Uninsured Motorist Coverage in the District of Columbia: Do You Need It?

To meet the minimum insurance requirements in the District of Columbia, all drivers must purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you live in the District of Columbia, you must carry a
car insurance
policy that includes uninsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance pays for your car repairs and medical bills after an accident with an uninsured driver.
Washington D.C.’s minimum car insurance requirements include uninsured motorist coverage in addition to bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. While these coverages can help you deal with major expenses after an accident, uninsured motorist coverage is particularly important, since it protects you from having to pay out-of-pocket if you’re ever in an accident with D.C. motorists who choose to drive without insurance. 
Whether you’re a new resident of the District of Columbia, or just looking to learn more about how the city handles uninsured motorist coverage,
is here to help. In this guide, we’ll go over how UM/UIM insurance works in the country’s capital city, and why buying it can lower financial burdens after an accident. Plus, we’ll give you tips on how to use our
licensed broker app
to find cheap car insurance quotes in Washington DC.

Do you need uninsured motorist coverage in the District of Columbia?

Yes. In Washington D.C., all drivers must carry
uninsured motorist coverage
to comply with the city’s car insurance laws. 
According to the most recent data from the
Insurance Information Institute (III)
, the District of Columbia is the ninth worst area in the country for uninsured drivers, making uninsured motorist coverage essential if you want to protect yourself from the 19.1% of D.C. motorists who fail to meet the city’s minimum car insurance requirements. 
With so many uninsured drivers on the road, getting into a car accident in Washington D.C. means there’s a very high chance that the other party could have insufficient coverage or no coverage at all. Without uninsured motorist insurance, you’d be responsible for paying 100% of your
car repairs
and medical costs on your own—even if it was the other driver who caused the accident!
On the other hand, purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage means that after an accident with an uninsured driver, both your property damage and medical expenses will be covered by your Washington D.C. car insurance policy. 
If you have concerns about how UM/UIM coverage might affect your car insurance costs—you can relax! The exact amount you’ll pay for this insurance will depend on your specific car insurance company and your risk metrics, but most D.C. motorists pay less than $10 a month (approximately$50 to $75 a year) for this invaluable coverage.
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How uninsured motorist insurance works in the District of Columbia

To understand how uninsured motorist coverage works in Washington D.C., you need to know a little about the city’s car insurance laws. Because D.C. is a
no-fault state
, motorists file claims through their own insurance company, and must carry the following coverages:
A car insurance policy that only meets these minimum requirements is less expensive than a policy that includes optional coverage, but it also means that you’ll be more susceptible to risk after an accident. For instance, the District of Columbia is the
13th-most expensive place in the nation for ER visits
, with an average cost of around $1,879 per visit. When you consider that cost in addition to the costs of an ambulance ride, surgery, rehabilitation or nursing care, and other expenses, it’s easy to see how a car accident can result in enormous medical bills.

What’s available?

Here are the two types of UM/UIM coverage available to drivers in Washington DC:
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. Covers your medical expenses (and those of your passengers) if the other driver’s liability insurance isn’t sufficient to cover your costs, or if they don’t carry car insurance at all.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage. Covers your property damage bills (like car repairs) if the other driver’s liability insurance isn’t sufficient to cover your costs, or if they don’t carry car insurance at all.
Washington D.C. car insurance laws
require all drivers to purchase $50,000 per accident and $25,000 per person of UM/UIM bodily injury and $5,000 of UM/UIM property damage coverage, you also have the option of increasing the amount of UM/UIM coverage on your car insurance policy for extra protection.

What does it cover?

In the District of Columbia, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage takes care of medical expenses and property damage that happen as the result of an accident. Here’s a rundown of some of the costs covered by Washington D.C’s uninsured motorist insurance:
  • Hospital or doctor visits needed to treat your injuries
  • Loss of wages/potential earnings
  • Long-term nursing care or rehab
  • Therapeutic or medical devices such as wheelchairs
  • Pain and suffering (under certain circumstances) 
  • Repair bills for your car’s body or mechanical damage
  • The cost of a
    rental car
    while your vehicle is in the shop
  • Damage to property (other than your car) that happened as a result of the accident
Getting into a traffic accident can cause major stress, and worrying about how you’re going to pay your bills only makes it worse! UM/UIM coverage is required in Washington D.C., but it also comes with the added benefit of knowing that you (and your passengers) are protected from financial repercussions after a car accident.

How to make a claim 

If you get into an accident in Washington D.C., make sure you exchange information with the other driver and call your insurance company. If it turns out that the other party doesn’t have car insurance, then you’ll have to make a UM/UIM claim. You’ll also file a UM/UIM claim if your car is involved in a and the other driver flees the scene.
Filing an uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage claim is pretty straightforward. Just call your insurance company, explain the situation, and provide the documentation they need (such as police reports, medical records, or hospital bills). Staying organized and submitting your paperwork in a timely manner can speed up the process since it allows your insurance company to assess your case as fast as possible.
In the event that your medical bills exceed the coverage limits of your UM/UIM insurance, you can use
medical payments (MedPay) coverage
or your health insurance plan to help pay for the rest. Property damage bills that exceed your UM/UIM coverage can be supplemented with
collision insurance
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Why it’s a good idea to buy uninsured motorist insurance in the District of Columbia

UM/UIM insurance is required in the District of Columbia, but many drivers choose to increase their coverage to ensure their expenses are taken care of after an accident with an uninsured driver. While this extra coverage isn’t expensive, it does increase your insurance costs—which could cause problems for D.C. drivers on a budget. If you need help finding cheap UM/UIM coverage, turn to
—the super app that finds the lowest rates from top insurance companies across the nation.
Here are two reasons why you should consider more uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

There are a lot of uninsured drivers in the District of Columbia

Washington D.C. ranks among the top 10 worst areas in the nation for uninsured driving, with approximately 19.1% of the state’s motorists neglecting to meet the city’s minimum car insurance requirements. With approximately 279,000 vehicles registered in the district, there could be as many as 53,289 uninsured drivers on the road!
Based on those numbers, driving in Washington D.C. puts you at greater risk of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver, making UM/UIM coverage essential if you want to protect yourself against serious financial consequences after a traffic accident.

Hit-and-run accidents

If you get into a collision and the other driver leaves the scene, then you’re considered the victim of a
District of Columbia hit-and-run
accident. If this happens, you won’t have access to the other party’s insurance information, so you’ll have to use your own insurance policy to recoup damages.
Optional insurance like collision, MedPay, or advanced UM/UIM offer more coverage after a hit-and-run.

How to save on uninsured motorist coverage in the District of Columbia

While uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage alone can cost as little as a few dollars a month, a car insurance policy that includes a lot of optional coverages such as collision insurance,
comprehensive coverage
, MedPay, or
roadside assistance
can quickly get expensive. But that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on coverage to get affordable car insurance—instead, turn to
Jerry is the
top-rated broker app
that’s worked with more than 55 of the country’s top providers to find you affordable rates in less than a minute. Just answer a few questions about yourself and your vehicle, and we’ll tell you if you’re overpaying for your DC car insurance—and create a personalized list of cheap quotes that’ll lower your monthly costs.
Exactly how much you can save depends on your plan, risk factors, and other metrics unique to you—but with the average Jerry user saving over $800 a year, you’re sure to be comfortable adding extra coverage like improved UM/UIM insurance.
“This app is all about savings!
just saved me $193/month on my car insurance. They literally found me the cheapest policies out there and with better coverage! Seriously, just sit back and watch Jerry work its magic.” —Rachel B.
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