Auto Insurance Requirements in Delaware

The Delaware Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility law states that any vehicle used on public roads must be insured with liability coverage from a company licensed by the Delaware Insurance Commissioner. Liability insurance pays for costs associated with an accident you cause where there’s injury or damage to others. The minimum coverage requirements are 25/50/10. All drivers must also carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, although Delaware is not a no-fault state. When an accident happens, this coverage pays for your medical costs -- no matter who caused the accident. The minimum PIP coverage requirements are 25/50.

In The First State, if a law enforcement officer stops you no matter the reason, you can be required to show valid proof of insurance on your vehicle in paper form or electronically. Besides inspecting your proof of insurance when you’re stopped, each year Delaware’s Division of Motor Vehicles randomly audits at least 10% of all registered vehicles and requests that you show proof of insurance. Immediately contact your auto insurance company and request them to submit Form FR-19. It certifies that you’ve been continuously insured and that your coverage is currently in force.

Delaware Required Car Insurance Coverage

DE Required Min. Limits

Bodily Injury (BI)

$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident

Property Damage (PD)

$10,000 per accident

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

$15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident

Delaware Car Insurance Minimum Requirements

The following are the coverages and the minimum amounts required by Delaware law.

Bodily Injury (BI): Bodily injury liability coverage kicks in when you cause an accident in which other people are hurt. It’s designed to cover damage for which you’re responsible. It also provides a legal defense if you’re sued for damages.

In insurance, abbreviations are used for coverage numbers. In Delaware, for example, the minimum bodily injury coverage is ‘25/50.’ The ‘25’ means your insurance company will pay up to $25,000 to one person involved in a single accident. The ‘50’ means the insurer will pay up to $50,000 to all people in a single accident. Within that amount, there’s a limit of $25,000 which can go to any one individual. Though 25/50 is required by state law, it’s not uncommon for an insurer to write this coverage up to 100/300 - $100,000 coverage for one person in a single accident and $300,000 to all people in a single accident.

Property Damage (PD): This coverage is similar to BI in that it’s activated when you cause an accident. What this coverage does is pay for damage to someone else’s property. Let’s say you see a deer and in the process of avoiding a collision, you drive smack into a car parked on the street. PD covers damage to other vehicles as well as other property, like running into a light pole or crashing a homeowner’s fence. The minimum requirement here is $10,000, which is the maximum property damage you are covered for per accident.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP): When you or your family members are injured in an accident you’re involved in, PIP coverage pay for those injuries regardless of fault, up to your purchased limits. The minimum coverage requirement in Delaware is 25/50 – that is, up to $25,000 to any one individual involved in a single accident, and up to $50,000 to all individuals in a single accident.

Delaware is one of the "add-on" states, which means that PIP is required, but your right to sue is not limited. Let’s say you collide with a parked vehicle on your way to work. You’re banged up and your doctor says you’ll have to recuperate and miss work for a month. PIP insurance can cover your lost income along with any medical expenses not covered by your DE health insurance policy (depending on the insurance contract).

Optional Insurance Coverages in Delaware

The following coverages aren’t mandatory. You can decide to include them and they’ll add cost to your Delaware insurance premiums. You’ll find they’re recommended by government bodies and consumer advocates because they reduce your risk of having to come up with out-of-pocket money. For example, what if you’re in an accident and the amount of the other driver’s medical bills that you’re liable for runs is thousands of dollars more than your BI coverage? Choosing these coverages can reduce your financial risk.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): What happens when you’re injured in an accident but the driver of the other vehicle has no insurance? In 2012, 11.5% of Delaware drivers drove uninsured. If you have uninsured/underinsured Bodily Injury coverage, your UMBI policy is activated if the other party doesn’t carry insurance or only carries a small amount of UMBI.

Under the Delaware Motorists Protection Act, The First State requires that licensed automobile insurance companies offer Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury to everyone purchasing insurance. The minimum limit is 15/30 but higher amounts can be brought, up to 100/300.

Collision coverage: One of two physical damage coverages, this coverage pays for damage to your vehicle from a collision with another moving object – usually another vehicle.

Comprehensive coverage: Did a branch fall off a tree and break your rear window? Did a deer damage the front of your car? Someone stole items from your car? These are some examples of when comprehensive coverage kicks in. Comprehensive covers damages not covered by collision insurance.

Alternative Proof of Financial Responsibility

A written certificate stating your vehicle carries a liability policy can serve as proof of financial responsibility (just check that the policy’s effective date and the certificate's date match). Other than an insurance policy, Delaware will also grant your registration if you have one of the following alternatives:

Surety Bond: To serve as proof of liability insurance, there are two different kinds of bonds that The First State will accept. The first is a bond of a surety company authorized to do business in Delaware. The second is a bond with at least two individual sureties, each owning real estate in Delaware and with total equities at least double in value to the bond amount. The real estate must be approved by a judge of a court of record. You can only cancel a bond after ten days written notice. The bond is filed with the Delaware State Treasurer.

Money or Securities: You can deposit $40,000 in cash, securities or from a trust fund with a market value of $40,000 or higher, with the State Treasurer. After you deposit it, The Treasurer will give you a certificate. To obtain the certificate, you must also prove that there are no unsatisfied judgments against you in the county where you live.

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