Getting the best auto insurance in Delaware
When you’re looking into car insurance, balance your needs with your budget. You’ll also need to consider your state’s requirements for coverage.
If you’re driving in Delaware, you’re legally required to carry liability insurance and keep proof of current insurance and vehicle registration in your car at all times. Nearly all states require registered drivers to carry specified minimum liability insurance. And if you’re financing or leasing your car, you could be required to buy additional collision and comprehensive coverage as part of your finance agreement.
Compare the state’s minimum coverage requirements, other coverage options and how to get cheap car insurance in Delaware.
Delaware auto insurance providers
Average cost of auto insurance in Delaware
With the average annual cost of car insurance hovering around the $1,400 mark, or about $116 a month, Delaware isn’t one of the cheaper places in the country to insure a vehicle. However, as in any state, your actual insurance costs could end up significantly higher or lower than this average depending on factors like your driving record, your age, the kind of car you drive and whether you rent or own your residence.
Tips for getting cheap car insurance anywhere
- Don’t drive a flashy car. You might think a day at the beach deserves a view from your convertible. But you can be almost certain a Honda Civic is more reasonable to insure than a Maserati.
- Drop collision and comprehension on older cars. Your car’s value determines your maximum payout after an accident or theft. If you commute in an older vehicle that’s only worth a few thousand dollars, you don’t even need this protection.
- Increase your deductible. Your deductible is what you agree to pay after an accident. Raising it decreases how much of the tab your provider picks up after a fender bender or worse.
- Take care on the road. Accidents and tickets are surefire ways to push your premium higher. Clean records tend to get the best rates — and you might even qualify for a safe-driver discount. You can also explore defensive or safe driver courses to get violation points removed and earn an extra discount for having completed the class.
- Use anti-theft devices. You think it can’t happen to you, but thousands of cars are stolen in the US each year. Some providers even offer discounts for passive devices, like steering wheel locks.
- Look for local insurers. That provider around the corner might be hungrier for your business than a national company, and could offer cheaper rates.
- Keep on top of your bills. A growing number of providers check credit scores when determining your rates. Most states allow this practice — Massachusetts, California and Hawaii are the outliers — which means a poor score could result in higher premiums, and great credit might net you some savings. Paying your annual premium up front could also keep a few dollars in your pocket.
- Bundle your policies. Group your renter’s or home insurance under your car insurance provider’s umbrella to reduce what you pay across the board.
Can my credit affect my car insurance rates in Delaware?
Yes, it can. Separate studies by the University of Texas and the Federal Trade Commission both show correlation between poor credit scores and elevated accident risk. Because of these findings, insurance providers throughout most of the US will factor your credit score into their calculation of your insurance costs.
It’s worth noting the practice of using credit score to determine car insurance rates is prohibited in California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. But in the other 47 US states, providers are allowed to use these numbers to justify higher or lower rates.
State minimum requirements in Delaware
To legally drive in Delaware, you’ll need liability insurance that includes:
- $15,000 for injury or death per person.
- $30,000 for total injury or death per accident.
- $10,000 for property damage per accident.
If you’re shopping for car insurance, you’ll sometimes see this written as 15/30/10.
You’re also required to carry personal injury protection (PIP), which pays for the medical costs incurred because of an accident, regardless of who caused it. It will also pay up to $5,000 for funeral expenses. At minimum, you must carry:
- $15,000 for bodily injury to one person.
- $30,000 for bodily injury to multiple people involved in one accident.
What optional coverage should I consider?
Some states require that you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist’s coverage (UM/UIM), which protects you if you’re in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. Delaware does not require this, although many Delaware car insurance companies offer it.
Because liability insurance and personal injury protection might not fully cover you in an emergency, you could be offered additional insurance options that include:
- Collision. Helps pay for damages caused because of a crash.
- Comprehensive. Helps cover non-collision-related damages to your car, such as those resulting from inclement weather, theft or fire.
- Towing and labor. Covers towing or labor costs caused by an accident.
- Rental. Covers the expense of renting a car after an accident.
What if I don’t have insurance?
If you get caught driving in Delaware without car insurance, you’ll face serious consequences.
Driving with proof of your car insurance is required by law. On top of all of the fines you’ll incur, if you get caught driving without insurance multiple times, you could lose your driving privileges.
- First offense. A minimum $1,500 fine.
- Subsequent offenses. A minimum $3,000 fine for each subsequent offense within three years.
- Driver’s license suspension. If you accumulate enough points on your license, a judge could suspend your license (and they’ll probably fine you more too). To get your license reinstated, you’ll almost always have to buy and show proof of your auto insurance policy.
Uninsured drivers in Delaware
Delaware drivers are legally required to have insurance, but not everyone follows that law. About 11.5% of Delaware drivers drive without car insurance — which is below the 12.6% national average — thanks to those harsh insurance penalties.
Nevertheless, 11.5% still means a lot of people are driving around uninsured, which can be dangerous for you and your passengers. It’s a good idea to consider adding uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance to your policy.
Can I buy temporary car insurance in Delaware?
Yes, you can. You might need coverage for a short period for a borrowed car or rental car. It’s perfectly legal to purchase short term car insurance for less than six months, but most insurance companies won’t offer this option.
Your best option might be to call your current insurance provider or an online provider to find out your options. You can also find a policy that lets you cancel for no or low fees, and transfer to a more long term option when you’re ready.
What if I don’t want to purchase insurance?
Delaware allows you to deposit $40,000 with the state rather than purchasing an insurance policy. While this might make sense for some, it’s generally not recommended because of possibly massive costs after a serious accident. Without insurance, you could find that deposit wiped out in an instant, and possibly end up owing even more.
Delaware Automobile Insurance Plan
Car insurance companies have the right to turn away whomever they want based on their driving history. Fortunately, Delaware has a policy that ensures all drivers can get insurance — if you’ve been turned down by two insurance companies, you can apply for the Delaware Automobile Insurance Plan and get the coverage you legally need.
Keep in mind that while insurance plans like this can be expensive, it’s still less expensive than the fines you’d face if you’re caught without car insurance. However, if you’re worried about the cost, shop around and compare your options before applying for this plan.
Drunk driving laws and limits in Delaware
Like all states in the US, Delaware has a BAC limit of 0.08% for all nonprofessional drivers, as well as a 0.04% BAC limit for commercial drivers. If your BAC is over the limit when you get pulled over, penalties are severe, and can include:
- First offense: Jail for up to six months, fines of $500-1,500, license suspension of 12-24 months.
- Second offense: Jail for two months up to 18 months, fines of $750-2,500, license suspension for 24-30 months, and possible requirement of ignition interlock device (IID) after license suspension is complete.
- Third offense: Jail for one to two years, fines of $1,500-5,000, license suspension for 24-36 months, and possible requirement of IID after license suspension is complete.
- Fourth offense: Jail for two to five years, fines of $3,000 to $7,000, license suspension for 60 months (five years), IID possibly required after 48 months of license suspension is completed.
Further drunk driving incidents beyond the fourth conviction are considered felonies; consequences at that level range up into the tens of thousands of dollars in fines, plus multiple years in prison.
Can I get SR-22 insurance in Delaware?
Delaware is one of a few states that don’t require SR-22, but you might need to keep your current SR-22 insurance if you move to Delaware. You might need an SR-22 if you’ve gotten a DUI, lost your license or have too many violation points on your driving record. SR-22 tells the state you have the minimum coverage required to get back behind the wheel.
What happens after an accident in Delaware?
Accidents, even small ones, can leave you shaken, afraid and unsure how to proceed. If you’ve been in an accident, stay calm and follow these steps.
- Safety first. Keep a cool head and check that everyone is safe. Keep an eye out for any potential dangers, like fires. If anyone is injured or you think there may be any dangers, call 911 right away. If no one is injured, it’s usually a good idea to call the local police and inform them of what’s happened.
- Exchange information. Get the name, contact information, driver’s license number, address and insurance and car information from the other person involved in the crash. This includes even the smaller stuff, like their car’s license plate number.
- Notify your insurance company. Call your insurance company while you’re still at the scene of the crash. Use them as a resource to guide you through the next steps.
- Document the scene. Take pictures of the crash and any damages from as many angles as possible. Take down the information of any witnesses or police officers present — they may help you protect your insurance claim if you need it later.
Who’s at fault after an accident?
Delaware requires no-fault coverage, although it is typically referred to as “personal injury protection insurance.” This form of insurance covers the medical expenses and lost wages of the people involved in the accident, regardless of who is at fault.
This differs from other states, which have at-fault tort coverage. Tort coverage means that if you’re found to be at fault for an accident, you’re required to pay for the damages, including any potential medical bills to those injured.
When should I report an accident to the authorities in Delaware?
You may have to report your recent car accident to Delaware authorities. If you’re in a minor fender bender, you usually don’t need to file a report. However, if you’re in an accident that results in injury or death to anyone, if the crash occurs on a public highway and causes damages higher than $500 or if the drivers involved in the accident appear to be intoxicated from alcohol or drugs or impaired for some other reason, you’ll need to file a report.
To report this type of accident to the authorities, call or walk into your local police station and tell them what happened. They’ll be able to guide you from there.
If you plan on driving in Delaware, make sure that your car insurance fulfills all your state’s requirements and that it’s a good fit for you too. Compare all your car insurance options and shop around before choosing an insurance policy.
Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Delaware
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