Drivers in the District of Columbia may find it hard to obtain insurance for their vehicle if they rack up a record of traffic tickets or auto accidents. Auto insurers may consider you a higher risk, and simply refuse to insure you. If you are turned down for auto insurance due to a less-than-perfect driving record, you may be able to find coverage through the District of Columbia Automobile Insurance Plan (DC AIP). As long as you meet the criteria described below, you should be able to obtain coverage for at least D.C.'s mandated limits: 25/50/10.
What is the District of Columbia Automobile Insurance Plan (DC AIP)?
The DC AIP was instituted in 1982 to secure auto insurance for drivers who can't get quotes. According to the DC Department of Insurance, the DC AIP is a last resort that you should only utilize if you’ve been turned down in the voluntary market already. In the voluntary market, licensed companies in D.C. have the liberty to accept and reject drivers applying for auto insurance coverage based on a driver's risk assessment - the likelihood of one driver versus another to file for claims. High risk drivers, such as those with multiple records of accidents and traffic tickets, or simply being new student drivers, sometimes fell through the cracks.
The DC AIP is the assigned risk plan that assigns drivers in its assigned risk pool to licensed D.C. insurance providers. It therefore also represents D.C.'s residual auto insurance market. The number of drivers assigned depends on the market shares of the auto insurance companies. So if, for example, Nationwide covers 10% of ALL the drivers in the District of Columbia, then the DC AIP will assign 10% of the high risk drivers to Nationwide. This spreads the loss incurred by high risk drivers across all the insurers.
Any insurance agent licensed in D.C. will be able to tell you if you qualify, and help you apply to enter the DC AIP. Once accepted, your assigned coverage is guaranteed for at least 3 years. If you are still considered a high risk driver at the end of 3 years, you may reapply to the D.C. Automobile Insurance Plan, as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria.
District of Columbia AIP Eligibility
In order to be eligible for coverage through the DC AIP, you must meet the following criteria:
- Certify on your insurance application that you have tried to find auto insurance in the District within the last 60 days, without success. Or, the insurance quote you received was higher than the quote you got for the DC AIP.
- Have a valid driver’s license and a vehicle that is registered in the District of Columbia.
Note that you must fill out the insurance application completely and accurately. If your assigned insurer discovers that you have omitted or misrepresented important facts on your application, your AIP auto insurance can be cancelled.
District of Columbia AIP Coverage
The coverages you will be offered under the DC AIP are the same as those offered to other drivers in the District – they just may cost you more. Once you are assigned an insurer by the Plan, that coverage will last for 3 years. This is a good time to focus on improving your risk, as there are a couple of things other than driving record that you can work on.
The table below summarizes the mandatory coverages that all drivers in DC must purchase. Be aware that there are midpoints of coverage in between the minimums and the maximums. Talk with your auto insurance agent about what level of coverage is appropriate for your specific situation.
|Mandatory Coverage||D.C. Required Min. Limits||DC AIP Maximum Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident||$100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$10,000 per accident||$100,000 per accident|
|Uninsured Motorists BI (UMBI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident||$100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident|
|Uninsured Motorists PD (UMPD)||$5,000 per accident||$25,000 per accident|
Your assigned D.C. auto insurer is required by law to offer you additional coverages, which you may turn down if you wish. In DC, you must be offered Underinsured Motorist coverage – which includes protection to the effect of Bodily Injury and Property Damage when the at-fault driver does not have enough liability insurance coverage. You will also have access to Personal Injury Protection – also known as no-fault insurance. Think carefully about how much coverage you need to protect yourself and your assets.
Finally, there is Physical Damage insurance for your car, which encompasses Comprehensive and Collision; in D.C. you must purchase either both or neither of the two. If you do, you will choose a deductible amount for each of the coverages from among $100, $250, or $500. Be realistic about what you can pay out-of-pocket in choosing your deductibles. Note that if your car is an antique (older than 25 years) then your assigned auto insurer is not required to offer you Physical Damage coverage.
|Optional Coverage||D.C. AIP Min. Limits||D.C. AIP Maximum Limits|
|Underinsured Motorists BI (UIMBI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident||$100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident|
|Underinsured Motorists PD (UIMPD)||$5,000 per accident||$25,000 per accident|
|Physical Damage||Actual cash value of your car, up to $25,000||No higher limit|
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Optional Benefits|
|Medical Expense||$50,000 per perso / accident||$100,000 per person / accident|
|PIP - Work Loss Benefits||$12,000||$24,000|
|PIP - Funeral Benefits||$4,000||No higher limit|
DC AIP Premiums & Payment Plans
If you obtain auto insurance through the DC AIP, you are likely to pay a higher-than-average premium. Auto insurers look at multiple factors when they develop the price for your policy. The better you understand these factors, the better able you are to take actions to lower the cost of your auto insurance premiums over time. In the happy event that you are able to return to the voluntary market and find lower-priced auto insurance in the District of Columbia, you can notify your assigned insurer and receive a prorated refund for the part of the policy premium that you have not used.
You will have 2 ways to pay for your auto insurance premium:
- Pay the entire annual premium up front with your application.
- The second is an installment plan. This allows you to pay 25% of the first year’s premium with your application. Then you will be billed for the remainder in 5 equal monthly installments. If you choose the installment plan, you will also pay a $3 installment charge each month.
When you submit your AIP application, you must also submit your first check along with it - in the form of your personal check, certified check, bank check, money order, or the agency’s check, payable to the DCAIP. Be sure to pay your insurance bill on time! There is no grace period for auto insurance, and if your payment is not received on time, your assigned insurer will send you a cancellation notice instead.
How to Apply for Insurance through DC AIP
Any licensed auto insurance agent or broker in DC can help you apply to the DC AIP.
For more information about the DC AIP, call the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking at (202) 727-8000 or check the District of Columbia Automobile Insurance Plan website.