Washington D.C. Car Insurance Regulations & Required Coverage

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Sep 24, 2020

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The District of Columbia, more commonly referred to as Washington D.C., requires all drivers to maintain minimum insurance coverage. This coverage includes bodily injury, property damage and coverage for uninsured motorists. Specific insurance laws in Washington D.C. differ from other states so it is recommended that you maintain basic knowledge of insurance rules and regulations.

Similar to nearby Maryland and Virgina, Washington D.C. insurance law follows a tort system. The specific rules of a tort system can vary but the basics mandate that after an accident, someone will be determined to be at-fault for causing the accident and is then responsible (along with their insurance company) for covering all related expenses.

Required Coverage

All personal vehicles in Washington D.C. require the following liability coverage requirements:

  • Bodily Injury
  • Property Damage

Additionally, drivers are required to have the following coverage:

  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
  • Uninsured Property Damage
Minimum Washington D.C. Car Insurance Requirements
Bodily Injury Liability $25,000 / $50,000 Limit
Property Damage Liability $10,000 Limit
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury $25,000 / $50,000 Limit
Uninsured Property Damage $5,000 subject to $200 deductible

Additional insurance coverage can include:

  • Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

Collision and comprehensive coverage are optionally, but are beneficial in helping cover the expenses of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Collision covers any collision related incidents such as getting hit by another driver. Comprehensive covers all non-collision related incidents such as having your vehicle stolen or flood damage. Even if your vehicle isn’t on the list of most stolen vehicles in Washington D.C., you should consider having this coverage.

Proof of Insurance and Financial Responsibility

Establishing proof of insurance and financial responsibility

  • Get a standard liability car insurance policy

Required Documentation

In order to provide proof of insurance, you can provide one of the following:

  • Insurance ID Card
  • Copy of Insurance Policy
  • Any document issued by your insurance company listing the name of the company, policy number, period of coverage and names of those insured

You must maintain proof of insurance and financial responsibility and present it:

  • When asked by a police officer
  • After an accident
  • During registration or renewing registration of a vehicle
  • Anytime you are operating a vehicle

Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility Penalties

If you are unable to show proof of insurance when asked, you can face the following penalties:

  • Suspension of registration tags and reciprocity sticker
  • Fine of $30 for not being able to show proof of insurance
  • Fine of $150 for a lapse of 30 days or less
  • Fine of $7 per day for lapse over 30 days up to $2,500

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