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Auto Insurance in Washington D.C.

Auto insurance in Washington D.C. is mandatory according to laws on the books for residents of the District of Columbia. Washington D.C. and many other states require auto insurance for all drivers on their roads. This means that D.C. drivers are obligated just like most other auto owners across the country to follow laws in their municipality and demonstrate financial responsibility for their vehicles. According to law there are certain required areas of coverage that all auto owners must include in their policies. Beyond these mandatory areas of insurance protection there are also additional modes of coverage available. Area motorists have their choice of additional insurance policy provisions once they meet minimum D.C. legal requirements.

D.C. Auto Insurance Requirements

In Washington D.C., the Compulsory/No Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act requires that every motorist applying for registration in the District of Columbia has current and valid auto insurance with a company licensed to sell policies in the District. As long as the registration is maintained on the vehicle, Washington DC car insurance must be maintained and kept active and continuous without lapse. Any lapse may be subject to monetary fines. Drivers are also instructed not to cancel their insurance policies on covered vehicles until they have surrendered their plates to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). There are insurance payment plans available for residents who are hit with fines for allowing their coverage to lapse [1].

Along with requiring auto insurance, the law in Washington D.C. also specifies specific coverage minimums that drivers are required to carry. Anything beyond these minimums is also permissible as long as the thresholds are met at the very least. Each driver must carry liability and uninsured motorist auto insurance. There are specific prescribed minimums mandated by law.

Liability insurance in Washington D.C. includes property damage and third party liability. Third party is further divided into per person and per accident limits the way it is in many states across the U.S. The minimum financial limit for property damage is $10,000. For third party liability, the minimum limits are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident [1]. Motorists are free to include higher limits of protection on their policies and many do just that. With car repair and medical costs going up all the time, it is smart to invest in as much auto liability insurance as you can possibly afford, especially in a densely populated metropolitan area such as this with all of the traffic most of us encounter on a daily basis.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance in D.C.

Uninsured motorist auto coverage is also required for all D.C. auto owners. Some feel like it is unfair for the insured motorists to essentially pay for the liability insurance costs of the uninsured (which often increase vehicle insurance rates across the board), but the alternative is to have no recourse in the event of an accident involving an accident with an uninsured driver or a hit and run incident. The only way to try to recover expenses in these cases is through litigation, and there is no guarantee of the success of lawsuits in these matters. Uninsured motorist protection is an inexpensive way to guarantee that this issue does not prevent you from recovering the money you have coming to you in the wake of an accident.

Bodily injury uninsured protection must be at minimum in the amount of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, the same as the minimum levels mandated for liability coverage in the District. Property damage protection in this category must be covered to at least a $5,000 level, subject to a $200 deductible [1].

Valid Proof of Insurance Required

To register a vehicle or to renew a registration, motorists must present valid proof of insurance meeting legal requirements and administered by companies authorized to sell policies in our district. If for any reason your insurance policy on a vehicle is terminated and not immediately replaced, you are required to surrender vehicle tags and registration to the Department of Motor Vehicles. According to law insurers in D.C. are required to let the DMV know any time a policy is cancelled or terminated. When the DMV receives this type of notice from an auto carrier, they will send a notice to the auto owner giving them an opportunity to present proof of insurance which usually means an insurance plan with a different carrier.

There are certain punitive measures in place to deal with auto owners who fail to comply with auto insurance requirements as residents of Washington D.C. Most of them are financial in nature, so drivers need to be aware of the importance of compliance. Auto insurance is an important form of protection that takes care of covered drivers in the event of an accident. Its relatively small expense pales in comparison to the potentially huge costs that can follow an injury accident when you do not have auto insurance in Washington D.C.

[1] http://dmv.dc.gov/info/insurance.shtm Retrieved 2010-07-14.

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