Delaware motorists can't operate or register their vehicles before getting car insurance, which financially protects you and other drivers following a car accident. Failing to comply with the state's financial responsibility laws can result in fines and a 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 within given time|
|Uninsured motorist penalty fee||N/A||$100 if lapse is within 30 days/additional $5 for each day beyond 30|
|FR-19||Acceptable form of proof of insurance||Required form of proof of insurance|
Penalties for driving uninsured in Delaware
Under the Delaware Motor Vehicle Laws, you are required to maintain liability coverage with limits of at least 25/50/10. That means you'll need at least $25,000 for bodily liability insurance per person and $50,000 per accident, along with $10,000 for property damage.
You should always carry proof of coverage when driving. Police officers may ask for that proof during routine traffic stops, or you could be randomly audited by the state department of motor vehicles. 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. If you don't have any of these on hand when requested, you'll face the penalties.
When a police officer pulls you over for a routine traffic stop, they may ask for proof of insurance. If you can't provide proof and it's your first time getting caught, you'll be charged fines of $1,500–$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. If you were driving uninsured and caused an accident, the financial consequences are much greater. Delaware is a fault state, which means you will have to pay for any damage you cause out of pocket. Additionally, the state will again suspend your driver's license for six months.
Delaware auto insurance compliance auditing
Delaware uses an electronic verification tool to randomly check active vehicle registrations. You'll need to send proof of coverage once you receive a notice from the DMV.
If your policy is marked inactive — whether it's lapsed or has 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 between one and 30 days. Beyond 30 days, there's an additional fine of $5 per day until you replace your insurance.
If you've driven your car during your insurance lapse, you will be penalized as if you were 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 do not require convicted motorists to get an SR-22. Instead, Delaware requires the FR-19 — a form that certifies you carry at least the state's minimum liability auto insurance coverage. It can only be used once and does not need to be on file like an SR-22 would.
Reinstating your driving privileges
There are two main steps you'll need to take before reinstating your driving privileges: Produce your proof of insurance and wait through the suspension period. Then, pay the $50 fee to reinstate your driver's license or registration.
Re-applying for auto insurance in Delaware
If you have been shopping for a Delaware auto insurance policy but you're having trouble finding a willing insurer, then your uninsured record is to blame. Convictions such as insurance lapses brand you as a high-risk driver. The good news is that the state can help. You can purchase your policy through the Delaware Automobile Insurance Plan, which helps high-risk drivers get insurance coverage in the residual market.