Yes. Most places in the country, including Washington, D.C., allow carriers to reference your credit history when calculating your “insurance score.” This is a formula for estimating risk and rates. Read more about the practice on the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking website.
Lots of carriers reward 3 or more years without an accident or moving violation with a good-driver discount. Ask yours if this is available, and what their specific requirements are for eligibility. And while you’re at it, inquire about other common discounts, such as:
- Teen Driver
- Distant Student
- Alternative Fuel
- Defensive Driver
- Good Student
- Anti-Lock Brake
- Anti-Theft Device
- Multiple Line
- Passive Restraint
- Vehicle Safety
Sorry, but no. As of this writing, Washington, D.C. is one of the last few holdouts in the country still not allowing drivers to show digital proof of coverage on a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device.
If your auto insurance lapses or is terminated for any reason, you must immediately surrender your vehicle tag and registration to the DMV. Failure to do so results in various fines and penalties. You cannot drive again until you can show proof of coverage.
It’s against the law to operate a motor vehicle in Washington, D.C. with the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
Any at under 21 years old
In Washington D.C., you can be convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) at a BAC of 0.08% or higher. However, if a law enforcement officer believes your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is impaired by drugs or alcohol, but you have a lower BAC, you can be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). D.C. has a zero-tolerance law for underage drinkers who drive.
Washington, D.C. has an “implied consent” law that means all motorists have consented to chemical screening at the request of a law enforcement officer who suspects them of driving while impaired. Refusing the test will result in a 1-year license suspension, and it may be used as evidence against you in court.
Penalties are determined by how many prior offenses you have. Also, if your BAC is at least 0.20%, penalties start increasing. Other aggravating factors include having a minor in your vehicle while driving impaired, operating a commercial vehicle, and carrying illegal drugs. Even a first offense with no aggravating circumstances may result in jail time, up to $1,000 in fines, license revocation for up to 6 months, and other penalties. Get more information on the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department website.
Many carriers reward you with a discount if you voluntarily take a driver improvement course. Ask your agent if this is available to you. These are the same courses you would take to following a moving violation or court order to prevent points from being assessed against your license. Find a District-approved course through the DMV, or find an approved online course here.
If you’ve been paying attention over the course of this page, you’ve picked up on lots of potential savings, from green driving incentives to all sorts or discounts. Also, opt for a higher deductible in exchange for a lower premium. Striving to keep up your credit score and maintain a clean driving record are good long-term tactics, too. The single best way to minimize your monthly car insurance costs, though, is to diligently comparison shop for the lowest quotes on D.C. auto coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage is applied if you’re in an accident caused by a driver who’s illegally operating their vehicle without auto insurance. It also applies in the event of a hit-and-run incident. While this type of coverage is optional in some places around the nation, it’s mandatory in Washington, D.C. Your policy must have minimum limits of $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident, and $5,000 property damage coverage per accident subject to a $200 deductible.