If you are new to Delaware, you will soon learn that it is a small Mid-Atlantic state with six U.S highways and several state highways running across it in various directions. It’s no surprise that you’ll see tons of traffic traveling throughout the state, which means many drivers are in need of insurance. As a new resident, it’s important to be aware of the Delaware laws on auto insurance and to make sure you take care of registering your vehicle and getting auto insurance coverage within 60 days of moving.

This overview of Delaware auto insurance requirements will offer you some tips on how to get the best rates on your policy.

Auto Insurance in Delaware

Despite its small size, Delaware has many auto insurance companies ready to help drivers obtain auto insurance. Drivers in need of car insurance may also find a wide range of rates, which are determined through various factors such as age, location, type of vehicle, etc.

Your best bet is to be knowledgeable about the types of coverage so you can determine the level you want or need. Although the state does have a minimum requirement of insurance all drivers must carry, there is optional coverage available.

The coverage types are the following:

  • Collision

    This pays for damages to your vehicle after an automobile accident.
  • Comprehensive

    This pays for damages to your vehicle from moving or falling objects but not collision-related accidents.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorists

    Pays for damages by motorists who have no insurance or don’t have enough to cover damages – this coverage is strongly encouraged in Delaware, and you have to sign a waiver if you choose to elect to go without it.
  • Bodily injury

    This pays for bodily injury you cause to others in an accident when you’re at fault and pays for legal expenses as well.
  • Property Damage

    This pays for property damage to others when caused by you.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

    This pays for accident-related medical expenses for you and your family regardless of who caused the accident.
  • Towing and labor
  • Rental car

What is Required for Drivers in Delaware?

As mandated by the state, any vehicle driven on public roads (or parked but still registered) in Delaware must by insured with a minimum amount of liability coverage. Additionally, the insurance must come from a company that’s licensed through the Delaware Insurance Commissioner. Delaware also requires drivers to carry PIP insurance despite being an “at-fault” state.

If law enforcement stops drivers on the highway, regardless of the reason, they have the authority to ask for valid proof of insurance. The proof can be electronic or paper for as well as an ID card from the insurance company. The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles also randomly audits at least 10 percent of all registered vehicles to verify if the vehicle is insured.

Even if a driver isn’t stopped by law enforcement, he or she may be asked to show proof of insurance if the audit indicates the driver’s vehicle is uninsured. If for some reason the audit shows no insurance when there is insurance, the driver can contact his or her insurance company and ask them to send Form FR-19 to law enforcement.

What are the Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Delaware?

As stated above, the state of Delaware requires all vehicles operated on public roads have a certain amount of liability insurance. While they do not require collision or comprehensive, they must carry at least the following amounts of liability insurance.

  • Bodily Injury

    $15,000/$30,000 – This means your insurance will pay up to $15.000 to one individual in one accident. They’ll also pay up to $30,000 to all the individuals in one accident; however, a maximum of $15,000 will go to one person.
  • Property Damage

    $10,000 – This will pay up to $10,000 to an individual who suffers property damage caused by you in an accident.
  • PIP

    $15,000/$30,000 – Like bodily injury coverage, this will pay up to $15,000 to one person hurt in an accident and up to $30,000 to all the people hurt in one accident. PIP is covers you and your entire family regardless of who caused the accident

The state of Delaware does offer vehicle owners alternative ways of showing proof of responsibility.

  • Surety Bonds

    Vehicle owners can purchase a bond from a surety company licensed to do business in Delaware. They may also buy a bond with two separate sureties as long as they both own real estate in Delaware and their total equities are at least twice what the bond is worth.
  • Money or securities

    Vehicle owners may deposit $40,000 in securities, cash or a trust fund valued at $40,000 or more with the Delaware State Treasurer. Once the money is deposited, the individual will be issued a certificate.

Auto Insurance Requirements in Delaware

Coverage Minimum Maximum
Bodily Injury $15.000 to one individual in one accident $30,000 to all the individuals in one accident
Property Damage $10,000 to an individual $10,000 to an individual
PIP 15,000 to one Person hurt in an Accident $30,000 to all the People hurt in one Accident

Drivers or auto owners can choose to carry higher amounts of insurance, but the amounts listed above are the bare minimum amounts auto owners and drivers must carry in Alaska. If you are looking at policies that meet the state’s requirement, you may see this listed as 50/100/25.

Are Any Auto Insurance Laws Specific to the state of Delaware?

Drivers who convicted of driving without auto insurance in Delaware can receive a fine of at least 1,500 for the first offense and at least $3,000 for each offense thereafter within the next three years. Additionally, the driver may receive a six-month license suspension.

Drivers who have difficulty finding an insurance company who will provide them with insurance because they’re classified as high-risk drivers may apply for insurance through the Delaware Automobile Insurance Plan.

According to Delaware law, vehicles other than cars, trucks and motorcycles must also be registered and insured. Certain low-speed vehicles (LSVs) fall into this category. LSVs are vehicles that can go at least 20 mph but less than 25 mph in one mile and are driven on paved roads. Some examples of LSVs that must be registered and insured are tri-peds, mopeds and motor scooters. Trailers that carry vehicles must also be registered and insured in Delaware.

Unlike many states that use your credit history as a factor in determining auto insurance rates, Delaware has limitations on how insurance companies can use your credit history. They can only use it when you first become a policy holder with them.

Ways to Lower Your Insurance Rates in Delaware

Ways to Lower Your Insurance Rates in Delaware

  • Driving record
  • Age and gender
  • Marital Status
  • Car’s make, model and year
  • Place of residence
  • Vehicle use
  • Credit History
  • Coverage you choose
  • Deductible

There are certain factors that you, as a driver, can alter to improve your premiums. You can adjust your coverage by taking away some of the coverage if you don’t use your car as much as you once did. For instance, if you drive an older car, it may not be cost-effective to carry full coverage or you may want liability only if you decide to park your car and take transit.

The deductible or out-of-pocket is the amount you must pay before the insurance will pay anything. This means if your insurance deductible is $500 and your car needs $4.000 in repairs, you will pay $500, and the insurance will pay the remaining $3,500. Increasing your deductible can also lower your premiums.

Almost all insurance companies offer some sort of discounts to eligible customers. These discounts may include:

  • Good driver discount
  • Good student discount
  • Safety course discount
  • Defensive driver discount
  • Anti-theft device discount
  • Multi-car discount
  • Bundle policies discount
  • Mature driver discount
  • Accident-free discount

Are Requirements Different for Full-Time or Part-Time Residents?

Insurance requirements in Delaware are the same for part-time and full-time residents. While the registration requirements might be slightly different because drivers have a certain amount of time to register their vehicles after moving to Delaware, the insurance requirements are the same for full and part-time residents. All vehicles that are registered in the state of Delaware must be insured by a Delaware company – they do not accept out-of-state insurance.

Where Delaware Ranks in Price Compared to National Average

Delaware residents pay insurance premiums that are substantially higher than in many other states. In fact, Delaware auto insurance premiums are about 30 to 40 percent higher than the national average. Two things that may factor into the higher rates are the state’s dense population, and also, it’s proximity to Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C., which are two of the worst cities in terms of car crash rates. The average annual cost for auto insurance in Delaware is $1,125 while the national average annual cost is $866.

Average Rates in Top Three Counties

Being a small state, Delaware consists of just three counties. However, drivers will find there can be a difference in insurance rates in these three counties. An example of this can be found by looking at the insurance rates for each of these counties for a 45-year old married woman with a good driving record.

delaware-price-compared

City Minimum Coverage Full Coverage
New Castle $939 for state minimum requirements $1,884 for full coverage insurance 100/300/100
Kent $666 for State Minimum Requirements $1,344 for Full Coverage Insurance 100/300/100
Sussex $650 for State Minimum Requirements $1,313 for full Coverage Insurance 100/300/100

Research has shown that Delaware auto insurance rates can fluctuate a lot throughout the state not just from county to county but also from one city to another

Summary

Purchasing an auto insurance policy may seem like a daunting task whether you’re purchasing full coverage or just the state’s minimum liability amounts. It may also seem complicated and confusing whether you’re getting your first policy or you’re your fifth. Hopefully, this article not only helps you understand the ins and outs of Delaware auto insurance requirements but also provides you with ways you can get the best policy for yourself, your family and your wallet!

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