Temporary Car Insurance in District of Columbia: The Cheapest Options and What You Need to Know

Generally, major insurance companies don’t offer car insurance policies for less than six months. MoneyGeek identified ways to get temporary car insurance in Washington, D.C. depending on your needs, including drivers who own cars and need a temporary solution to those who don’t own cars and might be driving temporarily.

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Last Updated: 1/27/2022
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If you own a car, you can turn your car insurance into a temporary policy by purchasing a six-month policy, then cancel it early to get a refund. A three-month policy in Washington, D.C. costs an average of $301.

If you are visiting the District of Columbia and you need to drive, rental car insurance may cover your temporary situation.

MoneyGeek also researched other scenarios when you might need a short-term policy, such as when buying non-owner insurance to help get your license reinstated or working for a rideshare company.

Can You Get Temporary Car Insurance in District of Columbia

There are different ways to get temporary car insurance coverage in Washington, D.C. and other states. For instance, drivers who own a car can create temporary car insurance by purchasing a regular policy and canceling it early. Meanwhile, those who don’t own cars but regularly drive or need insurance can opt for rental car insurance or non-owner car insurance instead.

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HOW TO FIND TEMPORARY CAR INSURANCE IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO FIT YOUR NEEDS

Car insurance policies are usually sold in six-month or one-year increments. Those looking for short-term coverage in Washington, D.C. may not find a straightforward solution, but MoneyGeek evaluated different ways to get temporary car insurance.

Buying a Six-Month District of Columbia Insurance Policy and Canceling It Early

Reputable car insurance companies will typically only offer policies that cover you for at least six months. A six-month policy in Washington, D.C. costs an average of $601, but you might be able to get coverage for a shorter period of time if you cancel your car insurance before it expires. Most major insurers will issue a refund for the unused months.

On average, a driver who purchased a 90-day policy will only have to pay $301, which is half as much as the average cost of a six-month car insurance policy. If you use this strategy, MoneyGeek advises against having a lapse in coverage since it can ultimately increase your rates.

Cheap Temporary Car Insurance in District of Columbia

MoneyGeek calculated the cost of car insurance by company in Washington, D.C. for a typical one-month, 30-day policy, 90-day policy and six-month policy.

On average, the cheapest car insurance companies in Washington, D.C. for a 90-day policy are:

  • GEICO: $152 per 90 days
  • Erie: $204 per 90 days

MoneyGeek’s calculations excluded cancellation fees. Most major insurance companies don’t charge a fee for canceling and often provide full refunds on the remainder of the term.

Annual Cost of Car Insurance in District of Columbia by Policy Length

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Altering District of Columbia Car Insurance Temporarily Depending on Your Needs

If you already have car insurance but need to temporarily add or remove coverage, it’s best to alter your existing auto insurance policy. The most common short-term situations that warrant adjustments to your policy are teen drivers going to college, putting your vehicle in storage and letting someone borrow your car.

When You Should Alter Your Policy Temporarily

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If your child is going to school elsewhere in the District of Columbia, you can take them off your policy temporarily or request a discount.

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If you want to store your car, you can remove everything except for your comprehensive insurance or, if you’re in the military, use car storage discounts from USAA.

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If someone else is driving your car, you will need to add them to your policy if they drive it regularly.

Cheap Temporary Car Insurance for Students in District of Columbia

If your child lives with you and is driving a car you own, they need to be added to your car insurance policy. This can be costly since drivers ages 16 to 19 are considered high-risk drivers. In Washington, D.C., you will pay an average of $3,167 per year for adding an 18-year-old to your policy.

To adjust the cost of your car insurance, you could take your child off your policy temporarily if they study more than 100 miles away, use distant student discounts or keep your child on your policy.

MoneyGeek found that adding a student to your policy for two months during the summer costs roughly $528 per year. In Washington, D.C., Nationwide will let you save as much as $4,189 for temporarily taking a student off a policy.

Annual Cost of Adding an 18-Year-Old to Car Insurance in District of Columbia

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  • Company
    Adding 18-year-old for two out of 12 months
    Adding an 18-year-old for the full year
    Difference
  • $1,478
    $246
    -$1,231
  • $3,062
    $510
    -$2,552
  • $3,101
    $517
    -$2,584
  • $3,166
    $528
    -$2,638
  • $5,027
    $838
    -$4,189
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WHAT IF I CAN’T GET A DISCOUNT?

Shopping around can help you lower your insurance rates if you can’t temporarily take your child off your policy or get a discount. MoneyGeek compared the cheapest insurance companies for teens to help you save money.

What to Do About Car Insurance if You’re Storing Your Car in District of Columbia

If you’re temporarily storing your car, you can save money by either seeking a vehicle storage discount or switching your policy to comprehensive-only, which removes liability coverage. Comprehensive and collision insurance with a $1,000 deductible costs an average of $346 per year in Washington, D.C., compared to a cost of roughly $978 for a policy that includes minimum liability insurance.

If you’re a military member on active duty, USAA may be a good option. This insurer provides a discount for car storage and also has one of the cheapest policies in the state before that discount, at an average of $672 per year.

What to Do If You Let Someone Else Drive Your Car

If a member of your household drives your car, they need to be added to your auto insurance policy. However, if someone outside your home has your permission to drive your car, there’s no need to adjust your policy since they will be covered under “permissive use.”

Buying Rental Car Insurance in District of Columbia

Buying a car insurance policy isn’t necessary if you’re temporarily renting a car. Instead, you can just get car insurance from the car rental company. Most rental companies offer basic liability insurance with the option of adding collision damage waivers, supplemental liability insurance and personal accident insurance. The average cost of adding all these coverages is $43 to $66 per year depending on the company, but you may be able to mix and match for cheaper rates.

Finding Cheap Rental Car Insurance in District of Columbia

MoneyGeek collected data in Washington, D.C. and found that rental car insurance costs an average of $43 to $66 per day depending on the company. On average, Enterprise, Avis and Hertz offer rental car policies at roughly $43, $66 and $60, respectively. Each policy is inclusive of all protections such as supplemental liability, collision damage waiver and personal accident insurance.

There’s no need to buy liability, collision and medical payments coverage if you have car insurance as they may be covered by your policy already. Many credit card providers also have collision damage waiver coverage for rental cars, helping you save money.

Cost per Day of Rental Car Insurance in District of Columbia

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  • Rental Company
    Total Insurance Cost
    Supplemental Liability Cost
    Collision Damage Waiver Cost
    Personal Accident Insurance Cost
  • Enterprise
    $43
    $13
    $24
    $6
  • Avis
    $66
    $17
    $40
    $10
  • Hertz
    $60
    $19
    $34
    $7

Buying Non-Owner Car Insurance in District of Columbia

Non-owner car insurance may be the best option if you don’t own a car but need insurance. The average cost of a non-owner policy in Washington, D.C. is $467 per year. Additionally, buying non-owner car insurance is the most affordable way to get insurance when you don’t have a car but need SR-22 filing to get your license reinstated.

How to Get Temporary Rideshare Car Insurance for Rideshare in District of Columbia

Rideshare drivers in Washington, D.C. are usually covered by insurance when they accept a fare or are transporting a passenger. However, a temporary gap in your auto coverage may be created if your rideshare app is on but you haven’t accepted a fare.

Keep in mind that not all states have rideshare insurance policies. MoneyGeek compared companies to help you find the best rideshare insurance options available.

Frequently Asked Questions About Temporary Car Insurance in District of Columbia

By understanding these frequently asked questions, you can find out more about how temporary car insurance works in the District of Columbia.

Methodology

MoneyGeek collected car insurance and non-owner car insurance quotes in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services across the District of Columbia. The policies were for a 40-year-old driver with a clean driving record and full coverage. The quotes for a student represent the average cost of adding an 18-year-old driver to a policy.

The quotes on the cost of one-month and three-month policies were calculated by MoneyGeek on a prorated basis, assuming a full refund from the insurance company. The rental car insurance costs in Washington, D.C. were collected manually by MoneyGeek using the online tools of Avis, Enterprise and Hertz.

For more information about our analysis, check out our full methodology page.

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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