According to law in the District of Columbia, all drivers must carry a valid auto insurance policy. You'll also need to show this proof if a police officer pulls you over for a traffic violation.
In D.C., drivers have "no-fault" insurance, which means your insurer will cover your medical bills following an accident, regardless of who's at fault.
Vehicle owners in Washington, D.C., are also required to carry uninsured motorist coverage for both bodily injury and property damage. This is designed to cover you and the people in your car for medical bills and property damage if you're in an accident caused by someone who doesn't have insurance or enough financial resources to cover all of your losses.
Washington, D.C., minimum car insurance requirements
A basic insurance policy in D.C. will include liability auto insurance (for bodily injury and property damage) and uninsured motorist coverage with the following minimums:
Bodily injury (BI): $25,000/person, $50,000/accident
- $25,000 per injured person
- $50,000 per accident for two or more injured people
- Your personal assets
- Legal fees in the event that the other party sues you, up to the stated limit
Does not cover
- Your own medical bills
Property damage (PD): $10,000/accident
- $10,000 per accident
- Higher limits are available and vary by insurer
- Everything from the other driver's car
- Other property that is damaged in the accident (buildings, fences, etc.)
Uninsured motorists bodily injury and property damage
- $20,000 per person
- $50,000 per accident
- $5,000 with a $200 deductible
Cheapest companies in D.C. for minimum liability
Optional car insurance coverage in Washington, D.C.
Although certain insurance options aren't required, they can better protect you while you're on the road. Optional coverage includes:
Physical damage: This type of insurance includes collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage pays to repair your own car following an accident, while comprehensive coverage pays for damage that results from just about any other motor vehicle incident.
Underinsured motorist coverage: This protects you when the other driver is at fault but does not have high enough limits to cover all of your bodily injury or property damage expenses.
Personal injury protection (PIP): PIP covers medical expenses and lost wages for you and your passengers if you sustain injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident (regardless of who is at fault).
Alternative proof of financial responsibility
In order to register your vehicle with the DMV, you must show proof of financial responsibility. Most D.C. drivers must purchase liability auto insurance to follow the law, but there is one exception: If you have more than 25 vehicles registered in your name, you could qualify as a self-insurer. You must agree to pay the same amounts that an insurer would be obligated to pay if it had issued you a policy. Upon agreeing to the terms of payment, you will be issued a Certificate of Self-Insurance from the mayor.