Delaware car insurance laws

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Every state has its own nuances when it comes to car insurance laws. Like most states, Delaware car insurance laws require its drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. On top of mandating basic liability, there are some further requirements. Delaware is a tort state instead of a no-fault state, but it still requires its drivers to carry a form of no-fault auto insurance.

In general, state mandated car insurance is to protect against the high financial risk that comes along with driving. The Insurance Information Institute (iii) estimated that roughly 8.5% of Delaware drivers were uninsured in 2019. In 2019, there were over 29,000 auto vehicle accidents and more than 7,000 car-related injuries. These numbers can help explain some of the Delaware insurance laws and highlight how these laws can help protect drivers financially.

Car insurance laws in Delaware

Delaware car insurance laws require all drivers to carry minimum coverage auto insurance. These policies include two types of coverage, bodily injury liability and property damage liability. These coverages are designed to pay towards the expenses of the other driver and their passengers when you are at fault for an accident. If instead, they are at fault, then their minimum coverage will pay towards your expenses.

Minimum coverage requirements in Delaware are as follows:

  • Bodily injury: $25,000 for one person and $50,000 for two or more persons
  • Property damage: $10,000
  • Personal injury protection: $15,000 for a single person and $30,000 for two or more people

Liability insurance in Delaware

Delaware auto insurance requirements mandate that all drivers carry basic liability coverage, also known as minimum coverage. Delaware minimum car insurance policies are to cover your financial obligations to other drivers in accidents that you are responsible for. Minimum coverage, however, does not pay towards your own costs in accidents that you are at fault for. For this reason, some drivers choose to add other coverage options to their car insurance plan.

Collision and comprehensive coverage are both popular types of auto insurance. Collision coverage helps with the costs that come from your car being damaged while driving. If you hit a tree, another vehicle or have an object hit your car, the collision insurance can help with the costs (so long as you were driving when it happened). On the other hand, comprehensive insurance can help with damages that occur to the vehicle while it is parked.

Is Delaware a no-fault state?

Delaware is a tort state, meaning it is an at-fault state. Delaware drivers are legally responsible for the financial damages they cause through motor vehicle accidents. This can be a problem for some drivers when they cause more costs in damages than their insurance policy will cover. All policies have coverage limits, beyond which they will not pay out. If a driver is liable for more costs than their policy covers, they may have to pay the remaining amount out of pocket.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Delaware

Driving without car insurance in Delaware is illegal and can land you in hot water. The first offense comes with a $1,500 fine, and further offenses see that fine go up to $3,000. If you go three years or more in-between incidents, the counter resets. Beyond these fines, you will have your license suspended for six months for the first offense, and longer for subsequent violations.

It is important to note that these fines can end up costing more than simply paying for auto insurance in the first place. The average price for full coverage auto insurance in the U.S. is $1,674 per year, which is slightly more than the first fine for driving without insurance in Delaware. A second fine could cost twice as much as an entire year’s payments for a full coverage auto policy.

Additional auto insurance coverage options in Delaware

Because of the limitations around basic liability insurance, some drivers choose to add other coverage options to their auto insurance plans. Drivers looking for policies that provide direct coverage for their own injuries and property may consider collision, comprehensive, or medical coverage. Each of these plays a role in protecting the insured from financial loss and are available from many car insurance companies.

  • Medical payments coverage can help cover the medical expenses of the driver and their passengers, no matter who is at fault for the accident. Generally, there are no deductibles on these types of policies. Another perk of medical coverage is that it follows the insured wherever they go, whether on foot or in the car.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can help in accidents where the other driver is at fault and is either uninsured or underinsured. In effect, these coverage types fill in for the other driver’s basic liability insurance when they either do not have it or do not have enough of it.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company in Delaware?

The best car insurance company for one person may not be the best for another. In part, this is due to how nuanced and individualized policies and rates can be. That is why experts recommend shopping around between providers when looking for a policy. For starters, consider the Bankrate guide to the best car insurance companies in Delaware for 2021.

What is the cheapest car insurance in Delaware?

While different companies do have higher or lower average rates, each customer receives a personalized quote. Because rates are dependent on so many personal variables like age, location, vehicle, driving record and more, the cheapest company for one driver may not be the cheapest for another. Consider the Bankrate guide to the cheapest car insurance companies in Delaware for 2021.

How much does car insurance cost in Delaware?

Delaware is a bit above the national average for auto insurance costs. On average, in Delaware, a full coverage policy costs $1,775 per year. In contrast, the U.S. average is $1,674. The Delaware average for a minimum coverage policy is $787 per year.