Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Agent for 15 Years Rachael Brennan

Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Jun 7, 2022

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Key takeaways...

  • No insurance provider in Washington D.C. or elsewhere for that matter will be a perfect provider
  • Washington D.C. insurers are subject to the same issues as insurers elsewhere in the nation
  • If you get caught without any insurance, you will be subject to at least a civil penalty

If you’re going to drive a registered vehicle on the streets of  Washington D.C., you will need to be able to prove the capability to pay for any hurt or property damage you may cause while doing so.

This capability for most people involves being able to show proof of automotive insurance, and at a minimum, it needs to be able to provide up to $25,000 per individual who is hurt by your actions while driving.

Washington D.C. ranked in the top three of the most dangerous places to drive in the U.S., according to Allstate Insurance.

This status is based on accident statistics, and the D.C. area has a higher crash rate than the national average and all other states.

Compare car insurance by entering your zip code above with our FREE tool!

Which are the top companies?

For Washington D.C. some insurance providers are available and able to sell auto insurance coverage.

Based on a 2009 study, the following D.C. operating auto insurance providers had the most measurable statistics with regards to customer service.

While there were more than 50 providers providing insurance in the Washington D.C. area, only the following eight auto insurance companies listed below offered enough statistics to compare correctly.

Company Year Premiums Complaint Ratio:

  • Liberty Mutual Group 2009 7.24 1 0.13
  • Erie Insurance Group 2009 4.54 1 0.22
  • Unitrin Group 2009 0.36 1 2.76
  • United Service Automobile Association Group 2009 18.94 2 0.1
  • Bankers Independent Insurance Company 2009 4.03 2 0.49
  • State Farm Group 2009 51.19 5 0.09
  • Nationwide Corporation Group 2009 15.28 6 0.39
  • Geico Group 2009 89.31 8 0.09

Based on the comparison above, Liberty Mutual, Unitrin, and Erie Insurance scored much better in customer service and the least amount of complaints than their competitors.

Two that are well known via marketing scored far lower than the group leaders, despite their marketing and advertising on television as well as print media.

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Top car insurance companies list

The following are some of the best car insurance companies in Washington DC:

  • Liberty Mutual Group – a nationwide insurer that provides insurance coverage for auto, home, and life estate planning. Liberty’s services can be found in all 50 states, sold through insurance agents and brokerages. Established in 1912, Liberty provides insurance protection both to private individuals and businesses.
  • Erie Insurance Group – started as an auto insurance provider as early as 1925, Erie has expanded into the general markets of insurance (home, business, auto, and life), and today operates in 11 states, predominantly favoring the East Coast and Washington D.C.
  • Unitrin Group – also known as Unitrin Direct Auto Insurance, works as a subsidiary of Kemper Corporation. The company is large with 6 million active policyholders and $8 billion in coverage assets to address policy claims. Unitrin works in all 50 states, providing coverage for vehicles both private and business policyholders.
  • United Services Automobile Association Group – better known as USAA, United Services offers auto insurance products to all current and former military service members and their relatives. USAA’s products include auto, home, life, and property insurance coverage. USAA operates in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.
  • Bankers Independent Insurance Company – A younger insurance company that began in 1985, Bankers Independent works as a smalltime insurance player based out of Pennsylvania.
  • State Farm Group – State Farm insurance operates as a largescale insurance provider working in all 50 states, and Washington D.C. Products offered include auto, home, life, and various insurance products in between.
  • Nationwide Corporation Group – Nationwide has been in the insurance as well for a significant amount of time, with operations dating back to 1925.
  • Geico – Identified by the green, gecko lizard on its television commercials, Geico focuses much of its marketing on vehicle insurances for cars, motorcycles, boats, and ATVs.

How to save money

Whichever provider you may choose, remember that having some adequate auto insurance is a requirement in Washington D.C.

If you get caught without any insurance, you will be subject to at least a civil penalty. This financial charge by the municipality will be at least $30 for not being able to show insurance proof and $150 if you don’t have it all.

If you don’t secure insurance within a month of being caught, an additional penalty charging $7/day will be incurred until proof can be substantiated.

Keep in mind that auto insurance providers can be rated some ways that may influence customer service ratings or comparisons.

Washington D.C. insurers are subject to the same issues as insurers elsewhere in the nation, including complaints.

Some of these claims may be:

  • Denied claims
  • Taking too long to process a settlement
  • Insufficient payout amounts on claims
  • Pressure to use the insurer’s mechanic for repairs instead of an independent repair shop
  • Inadequate maintenance from the referred mechanic
  • Expensive and increasing premium costs for the same service

In most of these cases, the customers don’t realize the issue with the particular insurance provider until they get into the situation where coverage is needed.

For those doing comparisons of Washington D.C. auto insurance providers, the best approach involves a bit of research, much of which can be done online.

Some of that information is provided above specific to D.C. providers, but there are some other reports available on the internet.

Repair shops in the D.C. area are also going to be an excellent resource.

Given the nature of their business, mechanics are going to be familiar with which auto insurers provide quick processing and fair settlements versus those that are being cheap.

In many states, a regulatory agency exists to keep watch on insurance providers.

These government agencies frequently keep reports on the number of complaints and problems people have with particular insurance companies.

Finally, using sites that give you detailed cost comparisons of D.C. providers can give you a complete window on who is charging outrageous insurance prices versus those that are in the middle of the pack or low.

Combine the quote information with the other data you collect above and then make a decision whom to go with if they offer a coverage type you are looking for.

Once you do have an auto insurance policy, make a point to review that agreement and premium price every other year, also comparing it with services offered by competitors.

You may find that at some point it’s worth the trouble to jump ship to another company. Or you may see that you’re still in a good position with the provider you have.

It’s worth the review both to your wallet and your coverage options when you may need to file an auto insurance claimEnter your zip code below and start comparing car insurance quotes for FREE!


  1. https://www.libertymutual.com/
  2. https://www.erieinsurance.com/
  3. https://www.kemper.com/wps/portal/KemperDirect/Home
  4. https://www.usaa.com/inet/ent_logon/Logon?redirectjsp=true
  5. https://www.bankersinsurance.com/claims-support.html
  6. https://www.statefarm.com/
  7. https://www.nationwide.com/
  8. https://www.geico.com/