From Wilmington to Salisbury, Cambridge to Ocean City, Delaware has thousands of miles of roadways. They’ll take you from downtown Dover to the Brandywine River Valley, antique shopping in colonial-era townships and down to Rehoboth Beach. On any given day, they’re used by nearly 700,000 licensed drivers who each travel almost 10,000 miles a year. Along the way, they’re involved in thousands of traffic accidents, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the First State, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to Delaware’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.
Delaware state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines and jail time. Delaware has a tort system, which means that if you are found to be at fault in a car accident, you can be sued for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damage (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering.
The bare minimum car insurance requirement for Delaware drivers is:
$15,000 bodily injury per person per accident
$30,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
$10,000 property damage liability
Delaware does not require you to carry additional coverage such as personal injury, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or Collision at Comprehensive coverage. However, if you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.
Penalties for Failure to Carry Delaware Auto Insurance
Delaware requires that you carry proof of Delaware auto insurance in your vehicle and produce it if a law enforcement officer asks to see it. The penalties of driving without coverage is $1,500 for a first offense and $3,000 for a second offense.
Delaware Car Insurance Premiums
Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the Delaware Department of Insurance. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:
The type of car you are insuring
Prior auto insurance coverage
How much you drive
Your driving record
Your marital status
Your geographic location
How long you’ve been driving
Whether or not you use your car for business
Delaware also allows insurers to consider your credit history to determine your premium.
How to Get the Cheapest Delaware Car Insurance Policy
You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:
Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
Eliminate unnecessary coverage
Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer
New Delaware Driving Laws
Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in Delaware. The following laws have recently been enacted in Delaware and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.
Delaware has banned the use of all hand-held phones, laptop0s, games and portable computers while driving. Drivers are also prohibited from reading, writing or sending text messages, emailing or using the Internet while driving. Fines for first offense are $106; subsequent fines can be a maximum of $350.
Delaware has enacted a “keep right” law that designates the left lane for passing only on roads with at least two lanes in either directions. Fines of $230 can be imposed. Under the law’s provisions, drivers can still make legal left-hand turns but must otherwise keep to the right lane.
Delaware’s Aggressive Driving Law now defines aggressive driving as offenses such as failure to yield, unsafe lane changes, disregarding a traffic control device, failure to stop, following too closely, passing on the shoulder, passing a stopped school bus and speeding. First offenses carry fines of $100 to $300, and attendance of a behavior modification class.