Best Cheap Car Insurance in Washington, D.C., for 2017

Auto Insurance, Insurance

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 the district and found the three cheapest options for these driver types:

Good drivers

Young drivers

Drivers with one at-fault accident

Drivers with poor credit

Retired drivers

Drivers with a military connection

also in this article

Minimum D.C. car insurance requirements

Alternative car insurance in D.C.

» FIND YOUR MATCH: Who’s the cheapest carrier for you?

Cheapest for good drivers

For drivers with no at-fault accidents, DUIs or moving violations.


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price

  • $1,108/year

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price

  • $1,364/year

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PRICE

  • $1,843/year

The average of the three cheapest quotes for good drivers was $1,438 a year, with Geico coming out as the least expensive.

Cheapest for young drivers

For drivers in their early 20s.


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price

  • $616/year

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price

  • $948/year

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Price

  • $1,012/year

Drivers in their early 20s typically don’t have families, expensive cars or high-priced assets to protect 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 pretty cheap car insurance. Geico had a rate of under $52 a month, which probably won’t break even a young driver’s budget.

Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash


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price

  • $1,619/year

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price

  • $2,758/year

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Price

  • $3,059/year

If you have accidents on your record, you’ll generally face higher premiums. State Farm had a rate of less than half of the amounts at the high end of the five quotes in our analysis — proving that drivers with spotty records can benefit more than just about anyone else from comparing as many rates as possible.

Cheapest for drivers with poor credit

For drivers placed in the lowest credit tier as determined by the industry.


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price

  • $2,581/year

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price

  • $2,711/year

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Price

  • $3,043/year

Frustrating as it may be, having poor credit can be particularly damaging to your car insurance rates. The lowest average quote in our analysis — from Geico at $2,581 per year — was nearly $1,500 a year more than the lowest price offered to good drivers of the same age with good credit.

Cheapest for retired drivers

For drivers in their mid- to late 60s who no longer use their car for commuting.


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price

  • $1,003/year

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price

  • $1,049/year

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Price

  • $1,792/year

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. Using lower mileage to reflect that, the best average quote we found for retirees in Washington, D.C., was lower than that for good drivers half their age.

Cheapest for drivers with a military connection


Get a quoteUSAA is available only to active military members, veterans and their families.

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. USAA customers also get the insurer’s top-rated customer service.

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.

CategoryCheapest option
Good driversGeico
Young driversGeico
Drivers with one at-fault crashState Farm
Drivers with poor creditGeico
Retired driversGeico
For most categories, NerdWallet averaged rates for 30-year-old men and women in 10 ZIP codes and with the following coverage limits:

  • $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 2013 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.


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