District of Columbia Car Insurance Laws

Learn how much property and bodily liability insurance is required to operate a motorized vehicle in District of Columbia. Discover if you have proper coverage and if not what the penalties and fines are for continuing to drive without the minimum insurance ...     read more

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Department of Insurance Contact Information

Dept. of Insurance, Securities and Banking / John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Ave
NW Washington, DC 20004

Consumer Hotline


State Department Website


File Complaint Website


State Regulation

All registered vehicles must be insured: If you have a vehicle and that will be operated in the District of Columbia, you must have valid auto insurance.

Get your insurance first: You must present proof of insurance before you can register or renew a car's registration. And when your coverage is canceled, you must surrender your tags to the District or be subject to fines and penalties.

Minimum liability insurance is required: For the District of Columbia, you must carry at least $10,000 in property damage liability, $25,000 in third-party liability ($50,000 per accident), $25,000 in uninsured motorist bodily injury ($50,000 per accident), and $5,000 uninsured motorist property damage liability.

The law applies to all drivers: Even if you're officially a resident of another jurisdiction, you must abide the District of Columbia's insurance laws. The Metropolitan Police Department will issue you a citation if you don't have proof of insurance, regardless of where you live. The MPD will enforce the proof of insurance law and fine you $30.

Keep your policy current: You will be fined $150 if you have an insurance coverage lapse from 1 to 30 days. If it's more than a month, the District of Columbia will fine an additional $7 per day (up to $2,500 per tag).

Insurance is NOT required on:

Off-highway vehicles

Non-registered nonoperational vehicles


As the nation's capital, D.C. maintains stringent financial responsibility laws. It is risky to drive without proof of insurance, even if you are out-of-state. Naturally, it is much riskier if you are a D.C. resident and lack the required insurance. If you are stopped by a traffic officer and lack proof of insurance, such as an insurance card, you will be issued a fine of $30. If your coverage lapses for 1 to 30 days, you will pay a $150 lapse fee, plus $7 for each additional day past the 30-day limit. You will pay these fees at any Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) service center in the metropolitan area. Continuing to withhold payment will result in suspension of your registration (or reciprocity sticker) and tags, which will be held by the DMV until you can provide proof of current insurance.

If you are stopped by the police, under DC law, you are required to show your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. When you purchase your insurance coverage, you should receive a card or document from your insurance company that contains the name of the insurance company, your policy number, the name of the insured, and the length of coverage for the policy.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) issues citations to drivers who do not have proof of insurance. The proof of insurance law applies to all motorists who drive in the district, no matter where their car is registered or where their driver's license was issued.

Requirements Regarding Proof of Insurance: Proof Required - When Obtaining Registration

Penalties For Not Carrying Mandatory Insurance: Fine up to $500, depending on length of lapse

Min Coverage:

$25,000 for injury/death to one person

$50,000 for injury to more than one person

$10,000 for damage to property

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