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Delaware Car Insurance

In Delaware, state law requires all registered vehicles to be covered by a minimum amount of liability insurance. If you are moving to the state or you are about to purchase a new vehicle, knowing the required amount of insurance is vital.

Many consumers do not know what they are buying for their car insurance, which can make them vulnerable when they are on the road. If you do not want your assets to be at risk every time that you drive to work or go to the grocery store, you need to build a comprehensive policy.

This consumer guide to Delaware car insurance discusses the legal insurance requirements, additional coverage options, and tips for finding the best insurance providers in the state. Read on to learn all that you need to know about auto insurance in Delaware.

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What are the laws concerning car insurance in Delaware?

Delaware, like a majority of the states in the nation, operates under a tort-based insurance system. In tort states, insurance companies will use fault to determine who must pay for the damages that are sustained in an accident.

The party who is found to be primarily at-fault will be required to pay for the medical bills in addition to the repairs needed to restore real property back to its original condition.

Because Delaware runs under a tort system, state law mandates that anyone who owns a vehicle must have proper insurance. This requirement ensures that drivers are able to pay for the damages they cause to a third party.

The third-party liability coverage that drivers must carry are bodily injury and property damage.

  • Bodily injury  Bodily injury (BI) liability provides you with protection when you cause injuries to another party in an accident. It will also pay if the accident leads to death or if you are sued for pain and suffering. You can carry no less than $15,000 per person and up to $30,000 per accident.
  • Property damage – Property damage (PD) liability pays for the damage that you cause to property that you, or someone in your household, do not own. The property could be anything from a vehicle you collided with to a lamppost that falls during an accident, and it applies to all objects damaged in a single accident. The single limit required in Delaware is $10,000 per accident.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Delaware

Driving without insurance is against the law. You must have proof of insurance at all times when you are in your vehicle. If you are caught without coverage, you could be charged with a misdemeanor that will appear on your criminal record.

Not only can uninsured-driving citations affect your record, but you could also be fined $1,500 or more on the first conviction. For repeat offenders, the fine increases to a minimum of $3,000. In addition to the fine, you may have your license suspended for six months.

To avoid these penalties, you need to buy, at the least, a minimum amount of coverage. You will have thousands of dollars in third-party coverage, and your insurer will fight for you in court if they believe the claims are unfounded.

Are there additional forms of coverage to protect the policyholder?

Third-party coverages are required by law, but you might be wondering what would happen to your property and your assets if you suffered damages in an accident. The law requires you to protect other drivers, but it does not require you to protect yourself.

However, there are supplemental coverages that you can buy for your personal protection. Here are some of your options:

  • Medical payments – Every coverage except medical payments uses fault to determine how the policy will pay. This no-fault coverage will pay for your medical expenses so that you can seek treatment immediately.
  • Comprehensive – This coverage pays for damages to your vehicle when the damages are caused by fire, theft, vandalism, riot, wind, hail, or other non-moving claims. Your policy will only pay up to the fair market value of your vehicle in your city. You must carry this coverage when your car is not paid off.
  • Collision – Collision pays for the damages sustained to your car when you collide with another object. Typically, collision coverage will take effect when you are at-fault, but sometimes your policy will pay for losses when you are not at-fault.
  • Rental car – If you need a replacement car to drive around while your car is being repaired, rental car coverage will pay for a daily rental. You can choose the daily rate that you would like to pay.
  • Uninsured motorist – Uninsured vehicles are dangerous because the damage that these vehicles cause will not be covered. In Delaware, statistics show that 11.7 percent of drivers do not have coverage. Your chances of colliding with someone who has no intention of paying for your bills are very high.

To ensure that you are fully protected, uninsured motorist protection will cover your bills when someone irresponsible hits you, whether you are in your car or a pedestrian. The coverage will even apply if someone has low limits that will not pay for the expensive treatments that you need.

How can you find the best insurance company in Delaware?

Buying insurance is a must, but you have the freedom to select the insurer provider. You should take the time to compare the insurers in your state before you assume that a low premium is best. Competitively priced premiums are something to search for, but an insurer's reputation should come first.

Here are a few factors that can help you sift through the options:

– Active Licensing and Good Standing

Your coverage will only be recognized by state officials if you buy it from a company licensed by the Department of Insurance in Delaware. This is why you need to check the licensing status of any insurer before you do business with them.

To check licensing, access the Consumer Information Source and enter the company's name. You will find a record of where the company received its license and whether the company has a good standing.

You can also review complaints that are active or closed. It is wise to see if a company has a history of bad business practices before handing over a deposit.

– Financial Stability

Companies in the industry need to be financially stable to pay for claims. If a company does not have the money to pay for the claims that it promises to pay for, you could be left dealing with damages and appeals on your own. It is imperative to check the financial ranking of an insurer.

Third-party agencies like A.M. Best rate companies in an unbiased manner using the financial statements of the companies to determine if they can pay for losses. Consult these ratings and then narrow down the list.

After you narrow down your list, you can move on to price shopping. Comparison shopping for low-priced Delaware auto insurance premiums is a great way to find a policy that provides you with the best value.

To comparison shop, you can use an online rating tool from your home computer. This tool gives you rates with Delaware insurers based on your personal information. Get instant quotes now, adjust the limits of liability, play around with additional coverages, and then decide which auto policy is best for you.

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