District of Columbia Minimum Car Insurance Requirements, Penalties and Other Auto Insurance Laws

You are required to have car insurance in the District of Columbia to drive a vehicle. The District of Columbia’s car insurance requirements include uninsured motorist coverage in addition to liability insurance with limits of 25/50/10. You need to show proof of insurance if you want to register your car or obtain a reciprocity sticker in the District of Columbia. If you cannot show insurance papers during a traffic stop, you may incur penalties, such as fines and license suspensions. You will also pay for fines if your insurance lapses.

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What Is the Minimum Car Insurance Requirement in District of Columbia?

It is illegal to own and drive an uninsured vehicle in the District of Columbia. To avoid penalties, you must ensure your policy meets the District of Columbia’s minimum car insurance requirements. It means your liability limits must at least be 25/50/10. You must also have uninsured motorist coverage.

These requirements mean your insurance policy must have coverage of:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $10,000 for property damage per accident
  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person for uninsured motorists
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident for uninsured motorists
  • $5,000 for property damage per accident for uninsured motorists

Remember these limits only fulfill the minimum car insurance requirement in the District of Columbia. You’ll need to factor in other information to accurately determine how much car insurance you need in Washington, D.C.

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What Does This Minimum Coverage Mean?

Minimum car insurance in D.C. has 25/50/10 liability limits. It means your car insurance company will reimburse you for the cost of injuries up to $50,000 per accident with a cap of $25,000 per person. If there is any property damage, your policy also helps cover expenses up to $10,000. Car insurance companies follow this process regardless of who is at fault since Washington, D.C. is a no-fault jurisdiction.

Car insurance laws in the District of Columbia also require you to have uninsured motorist coverage. It takes effect if you get into an accident and the other driver doesn’t carry insurance. The minimum car insurance requirement states you must have limits of at least $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident. Uninsured motorist property damage has a limit of $5,000 per accident.

Although these limits allow you to fulfill the District of Columbia’s minimum car insurance requirements, expenses from a collision may be more expensive. You may want to consider higher limits to ensure more protection while you drive.

How Much Does the Minimum Car Insurance Cost in District of Columbia?

Car insurance rates in the District of Columbia cost an average of $1,202 per year. You may be offered a different rate due to factors unique to you. These include your age, how long you’ve been driving and whether you have any violations on your record. Where you live and whether you have good credit may also impact your car insurance premium.

Another element that may affect your rate is the car insurance company you choose for your policy. Although carriers use the same information to set car insurance premiums, they calculate it differently. Among the car insurance companies in the District of Columbia, GEICO offers the most affordable option for minimum liability coverage at $352 per year on average.

Cheapest Minimum Liability Car Insurance in District of Columbia

Cheapest Minimum Car Insurance in District of Columbia
  • Company
    Annually
    Monthly
  • 1.
    $352
    $29
  • 2.
    $357
    $30
  • 3.
    $417
    $35
  • 4.
    $644
    $54
  • 5.
    $715
    $60

These prices are only estimates based on rates for an average District of Columbia driver and should not be used to compare insurance prices.

MoneyGeek used a 40-year-old male driver’s profile for this analysis. It assumes he carries a policy meeting the District of Columbia’s minimum car insurance requirements of 25/50/10, plus uninsured motorist coverage with 25/50/5 limits. He has good credit, a clean driving record and drives a 2010 Toyota Camry.

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What Is the Minimum Car Insurance Requirement in District of Columbia While Leasing a Car?

The car insurance requirements for leased cars in the District of Columbia are different than those for most vehicles. Even if your policy meets the District of Columbia’s minimum car insurance requirements, it may not be enough for your leasing company. In Washington, D.C., lenders dictate insurance requirements, not the district.

Most leasing companies require drivers to carry a full coverage car insurance policy with limits of at least 100/300/50. It’s best to call them directly to know your lender’s requirements. It also allows you to gather other pertinent information, such as their leasing procedures and payment terms.

Drivers in the District of Columbia are encouraged to increase their liability limits to at least 50/100/50. MoneyGeek also recommends that you purchase comprehensive and collision insurance. You may also consider raising your limits for uninsured motorist coverage. The District of Columbia ranks ninth among jurisdictions with the highest number of uninsured drivers. Around 19.1% of drivers are uninsured.

This information can help accurately gauge how much car insurance you need.

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in District of Columbia

In the District of Columbia, there are various penalties for driving with no insurance. These include the following:

  • $500 fine (increases by 50% for each subsequent offense)
  • License suspension for 30 days for the first offense
  • License suspension for 60 days for subsequent offenses
  • $30 fine for failing or refusing to show proof of insurance per offense

In addition to these penalties, you need to pay a $98 fee and file an SR-22 form with the local DMV for your license's reinstatement.

There is a separate set of very similar penalties for owning an uninsured car. The only real difference is the vehicle owner’s fine of $150 plus $7 for each day after the first 30 days of receiving the notice, with a maximum of $2,500.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Insurance in District of Columbia

Here are the most commonly asked questions about car insurance laws in the District of Columbia:

Learn More About Car Insurance

About the Author


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Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.


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