Finding cheap car insurance in Washington, D.C., can be challenging. Thanks to a variety of factors, including high population density and accident frequency, car insurance rates in the District of Columbia are some of the highest in the country. Rates are also unpredictable: Prices for the same coverage can be several hundreds of dollars apart, depending on the insurers.
To help D.C. drivers simplify their shopping and find a deal, NerdWallet researched rates from the five largest insurance companies operating in D.C. and found the three cheapest options for these driver types:
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Cheapest for good drivers
For drivers with no at-fault accidents, DUIs or moving violations.
The average of the three cheapest quotes for good drivers with good credit was $1,532 a year, with Geico coming out as the least expensive at $1,245.
Good drivers should seek out discounts that reward their habits behind the wheel, such as those for having no at-fault accidents, tickets or moving violations in recent years.
Cheapest for young drivers
For drivers in their early 20s.
Drivers in their early 20s typically don’t have high-priced assets to protect in a crash-related lawsuit and can usually get by with less car insurance than older, more established drivers. As a result, young drivers in Washington, D.C., can find relatively cheap car insurance.
In our analysis, Geico delivered a rate of under $55 a month, which probably won’t break even a young driver’s budget. The next-cheapest rates from Allstate and State Farm were significantly higher, illustrating the value of shopping around for the best prices.
Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash
If you have accidents on your record, you’ll generally face higher premiums, either when you renew your policy or shop for a new one.
State Farm had the lowest rate in our analysis at $1,799 per year, but rates skyrocketed from there. Progressive was nearly $1,000 more per year and Allstate’s quote was almost $1,400 higher than State Farm’s.
Cheapest for drivers with poor credit
For drivers placed in the lowest credit tier as determined by the industry.
Frustrating as it may be, having poor credit can be particularly damaging to your car insurance rates because insurers in the District of Columbia can use your score to set rates.
The lowest quote in our analysis — $2,633 per year from Geico — was nearly $1,400 a year more than the lowest price offered to good drivers of the same age with good credit, also from Geico.
Cheapest for retired drivers
For drivers in their mid- to late 60s who no longer use their car for commuting.
Older drivers generally can save money because they spend much less time behind the wheel than policyholders who commute every day; to an insurer, this means less chance of an accident or claim.
To reflect that, we looked at rates for drivers in their 60s with lower annual mileage. The best quote we found for retirees in Washington, D.C., was $1,132 from Geico. The highest estimate we found was twice that rate, over $2,300, proving that even those who drive little can save by shopping around.
Cheapest for drivers with a military connection
If you’re an active member of the military or a veteran — or have an immediate family member who is — chances are good you’ll get a good rate with USAA, an option that isn’t available to the general public. In fact, USAA was the cheapest auto insurance option for every driver type above, in many cases by a large amount.
Minimum D.C. car insurance requirements
Drivers in Washington, D.C., must carry liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI/UIMBI) and uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD/UIMPD) in the following amounts:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $10,000 property damage liability per accident
- $25,000 UMBI/UIMBI per person
- $50,000 UMBI/UIMBI per accident
- $5,000 UMPD/UIMPD per accident
Keep in mind, a serious crash could easily cause damages that exceed these amounts, which is why it’s wise to buy more than the bare minimum that’s legally required.
Check out NerdWallet’s guide to state car insurance requirements to learn more about the coverage limits on D.C. policies as well as optional coverages you might want to add.
Alternative car insurance in Washington, D.C.
If you have a checkered driving history, poor credit or other factors preventing you from getting traditional auto coverage, you can seek coverage through the District of Columbia Automobile Insurance Plan.
NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool provides fast, easy quotes from many top companies.
Here’s a summary of where you’ll find the cheapest insurance, by category:
Cheapest car insurance in D.C.
|Drivers with one at-fault crash||State Farm|
|Drivers with poor credit||Geico|
|Drivers with a military connection||USAA|
- $100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per crash
- $50,000 property damage liability coverage per crash
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per crash
- $10,000 personal injury protection
- Collision coverage with $1,000 deductible
- Comprehensive coverage with $1,000 deductible
We used a 2014 Toyota Camry in all cases. Our sample retired driver was 67 and drove 50% fewer annual miles than motorists in other groups. Our sample young driver was 22 and carried the minimum required coverage levels. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.