An increase in insurance coverage for District taxicabs slated to begin today was delayed for 60 days after a protest was filed by a cab company owner with the city's insurance superintendent and the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The increase, which now has been delayed twice, would have cost city cabdrivers $572 more per year. Although the increase is mandated by city law, many cabdrivers and cab company owners believe it should be delayed until the D.C. Taxicab Commission can act to increase fares to offset the added insurance cost.

Insurance Superintendent Marguerite C. Stokes said the delay was granted after she was notified by the U.S. Court of Appeals that cab company owner Dan Smith had filed for an injunction.

"It would have served no good purpose for it all to end in court," she said.

The appeals court has not yet acted on the request, which was filed Thursday, Smith said.

If the insurance coverage had increased on schedule, it would have raised the minimum coverage to $15,000 for personal injury, $30,000 per accident and $10,000 for property damage. That is less than what private car owners in the District are required to carry.

Stokes said District law requires that cabdrivers' insurance match minimum private car insurance of $25,000, $50,000 and $10,000 by June 1988.

"This delay in imposing the increase will only serve to shorten the time we have to bring the cabs up to full coverage," she said.

Stokes postponed the original June 1 deadline to allow the new Taxicab Commission a chance to meet.

Smith, 70, who owns nine city cab companies employing about 500 drivers, said he is not opposed to the insurance coverage increase, but rather to the procedures.

"We have no quarrel with the rates," he said. "But we do think we are being charged {amounts} in excess of the coverage. We also feel that Mrs. Stokes did not follow procedures and confer with the commission.

"Hopefully this will give her time to consult with the commission and give the commission time to put a rate increase in place to offset the cost of the insurance."