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Here you’ll learn everything you need to know to buy the best car insurance policy in Washington for your particular situation. You’ll see which carriers are rated as the best car insurance companies for customer satisfaction and what the average car insurance rates are for your neighborhood. You’ll also discover how much you can save from knowing how to make smart choices about coverage. And, find out how rates for Washington drivers are affected by tickets, accidents and adding teen drivers.

Who Has The Best Car Insurance in Washington, DC?

Deciding who has the best car insurance to suit your needs depends on what is most important to you. For some it may be price, while others may value customer service the most. Still others may be looking for the convenience of mobile apps, or a company that offers the most car insurance discounts. Below we list car insurance companies in Washington, and who they are the best at serving, based on CarInsurance.com’s customer satisfaction survey of current policy holders and rate data analysis.

Best forCompany
ClaimsTravelers
Value/PriceTravelers
Customer ServiceTravelers
Websites/AppsTravelers
RecommendTravelers
Low Annual MileageState Farm Mutual Auto
Good StudentState Farm Mutual Auto
BundleAllstate P&C
Paid in FullAllstate P&C
ClaimsGeico

Cheap Car Insurance in Washington, District of Columbia

GEICO Advantage Ins Co and Erie Ins Exch have the cheapest car insurance rates in Washington, based on our rate analysis for three different coverage levels. The driver profile is for age 30, with good credit and a clean driving record. You can see how major insurers rank for price in the chart below

CompanyLiability Only - State Minimum BI/PDLiability Only - 50/100/50 BI/PDFull Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD - 500 Comp/Coll
GEICO Advantage Ins Co$386$432$1,042
Erie Ins Exch$579$659$1,671
State Farm Mut Auto Ins Co$727$849$1,921
Allstate Prop & Cas Ins Co$877$974$3,773
Nationwide Ins Co Of Amer$1,154$1,347$2,485
Progressive Direct Ins Co$1,310$1,430$2,233

Car Insurance Coverage – How Much Car Insurance do I Need in Washington?

Below we’ll explain what coverage you need to drive legally, which is your state required minimum liability limits, and what types of car insurance you may need to be truly protected.

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Washington

District of Columbia car insurance laws require only that you insure yourself against bodily injury and property damage liability, so it’s your choice whether to add coverage for yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle.

If you have a newer model car, it makes sense to get comprehensive insurance and collision coverage. In District of Columbia, comprehensive costs $234 and collision costs $887 , on an average per year, according to a rate data analysis done by CarInsurance.com. These optional coverages come with a deductible. That’s the amount you pay before your insurance company pays. Typical deductibles amounts are $1,000, $500 and $250 – you choose which one you want. The higher the deductible is, the lower your rate will be.

The best car insurance coverage usually isn’t the cheapest. You may be used if you’re in an accident and your insurance doesn’t cover all of the damages. That means your home or savings could be in jeopardy. To protect your assets, you should buy liability insurance in the following amounts:

  • $1,00,000 to pay for others’ medical bills
  • $3,00,000 to pay for injuries to others in an accident you cause
  • $1,00,000 to pay for damage to others’ property

 

You should also consider buying these optional coverages:

  • Comprehensive, which replaces stolen cars and covers damage to your car from floods, fire, hail, vandalism.
  • Collision, which pays for damage to your car from accidents.

The average rate for Washington drivers for a year of minimum coverage is $839 according to our rate analysis. If you increased your coverage to 50/100/50, you would pay just about $9.17 more a month, or $110 more a year. You can get full coverage (100/300/100) by paying $112.42 more a month, or an additional $1,349 a year more than minimum-level coverage.

Washington average for:

  • Minimum coverage: $839
  • 50/100/50: $949
  • 100/300/100: $2,188

Average Car Insurance Rates in Washington

CarInsurance.com analyzed car insurance rates from six car insurance companies for nearly every ZIP code in District of Columbia. Here's how Washington's highest average rate $2,188 for ZIP 20002 compares to others, for a full coverage policy of 100/300/100 for a driver age 30:

  • $24 more than the least expensive average rate $2,164 in ZIP code 20001
  • $0 more than the state average $2,188
  • $429 more than the national average rate $1,759

Compare Car Insurance Quotes in Washington – How to Save on Insurance Policy?

You can save an average of $2,731 annually on a full coverage policy in Washington by comparing car insurance quotes, according to CarInsurance.com's rate analysis. While savings will depend on your particular circumstances, this shows that there is a significant benefit to shopping your policy.

Why Does Comparing Car Insurance Quotes Save Money?

No two insurance companies will charge the same amount of money for the same policy. So if you compare car insurance quotes and opt for the lowest, you won’t over pay. For example, the highest rate from any carrier surveyed for ZIP code 20002 , the priciest ZIP code Washington car insurance, was $3,773 . The lowest was $1,042. The difference is $2,731, which is how much you could overpay. That’s why car insurance comparisons are paramount to finding the best cheap car insurance for your situation.

Washington Car Insurance FAQ’s

How much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket in Washington?

A speeding ticket in Washington will hike your car insurance rates by an average of 15% , or about $276 yearly. CarInsurance.com’s rate analysis shows how much more drivers in Washington can expect to pay, on average, for speeding and other common violations. Minor traffic violations, such as speeding, typically stay on your record for about three years, and you can expect to see the rate increase upon your policy renewal date. More severe infractions, such as DUI, typically stay on your record much longer.

Washington drivers can expect to see a hike in their rates in the range of 12% for minor moving violations such as tailgating or blowing through a stop sign, 49% for more severe infractions such as DUI. Below you’ll see how much rates increase, on average, for common traffic violations. Remember, though, that because insurance companies assess risk differently, you can still save by comparison shopping, because one carrier may ding you a lot for a citation, while another may spike your rate by much less.

ViolationAverage rateRate after violation$ Increase% Increase
DUI/DWI third offense$1,882$5,311$3,429182%
DUI/DWI second offense$1,882$3,994$2,112112%
DUI/DWI first offense$1,882$2,812$93049%
Reckless driving$1,882$2,784$90248%
Operating a vehicle in a race (highway racing)$1,882$2,455$57330%
2 speeding tickets 11 mph or over$1,882$2,289$40722%
Distracted driving ticket$1,882$2,213$33118%
Careless driving$1,882$2,213$33118%
Improper/illegal pass$1,882$2,173$29115%
Improper turn$1,882$2,173$29115%
Following too closely$1,882$2,173$29115%
Failure to yield$1,882$2,173$29115%
Failure to stop$1,882$2,173$29115%
Texting ticket$1,882$2,104$22212%
Talking on cellphone ticket$1,882$2,104$22212%
Driving without insurance$1,882$1,971$895%
Driving without a license or permit$1,882$1,971$895%
Seatbelt infraction$1,882$1,882$00%

An accident will increase car insurance rates by 30% to 30%, on average, for drivers in Washington. When you file a claim for an accident that's your fault, typically your car insurance rates will increase. However, claims under your comprehensive coverage, if you have it as it’s optional, typically won’t trigger an increase. That’s because comprehensive claims are for damage insurers consider to be beyond your control, for instance due to hail, fire, flooding, falling objects or collisions with an animal. The table below shows how much for drivers in Washington can expect to pay for common car insurance claims.

AccidentAverage RateRate after claim$ Increase% Increase
2 At-fault property damage accident over $2k$1,882$3,474$1,59285%
At-fault bodily injury accident$1,882$2,447$56530%
1 At-fault property damage accident under $2K$1,882$2,447$56530%
1 At-fault property damage accident over $2K$1,882$2,447$56530%

In Washington, adding a 16-year-old daughter to your policy will hike your rates by $2,343 annually, or 125% It's more for boys. Insuring your 16-year-old son will increase your yearly rate by $3,345 , or 178% according to CarInsurance.com rate data. Teen drivers are inexperienced, and are involved in more accidents than older drivers, according to federal research, and insurance companies categorize them as high-risk drivers, so they cost more to insure. If you're insuring a teen driver of any age, you can get expert tips, more rate data by age and details from our “Parents guide to insuring a teen driver."

CarInsurance.com data show that for drivers in Washington, your rate will go up by an average of $1,081 or 57%. If you're convicted of a serious offense, such as DUI or reckless driving, you may be required to have your insurance company file an SR-22 form on your behalf. An SR-22 is a car insurance company’s guarantee to the state that you are carrying the legally mandated coverage. If you are required to have an SR-22 filed, your car insurance rates will increase.

 

Washington, D.C., Crash Facts

A 2018 report from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) revealed that there were 24,265 collisions in 2015, climbing to 26,447 in 2016 and slightly more in 2017 with 26,459. The comprehensive report breaks down the collisions not only by year, but by month, time of day and in which ward the crash occurred. It also provides information on the type of crash (whether it was head-on, sideswiped, etc.).

Total collisions:

  • 2015: 24,265
  • 2016: 26,447
  • 2017: 26,459

Fatal collisions:

  • 2015: 26
  • 2016: 27
  • 2017: 31

Injury collisions:

  • 2015: 6,215
  • 2016: 6,305
  • 2017: 6,626

Property damage only collisions:

  • 2015: 18,024
  • 2016: 20,115
  • 2017: 19,802

Fatalities:

  • 2015: 26
  • 2016: 28
  • 2017: 33

Total non-fatal injuries:

  • 2015: 8,341
  • 2016: 8,336
  • 2017: 8,798

Disabling injuries:

  • 2015: 326
  • 2016: 335
  • 2017: 325

Non-disabling injuries:

  • 2015: 2,191
  • 2016: 2,601
  • 2017: 2,424

Total vehicles involved:

  • 2015: 46,854
  • 2016: 52,226
  • 2017: 52,365

Total persons involved:

  • 2015: 60,958
  • 2016: 64,819
  • 2017: 63,359

Total pedestrians involved:

  • 2015: 1,243
  • 2016: 1,091
  • 2017: 1,183

Pedestrian fatalities:

  • 2015: 15
  • 2016: 9
  • 2017: 13

Percentage of fatalities per 100,000:

  • 2015: 0.7
  • 2016: 0.76
  • 2017: 0.89

Injuries per 100,000 of the population:

  • 2015: 1,240.80
  • 2016: 1,238.32
  • 2017: 1,267.77

There were 22 fatal crashes in Washington, D.C., in 2018, according to a Vision Zero report.

Of those fatalities:

  • 27% were pedestrians
  • 23% were motorcyclists
  • 18% were drivers
  • 14% were passengers
  • 14% were bicyclists
  • 5% were on scooters

In 2019, there were 27 total fatal crashes in D.C. Of those:

  • 44% were pedestrians
  • 26% were drivers
  • 11% were passengers
  • 11% were motorcyclists
  • 7% were bicyclists

As of Feb. 26, 2020, the year saw six traffic fatalities, with 67% of those passengers, 17% drivers and 17% passengers.

 

Pedestrian Deaths in a "Walker's Paradise"

Walk Score calls Washington, D.C., a "walker's paradise." Walk Score rates any address in the United States, giving it a "walkability score," which determines a particular street, intersection or city’s walkability.

With a population of 601,723, Washington, D.C., scores high in the "walkability" category. It finished seventh for most walkable large city in the U.S., with a "walk score" of 76. It gets a transit score of 71 and a bike score of 69.

While it may be highly walkable, that puts more pedestrians in danger on D.C. streets. And the city isn't unique in that it struggles with pedestrian-related crash fatalities and injuries.

Between 2008 and 2017, drivers struck and killed 49,340 people who were walking on streets in the United States. That equates to more than 13 people per day, or one person every hour and 46 minutes.

There were 101 pedestrian deaths between 2008 and 2017 in the District of Columbia, which has been ranked the 36th most-dangerous in the country for pedestrians, according to a 2019 report called "Dangerous By Design" from Smart Growth America.

The Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria metro area ranked as the 76th most dangerous in the country for pedestrians. There were 764 deaths during that time period. That's an annual pedestrian death rate of 1.27 per 100,000 people.

As of Feb. 26, 2020, there were a reported 67 crashes resulting in injuries that year in Washington, D.C. Of those, 27% were pedestrians. During that same time period, there were six traffic fatalities, 67% of those pedestrian deaths, according to a Vision Zero report. In 2019, there were 27 total fatal crashes in D.C. Of those, 44% were pedestrians and 7% on bicycles.

A DDOT report shows that 1,243 pedestrians were involved in a crash in 2015 in D.C., followed by 1,091 in 2016, and up slightly in 2017, with 1,183. Bicyclists, too, were involved in a significant number of crashes, with 679 involved in 2015, 699 in 2016 and climbing to 862 in 2017.

 

Collisions in the Dark

Street illumination is a contributing factor in crashes in Washington, D.C., a DDOT report found.

Data shows that the majority of the reported crashes occurred on roadways where the streetlights were off. These crashes occurred under such conditions in approximately 57% (15,070) of the total reported crashes in 2017.

 

No Need for Speed

While it doesn’t factor as high as following too closely, distracted driving or failing to yield, speeding is still a prominent reason for collisions, nationally and in Washington, D.C. In 2015, 697 crashes could be blamed on speed, followed by 536 in 2016 and 536 in 2017.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that there were 63 traffic fatalities between 2014 and 2018 in which speed was a factor in Washington, D.C.

 

Most Collisions in D.C. Don’t Happen on the Interstate

As you may have guessed, a majority of collisions happen on local roads, principal and minor arterials, as evidenced as part of a District Department of Transportation report. It breaks down on which type of road the collisions occurred in 2017:

  • Minor arterial: 29%
  • Principal arterial: 27%
  • Local: 25%
  • Other freeways and expressways: 11%
  • Interstate: 5%
  • Collector: 3%

 

D.C. Commuters

The average drive time for Washington, D.C., workers 16 and older to their job is 30.3 minutes. That’s higher than the national average of 27.1 minutes (the 2018 average).

The mean time calculated by the Census (based on figures from 2014-2018) includes time spent waiting for public transportation, picking up passengers in carpools and on other activities related to getting to work.

Numbers compiled by Data USA showed that 2.06% of the workforce in Washington, D.C., are "super commuters," meaning they drive an excess of 90 minutes to their job. Data USA found that the average drive time for D.C. commuters in 2018 was 29 minutes, similar to Census findings.

Here's how those Washington, D.C., commuters get to work:

  • Public Transit: 34.4%
  • Drive alone: 34.2%
  • Walk: 13.3%

The percentage of commuters using public transit in Washington, D.C., is higher than many other metropolitan areas. It’s almost even with public transportation-heavy areas, such as San Francisco, which is 35.5% of commuters. The percentage of Washington, D.C., workers who walk to their jobs is significantly higher than other cities, too.

 

A City of Walkers and Riders: Vehicle Ownership in Washington, D.C.

Compared nationally, Washington, D.C., households are under the average range for car ownership, which is roughly two per household.

The largest share of households in the city has one car, followed by zero cars, according to recent statistics from Data USA. The 2018 results showed that some 25% of D.C. households had zero cars. Less than 1% had five cars.

A Census survey in 2016 showed that there were estimated to be 1.8 vehicles available per household nationwide.

The study showed, in D.C.:

  • 2015 Households Without Vehicles: 36.2%
  • 2016 Households Without Vehicles: 37.1%
  • 2015 Vehicles per Household: 0.89
  • 2016 Vehicles per Household: 0.86

Most Dangerous Intersections in Washington, D.C.

The following are the top five most hazardous D.C. intersections based on crash frequency, 2015-2017:

  1. New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road
  2. 1st Street and New York Avenue
  3. Fairlawn Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue
  4. 14th Street and U Street
  5. 1st Street and Union Station Plaza

New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road saw 129 crashes in 2015, 140 in 2016 and 130 in 2017.

 

Washington, D.C., Among Top 20 Most Congested Cities in the World

Washington, D.C., rush hour kicks off arounds 6:30 a.m. and honks and idles its way through 9:30 a.m. In the evening, the worst time is from 3-7 p.m., said TripSavvy. Peak tourist seasons are the worst, and that includes cherry blossom season.

It's as clogged as your arteries after a bucket of original recipe chicken from KFC. The bustling city came in second on the 2018 annual report compiled by INRIX on the "most congested urban areas in the U.S." list. D.C. landed at number 19 in the "world's most congested cities for the 2018" traffic scorecard. Topped only by Boston, MA, Chicago, NYC and Los Angeles.

Washington, D.C., drivers lost approximately $2,161 each in 2018 due to congestion, as compared to Boston, which lost only slightly more at $2,291. According to the study, D.C. drivers spend 155 hours stuck in traffic per year, and crawl at an average 11 mph during that last inner-city mile of travel.

D.C. hit fairly high marks on another traffic congestion measurement report. GPS giant TomTom releases an annual traffic index, ranking the most congested cities by country, continent and the world. With a 29% congestion level, D.C. earned the number 12 spot in North America (number seven in the United States) in a 2019 list that was topped by Mexico City, Los Angeles, Vancouver and New York. The city's congestion level went up one percentage point from the previous year. Washington, D.C., ranked as the number 141 most traffic-congested by world's standards on the TomTom list.

Christmas day saw the least amount of traffic in 2019 in Washington, D.C., with 4% average daily congestion. Nov. 7 had the most -- 46%.

DUIs: Lower in Washington, D.C.

A 2019 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report based on 2018 data found that alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities were highest in Texas with 1,439, followed by California with 1,069 and Florida with 814. The lowest was the District of Columbia, which had nine.

Using data compiled from 2013-2017, County Health Rankings found that in the District of Columbia, of the 124 driving deaths in that time period, 40 of those fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired. That's 32% of the fatal crashes.

 

How the Crashes Happened, and in What Kind of Vehicle?

In its comprehensive 2018 report, the District Department of Transportation broke down the type of collisions that occurred in 2017.

A front-to-rear wreck was the most popular form of a collision in Washington, D.C., coming in at 27% of all the crashes that year. Following is the sideswipe, at 25% and then the crash at an angle, which accounted for 11% of that year's collisions. A head-on collision occurred in 8% of all crashes.

With 24,297 crashes, 27 fatalities and 8,253 injuries, passenger autos accounted for the most common type of vehicle involved in crashes in 2017. There were 1,584 crashes that year that involved taxis, 1,460 that involved buses, 219 on motorcycles and 203 involving an ambulance.

 

Washington, D.C., Vision Zero Initiative

A group of national organizations in 2014 adapted an action plan called Vision Zero, which was originally developed in Sweden, to establish a national strategy on highway safety referred to as Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). It focuses on data-driven topics such as safer drivers, safer passengers, safer users, enhanced medical services, safer infrastructure and safer vehicles.

In February 2015, Washington, DC, officially committed to the national Vision Zero movement with its mission to "eliminate by the year 2024 fatalities and serious injuries to travelers of our transportation system through more effective use of data, education, enforcement and engineering."

 

Car Thievery Isn't as Hot in D.C.

Perhaps it is because there are fewer cars on the streets, but the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria didn't rank all that high in ranskings of cities-metro areas where cars are most likely to be stolen. In fact, the area came in 225th in the country.

Based on the National Insurance Crime Bureau's 2018 "Hot Spots Vehicle Theft" report, the vehicle crime rate for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area is 161.55 per 100,000 residents, with 10,097 cars stolen in 2018.

 

Distracted Driver Law

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that there six fatalities in which distracted driving was a factor between 2014 and 2018 in Washington, D.C.

As one of the earlier to enact a law on distracted driving in the country, beginning July 1, 2004, it became illegal for motorists in D.C. to use a mobile phone or other electronic device while driving in the District of Columbia, unless the telephone or device is equipped with a hands-free accessory.

"The Distracted Driving Safety Act of 2004 is designed to improve traffic safety in DC by reducing the number of crashes caused by inattentive drivers who become distracted by the use of phones or other electronic devices,” said the D.C. website.