District of Columbia Auto Insurance Basics


If you want to drive a car, whether your own or somebody else’s, you should have two items according to the law. One is a valid driving license and the other is auto insurance. There are several types of auto insurance policy coverages available. Unless you understand the basics of auto insurance in District of Columbia, you would not be able to select the right type of coverage that would provide you adequate cover in case of an auto accident. Any auto insurance policy would have five major sections. However, the terminology used in these sections might vary from one insurance company to another in a slight manner.


The first section is the declarations submitted by you in the application form for buying auto insurance. These declarations or proclamations are your personal details, along with the details of other members in your household, who are eligible to drive a vehicle. You are required to submit the names of all these persons including you, your home address, the type of vehicles in your house and their registration numbers, the validity period of the policy, and the policy number. You are also expected to specify the type of coverage you wish to purchase, the policy limit, and the deductible you are willing to pay for the insurance policy in the beginning. If the information provided by you is found to be incorrect in any manner at a later stage, the insurance company could legally refuse to accept any claims made by you after an accident.

Agreement on Insurance Coverage

The insurance policy is an agreement between you and the insurance company. This agreement would state the coverage limit of that particular policy and the options of coverage. The type of coverage is clearly mentioned in this agreement, such as liability, collision, comprehensive, medical, personal injury protection, underinsured and uninsured, etc. This agreement would stipulate the amount you would be paying every month under the policy and the commitment by the insurance company about the type of coverage and the limit up to which the insurance company would accept your claim. This agreement and all its clauses are legally binding on both parties.


The agreement would also state the items that had been excluded from the ambit of the insurance policy and the limitations of the policy. This exclusions section and the previous agreements section would decide what kind of claims you could make and what kind you could not make with the insurance company, when you are involved in an accident. Hence, you should comprehend this section carefully and decide which items you wish to have in the agreement and which items you wish to include. If you include more items, the insurer would demand more premium amounts every month. Hence, you should delicately balance the inclusions and exclusions to keep the monthly insurance premium at an optimum level.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions specify your legal obligations under the insurance policy, as well as the legal responsibilities of the insurance company. These obligations and responsibilities would cover premium payments, the process of claim filing, and the procedures for resolving disagreement, if such disagreements arise during a claim.


Auto insurance advisors had named this section as ‘fine print’, since the terms that had been used in the insurance policy are presented here. The terms would define your rights and the rights of the insurer. Many of the terms could be interpreted in different manners. Hence, it would be advisable to go through this section carefully and understand the terms. If you have any doubt, you should consult an auto insurance consultant to get clarifications.

As such, if you wish to buy auto insurance policy in District of Columbia, you should understand the mandatory coverage limits, the type of coverage that is statutorily required, and other coverages that you might need to purchase to cover any exigency. If you take adequate care in the beginning and obtain the right type of coverages, you would not regret your decision later, if you become involved in an auto accident.