuotes
Erie$57/month
GEICO$59/month
USAA$61/month

Cheap Car Insurance Quotes for Young Washington, D.C. Drivers

Sometimes called a “youth tax,” young drivers are expected to pay higher premiums for car insurance simply because they’re young. Even without a single driving infraction, young drivers won’t see a reduction in their costs typically until their mid-20s. This may seem supremely unfair, but every driver faced higher costs when they were younger.

This is because, statistically speaking, young and inexperienced drivers are more likely to get into car accidents and engage in other risky driving behaviors. Luckily there are several cost-saving moves young drivers can and should take:

  • Enroll in an insurer-approved defensive driving course
  • Look for good-student discounts if you’re in school and maintaining good grades
  • Maintain good credit

Here are the best deals for car insurance in Washington, D.C. for young drivers:

Insurance CompanyQuotes
USAA$39/month
GEICO$43/month
Erie$48/month

Washington, D.C. Insurance Laws

Minimum Car Insurance Coverage in Washington, D.C.

Every state and territory in the U.S. has different rules and regulations when it comes to minimum car insurance. The District of Columbia is no different. Bear in mind that minimums are called minimums for a reason. Be sure to consider how much coverage you really need to protect yourself and your assets. 

The required minimum coverage limits in Washington, D.C. are:

  • $25,000 Bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 Bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $10,000 Property damage liability coverage per accident
  • $25,000/$50,000 Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage

Beyond the required minimums, there are two recommended coverage minimums. These can be rejected if drivers choose to do so:

  • $25,000/$50,000 Underinsured motorist bodily injury protection
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Do I Need Underinsured Motorist Protection in Washington, D.C.?

The answer to this question is ultimately up to you, but we recommend carrying enough insurance to protect you from financial ruin. If you drive with your family or passengers in tow, it’s likely a good idea to carry underinsured bodily injury protection. 

If you’re the victim in a car accident and the medical costs exceed your Personal Injury Protection, you’ll need to rely on your health insurance for medical coverage. But health insurance won’t cover everything, like lost wages and other injury-related expenses. 

This is where underinsured coverage really helps. Your car insurance coverage will take care of the bills and sort out getting reimbursed from the other driver, leaving you to focus on making a full recovery instead of stressing about your expenses. 

Should I Reject Personal Injury Protection in Washington, D.C.?

If you have a gold-standard health insurance policy, you might consider rejecting Personal Injury Protection or PIP. For everyone else, it’s generally a really good idea to carry it.

This is because D.C., along with twelve other states, has “no-fault” rules. That limits a driver’s ability to get reimbursed from an at-fault driver for medical expenses to only a few scenarios:

  • Substantial scarring or permanent disfigurement
  • A permanent injury that greatly affects the victim’s ability to work or perform daily tasks
  • An injury that affects a victim’s ability to perform daily tasks for more than 180 consecutive days
  • Medical bills or work loss exceeds the victims Personal Injury Protection

In addition to covering medical bills with health insurance—with all deductibles applicable—it also becomes much more difficult to get excessive medical bills covered. 

What’s the Penalty for Driving Without Insurance in Washington, D.C.?

Driving without car insurance is never ever a good idea. Not only does it leave you at high risk for financial ruin if you cause a car accident, but you can also get caught. And getting caught without insurance is expensive in the District:

  • $30 fine for failing to show proof of insurance
  • $500 civil fine
  • License suspended for up to 30 days
  • A license reinstatement fee of $98
  • SR-22 required for three years

Can I Turn Right on Red in Washington, D.C.?

Unlike many large metropolitan areas, in D.C. you can turn right on red unless otherwise noted—and there are 101 intersections where such turns are limited, so be observant. 

Remember to make a complete stop at the light before proceeding safely into the lane. You can also turn left on red unless otherwise noted if you’re going from a one-way street to another one-way street. 

Just be sure you’re going the right way down that one-way street!

What are the Child Passenger Laws in Washington, D.C.?

Children under the age of eight must be restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat appropriate to their weight and height. There are no laws preventing children from riding in the front seat, though it is recommended children remain in the back seat until the age of 13. 

All children under the age of 18 must wear a seatbelt no matter where they sit in the vehicle. Failure to comply with any of these laws results in a:

  • $75 fine
  • Attendance of a $25 Child Restraint Safety Class

What’s the Penalty for Driving Without a Seatbelt in Washington, D.C.?

Failure to wear a seatbelt is a primary offense in Washington, D.C., meaning drivers can be pulled over and ticketed simply because their seatbelt wasn’t on. This is also known as “primary enforcement.” The penalties for not wearing a seatbelt include:

  • $50 fine
  • 2 points added to the driver’s license

What are the Cell Phone Rules in Washington, D.C.?

It is illegal for all drivers in D.C. to use a cellphone or any electronic device unless the device use is hands-free or in the event of an emergency. Many drivers choose to use voice-activated technology to operate their phones for navigation, phone calls, or for composing and reading text messages. However, we advise using such conveniences sparingly. 

Drivers who violate cell phone laws in D.C. will receive a $100 fine for a first offense. Fines increase for subsequent offenses within an 18-month period. Fines and penalties for a first or subsequent offense increase greatly if that driver was involved in an accident.

Drivers with a learner’s permit are prohibited from using a cellphone or other electronic device even if using hands-free technology. 

Are There DUI Checkpoints in Washington, D.C.?

DUIs are taken very seriously in D.C. So seriously, in fact, the police regularly set-up DUI checkpoints throughout the District to scan for people potentially driving impaired by alcohol or illegal and legal drugs.

Now, the police do have to notify the public through the local news or social media to keep this practice legal, but the legality of this practice is recognized in court. This means that drivers stopped at a checkpoint must comply with the screening even if there is no other reason for the driver to be stopped.

All the more reason to drive sober or call a taxi.

Which Companies Offer SR-22 Insurance in Washington, D.C.?

For those who have been caught driving under the influence, without insurance, or violating a few other driving laws, SR-22 forms are a regular part of insurance life. To newbies: an SR-22 is proof of minimum car insurance filed on your behalf directly by your auto insurance provider. You’ll be required to file one for a period of time as decided by the law, precedence, and a judge. 

During that time you’ll be considered a higher-risk driver, so you’ll likely pay more for your insurance. Additionally, not all insurance companies that offer policies in your area will file an SR-22 for you. Companies that will file on your behalf include Dairyland, Esurance, Farmers, GEICO, The General, National General, Progressive, Safeco, Victoria, Ameriprise, and Bristol West

Washington, D.C. DMV Information

You’ll have 30 days to transfer your driver’s license and registration to the District of Columbia. The D.C. DMV only issues Real ID driver’s licenses at this time. To get one you will need to bring in the following documentation:

  • Proof of identity, such as your current license or passport
  • Proof of social security such as a social security card or tax documents
  • Proof of residency such as a lease or utility bill

Here are the steps involved in obtaining a D.C. license as specified by the DMV:

  1. Submit an application
  2. Provide documentation
  3. Pass a vision screening
  4. Pass a knowledge test
  5. Pass a road test
  6. Get a photograph
  7. Pay applicable fees
  8. Receive a temporary license valid for 45 days
  9. Receive your actual license in the mail

To transfer your vehicle registration to the District of Columbia, you will need to provide the following documentation at the DMV:

  • Current vehicle registration
  • Current vehicle title
  • Vehicle inspection approved by the D.C. DMV
  • Valid D.C. insurance policy

Once you’re registered and your license is transferred, you can use online services and avoid the Department of Motor Vehicles for most errands, including:

  • License renewal
  • Schedule appointments
  • Driving record request
  • License reinstatement
  • Change of address
  • Voter registration
  • Vehicle registration renewal
  • Residential parking renewal

Conclusion

Getting cheap car insurance is faster than taking the metro. 

While it’s true that premiums in D.C. are higher than the national average, finding a cheap car insurance policy can still be quick and painless. Especially if you use Insurify, where you’ll uncover six or more real quotes in just two minutes. Plus, you’ll be able to adjust coverage options to easily understand the full range of insurance options available to you. 

And remember when we said that costs can change at any moment? With Insurify you can set alerts to notify you when price drops occur, making it even easier to save big on auto insurance…even in the smallest “state” in the union. 

Browse, Compare, Discover with Insurify today! 

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Updated May 6, 2020

Jackie Cohen received her B.A. in Global Media and Public Relations from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Currently based in Boston, MA, she works as a content writer for Insurify. An avid globe-trotter and foodie, Jackie spends her spare time adventuring far and near.