Delaware Car Insurance Driver’s Guide [Coverages + Advice]
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UPDATED: Jun 17, 2021
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|Miles of Roadway||6,416|
|Most Popular Vehicle||Silverado 1500|
|Uninsured Motorist Rate||11.4%|
|Total Driving Related Deaths in 2017||119|
|Speeding Fatalities in 2017||33|
|DUI Fatalities in 2017||32|
|Average Car Insurance Cost||799.3|
Delaware, the first of the 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution on December 7, 1787, and claim statehood, is known on license plates as the “First State.”
Whether you are enjoying Delaware’s scenic roadways as a resident, traveling through Delaware on your way to NYC or Washington D.C., or enjoying Rehoboth Beach in the summertime, it’s important to consider the vehicle you are driving and how it’s insured.
Insurance can seem overwhelming, but we have you covered. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to be certain you know everything you need to know about Delaware car insurance.
From car insurance coverages and rates to state laws and penalties—at Compare Car Insurance you can find all the information you need. So relax, get comfy, and maybe grab yourself a snack as we take you through the ins and outs of Delaware driving.
And to make your life even easier, in one click you can compare and get auto quotes right here!
Delaware Car Insurance Coverage & Rates
Similar to most states, Delaware requires every registered vehicle to be covered by a car insurance policy. Policies must meet minimum requirements, in case of involvement in an accident.
Delaware follows the “fault” system when deciding financial responsibility for vehicle damages, injuries, and other losses due to a car accident. So, the person who was at fault for causing the accident is responsible for compensating anyone who suffered harm as a result of the crash, which is why it is important to have adequate coverage.
In Delaware, if you are caught driving a vehicle without car insurance, you may face a $1,500 fine for the first offense or a $3,000 fine for subsequent offenses. Delaware also sometimes enforces a six-month suspension of your driving privileges.
Delaware’s average coverage of $1,541 is a bit higher than the national $1,311 average.
Delaware’s Car Culture
As the second smallest state in the nation, it doesn’t take much time to traverse by car the three counties that make up the First State.
However, these counties are diverse and offer a wide range of driving. Full of lush, scenic drives, like the Bayshore Byway and rural farmland, you can find yourself cruising through forests regularly.
Or on the other side of the spectrum, in the traffic nightmares chronic on I-95 during the summer shore-going months.
Delaware Minimum Coverage
As mentioned above, Delaware vehicle owners need to have the following required minimum amounts of car insurance coverage:
|LIABILITY COVERAGE||MINIMUM LIMIT
|Bodily injury for each person||$25,000|
|Bodily Injury for total persons||$50,000|
These basic coverages will ensure you can pay medical bills, property damage, and other costs up to coverage limits of passengers, pedestrians, and drivers who may be injured or have their vehicle damaged in a car accident caused by you or another covered driver.
- $25,000 for bodily injury liability per person injured in an accident you cause
- $50,000 for total bodily injury liability when two or more people are injured in an accident you cause
- $10,000 for property damage per accident you cause
Many Delaware drivers carry even greater coverage to protect themselves from the significant costs of serious car crashes. It’s important to remember that once your policy limits are exhausted, the rest of the financial responsibility falls to you.
Higher insurance limits protect your personal accounts and savings from being gutted in the event of a high-cost crash.
Liability coverage will kick in if a family member is driving your vehicle at the time of an accident, or if you’ve given anyone else permission to use it. It will likely also cover you if you get into an accident in a rental car.
Forms of Financial Responsibility
Delaware requires car registration applicants to have an active insurance policy. It must stay in force throughout the period of registration. If the insurance policy is canceled or lapses, the insurance company will report this status change to DMV.
If your insurance has indeed been canceled or lapsed in coverage, you will have a fine to pay and should do so immediately to avoid any added late fees or costly tickets. In the worst case, Delaware law enforcement may seize your license plate, making your car useless to drive.
But don’t worry, if a mixup causes a lapse in or accidental cancellation of your coverage, your agent can be contacted to send notice to the DMV that you do have current coverage on your vehicle.
If you live in Delaware, you need to have insurance. One of the biggest questions and highest stressors when finding insurance is “How much am I going to spend?”
While it would be nice to put that money toward a new iPhone, vacation, or wardrobe upgrade, it’s important to be sure you are adequately covered.
Next, we are going to look at what percentage of your income should be going toward keeping your vehicle insured on the road.
Premiums as a Percentage of Income
The price of insurance is slowly increasing as the years go by (like most things facing U.S. inflation). A few years ago, insurance accounted for 2.97 percent of Delaware’s insured driver’s disposable income and has climbed to 3.02 percent.
While it can be annoying to see another chunk of your paycheck go toward insurance, cars are getting more expensive (and when damaged, can be seriously pricey to repair) and accidents are on the rise — especially with teen drivers as phones become so ubiquitous.
Delaware ranks in the high end of the national-averaged 2.37 percent of disposable income. It sits below states Mississippi, Florida, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Michigan, which tend to see higher percentages of their income going toward insurance bills (up to 3.71 percent).
To quickly and easily find your income-to-premium ratio: use this handy calculator!
Unfortunately for Delaware residents, your car insurance average is higher than coverage for most of the nation.
|COVERAGE||AVERAGE COST, DELAWARE||AVERAGE COST, NATIONWIDE
This data compiled by the NAIC is based on the state minimum coverage. Next, we’ll discuss those (sometimes confusing) extra coverages. Most policies let you pick and choose between coverages to fit your unique needs and decide what extra coverages feel right.
There are several added coverages insurance carriers offer to add to your policy. One of the most popular is Medical Payment coverage.
In the event of a claim, medical payments would cover medical treatments necessary for the vehicle owner or passengers in the car. Medical Payment coverage is useful, as it pays regardless of fault and covers funeral expenses and/or medical needs.
With all extra coverages, customers often wonder, “Is my auto insurer going to pay out?” Good question. Companies use the term “loss ratio” to determine how much the company is paying out in claims. Here’s a video to help break it down:
If the loss ratio is higher, over 100 percent, then they are losing money. The premiums they are charging are not covering claims filed. If the ratio is low, the company isn’t paying out claims.
As you can see, in Delaware, loss ratios — especially for medical payments — are well above 100 percent, meaning insurers are losing money. In such a small state, this makes sense, and generally larger companies will make up for this with national business.
Add-Ons, Endorsements, & Riders
Insurance companies have a lot of other add-on coverages available to you as an insured. Each company varies slightly in their coverages and offer different coverages. Once you pick an insurance company, you can tailor your policy to fit your needs.
These coverages are not mandatory, but they do add some specialized coverages that come in handy in the unexpected event that you need a rental car or you drive a classic car.
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
- Rental Reimbursement
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Non-Owner Car Insurance
- Modified Car Insurance Coverage
- Classic Car Insurance
Once you choose a policy, you can opt into adding the above coverages. Discuss coverages with your agent and explain your personal needs. From there, your agent can apply a mix of the above coverages for extra coverage.
Male vs. Female Rates
So your agent enters your information and three, two, one . . . your premium appears.
But what really determines how expensive your premium is?
Several factors go into this magical and crucial number. Where do you garage your car? What’s your age?
Another key factor in deciding your premium is gender and marital status. The table below compares several companies and age groups. Check out the sort function if you want to see how specific companies stack up price-wise for your demographic.
|COMPANY||MARRIED 35-YEAR OLD FEMALE||MARRIED 35-YEAR OLD MALE||MARRIED 60-YEAR OLD FEMALE||MARRIED 60-YEAR OLD MALE||SINGLE 17-YEAR OLD FEMALE||SINGLE 17-YEAR OLD MALE||SINGLE 25-YEAR OLD FEMALE||SINGLE 25-YEAR OLD MALE|
|Liberty Mut Fire Ins Co||$12,287.48||$12,287.48||$12,138.88||$12,138.88||$27,326.93||$41,390.16||$12,287.48||$17,022.83|
|Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co||$1,634.80||$1,642.27||$1,610.37||$1,568.84||$9,243.54||$14,106.72||$1,745.40||$1,906.92|
As you can see, the younger you are, the higher your premium. Older drivers get big savings.
Once a driver turns 20, prices significantly decrease, as do the chances you will be in an accident. Drivers aged 16 – 19 are three times more likely to be in an accident than drivers over 20.
Being married can also add a decent discount (and the wedding bells keep on ringing!) Spouses, let your partner know you are the one saving them money next time they ask you to take out the garbage.
Your zip code also plays a big role in your rate. Depending on where you park your car, premiums can vary greatly.
Cheapest Rates by Zip Code
Use the search and sort tools to help get a clearer idea of where the cheapest and most expensive Delaware locales are or to find your zip code.
|CITY||Zipcode||Average||Allstate P&C||GEICO Advantage||Liberty Mut Fire Ins Co||Nationwide Mutual||Progressive Direct||State Farm Mutual Auto||Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co||USAA|
Below, you’ll find a table where you can search for your city and check the average rates.
Cheapest Rates by City
|CITY||AVERAGE GRAND TOTAL|
Yorklyn tops the charts when it comes to the most expensive cities, but only 13 minutes away is one of America’s premier botanical gardens: Longwood Gardens. So, maybe these plant lovers will call it even.
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Best Delaware Car Insurance Companies
When it comes to choosing the best insurance company, consumers can easily end up confused and frustrated. With every company offering the absolute quickest quotes, perfect coverage options to fit you, and the cheapest rates, you may find your self asking: who is the best for me?
Next, we will cover some of the top insurance companies offering a range of benefits and drawbacks depending on your situation.
From the cheapest policies to the companies who rate lowest in customer service and claim payout, we have you covered.
With this information, you can gain a much clearer understanding of what company fits you. Everyone deserves cheap coverage. Plus, no one wants to worry about rude or complaint worthy service after an accident or claim.
If you want to compare your current car insurance provider, check out AM Best’s handy search tool here.
Let’s get started! First up, the best of the best.
The Largest Companies’ Financial Rating
You may be wondering why we chose to begin with the largest company’s financial ratings. You might even be wondering if you should even care about these rankings. What makes the financial rating so important is it lets you know how strong a given company is.
If you were to be part of a serious or even catastrophic accident, would your company be able to pay out any large claims covered within your policy limits?
If your insurance company has a high financial rating, the company has good standing when it comes to paying out insured claims. When it comes down to it, this is why you have insurance — to cover any unforeseen costs and damages.
When things go awry, you want a company that will pay out when you need it.
|COMPANY NAME||AM BEST RATING||LOSS RATIO|
|Hartford Fire & Casualty||A+||65.96%|
In Delaware, the top 10 companies all have A or higher ratings. Delaware insurers offer good service and can adequately cover drivers of the First State.
We also added the loss ratio of the top 10 companies to the above table. As previously mentioned, knowing your company’s loss ratio is important to see if the company has a track record of paying out claims.
When choosing a company, you want to be sure they not only have the financial standing to pay, but that their loss ratio proves a history of providing claims payouts.
The good news is the companies listed above not only pay out claims but are not paying out too many, which could lower their strong financial ratings.
Having the financial backing and history of payout is perhaps the most important aspect to consider when choosing a company, but it is not the only factor. You want to be sure your company is highly reviewed by fellow customers and offers kind and friendly service during an emergency.
Companies with Best Ratings
Though price can be a big draw in choosing your auto insurance provider, it’s important to check your company’s customer reviews. Service and friendly employees can be the difference between insurance being a nightmare or a blessing.
Usually, customers are willing to pay a little extra if it means superior service. At the very least, it’s worth considering. You can check out AM Best, a credit rating agency, for more info.
If your agent and policy are able to treat you with kindness, care, and speed, you are better able to know in an emergency your provider has your back.
Check out the chart below to see where your provider ranks on the list of Northeast carriers or see which companies are worth getting a quote from:
Now that we have gone through the companies with the highest customer review ratings, it’s time to check out the flip side. Which of the top 10 companies in Delaware has the most complaints?
Companies with Most Complaints in Delaware
The clearest picture of which companies have the most complaints comes from looking at the company complaint ratios. By only considering the number of complaints, you miss a lot of important information.
For example, say a company only had $100,000 of premium and received five complaints. That may not seem so bad, but in reality, that company’s loss ratio would be considerably higher than a company with $500,000 of premiums who received 10 complaints.
Nationally, the median complaint ratio is 1.20. If your insurance company scores lower than average, chances are they offer good service without receiving too many complaints.
|COMPANY NAME||COMPLAINT RATIO|
|Hartford Fire & Casualty||4.68|
As you can see, the top 10 Delaware insurers have a pretty wide range of complaint ratios, with some doing incredibly well and others garnering a lot of dissatisfied customers.
f you wish to file against an insurance company in Delaware, use this online form.
Cheapest Companies in Delaware
While service often determines who stays with a particular company, the cost of premiums tends to be the initial deciding factor. Each company has unique draws and benefits, and their quotes can look very different. Here are the cheapest insurers in Delaware. Sort as you like to see how the different companies compare.
|COMPANY||AVERAGE||COMPARED TO STATE AVERAGE||PERCENTAGE OF STATE AVERAGE
The difference in price can be huge. Even among the cheapest companies, some premiums average more-than-double competitors’. With USAA, customers can pay over one-and-half times less than the state average.
It’s worth looking into what the particulars of each policy offer. You want to be sure you are adequately covered in case of an emergency and don’t end up shelling money out of pocket after an accident.
Commute Rates by Companies
Some companies take the amount you use your vehicle into account when deciding your premiums. In Delaware, drivers only need to consider this with certain companies. Here’s a table comparing the rates of 10- and 25-mile commutes on your premiums.
6,000 ANNUAL MILEAGE
12,000 ANNUAL MILEAGE
As you can see, in several cases the price doesn’t differ. However, for Liberty Mutual, the difference is up to $1,000. Depending on your necessary coverages, this could be a big deciding factor.
Coverage Level Rates by Companies
It’s a common misconception that lower coverage means a cheaper premium. While this is often the case, prices can vary widely based on the coverage level and company.
|INSURANCE COMPANY||LOW COVERAGE||MEDIUM COVERAGE||HIGH COVERAGE|
As you can see, with certain providers, the price difference between the levels is less than $100. It is always a good strategy to fully quote your coverage. Even with your existing company, you may find added coverages that are well within your budget.
Credit History Rates by Companies
Credit history and credit score affect most of our financial lives in America. People often only associate it with big purchases like cars, homes, and opening new credit cards, but for many providers, your credit history can either mean big savings or extra spending each month.
Consumer Reports conducted a study for Delaware analyzing the varied effects credit history has on insurance premiums.
As the above table shows, a good credit score can get you drastically lower rates. In some cases, as much as a $10,000 difference between poor and good history.
The national average credit score is 675. North Carolina is ranked slightly above the average at 679.
Be careful how you spend, and for tips and tricks on raising your credit score, read more here.
Driving Record Rates by Companies
Any violations on your driving record (speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, or DUIs) will cause an increase in your rates. Here’s a chart breaking down how different companies increase premiums after one incident:
|COMPANY||CLEAN RECORD||ONE SPEEDING VIOLATION||ONE ACCIDENT||ONE DUI|
Depending on the type of violation, the cost of insurance may increase dramatically.
Driving under the influence is both a serious criminal charge as well as a danger to your life and others. On top of that, DUIs will haunt you with extremely high insurance rates.
With a clean driving record, your insurance company knows that you are a good risk to take on and that the likelihood of a claim is lower than known risky drivers with lengthy records.
Largest Car Insurance Companies in Delaware
The chart below shows which companies write the most in Delaware.
|COMPANY||DIRECT PREMIUM WRITTEN||MARKET SHARE|
|State Farm||$208 billion||24.36%|
|Liberty Mutual||$66 billion||7.71%|
|Hartford Fire & Casualty||$22 billion||2.59%|
|CSAA Insurance||$14 billion||1.64%|
State Farm, Geico, and Nationwide sit at the top of the list for the largest written premiums.
Number of Insurers in Delaware
|PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURERS|
Domestic or Foreign? What does that mean in terms of insurers? Generally, foreign conjures images of countries outside of the U.S.
However, when it comes to auto insurance, “foreign” refers to any providers operating outside of a particular state. So, if a company’s home office is in California but they write in Delaware, they are designated a foreign provider.
In Delaware, there are a considerable number of companies with home offices out of state. This just means more options for consumers to choose from to find the best coverage and pricing.
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Each state has a unique process for building their driving laws, and there are federal regulations and bills, which can be its own hassle.
Trying to learn and understand every traffic law in Delaware would be time-consuming and would leave you with pages of legalese to sift through.
So, we’ve worked through the full gamut for you. Read on to learn about the nonessentials and the regulations –both of which mean a great deal for Delaware drivers.
Car Insurance Laws
Auto insurance laws vary greatly from state to state, and as such, each member of the union has a unique insurance ecosystem. Local law determines the type threshold (if any) that applies in the state, tort law, amount and type of required liability insurance, as well as the systems designed to regulate the approval of insurer rates and forms.
How Delaware Laws for Insurance are Determined
In Delaware, insurance companies’ regulations are set by the state insurance commissioner. Beyond that, all rates and regulations must fall under the fair competition standards set by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
In Delaware, there are no laws specifically requiring insurers to offer glass coverage or no-deductible windshield replacement.
In some cases, your insurance company may require the use of a certain repair shop to receive coverage. As the consumer, you have the right to choose your repair vendor, but you may have to pay any difference in cost from the quote out of pocket.
For Delaware drivers with multiple infractions on their records or have committed violations, you will need to file an SR-22 form. This form is also required for uninsured drivers and in some other cases. If you lose your license due to suspension or it gets revoked, an SR-22 may be required for it to be reinstated.
Drivers can get an SR-22 form from their insurance company. However, it is not an insurance policy.
If you required to get the SR-22 insurance proof, your license is or will be suspended or revoked. Thus, you cannot legally drive. By meeting all the DMV requirements and filing the proper documentation, you are on your way toward eventual reinstating of your driving privileges.
To be certain you receive the notice, please make sure to put the correct address on your driver’s license. Below is a list of some major violations that earn points on your license or could get it suspended suspension in Delaware:
To see a full list of violations that may result in points or suspension, click here.
If you file an incorrect or fraudulent license application, you risk license cancelation. It may also be canceled if the check used to pay driver license fees is returned due to insufficient funds.
While Delaware offers great coverage options for high-risk drivers and a wide range of quote pricing, they have no specific state-funded low-cost insurance plan for folks with low income.
The best method for ensuring low cost is to shop around for your coverage and fully compare the options. Talk to an agent and explain what coverages you need and want, and make your final decision once you feel you’ve seen the full range of plans available.
Automobile Insurance Fraud in Delaware
The second-largest economic crime in America is insurance fraud.
Insurance fraud impacts consumer premium rates and the prices of goods and services. The deficit created can lead to increased prices to make up for fraudulent claims. The state department’s insurance fraud prevention division plays a large role in the investigation of suspected fraud.
If fraud numbers keep climbing, insurance companies pass on part of the financial burden to consumers in the form of more expensive premiums.
If we lived in a world with less insurance fraud, companies would not need to allocate consumer funds into these false claims. In that case, rates across the nation would lower.
There are two classifications of fraud: hard and soft. If you would like an in-depth look into the ins-and-outs of insurance fraud, check out this detailed article from the Insurance Information Institute.
- Hard Fraud – Claims or accidents fabricated on purpose
- Soft Fraud – Misrepresentation of information sent to an insurance company
Soft fraud is more common than hard fraud. When surveyed, 20 – 40 percent of consumers admitted to lying to their insurer about one or more of the following:
- Number of annual miles driven
- Number of drivers in the household
- How the vehicle would be used
No matter how you look at it, insurance fraud is a crime. Even a small white lie told in hopes of getting a lower rate can lead to some serious consequences. The willful misrepresentation of insurance-related facts is known as “rate evasion” and costs auto insurers $16 billion annually.
Consumers aren’t alone in perpetrating auto insurance fraud in Delaware, though. American Standard is currently under investigation by Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn’s office for allegedly running an auto warranty scam.
If you have been the victim of fraud or suspect insurance fraud, please contact the Delaware Department of Insurance to report any illegal activity.
Statute of Limitations
When filing a claim in Delaware, the statute of limitations is two years regardless of whether it is for personal injury and property damage.
Vehicle Licensing Laws
Don’t make the mistake of driving in the state of Delaware without proper registration and insurance. It would be unwise and potentially costly to do so.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
If you are caught driving without insurance in Delaware, the penalty is as follows:
- A minimum $1,500 fine and license suspension for six months for a first offense
- A minimum $3,000 fine and license suspension for six months for a second offense within three years
Delaware’s DMV offers a convenient online portal where residents can renew registrations and driver’s licenses, update or change addresses, and retrieve driving history.
If you are looking for vehicle registration and insurance information, they can be easily accessed through this database.
Teen Driver Laws
For young motorists, Delaware utilizes a Graduated Driver’s License program. Designed to reduce high accident and fatality rates among teenage drivers, this program looks to offer teens supervised driving experience while assisting them to earn their Level 1 Permit and Class D License.
Teen drivers in Delaware must be between 16- and 18-years-old to be eligible for a Level 1 Permit.
Learner permit candidates are required to present proof of completing a certified Delaware driver’s education course. At the time of applying for a learner permit, teen drivers must have a sponsor sign the application.
Sponsors are held responsible, along with the teen drivers, for negligent damage the permit holders may cause before reaching the age of 18.
While driving, a supervisor or sponsor must sit beside the teen driver if the vehicle is in motion, and no other passengers are allowed to sit beside the permit holder. For the first six months that the teen driver holds the permit, they need to abide by this supervision.
Level 1 permit holders are also required to present certified documentation of 50 hours of driving, 10 hours of which must be nighttime driving.
|RESTRICTIONS||LEVEL 1 LEARNER'S PERMIT||CLASS D LICENSE|
|Age||15 years, 10 months||16 - must have held an Level 1 Permit for a minimum of six months prior
|16 - must have held an Level 1 Permit for a minimum of six months prior||No more than one passenger in addition to parent, supervisor, or sponsor||First six months or until age 18 - no passengers under 18|
|Hours||Under age 18 - no driving between 10:00 p.m. and 6 a.m.||Under age 18 - no driving between 10:00 p.m. and 6 a.m. (exceptions: presence of a parent/guardian, driving to and from school activities or work, family emergency, being an emancipated teen)|
|Cell phone use||Complete ban|
Texting prohibted for all drivers
Texting prohibted for all drivers
|Pre-requisites||If under 18, parent or guardian or sponsor must assume financial responsibility in written documentation||50 total hours supervised driving, 10 must be at night|
Just as for all drivers in Delaware, teen drivers need to heed texting and handheld device bans. Level 1 permit holders are held to a slightly higher standard. They are prohibited from using a cell phone in any manner while driving, regardless of if it’s connected to Bluetooth or dashboard mounted.
After a full year of driving in good standing (no suspensions, revocation, etc.) with a Level 1 Permit, they will automatically be eligible for a Class D License.
Older Driver License Renewal Procedures
Seniors in Delaware face almost no additional restrictions when it comes to driving laws. Older Delawarean drivers need to have their licenses renewed every eight years, the same as all drivers in the general population.
As with drivers of all ages, senior drivers also must show proof of adequate vision at each renewal, and, just as with every other driver, they are prohibited from renewing their licenses online or by mail. All Delaware citizens must renew in person.
If you are a first-time resident in the First State, you may be wondering how and when to apply for a Delaware license. Luckily, The DMV and Department of Transportation in Delaware offer a clear and concise guide available here: Guidelines for New Residents.
Be sure to have all your required documentation before heading to a driver’s licensing location. There you can obtain your new Delaware driver’s license.
License Renewal Procedures
Every eight years, Delaware drivers need to renew their licenses. Renewals must be done in person. Don’t wait until your license expires, get it done ahead of time to avoid possible penalties if caught driving with an expired license.
Rules of the Road
Next up, we are going to break down the most important rules to keep in mind and keep you safe while driving. We’ll be covering everything from safety regulations to speed limits.
Fault vs. No-Fault
As Delaware is a “no-fault” state, drivers who need to file a claim must seek compensation for damages from their own insurance company.
Seat Belt & Car Seat Laws
Delaware takes driver and passenger safety seriously, but no jail time is involved if you are caught without your belt. If you need any convincing on the benefits of wearing seatbelts, read on here. Seatbelts saved 14,955 lives in 2017.
For Delawareans though, all drivers and front-seat passengers 16 and older must wear a seat belt. If you receive a violation, it is not a primary offense. As for back seat passengers, if they are 8 – 15 years of age or weighing 66 pounds or more, they are allowed to use an adult safety belt.
Police officers cannot pull you over for not wearing a seatbelt. However, if you are pulled over for another traffic violation and caught without your belt, you may be ticketed additionally. The minimum fine is $25.
As for car seats, all children 7 years or younger or weighing less than 66 pounds are required to be seated in a child safety seat. They are not permitted to use an adult seat belt under any circumstances.
If you are looking to invest in a car seat, check out this Consumer Reports buying guide:
When it comes to keeping your little ones safe, take your time and find the best fit for you.
Keep Right & Move Over Laws
Delaware law requires drivers who drive slower than the average speed of traffic around them to keep to the right lane. On January 1, 2007, Delaware adopted a new “Move Over” law, which requires drivers to move over for all emergency vehicles while lowering speed as they pass.
The law also bars drivers from driving in the lane closest to shoulders where emergency and nonemergency workers are.
|TYPE OF ROADWAY||SPEED LIMIT
|Rural Interstates||65 mph|
|Urban Interstates||55 mph|
|Other Limited Access Roads||65 mph|
|Other Roads||55 mph|
To date, no Delaware auto insurers offer insurance for ridesharing services.
Safety laws seek to ensure the well-being of all motorists and pedestrians on the road. Check out this helpful list of safety resources regarding all things traffic and safety laws compiled by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).
One particularly important resource is the Delaware Strategic Highway Safety Plan, presenting some vital information for all drivers.
Delaware’s Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is 0.08 percent; the High BAC limit is between 0.15 – 0.2 percent. Here is a table breaking down DUI consequences in the First State:
|DUI IN DELAWARE||1ST OFFENSE||2ND OFFENSE||3RD OFFENSE||4TH OFFENSE|
|Jail||Max. Six months||Two to 18 months||One to Two years||Two to Five years|
|Fines and Penalties||$500 to $1,500||$750 to $2,500||$1,500 to $5,000||$3,000 to $7,000|
|License Suspension||12 to 24 months||24 to 30 months||24 to 36 months||60 months|
|IID** Required||No||Possible - after 24 months||Possible - after 24 months||Possible - after 48 months|
Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws
Currently, Delaware has a Zero Tolerance Policy on THC and metabolites.
Distracted Driving Laws
Delaware’s Distracted Driving Laws ban all drivers from texting and the use of handheld devices. For young drivers, the restrictions ban any use of cell phones or devices, regardless of Bluetooth or mounting.
Driving Safely in Delaware
Unfortunately, people don’t always take other drivers’ safety and property into consideration. They may steal, drive while impaired or with a revoked license, or be careless on the road, and sometimes accidents just happen even when every precaution has been followed.
In this section, we will look at common road dangers, traffic, and fatalities on Delaware roads.
Vehicle Theft in Delaware
Car theft can be an incredibly arduous and stress-inducing process. Hoping to avoid buying a thief magnet? Here’s a chart of the vehicles most likely to be stolen in the First State.
|CAR||YEAR OF VEHICLE MAKE||THEFTS|
|Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2005||36|
|Ford Pickup (Full Size)||1999||31|
You can see that in 2015, 53 Honda Civics were stolen. Below, you can search to see where your city ranks in terms of stolen vehicles.
Road Fatalities in Delaware
While not all accidents lead to fatalities, unfortunately, some do. Below are some important statistics on traffic fatalities in Delaware.
Most Fatal Highway in Delaware
According to GeoTab, the most dangerous highway in terms of fatalities is the Delaware stretch of I-80.
In the last 10 years, 106 fatal crashes have occurred.
The high rates of traffic during beach-going months led to the construction of a “relief route” in 2003.
Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition & Light Condition
Traffic fatalities happen almost equally in the daytime and nighttime in Delaware.
|WEATHER CONDITION||DAYLIGHT||DARK, BUT LIGHTED||DARK||DAWN OR DUSK||TOTAL|
Five-Year Trend of Fatalities (All Crashes) by County
This next chart will show the five-year trend of traffic fatalities by county.
|New Castle County||48||59||63||53||59|
– Urban vs. Rural Areas
In 2017, there were 119 traffic fatalities in Delaware. Out of those fatalities, 61 were in rural areas, 56 were in urban areas, and 2 were in unknown areas.
Fatalities by Person Type
Below, you’ll find a chart of driving fatalities broken down by type of person, meaning what they were driving or if they were a pedestrian or cyclist.
|Passenger Vehicle Occupant||50||73||69||73||69|
|Bicyclist and Other Cyclist||1||3||3||2||5|
Fatalities by Crash Type
Now let’s look at the type of crashes, meaning what type of vehicles were involved.
|Involving a Large Truck||10||12||12||9||14|
|Involving a Rollover||13||23||16||20||13|
|Involving a Roadway Departure||39||63||48||57||47|
|Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)||25||26||36||37||39|
Single-car accidents are the second leading cause of traffic fatalities.
Fatalities Involving Speeding by County
Speeding continues to be a major safety issue for most US roadways. See the below table of fatalities involving speeding.
|New Castle County||13||27||18||12||16|
Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County
|New Castle County||16||23||19||16||15|
Teen Drinking & Driving
The national average for underage drinking fatalities is 1.2 deaths for every 100,000 people. Delaware’s rate is 1.7 deaths. In 2016, Delawarea was ranked 50th out of the states having zero DWI arrests for drivers under the age of 18. If you have a driver under 18, be glad you are in such a safe state.
EMS Response Time
|LOCATION||TIME OF CRASH TO EMS NOTIFICATION||NOTIFICATION TO ARRIVAL||ARRIVAL AT SCENE TO HOSPITAL ARRIVAL||TIME OF CRASH TO TIME OF HOSPITAL ARRIVAL|
Transportation in Delaware
Delaware — nicknamed the Diamond State by Thomas Jefferson — with southeast Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, form the congested tri-state corridor of the Delaware Valley.
So, how bad does commuting look for motorists in Delaware? How does rush-hour traffic compare to the national average? What methods do Delawareans use to get to work? The answers to those questions are up next.
A little over 40 percent of families own two cars, while a little over 20 percent own three. This and the next two graphs are comparing Delaware (in orange) to the national averages (grey).
The average commute time in the First State is 25 minutes, slightly shorter than the national average of 25.3. Only 2.48 percent of commuters have what are known as “super commutes,” which are commutes longer than 90 minutes.
Again here, Delaware (in orange) is compared to the national averages (grey).
Now you know all the essential facts about Delaware driving laws and insurance requirements. Make sure to put that knowledge to good use and get yourself the best insurance quotes possible. Don’t forget to shop around.
Enter your zip code below to compare car insurance quotes and ensure you’re getting top-quality rates from the top auto insurance companies in the Diamond State.