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Delaware Car Insurance

Delaware minimum car insurance requirements are:

    • Auto Liability Insurance policy with limits of at least 15/30/5 — meaning:

Del. Code tit. 21, § 2902

    • $15,000 of bodily injury to another person
    • $30,000 of bodily injuries to all other persons
    • $5,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident
    • Personal Injury Protection with limits of at least 15/30 — meaning:

Delaware Motorist Protection Act

    • $15,000 of bodily injury to another person
    • $30,000 of bodily injuries to all other persons
  • Although collision insurance, comprehensive insurance, and un-insured/under-insured coverage is not required by the State of Delaware, many drivers choose to purchase them in order to cover any expenses they may accumulate from an accident outside of the minimum coverage.

Alternative Options to Insurance:

Certificates of Self-Insurance are available in Delaware if the following requirements are met:
Del. Code tit. 21, § 2904

    • You must have at least 16 vehicles registered in your name
    • You must qualify by application through the Secretary of Transportation
      • Office of the Secretary
      • Delaware Department of Transportation
      • 800 Bay Road
      • Dover, DE 19901
      • P.O. Box 778
      • Dover, DE 19903
      • 302-760-2000
    • In Delaware, you have the option to use a surety bond or cash deposit as proof of financial responsibility if the following requirements are met:
      • Surety bond for at least $65,000 made with a surety company licensed to do business in Delaware. The bond must then be filed with the Secretary of Transportation.

Del. Code tit. 21 § 2950

      • Cash deposit of at least $40,000 made with the State Treasurer.

Del. Code tit. 21 § 2951

Required Proof of Insurance in Delaware

Insurance Card provided by Insurance company including all of the following:

      • Name of the insurance company
      • Insurance policy number
      • Effective date and expiration date of the policy
      • Accurate description of year, make, model, and vehicle identification number of the registered vehicle(s)
      • Name and address of the insured driver

Certificates of Self-Insurance are issued by the state and must include the following:

      • Certificate number issued by the Secretary of Transportation
      • Effective date of certificate
      • Accurate description of year, make, model, and vehicle identification number of the registered vehicle(s)
      • Name and address of the driver covered by the certificate
      • Certificate of Deposit
      • Certificate number issued by the State Treasurer
      • Name and address of the driver covered by certificate
      • Surety Bond
      • Name of the company issuing the bond
      • Bond number
      • Name and address of the driver covered by the bond

Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles

Division of Motor Vehicles Director — Jennifer L. Cohan
303 Transportation Circle
Dover, DE 19901
P.O. Box 698
Dover, DE 19903

Obtaining a Driver’s License

Here are the requirements to obtain your learner’s permit:

  • Be 16 to 17 years old
  • Complete a Delaware driver education course or an approved out-of-state driver education course
  • Completion of an out-of-state course must be approved by the Department of Education
    • Dr. Dean Betts, Education Associate Driver Education
    • Department of Education Collette Resource Center
    • 35 Commerce Way, Suite 1
    • Dover, DE 19904
    • Tel. 302-857-9920
    • Fax 302-739-1780
  • Have a sponsor (parent, legal guardian, or a licensed driver that has been approved by the parent or guardian who has had a license for at least 5 years and is at least 25 years old) sign the application
  • Pass the vision test
  • Pay the license fee of $25 ( subject to change)

Here are the requirements to obtain your license for residents under the age of 18:

  • Be 17 years old
  • Complete a driver license application
  • Have your learner’s permit for at least 12 months
  • Sponsor must certify that you have at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice, 10 of which must be at night
  • Driving privileges cannot have been suspended or revoked within the last 12 months
  • Pass the vision test
  • Pass the highway sign and signal test
  • Pass the rules of the road test
  • Pass the driving test
  • You are eligible to take the driving test 10 days after passing the other tests
  • Pay the license fee of $25 ( subject to change)

Here are the requirements to obtain your first license for residents over the age of 18:

  • Complete a driver license application
  • Pass the vision test
  • Pass knowledge test
  • Obtain your learner’s permit
    • The permit will be issued for 60 days
    • This will allow you to learn how to drive. You must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old
  • Pass driving test
    • You will be eligible to take the driving test after you have had your learner’s permit for at least 10 days.
  • Pay the license fee of $25 ( subject to change)

The following documents are required for application:

  • Proof of identity
  • Two documents as proof of residency
  • Social Security Number
  • Learner’s permit
  • Registration and insurance information for the vehicle to be driven during the driving test

Completing Driver Education

High schools in Delaware are required to offer driver education courses to students once they reach 10th grade. There are also state approved summer driver education programs for people who are at least 15 ½ years old.

To complete a program a student must meet the following:

  • A total of 30 hours of classroom instruction
  • A minimum of 7 hours of behind the wheel training
  • A minimum of 7 hours of behind the wheel observation

Driver education programs must be approved by the Delaware Department of Education. The programs offered in public and nonpublic high schools are required to meet the standards set by the state. Before you enroll in a driver education program that is not offered by a high school, you should make sure they meet the following standards:

  • Instructors are licensed and have certificates from the State of Delaware
  • They meet the state curriculum requirements
  • Check if they have received any disciplinary action for violations
  • Make sure there are enough instructors to meet student needs

You can contact the Department of Education at 302-735-4000.

Knowing the Rules of the Road

You can find information about the rules of the road in the Delaware Driver Manual, which is available online. You can lower your insurance rates by carefully obeying the rules of the road, which include:
Del. Code tit. 21, chapter 41

Residents of Delaware normally fall into one of three insurance coverage markets: the preferred market, the standard market, and the non-standard market. The preferred market, which offers the lowest premiums, is available for low-risk drivers with pristine driving records, and it is these drivers who enjoy the best car insurance rates in Delaware. The standard market, which offers median premiums, is available to average drivers with fair driving records, but even these drivers can find low cost car insurance in Delaware. The non-standard market, which offers the highest premiums, is available for less-experienced drivers and drivers with multiple infractions, including traffic tickets, accidents, and at least one drunk driving offense. Unfortunately, the average cost of car insurance in Delaware for these drivers is significantly higher.

Know Your Rates

Auto insurance rates are calculated by carefully considering all of the licensed drivers residing in the household, even if they are not related. However, insurance companies can exclude drivers from the policy. This generally occurs if a driver has a particularly bad driving record and is a higher risk. The base rate that is used to evaluate all drivers is then adjusted, according to several factors, including:

  • Driving record and claims history. You are considered a higher risk when you are involved in accidents, get traffic tickets, and file insurance claims. Consequently, those whose driving records are filled with infractions will have to pay higher insurance rates.  When you are applying for coverage with an insurance company, they can request information about your driving record and claims history from your previous insurance company.
  • Credit history. Your credit history helps insurance companies determinethe likelihood that you will make your payments. The better your credit score is, the lower the insurance rate may be.
  • Geographical area. An area with a high number of traffic accidents raises the probability that those who live there will be involved in a collision. Such areas are considered hazardous, resulting in higher insurance rates for the people who live there. The likelihood of vehicles getting stolen or vandalized increases in areas with high crime rates. Therefore, individuals living in these areas will have to pay higher insurance rates to compensate for the higher risk.
  • Vehicle use. Parking your vehicle in a secure location, such as a garage, decreases the risk of theft and damage, which can lower your rates. Also, the frequency and distance that you drive can affect your rates. Driving more increases your chances of having an accident, which raises your insurance rates.
  • Make and model of the vehicle. Expensive vehicles are more likely to be stolen and usually cost more to repair than less expensive vehicles. High-performance vehicles increase the driver’s chances of being involved in an accident. Therefore, drivers have to pay higher rates to cover expensive and high-performance vehicles.
  • Age. Statistical evidence indicates that those younger than 25 are involved in more traffic accidents than any other age group. Because of this, drivers under 25 years old are considered a higher risk and have to pay higher insurance rates.
  • Gender. Studies have shown that men younger than 25 are involved in more accidents than women in the same age group, so men typically have to pay higher insurance rates.
  • Marital status. Statistics prove that single people make more insurance claims than married couples, so married couples usually have lower insurance rates than singles.

Lower Your Rates

You want to get the best coverage for the best price, so shop around. Speak with multiple insurance agents and brokers and find out what kind of coverage they offer and what your rates would be. Ask about any discounts that are offered by each company, such as discounts for young drivers with good grades, drivers who have completed a defensive driving course, and drivers with a history of accident-free driving. This will ensure that you find the best auto insurance rates in Delaware. The Department of Insurance allows consumers to compare auto insurance rates in Delaware online. The prices given will not be customized to you specifically, but it will give a good ballpark figure of what your rates will be. The Department also provides tips on how to save money and lower your insurance rates.

Make sure that any company you are considering is permitted to do business in Delaware. If you are suspicious about any insurance company, call the Department of Insurance Commissioner Karen Stewart at 302-674-7305 to verify the company’s validity and to see if any actions have been taken against them. In addition, if an agent or company attempts to sell ERISA or union plans, contact the Insurance Commissioner to report the activity.

In addition, pay close attention to your other insurance plans. Some plans, such as medical insurance, can overlap in coverage areas with your auto insurance plans.

Picking an Insurance Agent or Broker

When you call an insurance company and inquire about purchasing insurance, you will be transferred to an insurance agent. Insurance agents work for an insurance company and sell policies for commission. You also have the option to work with an insurance broker. Insurance brokers are hired by individual clients rather than working for an insurance company. A broker assesses their clients’ needs and finds the right policy from the right company for each client. Brokers receive a commission for the sales they make from different insurance companies. Be mindful of the fact that the commission that agents and brokers make is based on a percentage of the premium you pay. The more you pay, the more they make.

Whether you use an agent or broker, make sure that they are licensed with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. You can check the status of an insurance agent’s license online. In addition, you can request information from the Department of Insurance about how many complaints have been filed or disciplinary actions have been taken against a particular agent or broker.

The Department of Insurance also provides consumers with an online list of insurance companies that are authorized by the state to sell insurance. Contact information for each company is included on the list.

If you have an issue with an insurance company, agent, or broker and have not been able to resolve it, file a complaint online. The Department will investigate the matter and get back to you if any formal disciplinary actions will take place.

After an Accident

If you are involved in a collision, you must immediately check to see if anyone is injured or killed. If able, render aid to anyone who is injured. Then, you must notify the Delaware State Patrol, city police department, or county sheriff’s office and report the accident. If anyone has been injured, including you, or if someone has died, let the police know so they can get emergency services to the scene. Also, if the vehicles are moveable, make sure they are not blocking traffic. Exchange names, addresses, driver’s license information, vehicle information, and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved, even if he or she has no car insurance in Delaware. If there are any witnesses, get their names and contact information as well. If you are able, take pictures of any damage caused to the vehicles and any other property involved, as well as the scene of the accident. Drivers should stay at the scene of the collision until released by the police. To hurry procedures along, be prepared to give the police a thorough account of the events leading up to the collision. Remember to keep all of this information for your own accident report. If the police do not respond to the accident, you will need to go to a nearby police station or sheriff’s office and file a report. Failure to file an accident report in cases involving injury, death, and/or property damage of $500 or more could lead to fines, jail time, and the suspension of your license according to Del. Code tit. 21, chapter 42.

You must also report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Closely follow your company’s procedures for filing a claim. Give all information you obtained from the other driver(s) and witnesses. You should also be prepared to report the extent of the damage to the vehicles and other property, the cause of the accident, and what happened during the accident, including any pictures you took of the damage and the scene of the accident. Any police report filed must also be copied and sent to your insurance company.

Your insurance company will investigate your claim and come to a decision within 30 days of receiving all of the information. The insurance company must notify you of any delay of your claim. In the event that your claim is denied, your insurance company will notify you in writing. If there is an unreasonable delay and you have not received any notification, contact your insurance company and inquire about the delay and the reason for no notification. If the issue is still not resolved, contact the Department of Insurance at 302-674-7300.

If you had to use your insurance to cover your expenses even though the other driver was at fault, your insurance company may seek subrogation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company in order to recover the money. During this process, you should provide your insurance company with full cooperation to ensure that this process goes smoothly and is finished quickly. Notify your insurance company if you intend to settle with the at-fault driver or their insurance company.

Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

If you have a bad driving record, you may have a hard time finding insurance coverage, especially if you have a history of accidents, traffic tickets, or drunk driving, but you are required by law to have insurance in order to drive in Delaware. Therefore, the State of Delaware makes it possible for every driver to obtain insurance coverage by offering the Delaware Automobile Insurance Plan. This plan specifically covers drivers in Delaware who are having trouble finding coverage due to their driving records. If this applies to you, ask an insurance agent or broker about the Delaware Automobile Insurance Plan.

If you are caught driving without insurance, cause an accident while driving without insurance, are caught driving under the influence or while intoxicated, have too many traffic violations and tickets within a short time span, and have had your license suspended or revoked, the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles may required you to provide proof of financial responsibility in the form of SR-22 insurance, also known as high-risk insurance. Your insurance company should provide an SR-22 form for you if you need it. If this applies to you, ask an insurance agent or broker about SR-22 insurance.

Additional Help

The Delaware Department of Insurance offers assistance to anyone shopping for insurance. They will answer any questions you have about insurance, insurance companies, filing a claim, and much more. They will look into complaints, provide information about insurance law and procedures, give advice and tips, and enforce insurance law on the consumer’s behalf if needed. You can contact the Department by visiting their Web site or by phone at 302-674-7300.

Online resources include: