You cannot drive or register a vehicle in Delaware before getting car insurance. This is to financially protect you and other drivers in case of a car accident. Failing to comply with the state's financial responsibility law can result in a fine and license suspension.
Type of penalty
Audited for insurance compliance
|Fine||First offense: $1,500 to $2,000; Later offenses: $3,000 to $4,000||N/A|
|Driver's license suspension||6 months||6 months, if confirmed uninsured|
|Registration suspension||N/A||Suspended if audit request is not responded to in time|
|Uninsured motorist penalty fee||N/A||$100 if lapse is within 30 days, plus an additional $5 each day after|
|FR-19||Accepted as proof of insurance||Required to prove insurance coverage|
Penalties for driving uninsured in Delaware
According to the Delaware motor vehicle code, you are required to maintain liability coverage with minimums of 25/50/10. That means you'll need bodily liability insurance coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, along with $10,000 for property damage per accident. Delaware drivers must also carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of at least $15,000 per person in an accident and $30,000 per accident.
You should always carry proof of coverage when driving. Acceptable forms of proof include an insurance ID card issued by your carrier, your official certificate of insurance or an FR-19 statement from your carrier. Police officers may ask to see proof during a routine traffic stop, or you could be randomly audited by the state's department of motor vehicles. If you don't have any of these on hand when requested, you'll face penalties.
If you can't provide proof of insurance to a police officer when requested, and it's your first time getting caught, you'll be charged a fine between $1,500 and $2,000. The state will also suspend your driver's license for six months.
Second and subsequent offenses
If you violate the insurance law again within three years of the previous conviction, your fine increases to $3,000–$4,000. You'll be charged this larger fine each time you violate the law again within three years.
If you were driving uninsured and caused an accident, you'll have financial consequences on top of the fine. Delaware is a fault state, which means if you cause damage in an accident while you're uninsured, you'll have to pay for it out of pocket. Additionally, the state will again suspend your driver's license and registration for six months.
Delaware auto insurance compliance auditing
Delaware uses an electronic verification tool to randomly check active vehicle registrations. If the state has questions about your coverage, they'll send you a notice. You'll need to send proof of coverage to the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if you do have an active policy. If you don't respond in time, you may face penalties — even if you have adequate coverage.
If your policy is marked inactive — whether it's lapsed or been canceled — the DMV will ask you to pay an uninsured motorists penalty fee, which is based on the number of days you go without insurance. The fine is $100 for a lapse of one to 30 days. Beyond 30 days, there's an additional fine of $5 per day until you replace your insurance.
You will also likely be penalized as if you have been driving without insurance.
FR-19 in Delaware
When you receive a notification from the Delaware DMV asking for proof of insurance, you'll need to provide an FR-19 Delaware Insurance Certification. Delaware is one of the few states that does not require convicted motorists to get an SR-22 certificate. Instead, Delaware requires the FR-19 form, which certifies that you carry at least the state's minimum liability auto insurance coverage. It can only be used once and does not need to stay on file like an SR-22.
Reinstating your driving privileges
There are a few steps you'll need to take to get your driving privileges reinstated: Produce your proof of insurance to the DMV and wait through the suspension period. Once those are complete, you will pay a reinstatement fee of $50 for your driver's license and/or $50 for your registration.
Reapplying for auto insurance in Delaware
If you have been shopping for a Delaware auto insurance policy but you're having trouble finding an insurer, your uninsured record may be making you undesirable. Convictions such as insurance lapses brand you as a high-risk driver. The good news is that the state can help. You can purchase a policy through the Delaware Automobile Insurance Plan, which helps high-risk drivers get insurance coverage in the residual market.