The Best Washington, D.C. Auto Insurance Companies
Washington, D.C. residents deal with some of the longest one-way commutes in the nation — 34.4 minutes on average, according to the Census Bureau. All that extra time on the road puts drivers at greater risk of accidents, and that’s why having the proper car insurance coverage is so important. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the top Washington, D.C. auto insurance companies to help you find coverage and rates that best fit your needs.
How We Found the Best Washington, D.C. Auto Insurance Companies
We used the methodology outlined in our national auto insurance review to help us evaluate the top D.C. auto insurance providers by market share. First, we checked each company’s financial strength with independent ratings agencies A.M. Best, Moody’s, and S&P Global. Then we got a better picture of customer service and claims experiences via Consumer Reports’ nationwide survey and J.D. Power’s Mid-Atlantic regional review.
From there, we examined the top providers’ offerings, paying attention to discounts, optional coverages, and online resources. When possible, we also requested an online quote to get a sense for each company’s premiums and policy options. Upon aggregating the data, we ranked providers. Here’s how the top car insurance providers in our nation’s capital stack up.
The 4 Best Auto Insurance Companies in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. Auto Insurance Reviews
Allstate tops J.D. Power’s regional customer satisfaction evaluation — and considering its policy details, we can see why. For starters, the insurer’s standard coverage includes a claim satisfaction guarantee. So if you’re unhappy with your auto claim, you’ll receive a six-month credit on your premium costs, no questions asked.
This satisfaction guarantee is only one of Allstate’s coverage strengths. The company also offers preferred coverages like rental reimbursement, roadside assistance, and new car replacement, plus sound system insurance, classic car coverage, and other hard-to-find options.
In addition to great coverage and strong customer satisfaction, Allstate’s website is our favorite among D.C.’s top insurers. It features plenty of resources, including information on ridesharing coverage and a guide to understanding auto insurance, along with links to outside sources.
Allstate’s site also walks you through the quote process, automatically including discounts for which you pre-qualify like anti-lock brakes, safe driving, and early signing. At the end, you’ll have the option to explore several different insurance tiers, depending on how much you’d like to pay upfront and monthly, as well as the amount of coverage you’d like.
- Great online presence
- High claims satisfaction scores
Poorly designed mobile app
State Farm receives excellent financial stability ratings, topping the charts with an “A++” from A.M. Best. This means you’ll never have to worry about the insurer’s ability to pay out on a claim. State Farm also earned an above-average reader satisfaction score from Consumer Reports — although we will note that it underwhelmed in J.D. Power’s Mid-Atlantic survey, taking home just two out of five Power Circles.
State Farm’s standard and supplemental coverages were on par with other D.C. insurers for the most part — though we did notice a few standouts. For one, State Farm offers ridesharing coverage (which is included with other providers on this list, but hard to find elsewhere). We also appreciate State Farm’s offerings for teen drivers, which include the Steer Clear program, an online driving course designed to hone young adults’ driving skills and earn them a discount.
State Farm has several other ways for young drivers to save, too, including savings for good grades — up to 20% off — and for students away at school. These are on top of its standard discount options, like safety feature, multi-policy, and multi-car discounts. All told, there’s a good chance you’ll get a price cut with State Farm, so it’s worth getting a quote to see how rates stack up.
Progressive boasts solid ratings in the customer service and claims satisfaction spheres, so it’s worth getting a quote in your search. We especially like that Progressive’s online quote tool breaks down your policy in understandable terms, and lets you select from multiple coverage options based on your budget. Plus, if you want to search for a policy based on rates alone, Progressive’s Name Your Price tool lets you do just that.
Progressive offers a variety of discounts, including some that are easy to obtain. For example, you can receive a discount just for starting an online quote. You can also earn discounts by signing documents online and utilizing Snapshot, a usage-based program that tracks and rewards you for safe driving habits.
That said, it’s worth taking a closer look at how much Progressive’s discounts can save you compared to other companies. For instance, we noticed that its multi-vehicle discount maxes out at 10%, while State Farm’s goes as high as 20%. Be sure to keep an eye on the discounts you’re offered online and factor that into your decision when choosing between providers.
What really stands out about Progressive are its lenient qualifications. Clients receive a discount for owning a home, condo, or mobile home, even if Progressive doesn’t insure it. Similarly, Progressive’s multi-car discount applies to anyone you live with, including roommates and domestic partners — not just family members. If you end up talking with a Progressive agent, be sure and ask them about these different ways to save.
- High customer satisfaction ratings
- Offers a variety of discounts for members
- Only for active or retired military and their families
USAA outweighs the competition in terms of customer satisfaction. It was the only D.C. insurer to be ranked five out of five for claims and overall experience by J.D. Power. Consumer Reports gives USAA a score of 95 and “excellent” ratings across the board. On top of that, its financial ratings from all three agencies were the strongest of the bunch.
So, why isn’t USAA our top pick? Here’s the catch: USAA only provides coverage to current and former members of the U.S. military and families, which disqualifies many Washington, D.C. residents. But if you’re eligible, we wholeheartedly recommend getting a quote.
Beyond its customer experience and financial strength, USAA has plenty to offer. We especially appreciate its add-on coverages, including accident forgiveness, and everything from anti-lock brakes to interior electronics. We’re also big fans of USAA’s flexible payment options, which allow you to pay 100% upfront, set up a plan for six or 12 months, or tailor premiums to your military pay schedule.
Guide to Washington, D.C. Auto Insurance
Understand Washington, D.C. minimum liability laws
Before shopping for car insurance, you should know your minimum liability requirements. Liability insurance is the portion of an auto policy that covers other cars or their occupants if you cause an accident. In Washington D.C., drivers are required to carry at least::
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $10,000 property damage liability per accident
Washington, D.C. also mandates that drivers purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, which kicks in to pay for your own damages or injuries if someone hits you but doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the costs. UM/UIM levels required in D.C. are:
- $25,000 bodily injury UM per person
- $50,000 bodily injury UM per accident
- $5,000 property damage UM per accident
Buy as much insurance as you can afford
Keep in mind that minimum coverage requirements are just that — minimums. If you cause an accident and the damages exceed your policy, you’ll be on the hook for the rest. And between medical costs and repair bills, those costs can add up quickly. That’s why we (and the dozens of insurance agents and attorneys we’ve interviewed over the years) recommend purchasing as much car insurance as you can comfortably afford.
Look for ridesharing coverage if you drive Uber or Lyft
Ridesharing is a popular way to make extra cash on a flexible schedule. Very popular, in fact, as Uber and Lyft have more than 700,000 U.S. drivers combined according to the L.A. Times. Most of these drivers are concentrated in urban areas like D.C.
Signing up to drive for a ridesharing service is relatively easy. You’ll simply provide information on your vehicle, driver’s license, and insurance, then pass a background check. However, drivers should note that their standard car insurance policy generally won’t cover them when driving for rideshare. You’ll need a “ridesharing coverage” add-on to protect you while on the job — and you may be required to purchase higher liability limits as well.
Fortunately, D.C.’s top four providers all offer ridesharing insurance. Just make sure to mention that you’ll need this coverage when you’re reaching out to companies for quotes — tacking it on will affect your rates, and may change the way companies stack up for prices.
Of course, you want insurance that fits your needs without breaking the bank, so you’ll be looking for the lowest premium. We recommend getting quotes from at least three different providers before choosing. This takes a little time, but since insurers have to consider your personal data before giving a hard-and-fast quote, comparing rates is the only real way to know which car insurance company is cheapest for you.
Shopping around can also help you keep your insurer honest. How? Insurance companies often analyze personal data — like spending habits and social security — to push the boundary on what they think you’ll be willing to pay. This practice, known as price optimization, enables providers to gradually increase prices for consumers who are “unlikely” to seek out other insurers. You can start your price hunt by using our quote tool at the top of this page.
Washington, D.C. Auto Insurance FAQ
What are average auto insurance rates in Washington, D.C.?
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of auto insurance in Washington, D.C. is around $1,331 per year. This is significantly higher than the national average of $1,009. Compare rates from multiple providers before buying to make sure you aren’t overpaying for insurance in this already-pricey city.
How does ridesharing coverage work in Washington, D.C.?
Ridesharing insurance can be complicated. Not only are you required to purchase additional coverage, but there’s a specific breakdown of how that coverage works. For starters, there are three periods of ridesharing:
- Period 1: App on, waiting for ride request
- Period 2: Ride request accepted, no rideshare passengers in the vehicle
- Period 3: Passenger in vehicle
In period one, you may be covered by your standard auto insurance policy. In period three, you’re usually covered by your ridesharing coverage. Period two is where it gets a little dicey. Your ridesharing coverage kicks in during period two, but only in certain circumstances. Uber and Lyft explain:
- You’re covered for liability if you cause injuries or damages to another person
- You’re covered for personal injuries due to an uninsured or underinsured motorist
- You’re covered for collision and comprehensive — but only if you already have those coverages on your personal insurance
Do I need car insurance in Washington, D.C.?
Car insurance is required in Washington, D.C. — and considering the average commute length and the cost of getting into an accident, it generally makes sense to opt for more insurance than the law’s minimum requires.
If you’re one of the many Washington, D.C. residents who drives for a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft, there are special coverages to consider, too. Ultimately, all drivers have unique needs. In order to get the best price possible on your auto insurance, you should shop around and compare rates.