Best car insurance in Washington, D.C. for 2021

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The average cost of car insurance in Washington, D.C., is $1,855 per year for a full coverage policy, according to Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums. With an increased risk of having an accident behind the wheel with one of the district’s 535,000 licensed drivers, choosing a policy from one of the best D.C. auto insurers, like USAA or Geico, could come in handy.

Because having adequate car insurance can mean the difference between financial distress and a seamless claims experience, taking time to choose the right insurer is crucial. Through Bankrate’s research, we recognized five carriers as offering some of the best car insurance in Washington, D.C.

Best car insurance companies in Washington, D.C.

To determine the best auto insurance in Washington, D.C., Bankrate’s editorial team used Quadrant Information Services to assess the average annual premiums from popular car insurance companies in the area. We then looked into industry-trusted third-party ratings from different agencies, including the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Claims Study, to gauge each company’s customer satisfaction and financial stability.

Finally, we calculated a Bankrate Score to compile the data into an easy-to-use comparison tool of how each insurer stacks up against each other. The closer each company scores to 5.0, the more competitive it is in terms of premiums, customer satisfaction and overall financial strength.

Car insurance company Bankrate Score Average annual full coverage premium J.D. Power customer satisfaction score
USAA* 4.8 $876 890/1,000
Geico 4.6 $1,420 871/1,000
Erie 4.4 $1,212 880/1,000
State Farm 4.4 $1,994 881/1,000
Progressive 4.1 $1,601 856/1,000

*USAA is not eligible for official ranking with J.D. Power due to eligibility restrictions.

USAA

With Army, Navy and Marine Corp bases in Washington, D.C., USAA may prove to be a great consideration for military members and their families. The company only provides insurance to active duty and retired military personnel, including their family members, making it a considerable choice for those that qualify.

As the cheapest car insurance policy in D.C. on our list, USAA’s policies are affordable and unique in coverage options for military families, such as a discount for storing a vehicle on base. While not eligible for official rank placement due to eligibility restrictions, the company’s policyholders consistently score it competitively high in customer satisfaction.

Learn more: USAA Insurance review

Geico

Geico is an insurer with a long-standing history. Due to its trusted name, the auto insurer is often included in any mention of the best car insurance available, including in Washington, D.C. Although Geico policies are relatively basic with only a few coverage options, such as roadside assistance and rental reimbursement, it also has one of the longest lists of discounts.

D.C. drivers have many options for savings, whether associated with one of Geico’s covered membership networks or eligible for safe driving benefits. Policy management is also exceedingly easy through Geico’s mobile app and online resources.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

Erie

Erie ranks within the top 10 car insurance companies for customer claims satisfaction. Additionally, AM Best gives it an A+ (Superior) ranking for financial strength, making the likelihood of a smooth claims experience high, which is often a huge selling point for customers.

Coverage is robust, even with Erie’s standard policies. Coverages that are usually optional, such as locksmith services and personal item coverages, are generally included with the purchase of full coverage. There are also multiple discounts available, including a multi-policy discount ranging from 16% – 25%, depending on the state.

Learn more: Erie Insurance review

State Farm

Although its average annual full coverage premium is slightly more expensive than the average for Washington, D.C. drivers, State Farm has several points that help make its policies worth considering. One is its list of discounts, including its Drive Safe and Save program, student options and vehicle safety discounts. You could also bundle your auto policy with home or life insurance for a multi-policy discount.

There are local State Farm agents in D.C., providing drivers who prefer face-to-face contact and insurance guidance the flexibility to find an insurance agent best suited for their circumstances.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

Progressive

Progressive easily earns a spot for offering great car insurance in Washington, D.C., in terms of helpful digital tools alone. If you already know which coverages you need, you could compare quotes from other providers online from Progressive’s website, cutting down a step in your research. You could also use its Name Your Price Tool, which shows you coverage options that fit within the budget you provided to make finding the best coverage for you one step easier.

Outside of standard coverages, there are useful options for gap insurance, rental car reimbursement, custom parts, rideshare coverage and roadside assistance. And to save on your policy, you could opt for the deductible savings bank option, which reduces your premium for each claim-free period you have.

Learn more: Progressive Insurance review

Average cost of car insurance in Washington, D.C.

The average annual cost of full coverage car insurance in the U.S. is $1,674, while Washington D.C. averages $1,855 annually for full coverage insurance. Minimum coverage is also more expensive on average in Washington, D.C., at $704 annually compared to the U.S. average of $565 annually. This may in part be due to Washington, D.C.’s highly congested roads, increasing the risk of an accident.

Average annual premium for minimum coverage in Washington, D.C. Average annual premium for full coverage in Washington, D.C.
$704 $1,855

State minimum insurance requirements in Washington, D.C.

Like most states, car insurance is mandatory in Washington, D.C. However, the district is considered no-fault, which adds some additional considerations for minimum coverage. Washington, D.C. notes the following auto insurance coverages are required:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 uninsured motorist property damage per accident (up to a $200 deductible per claim)

D.C. ‘s minimum coverage limits can help reduce out-of-pocket costs following an accident but may not be enough to cover certain losses. To offer more robust protection, speak to an insurance agent to determine what coverage limits are right for you and consider adding collision and comprehensive to help cover your vehicle’s repair costs. If you loan or lease your vehicle, full coverage is typically required by your lender.

How to get the best car insurance

The best auto insurance company in Washington, D.C., is different for everyone. However, some simple approaches can be used to help judge which insurer offers the best coverage for you by assessing your situation.

  • Evaluate your needs: Every driver has unique circumstances that influence their insurance-buying decisions. For example, a driver with one or more traffic violations on their record, such as speeding, may prioritize finding a cheap car insurance company in Washington, D.C.. Additionally, a provider that offers first-accident forgiveness may stand out on your list, especially if you have been maintaining a clean driving record and want to avoid being penalized for a first offense.
  • Consider local factors: In Washington D.C., you have the option of purchasing personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Since D.C. is a no-fault district, you may want to consider this coverage to help cover medical expenses for you and any passengers in your vehicle. Reviewing your district’s optional coverage options with an insurance agent will help you decide what other protections you may need.

Car insurance discounts in Washington, D.C.

Regardless of the auto provider you choose, you are likely to find at least one or more discounts available to you. Most Washington, D.C. insurers offer the following discount options:

  • Paperless: By opting for fully digital policy management, you may qualify for a paperless discount with insurers. By choosing to do so, you will receive digital copies of your documents, such as monthly or annual statements.
  • Auto-pay: Many insurers offer a discount for drivers who schedule automatic payments. This option also saves you the added step of remembering to make manual payments online or via phone or mail.
  • Distant student: Students who attend college away from home without regular access to a vehicle may qualify for a distant student discount. There are usually provisions about the minimum distance a school has to be from your primary residence, so consider checking with your agent to see how you can qualify.
  • Multi-policy: You can often save by bundling your auto insurance policy with a home, renters or life insurance policy from the same company.

Qualifying for discounts can make a considerable difference in your premium. Home and auto bundles typically garner the most savings, but discounts for automatic payments or completing a safe driving course can also have a substantial impact.

Frequently asked questions

What is the cheapest car insurance in Washington, D.C.?

The cheapest car insurance in Washington, D.C., depends on many variables, such as your driving record, age and vehicle type. Each variable may be weighted differently by an insurer, so it helps to get quotes from multiple providers to see which one offers you the best rate.

What information is needed to get car insurance in Washington, D.C.?

In addition to knowing your selected coverages, you will need to provide your address, vehicle make and model, driver’s license number and annual mileage. Companies also review your driving record and past coverage to determine rates.

What is high-risk insurance?

High-risk insurance is a term used for drivers who pose a high claims risk. Severe violations like speeding, reckless driving or a DUI will generally increase your insurance rate due to the high-risk nature of the incident. Having multiple accidents can also affect your insurance premiums.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Bankrate Scores

Bankrate Scores primarily reflect a weighted rank of industry standard ratings for financial strength (AM Best, S&P, Moody’s) and customer experience (J.D. Power, NAIC), in addition to average quoted rates from Quadrant Information Services. The J.D. Power studies utilized include the 2020 Auto Insurance Study and the 2020 Auto Claims Study. Our Bankrate editorial team’s extensive research and analysis provided a secondary assessment of each insurer’s online and mobile resources and policy management options, which also contributed to overall ratings.

Written by
Mariah Posey
Insurance Editor
Mariah Posey is an insurance writer and editor for Bankrate.com specializing in auto and home insurance. She aims to make the insurance journey as convenient as possible by keeping the reader at the forefront of her mind in her work. With a background in reporting and feature writing, she has a knack for conducting research, writing factually while incorporating compelling details, and prioritizing story intent. Mariah is originally from New Jersey and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Elon University. Prior to joining the team, she worked as a copyeditor and writing consultant at her alma mater. She has covered topics ranging from news to tech and lifestyle and has a vested interest in producing engaging content for audiences.
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Senior Insurance Editor