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What are state minimums for car insurance in Washington DC?

Things to remember...
  • Auto insurance policies in Washington D.C. protect all people on the road from potential financial disaster
  • When it comes to your auto insurance policy, you should understand the different types of coverage available to you
  • Washington DC has minimum auto insurance requirements
  • Not meeting these requirements can lead to strict penalties

From health insurance to life insurance and anything in between, insurance policies help protect people from financial ruin in the event that something unplanned occurs. The same is true for car insurance.

Washington DC requires its residents to have auto insurance in order to protect all people on the road in the event of an accident.

Having an auto insurance policy, even in only the minimum required amounts will help pay bills when damages occur. Make sure to compare rates with our free quote tool above! 

Table of Contents

Understanding Car Insurance Policy Types

An auto insurance policy is several coverages all rolled into one. Each coverage applies to a specific set of situations or damages. In order to have your damages paid by your auto insurance carrier, you must have the applicable type of coverage.

Here are the different types of auto insurance you can or should have on your auto insurance policy:

Bodily Injury Liability

Car accidents frequently cause bodily injury and sometimes even death. Bodily injury liability coverage is required in nearly every place in the United States.

It pays for medical and funeral expenses related to damages you cause to another party.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) / Medical Payments

In no-fault states, PIP is a required coverage type. In at-fault states, the coverage is often limited to simple medical payments and is optional.

With PIP coverage, each party can file a claim on their own insurance policy, no matter who is at fault for the accident.

This coverage is for medical bills, funeral expenses, missed time away from work and can help cover costs of hiring help around your home if it is necessary due to physical limitations related to the accident.

Property Damage Liability

Similar to bodily injury liability, property damage liability is a legal requirement for most drivers across the nation. It covers the cost of replacing or repairing physical property that you damaged in an accident, including vehicles and structures.


Collision coverage is optional. However, if you do not own your vehicle and are financing or leasing it, you are likely contractually required to have it.

Collision covers damages to your vehicle in the event of a car accident. With this coverage type, you select a deductible amount that you would pay toward a claim.


If you lease or finance your vehicle, you will also need comprehensive coverage. This policy type pays for damages that occur that are not related to a collision. Theft, vandalism, natural disasters, hitting an animal, and fire would all be circumstances that would warrant a claim under your comprehensive coverage.

Similar to collision insurance coverage, you also select your deductible with comprehensive coverage.

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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Some places in the United States also require drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident or are in an accident with another driver who does not have insurance coverage, this policy type will help pay for your damages.

Additionally, underinsured motorist coverage will help pick up the tab when the other driver’s policy limits have been maxed out.

Reading and Understanding Your Auto Insurance Policy

For liability insurance, you will often see a set of three digits such as 25/65/15. The first digit represents in thousands the coverage amount for bodily injury per person.

The second digit is the coverage amount for total bodily injury per accident and the third amount is for property damage liability per accident.

The aforementioned numbers represent a policy with $25,000 in coverage for bodily injury per person, $65,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $15,000 per accident for property damage liability.

Minimum Required Coverage for Washington DC

Residents of Washington DC are legally required to have the following coverage types and amounts:

Minimum liability coverage of:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person, per accident
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury per accident
  • $10,000 for property damage per accident

Minimum uninsured motorist coverage of:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person, per accident
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 in property damage with a $200 deductible

Washington DC Auto Insurance Laws

In order to register your vehicle and legally drive in the District of Columbia, you must have the minimum required auto insurance in place.

It is also important to note that Washington DC has a no-fault law.

This means if you are a resident here and are injured in an accident, you will first file a claim under your PIP coverage.

What are the penalties for not having the required insurance coverage in Washington DC?

If you are caught driving without the required insurance coverage in Washington DC, you could face:

  • A fine of up to $150 for an insurance lapse between 1-30 days
  • An additional $7 fine for each 30 day period after that you do not have insurance coverage, up to a maximum fine of $2,500
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your driver’s license

Minimum Requirement vs. Recommended Coverage

It is important that you realize the minimum required amounts and types of insurance may not completely pay for damages in an auto accident.

While meeting these minimums ensures that you are in compliance with the law, only meeting these requirements could put you in financial hot water.

Most financial and insurance industry experts recommend having at least 100/300 of bodily injury liability coverage and adding comprehensive and collision coverages. Not doing so could leave the potential for you to have to pay thousands of dollars out of your own pocket in the event of a serious accident.

Getting Car Insurance

Getting a car insurance policy doesn’t have to be complicated or hard. You can visit a local agent near you, ask for recommendations from people you know, or even search for a carrier online.

In fact, you can find the lowest priced policies to fit your needs by using our online price comparison tool.

Be sure to consider other factors, such as customer service and financial stability, besides cost when making your final decision.


  1. http://www.iii.org/article/what-covered-basic-auto-insurance-policy
  2. http://www.all-about-car-accidents.com/resources/insurance-law/car-insurance/dc-auto-insurance-laws-
  3. http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/140310_penaltiesfordrivingwithoutautoinsurance_cfa.pdf
  4. https://www.iii.org/article/background-on-no-fault-auto-insurance
  5. https://dmv.dc.gov/node/1119046
  6. http://www.iii.org/article/eight-auto-insurance-myths

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