Best Car Insurance in Washington, D.C.

Last Updated on June 22, 2021

Drivers in Washington, D.C. pay higher than average rates for car insurance. The average driver in Washington, D.C. pays around $1,867 per year for full coverage car insurance. 

The average American pays around $1,450 per year, making car insurance $400 more expensive in the nation’s capital. Car insurance in Washington, D.C. is even more expensive than in neighboring states like Maryland and Virginia.

However, other factors influence the price of car insurance in Washington, D.C. Drivers in cities typically pay higher rates than drivers in rural areas. Because Washington, D.C. has no rural areas, it has higher average rates than competing states.

Compared to other large cities in the United States, Washington D.C.’s rates are closer to the average – although you still pay higher rates in Washington than in other cities due to density, crime rates, and accident rates.

Fortunately, there are ways to save money on car insurance in Washington, D.C. By comparing quotes, shopping around, and taking advantage of discounts, you can save on car insurance.

Top 10 Auto Insurance Companies in Washington, D.C.

Drivers in Washington, D.C. have similar car insurance options to drivers in other parts of the country. You can work with large and well-known nationwide providers. Or, you can work with smaller, regional providers. Here are the best car insurance companies in Washington, D.C.

1. USAA

USAA is available to active and retired military personnel and certain qualifying family members. Many people in Washington, D.C. qualify for USAA membership. Frequently ranked as one of the best car insurance companies in the United States for value and claims satisfaction, USAA charges average rates of just $1,001 per year in Washington, D.C.

2. Erie Insurance

Popular throughout the northeastern United States, Erie offers strong pricing and customer service in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. Erie is particularly popular with drivers looking for add-on coverage options, including accident forgiveness, rideshare insurance, and pet coverage. Expect to pay around $1,223 per year with Erie in Washington, D.C.

3. GEICO

GEICO was originally founded as the Government Employees Insurance Company, so it makes sense GEICO continues to be popular throughout Washington, D.C. The company offers discounted rates to federal government employees and other qualifying groups. GEICO’s rates are competitive even if you’re not a government employee, with average premiums of around $1,403 per year for full coverage car insurance.

4. Progressive

America’s third-largest insurance company, Progressive, has lower average J.D. Power scores than its competitors above, although the company offers strong pricing in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. Expect to pay roughly $1,421 per year for full coverage car insurance with Progressive in Washington, D.C.

5. State Farm

State Farm insures more property than any other provider in the United States. They’re America’s largest property and casualty insurance provider. State Farm offers an extensive range of discounts and policy options, with drivers in D.C. paying around $1,454 per year for full coverage car insurance.

6. Allstate

Another large and well-known insurance provider, Allstate charges cheaper than average rates to drivers across Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. Expect to pay around $1,469 per year with Allstate.

7. Nationwide

Nationwide offers an extensive range of policy options and discounts, making them one of the best choices for car insurance in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. Although they’re not as cheap as other providers listed above, policyholders can lower the price significantly by taking advantage of discounts. Insurance premiums are priced at around $1,504 per year, on average.

8. Farmers

Farmers is one of the top ten largest insurance companies in the United States, and the company offers effective car insurance policies in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. The average rates provided to our model driver profiles were around $1,542 per year.

9. Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual is rarely the most affordable insurance company in any state or region, nor do they have strong ratings for claims satisfaction and user experience. However, drivers could save with Liberty Mutual in Washington, D.C. by taking advantage of discounts. Expect to pay around $1,616 per year with Liberty Mutual in Washington, D.C., on average.

10. The Hartford

The Hartford frequently ranks as one of the best insurance companies in Washington, D.C. for claims satisfaction and policy offerings, although their rates also tend to be higher than competing providers. For drivers willing to pay a little more for significantly better coverage, The Hartford may be the best car insurance company in Washington, D.C., charging rates of around $1,683 per year.

Washington, D.C. Insurance Requirements

The District of Columbia’s Compulsory/No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act requires drivers to carry valid car insurance when on public roads. You must maintain car insurance for as long as your vehicle is registered.

Drivers must carry the following minimum coverages at all times when driving in Washington, D.C.:

  • $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $10,000 of property damage liability coverage
  • $25,000 of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 per accident
  • $5,000 of uninsured motorist property damage coverage

Drivers who are leasing or financing their vehicle may need to carry additional coverage. Most lenders require you to carry full coverage car insurance on your vehicle, which includes collision and comprehensive coverage. If you don’t carry full coverage car insurance, you could be violating the terms of your lending agreement.

Some drivers in Washington, D.C. opt for minimum liability coverage. The average minimum liability plan in Washington, D.C. costs around $674 per year, or around $1,000 less than full coverage car insurance. However, minimum liability insurance provides no protection for your own vehicle in an accident.

Driving Without Insurance in Washington, D.C.

It’s illegal to drive without insurance in Washington, D.C. Law enforcement officers can ask for car insurance at a traffic stop or at the scene of an accident. Your insurance company is also required to notify the DC DMV of any insurance cancellations or terminations.

The penalties for driving without insurance in Washington, D.C. vary depending on the number of offenses and whether you’re the owner or operator of the uninsured vehicle (or both).

Penalties for Owning an Uninsured Vehicle

All vehicles registered with the Washington, D.C. DMV must carry car insurance. If you own a vehicle but don’t have insurance, then you must surrender your registration.

First Offense: 30-day license suspension, $30 fine for failing to present insurance to law enforcement, $98 registration reinstatement fee, and SR-22 requirement for 3 years.

Second & Subsequent Offenses: $150 civil fine (additional civil fine of $7 per day after the first 30 days, up to a maximum of $2,500), 60-day license suspension, $30 fine for failing to present insurance to law enforcement, $98 registration reinstatement fee, and SR-22 requirement for 3 years.

Penalties for Operating an Uninsured Vehicle on Public Roads

If you are caught driving without insurance on public roads in Washington, D.C., then you will face more serious penalties.

First Offense: $500 civil fine, 30-day license suspension, $30 fine for failing to present insurance to law enforcement, $98 license and registration reinstatement fee, and SR-22 requirement for 3 years.

Second & Subsequent Offenses: $750 fine (fine increased by 50% for each subsequent offense), 60-day license suspension, $30 fine for failing to prevent insurance to law enforcement, $98 license and registration reinstatement fee, and SR-22 requirement for 3 years.

Car Insurance in Washington, D.C. with DUI

Being convicted of a DUI or DWI in Washington, D.C. will raise car insurance premiums significantly. Drivers in the District of Columbia already pay higher than average rates for car insurance. Drivers with a single DUI could pay 50% higher premiums, while drivers with multiple DUIs may struggle to get car insurance from ordinary providers. Fortunately, some insurers continue to offer competitive pricing even if you have a DUI.

  1. USAA: $1,893 per year
  2. Erie: $1,954 per year
  3. GEICO: $2,072 per year
  4. State Farm: $2,118 per year
  5. Progressive: $2,134 per year

Car Insurance in Washington, D.C. with At-Fault Accidents

If you have at-fault accidents on your driving record in the District of Columbia, then your rates will rise. However, some insurers have accident forgiveness, and other insurers continue to offer competitive car insurance prices even after an at-fault accident.

  1. USAA: $1,757 per year
  2. Erie: $1,808 per year
  3. GEICO: $1,826 per year
  4. Nationwide: $1,903 per year
  5. State Farm: $1,909 per year

Car Insurance in Washington, D.C. with Speeding Tickets

Speeding tickets impact car insurance premiums. Drivers with one or more speeding tickets may pay higher rates for car insurance. However, rates vary between insurers. Some insurers raise premiums immediately after a single speeding ticket, while other insurers continue to charge competitive rates even with multiple speeding tickets.

  1. Erie: $1,353 per year
  2. USAA: $1,364 per year
  3. GEICO: $1,409 per year
  4. State Farm: $1,486 per year
  5. Nationwide: $1,502 per year

Car Insurance in Washington, D.C. for Young Drivers

The District of Columbia has some of the highest car insurance prices in the United States, and young drivers pay particularly high rates. Each year, young drivers in Washington, D.C. cause more serious accidents than drivers in other age groups. Insurers charge higher premiums to cover the added risk of insuring drivers under age 25. However, some insurers use young drivers to balance their insurance pool, charging comparatively cheap rates.

  1. USAA: $1,818 per year
  2. Erie: $1,903 per year
  3. GEICO: $1,919 per year
  4. Allstate: $1,953 per year
  5. State Farm: $2,059 per year

Car Insurance in Washington, D.C. with Poor Credit

Washington, D.C. allows insurers to use credit scores to calculate car insurance premiums. Drivers with bad credit scores will pay significantly more for car insurance than drivers with good credit scores. Statistically, drivers with bad credit scores are more likely to make a claim, forcing insurers to charge higher rates. However, not all insurers in Washington, D.C. emphasize credit scores the same way.

  1. Erie: $2,043 per year
  2. GEICO: $2,062 per year
  3. USAA: $2,111 per year
  4. State Farm: $2,169 per year
  5. Allstate: $2,192 per year

SR-22 Insurance in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. requires certain high-risk drivers to demonstrate proof of financial responsibility via the SR-22 form. The SR-22 is a certificate verifying you have valid car insurance coverage. Your insurer submits the SR-22 to the District of Columbia’s DMV on your behalf.

Most insurers charge a filing fee of $15 to $35 to submit an SR-22 on your behalf in Washington, D.C. However, the full cost of SR-22 insurance is much higher: because you’re a high-risk driver, you’ll pay significantly higher rates for car insurance. Drivers who require SR-22 insurance pay hundreds – or even thousands – more per year than other drivers.

If you already have car insurance, then obtaining an SR-22 in the District of Columbia is easy. Contact your insurer and request an SR-22 certificate.

If you don’t currently have insurance, then you need to shop around for coverage. If you are a high-risk driver, then you may need to buy car insurance from a specialty provider instead of an ordinary car insurance company.

Expect to pay anywhere from $1,800 to $3,000 per year for SR-22 insurance in Washington, D.C., on average.

Conclusion: How to Find the Best Auto Insurance in Washington, D.C.

The District of Columbia has higher car insurance premiums than most parts of the United States. However, rates are similar to other major cities.

Finding the best car insurance in Washington, D.C. is easier than you think. By comparing quotes online and shopping around, drivers in the District of Columbia can find cheap rates suited to their unique needs and budget.