Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Aug 4, 2020

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Delaware StatisticsDetails
Road Miles6,407
Registered Vehicles936,137
Most Popular VehicleChevy Silverado 1500
Uninsured Motorists11.40%
Total Driving Related DeathsSpeeding: 33
Drunk Driving: 32
Full Coverage Annual PremiumsLiability: $776.50
Collision: $296.60
Comprehensive: $113.23
Cheapest ProvidersUSAA and GEICO
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Shopping for car insurance tends to evoke the same reaction from people as does going to the doctor or scheduling a dentist visit — it gets put off until the last possible second.

And honestly, with all of the other headaches you have to deal with on a daily basis, who could blame you for cringing away from those pages and pages (and pages) of technical jargon like “limited tort” and “25/50/10”? What do all these phrases mean, anyway? Why should you care?

In a world racing by at break-neck speed, you don’t have time to try to decipher all of that nonsense. Chances are, all you want to know is where you can find the best coverage for the cheapest price, so you can have peace of mind the next time you find yourself trapped in summer’s gridlock beach traffic.

(And if you live in the First State, you know exactly what I’m talking about.)

Whether it’s time to renew your auto policy, you’re shopping for a new policy, or you’re searching for coverage for the first time, the search is over. Close that second tab you’ve been using to Google every technical term and read on.

We’ve got all of the information you need on carrier rates — ranked by credit scores, customer satisfaction, and more — state laws, and what factors to consider in deciding which coverage would be best for you.

Start comparison shopping today to score major savings on Delaware auto insurance coverage. Just enter your zip code in our FREE online rate tool to get started!

Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

Delaware Car Insurance Coverage and Rates

It might not take very long to drive across the second-smallest state in the U.S., but Delaware certainly has no shortage of gorgeous scenery. Beach attractions like the Bayshore Byway bring hundreds of out-of-staters flocking to The First State’s sandy shores with the onset of the summer months.

Summer also marks the infamous gridlock season.

Delaware is the second smallest state in the nation, which means it takes very little time to drive through the three counties that make up the First State. But the relative size of Delaware doesn’t mean it’s lacking in beautiful, scenic drives, like the Bayshore Byway, or frustrating traffic snarls, like I-95 during the summer beach rush.

Whether you have just relocated here, or you’ve lived here your whole life, knowing Delaware’s insurance requirements and what add-ons are available for your coverage is critical.

Delaware’s Car Culture

Delaware’s license plates were once a symbol of status — the lower the number
on the plate, the more the plate was worth.

“The story behind the preference for low numbers and certain color plates started over a century ago, when Delaware began issuing license plates in numerical order. The first people to own cars in Delaware – and thereby get the low-numbered plates – were wealthy, meaning this minor bureaucratic decision launched an unintentional statewide status symbol.” [source: DEOnline]

Unlike their license plates, Delawareans’ car choices tend to reflect practicality. While minivans are more common in suburban areas were more families tend to live, pickups reign supreme in the agricultural regions.

Because many residents commute to nearby Philadelphia and Baltimore for work, opting to live in Delaware for the cheaper cost of living (thanks to no state tax and cheaper than-average gas prices), they often choose vehicles with notoriously good gas mileage.

On average, Delaware residents pay $1,542 a year for their car insurance, compared to the national average of $1,311.

Meaning that, if you live in Delaware, while you’re paying $0.28 per gallon less than the rest of the nation for your gas, chances are you could be paying around $230 more for your car’s insurance.

Having lower gas prices also encourages more drivers to be out on the road, increasing the risk of traffic collisions.

Minimum Coverage in Delaware

Insurance companies strongly suggest you opt for higher than your state’s minimum coverage requirements. But it might be helpful to know what those base requirements are.

State minimum auto insurance rates and requirements vary from state to state. Compare state to state below:

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Delaware requires that all drivers carry insurance for their vehicles, with a minimum of:

  • $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, and
  • $10,000 for property damage per accident you cause.

Drivers are also required to have personal injury protection (PIP) with at least:

  • $15,000 for a person injured in an accident and covered under the policy and
  • $30,000 for all persons injured in an accident and covered under the policy

PIP insurance is what will help cover your medical bills and any lost wages if you or a passenger are injured in an accident. While it’s technically optional, at least 16 states require a minimum amount of PIP coverage. Delaware is one of those states.

It is also one of the 38 states that still follow the at-fault accident system, meaning that the driver who caused the accident (as determined by the parties’ insurance companies) is legally required to pay for damages inflicted.

This differs from the no-fault legislation adopted in recent years by some states, in which each policy-holder is compensated by their insurance companies for minor damages, regardless of who caused the accident.

It is always recommended that you take out higher levels of coverage than those listed as the state’s minimum amounts. Especially in fault states.

Insurance companies will cover up to the amounts chosen by the policyholder — but if the cost of damages exceeds those numbers, the driver at fault must pay the difference out-of-pocket.

Forms of Financial Responsibility

In addition to meeting the minimum liability requirements and having PIP coverage, Delaware legislation requires all drivers to carry proof of insurance (POI) at all times.

In this ever-increasingly digital age, many states have opted to accept electronic POI copies, often stored on mobile devices. Delaware is one of these states. Other acceptable forms of POI are:

Fines for being unable to provide proof of insurance upon request are $1,500 on the first offense and raise to $3,000 for every following offense. Falsified proof of insurance will result in an additional fine of $500.00, and possibly even 30 days in jail and suspension of your license for six months.

In short, don’t risk being uninsured just because of the high premiums.

Delaware is one of several states which offer alternatives other than an insurance policy to prove financial responsibility. While these are typically more expensive than your standard insurance premiums, some people opt for surety bonds, cash or securities, or self-insurance.

Let’s take a look at what each means.

With a surety bond, you pay a percentage of the bond amount, determined by various factors including preferences and credit history. The lower your credit, the more likely you are to be considered “high risk”, and the higher the percentage you will pay (around 5 to 15 percent). If no claims are filed against you, you pay nothing more than the annual percentage as a premium.

If a claim is filed, or you are involved in an accident, a surety bond will not provide collision or comprehensive insurance. You will have to pay the full bond amount to cover any liability costs if you are deemed to be at fault.

Read more about surety bonds and the process of attaining one.

In lieu of an insurance policy, Delaware will accept a certificate confirming that at least $40,000 has been deposited in cash or securities.

Ownership of at least 25 vehicles is required in order to qualify for self-insurance — or about $1-2 million to cover liability in the event of an accident or claim. Those with the finances available to set aside for an insurance reserve fund can be granted a certificate of self-insurance, which can then be presented as proof of financial responsibility.

Premiums as a Percentage of Income

We all know that feeling, watching the funds from our paycheck rapidly diminishes in the form of bills and monthly payments.

Have you ever wondered how much of those paychecks are going towards your auto insurance every year? Knowing this could help you determine the best premium for your situation as you shop for a new policy or seek to improve your current one.

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As you can see from the chart above, just under three percent of residents’ income went to car insurance in 2012. That percentage rose to just over three percent in subsequent years, despite the slight dip Delawareans saw in their disposable income in 2013.

In comparing data from neighboring states Maryland and Pennsylvania, we find that about 2.2 percent of both states’ disposable annual income went towards car insurance in 2014. The same year that Delaware was paying out about 3.05 percent.

Though it is also important to note that both Maryland and Pennsylvania also had a higher average disposable income, with Maryland bringing in over $46 thousand in 2014 and Pennsylvania just a little higher than Delaware at about $41 thousand.

Compared to the national average of $1,311, Delawareans pay nearly $200 more per year for their core car insurance coverage.

Curious to see how much of your income goes towards your car insurance every year? Use our income calculator below to find out.


Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates in DE (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)

Coverage TypeAnnual CostAverage (Over 4 years)
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The table above outlines the latest data compiled by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), based on costs for Delaware’s minimum insurance requirements.

Your average monthly car insurance rates may not increase as much as you might think by adding additional coverage like comprehensive. Review rates for auto insurance coverage below:

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Keep reading to see more about the additional options for liability coverage you are going to want to consider as you structure (or re-structure) your Delaware insurance policy.

Additional Liability

An insurance company’s loss ratio indicates how much the company is making through premiums versus how much they are paying out for claims, company expenses (such as salaries), etc.

A loss ratio of over 100% indicates more claims being paid but also shows that the company is losing money. Typically, companies want to stay within the 60 to 70 percent “safe zone”.

Loss Ratio201520142013
PIP (Personal Injury Protection)81.5975.4979.32
MedPay (Medical Payments)135.54169.0486.94
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage72.2762.84
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Based on the chart above, the state of Delaware sustained a pretty healthy range of gains and losses over the 2013-2015 period in terms of PIP and Un/Under-insured Motorists. Though it’s worth noting that the loss ratio for PIP did peak slightly higher than the “safe zone” in 2015, meaning insurance companies were paying out a little more than they were making in this area.

In 2014, the loss ratio for MedPay spiked considerably and remained high through 2015. This means insurance companies were paying out more in medical payments than they were bringing in through premiums.

If this trend continues, it could mean raised annual premiums for Delaware residents, as insurance companies try to recoup their losses.

Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders

Delaware ranks 28th in all 50 states for uninsured or underinsured drivers. With 11.4 percent of those operating a vehicle in The First State doing so with no or inadequate insurance, it is imperative that you take steps to ensure that you and your family are covered.

Which is why add-ons like these are highly recommended, in addition to Delaware’s minimum coverage requirements:

More add-ons can mean higher premiums. But they will also save you immense amounts of stress — and money — should you ever find yourself facing the unexpected, wondering who covers the damage repairs and medical bills.

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in DE

As of May 1, 2018, insurance providers were prohibited from basing their rates on gender. But has that actually closed the gap between how much men pay for their insurance versus women?

CompanyMarried 35-year old femaleMarried 35-year old maleMarried 60-year old femaleMarried 60-year old maleSingle 17-year old femaleSingle 17-year old maleSingle 25-year old femaleSingle 25-year old male
Allstate P&C$3,680.77$3,617.49$3,230.45$3,405.48$13,198.18$15,406.57$3,876.03$4,113.55
GEICO Advantage$2,660.39$2,952.77$2,562.65$2,983.93$6,449.50$6,710.85$2,798.53$2,699.68
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
Nationwide Mutual$3,017.56$2,994.99$2,753.71$2,742.95$7,151.92$9,060.24$3,345.06$3,575.26
Progressive Direct$1,994.89$1,844.62$1,754.37$1,790.24$10,102.13$11,159.65$2,437.17$2,371.56
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,818.09$2,818.09$2,600.14$2,600.14$8,048.04$10,393.68$3,162.14$3,294.46
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
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Right off the bat, you’ll notice that teen male drivers and pay significantly more than teenage female drivers across the board. You will also notice that age and marital status are two of the most significant determining factors when it comes to how much you pay for your premiums.

For instance, while there is minimal difference between what a married 35-year-old woman would pay and what a male of the same age and status would pay, there is a significant gap between what a single 25-year-old male would pay versus his female counterpart.

Insurance companies tend to view younger, single drivers at a higher risk than the older, more established married individual. So keep in mind that your insurance premiums might rise significantly after you add your teen or young adult driver to your policy — especially if your young driver is male.

Gender and age will affect your auto insurance. Younger drivers are often in a higher risk class. See if the gender stereotype (males vs female car insurance rates) holds true in DE.

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The table below shows the average annual rate for most major insurance providers, ranked from highest to lowest. Later, we’ll discuss how to determine which provider is right for your needs.

CompanyDemographicAverage Annual RateRank
Liberty Mut Fire Ins CoSingle 17-year old male$41,390.161
Liberty Mut Fire Ins CoSingle 17-year old female$27,326.932
Liberty Mut Fire Ins CoSingle 25-year old male$17,022.833
Allstate P&CSingle 17-year old male$15,406.574
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoSingle 17-year old male$14,106.725
Allstate P&CSingle 17-year old female$13,198.186
Liberty Mut Fire Ins CoMarried 35-year old female$12,287.487
Liberty Mut Fire Ins CoMarried 35-year old male$12,287.487
Liberty Mut Fire Ins CoSingle 25-year old female$12,287.487
Liberty Mut Fire Ins CoMarried 60-year old female$12,138.8810
Liberty Mut Fire Ins CoMarried 60-year old male$12,138.8810
Progressive DirectSingle 17-year old male$11,159.6512
State Farm Mutual AutoSingle 17-year old male$10,393.6813
Progressive DirectSingle 17-year old female$10,102.1314
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoSingle 17-year old female$9,243.5415
Nationwide MutualSingle 17-year old male$9,060.2416
State Farm Mutual AutoSingle 17-year old female$8,048.0417
Nationwide MutualSingle 17-year old female$7,151.9218
GEICO AdvantageSingle 17-year old male$6,710.8519
GEICO AdvantageSingle 17-year old female$6,449.5020
USAASingle 17-year old male$5,556.0721
USAASingle 17-year old female$4,729.5322
Allstate P&CSingle 25-year old male$4,113.5523
Allstate P&CSingle 25-year old female$3,876.0324
Allstate P&CMarried 35-year old female$3,680.7725
Allstate P&CMarried 35-year old male$3,617.4926
Nationwide MutualSingle 25-year old male$3,575.2627
Allstate P&CMarried 60-year old male$3,405.4828
Nationwide MutualSingle 25-year old female$3,345.0629
State Farm Mutual AutoSingle 25-year old male$3,294.4630
Allstate P&CMarried 60-year old female$3,230.4531
State Farm Mutual AutoSingle 25-year old female$3,162.1432
Nationwide MutualMarried 35-year old female$3,017.5633
Nationwide MutualMarried 35-year old male$2,994.9934
GEICO AdvantageMarried 60-year old male$2,983.9335
GEICO AdvantageMarried 35-year old male$2,952.7736
State Farm Mutual AutoMarried 35-year old female$2,818.0937
State Farm Mutual AutoMarried 35-year old male$2,818.0937
GEICO AdvantageSingle 25-year old female$2,798.5339
Nationwide MutualMarried 60-year old female$2,753.7140
Nationwide MutualMarried 60-year old male$2,742.9541
GEICO AdvantageSingle 25-year old male$2,699.6842
GEICO AdvantageMarried 35-year old female$2,660.3943
State Farm Mutual AutoMarried 60-year old female$2,600.1444
State Farm Mutual AutoMarried 60-year old male$2,600.1444
GEICO AdvantageMarried 60-year old female$2,562.6546
Progressive DirectSingle 25-year old female$2,437.1747
Progressive DirectSingle 25-year old male$2,371.5648
Progressive DirectMarried 35-year old female$1,994.8949
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoSingle 25-year old male$1,906.9250
Progressive DirectMarried 35-year old male$1,844.6251
Progressive DirectMarried 60-year old male$1,790.2452
USAASingle 25-year old male$1,773.5453
Progressive DirectMarried 60-year old female$1,754.3754
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoSingle 25-year old female$1,745.4055
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoMarried 35-year old male$1,642.2756
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoMarried 35-year old female$1,634.8057
USAASingle 25-year old female$1,615.1958
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoMarried 60-year old female$1,610.3759
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Rates by Cities

Residents of Bethany Beach (19930) pay around $3,000 less on average for their premiums than residents in more densely-populated areas such as New Castle County (19720). This is largely due to the fact that New Castle is much more densely populated than Bethany Beach, making it an area at a higher risk of an incident occurring.

When you are considering buying a product online, what is one of the first things you do? If you’re anything like most of us, the first place you look for advice is the review page. You are more likely to be compelled to make the purchase if the reviews from verified purchasers practically singing the product’s praises far outnumber those who were less than satisfied.

The same is true — or should be true — about purchasing car insurance. You want to find the best plan that not only works for you but will work with you. You want a policy and a provider that you can count on when you need it most.

ZIP codes affect auto insurance because of factors like traffic, crime to name a few. Find out how your ZIP code stacks up in Delaware.

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Best Delaware Car Insurance Companies

You know you need insurance, but where should you get it?

We are going to tell you the best and worst companies in Delaware to buy auto insurance.

Companies’ AM Best Ratings

To aid in that search for the best insurance, global rating agency AM Best Company publishes regular financial strength and/or issuer credit ratings for companies in the insurance market. It gives carriers with “superior” ratings an A+ (or, if the carrier is really outstanding, an A++), and an A to carriers with “excellent” ratings.

The table below shows AM Best’s ratings for the top ten carriers in Delaware.

CompanyAM Rating
State Farm GroupA++
Erie Insurance GroupA+
Allstate Insurance GroupA+
Progressive GroupA+
Nationwide Corp GroupA+
Liberty Mutual GroupA
Travelers GroupA++
USAA GroupA++
Farmers Insurance GroupNR
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Companies with Best Ratings in Delaware

J.D. Power is an excellent source to look at when looking for companies with great service.

Companies with Most Complaints in Delaware

2State Farm0.44
5The Hartford0.59
9Liberty Mutual0.78
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The customer complaint ratio says a lot about customers’ satisfaction with a particular carrier and should play a major role in how you decide which carrier you’re going to rely on to meet your insurance needs.

The table above displays the most up-to-date information on customer satisfaction with the top ten insurance companies in Delaware, provided by data compiled by the NAIC.

Who is the cheapest car insurance company in DE? Review the average auto insurance rates by company below:

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Cheapest Companies in Delaware

While customer complaint ratio and financial rating are important, how expensive a carrier is going to also matter a lot to most shoppers.

State Average$5,986.32$0.000.00%
CompanyAverageCompared to State Average
Allstate P&C$6,316.07$329.745.22%
GEICO Advantage$3,727.29-$2,259.04-60.61%
Liberty Mut Fire Ins Co$18,360.01$12,373.6967.39%
Nationwide Mutual$4,330.21-$1,656.11-38.25%
Progressive Direct$4,181.83-$1,804.50-43.15%
State Farm Mutual Auto$4,466.85-$1,519.48-34.02%
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$4,182.36-$1,803.97-43.13%
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If it’s not obvious from the previous tables, this one shows pretty clearly how Liberty Mutual’s rates tend to be pretty high — over $12,000 higher than the national average of $5,986.32.

USAA offers the cheapest rates for Delawareans, and also ranks as a “superior” carrier with AM Best.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some aspects of Delaware’s car culture that car insurance companies will look at when determining your rates, from commute mileage to driving history to credit history.

Each of these aspects can play a major role in how high or low your premium will end up being.

Commute Rates by Companies

The longer the commute, the higher your insurance premiums are likely to be. With so many Delawareans making the daily hike to Baltimore or Philadelphia for work, knowing what some of the most common insurance carriers in Delaware are charging can help in determining which carrier you ultimately want to go with.

Liberty Mutual$17,851.76$18,868.27
State Farm$4,314.22$4,619.47
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While some carriers charge the same rate regardless of commute length, you’ll see that Liberty Mutual, Geico, State Farm, and USAA all charge more for longer commutes. Liberty’s rates are by far the most extreme, with the other three carriers showing a smaller difference between the rates for a 10-mile commute and a 25-mile commute.

Six major factors affect car insurance rates in Delaware. Which auto insurance factors will affect rates the most? Find out below:

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Coverage Level Rates by Companies

GroupLow CoverageMedium CoverageHigh Coverage
Liberty Mutual$17,469.29$18,149.05$19,461.69
State Farm$4,166.98$4,477.15$4,756.42
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It’s natural to assume that choosing high-level coverage will mean sky-rocketing premiums. But is that actually the case? What is the actual difference between high and low coverage?

The table above shows that some companies charge significantly more for higher coverage than do other carriers. For example, there is a nearly $2,000 difference between Liberty Mutual’s low and high coverages. Allstate follows behind with a $1,000 gap between its low coverage rates and its high ones.

Nationwide raises its rates the least, from $4,306.39 for the lowest coverage to $4,427.19 for the high coverage — only about a $120 difference.

Credit History Rates by Companies

Insurance companies are legally permitted to take your credit history into account when determining your premiums. They use these numbers to determine whether or not the customer is at risk of insurance loss.

Keep in mind that your regular credit score and your credit-based insurance scores are not the same things. Check out this primer from the NAIC for an even more in-depth explanation of how insurance companies use credit history in determining premiums.

From the primer:

There are several different companies that create credit-based insurance score reports for insurers to use. FICO looks at five general areas it believes will best determine how you manage risk. This is the breakdown of what it considers and how much the information generally weighs in figuring your credit-based insurance score:

  • Payment History (40%) — How well you have made payments on your outstanding debt in the past
  • Outstanding Debt (30%) — How much debt you currently have
  • Credit History Length (15%) — How long you have had a line of credit
  • Pursuit of New Credit (10%) — If you have applied for new lines of credit recently
  • Credit Mix (5%) — The types of credit you have (credit card, mortgage, auto loans, etc.)

Let’s look at how the major insurance companies’ rates vary based on credit history:

GroupGood CreditFair CreditPoor Credit
Liberty Mutual$13,495.40$16,738.18$24,846.46
State Farm$2,796.45$3,767.83$6,836.26
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Here is another idea of what you can expect in terms of annual premiums based on the range of your credit score:

  • Good Credit (670+): average annual premium: $4,564.38
  • Fair Credit (580-669): $5,426.79
  • Poor Credit (300-579): $7,967.79

It is interesting to note that Travelers actually has a lower annual premium for those with fair credit, being nearly $180 cheaper than the high credit score rate and over $800 cheaper than the low credit score rate.

And then you have Liberty, where the difference between a bad credit score and a good credit score is over $12,000.

While insurance companies cannot use credit scores to increase a current policyholder’s premiums, the existing policyholder can request the company to review their credit score for the chance of getting a lower premium.

Driving Record Rates by Companies

In addition to your credit score, insurance companies can also use your driving history to determine how much — or little — of a risk you will be to them. A driving record riddled with violations is a surefire indicator that you will cost the company more money in payouts.

Meaning, they’re going to up your annual premium to recoup any anticipated loss. Just in case.

The table below breaks out, by company, the average annual premiums for Delawareans with a clean driving record, one speeding ticket, one accident, or one DUI.

Liberty Mutual$14,685.04$15,044.50$16,885.42$26,825.11
State Farm$4,048.67$4,466.85$4,885.02$4,466.85
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When it comes to “will my insurance go up” questions, one of the most frequently-searched questions is, “How much will my insurance go up after a DUI”.

Based on the table above, the answer is quite a bit. Take a look at USAA, for example. A clean driving record could land you an average rate of $1,916.79. One DUI raises that to $3,280.40 — nearly a $1,400 increase.

Allstate shows an even more drastic increase, increasing over $2,100 after the first DUI.

For those who have maintained a relatively clean driving record, this is great money-saving news. If, however, you do have a few marks on your record, it’s never too late to start improving your driving practices.

This will not only keep you and other drivers safe but will also increase your chances of scoring lower insurance premiums.

Largest Car Insurance Companies in Delaware

State Farm$208,11369.02%24.36%
Liberty Mutual$65,88766.90%7.71%
Hartford Fire & Casualty$22,10765.96%2.59%
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Who are the largest auto insurance companies in DE?

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Number of Insurers in Delaware

Insurers are divided into two different categories, foreign and domestic. Foreign insurers are started and made under another state law. They are formed in another state, but available in your state.

Domestic insurers are companies created under that state law. So, domestic equals in state and foreign means out of state.

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Delaware’s Driving Laws

If you’ve made it this far into this article, you are no doubt a car insurance aficionado. We’re not quite done yet. There is still a very important subject of driving laws that need to be discussed.

A well-rounded understanding of The First State’s road laws and driving requirements will not only keep you (and others) safe on the roads — especially during that insane beach season — but will also help you avoid pitfalls that could raise your insurance premiums.

Car Insurance Laws

Car insurance laws are shaped by state laws. Let’s take a look at laws made by the state for car insurance.

High-Risk Insurance

It can be hard for drivers with a poor driving record to find car insurance, as many companies have the right to refuse to provide coverage to “high-risk” drivers due to the risk they present. If there are enough violations such as speeding tickets and DUIs on your record, you may not be able to find coverage at all.

For those having difficulty finding an insurance policy due to an extensive driving record, Delaware offers the Delaware Automobile Insurance Plan (DAIP). Developed in 1947, the DAIP was created to provide coverage to those who cannot get coverage by any other methods.

“All auto insurance companies in Delaware are members of DAIP and share the risks of insuring high-risk drivers equally. You can apply for DAIP coverage through any Delaware car insurance company.” [ Delaware]

In order to be eligible for the DAIP, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are licensed in Delaware.
  • You have tried and failed to obtain insurance coverage within the past 60 days before your DAIP application, or the insurance premiums are higher than those of your DAIP quote.

You must also agree:

  • To pay your bills on time
  • That all the information provided on your application is true

You will no longer be eligible for the DAIP if you have not made a payment to any insurance company in the last 12 months. You will have to pay the outstanding bill in order for the application to continue through the process.

DAIP offers coverage for three years, provided you pay all insurance bills on time and maintain a DAIP eligible status. During those three years, you will be paying more in premiums than most safe drivers would be paying, but you will be on the road legally. The goal is that, at the end of the three years, you will have improved your driving habits enough to find cheap car insurance on your own.

You can learn more about the DAIP and find out whether you are eligible to apply by contacting an agent or broker.

Low-Cost Insurance

At this time, California, Hawaii, and New Jersey are the only three states which offer low-income insurance options. Delaware does not offer any government-funded options yet.

Windshield Coverage

Delaware is not one of the states that require you to use original manufacturer replacement parts for replacing windshields. You have the freedom to choose who fixes your windshield and where. Aftermarket and used parts are permitted, or you may insist to have Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts.

Automobile Insurance Fraud

An estimated ten percent of property/casualty insurance companies’ losses each year are attributed to insurance fraud.

Because of this, most states now have fraud bureaus, and many insurance companies have their own Special Investigative Units to examine suspicious claims.

Check out these recent statistics on insurance fraud, published by the Insurance Information Institute (III):

  • Premium leakage — missing or erroneous underwriting information — amounts to about $29 billion a year for personal auto insurers
  • Unrecognized or un-reported drivers amounted to $10.3 billion, or 36 percent, of that
  • Underestimating mileage and problems with violations or accidents were 19 and 12 percent of the problem, costing $5.4 billion and $3.4 billion in leakage each
  • Unverifiable or erroneous reporting of garaging and identity problems accounted for $2.9 billion and $2.8 billion
  • Miscellaneous problems accounted for the remaining $4.1 billion

An online survey in 2017 reported that one in ten Americans who have never had auto insurance provided false information when they bought auto insurance. This false information included:

  • Underreported annual mileage (40%)
  • Omitted driver (27%)
  • False information about the use of the vehicle (20%)

Other fabricated information included zip code, where the vehicle was being stored, and claiming discounts that did not actually apply.

Insurance fraud is a criminal act in the state of Delaware, as laid out in Title 18 Chapter 24 of the Delaware insurance code, punishable with a fine up to $10,000 for each fraudulent act.

Those caught committing insurance fraud may also be required to pay restitution for any benefits paid out by the insurance company during the fraudulent period.

Report any known or suspicions of fraudulent behavior to the Delaware Department of Insurance Fraud Prevention Division hotline at (800) 632-5154.

The fraud division can also be reached by:

  • Sending an email to [email protected]
  • Submitting a report via mail to Fraud Prevention, 841 Silver Lake Blvd., Dover, DE 19904

Statute of Limitations

“Statute of limitations” is defined as a statute prescribing a period of limitation for the bringing of certain kinds of legal action. When it comes to car insurance claims, that period can vary from state to state, depending on the type of claim (i.e., personal injury versus property damage).

In Delaware, that period is two years for both.

“No action to recover damages for wrongful death or for injury to personal property shall be brought after the expiration of 2 years from the accruing of the cause of such action.”

“No action for the recovery of damages upon a claim for alleged personal injuries shall be brought after the expiration of 2 years from the date upon which it is claimed that such alleged injuries were sustained”

The statute of limitations does not apply to the car insurance claim. Rather, it serves as a deadline for victims to file a lawsuit — in other words, if you or someone else was injured in an accident, you have two years to get all of the details in order and file a lawsuit. After that two-year period, the court cannot require that restitution be made.

In the event of a wrongful death claim, the two-year time limit begins at the time of the accident victim’s death, which could occur sometime after the accident.

In events where more than one party is at fault — known as comparative negligence — the plaintiff can recover damages as long as his or her fault does not exceed 50 percent.

Vehicle Licensing Laws

Your car must have insurance, just like you must have a license before you get behind the wheel.

We are going to take a look at licensing laws in Deleware. This is for new residents, renewing residents, and teens needing to get the facts on the driver’s license laws.

Real ID

The Real ID Act lays out minimum security standards for identification to help ensure national security, “and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.” Such activities include accessing certain Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, or boarding domestic flights.

Delaware is compliant with the REAL ID Act. Federal agencies can accept driver’s licenses and identification cards from Delaware at Federal facilities and nuclear power plants.

Real IDs in Delaware can be recognized by the star in a gold circle, located in the upper right corner of the ID.

Residents have the option of getting their ID without the star. However, starting October of 2020, residents of the First State will be required to present the upgraded Real ID with the gold star in order to board domestic flights. Older IDs will not be accepted, and you won’t be able to get on your flight.

Feel free to browse the Department of Homeland Security’s FAQ page for even more information about the implications of the Real ID Act.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

We already covered the penalties for being caught on the road without proper insurance, but it is important enough to cover it again.

So, to recap:

Delaware requires that all drivers carry insurance for their vehicles, with a minimum of:

  • $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, and
  • $10,000 for property damage per accident you cause.

Drivers are also required to have personal injury protection (PIP) with at least:

  • $15,000 for a person injured in an accident and covered under the policy and
  • $30,000 for all persons injured in an accident and covered under the policy

Delaware accepts multiple forms of POI:

Alternatives include:

  • Surety bonds
  • Cash or securities
  • Proof of self-insurance

Fines for being unable to furnish proof of insurance (POI) upon request will be no less than $1,500 on the first offense and $3,000 for every following offense.

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles performs a randomized audit of 10 percent of registered vehicles every year, requiring those drivers to submit proof of insurance. If you are part of this audit, you will be required to contact your insurance provider and have them send you a Delaware Insurance Certification Form, FR-19, which certifies that the vehicle has been and is currently insured.

Failure to respond to the audit will result in:

  • Suspension of vehicle registration and driver’s license
  • Payment of a $50 reinstatement fee for each license and/or registration
  • Penalty fees for lapsed insurance

Long story short, don’t get caught operating a vehicle without at least the state minimum of coverage.

Teen Driver Laws

Delaware follows a graduated licensing program, requiring all young drivers to hold a learner’s permit for a specified amount of time before graduating to a full-blown, unrestricted driver’s license.

A permit can be obtained after completing the on-road requirements of a driver’s education course. Young drivers must be at least 15 years and 10 months of age. While on the learner’s permit, young drivers must have an older, experienced driver accompanying them whenever they drive.

After successful completion of driver’s ed, and the written and road tests, a young driver graduates to an intermediate driving stage, where they may drive unsupervised at any time after sunrise and before sunset. They may carry no more than one other passenger (with the exception of family members).

Applicants for a driver’s license who are younger than 18 must have held a Driver Education Learner’s Permit and/or a Level 1 permit for at least 12 months. Driver education is required for all license applicants younger than 18.

License Renewal Procedures

The license renewal process for Delawareans is the same regardless of age:

  • License renewal is required every eight years
  • Proof of adequate vision (a.k.a., a vision test) is required at every renewal
  • Online or mail renewal is not permitted

Military personnel, their dependents, and students are the only exceptions to that last rule and may renew licenses by calling (302) 744-2506 or by mail.

The DMV is prohibited from renewing a license if the driver has failed to pay outstanding fines or fees for traffic offenses.

New Residents

Here is what you need to know if you have just moved to Delaware:

  • You must apply for a Delaware license within 60 days of becoming a resident
  • You must turn in your out-of-state license
  • You must be able to provide proof of citizenship or legal presence, proof of social security number, and two proofs of DE residency

You can visit Delaware’s Acceptable Identification Document List for more information.

You will also be required to pass a vision test, and possibly a written and road test. These two tests are usually waived, however, if your state license is current.

Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

Reckless driving is dangerous for all involved — both the driver and the other drivers on the road trying to stay out of his or her way.

Penalties for reckless driving will vary depending on the circumstances. However, these are the typical fines for reckless driving:

  • Ten to 30 days in jail and/or $100 to $300 in fines on a first offense
  • Thirty to 60 days in jail and/or $300 to $1,000 in fines for the second and subsequent offenses occurring within a three-year period

Conviction of reckless driving also lands six demerit points on your license. If you get 14 or more points added to your license within a two-year license, your license will be suspended.

Delaware has separate laws for careless or inattentive driving, and “wet reckless” driving (reckless driving under the influence).

Penalties for a careless or inattentive driving violation are:

  • A first careless or inattentive driving conviction carries $25 to $75 in fines
  • For a second or subsequent careless or inattentive driving violation within a three-year period, the motorist is looking at $50 to $95 in fines
  • Two points added to your license
  • Additional points if the careless/inattentive driving resulted in the injury of another person or persons

In Delaware, it’s possible for a driver who’s charged with driving under the influence (DUI), to “plea bargain” for a lesser charge. When a DUI is plea bargained down to a reckless driving charge, it’s sometimes called a “wet reckless.”

Rules of the Road

Knowing the rules of the road means you can avoid traffic violations that could increase your insurance premiums.

Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws

Delaware requires all vehicle passengers of 16 years of age or older to wear a seatbelt, regardless of where they are sitting. First-time violations of this law are subject to a $25 fine, as well as any additional fees if applicable.

Children younger than two years must be in a rear-facing child seat, “unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall”. Children between two and three years of age are also required to be in a car seat, while children ages four to seven may use a car seat or a booster seat.

Children of eight years or more may use a regular seat belt.

The fine for not adhering to child seat laws in Delaware is $50 on the first offense, as well as any additional fees if applicable.

Keep Right and Move Over Laws

As per Delaware Code Title 21 Chapter 41, drivers in Delaware are required to drive in the right lane, with the exception of the following instances:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;
  • When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway;
  • Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or
  • Upon a roadway designated and signposted for one-way traffic.

Any vehicles driving consistently slower than the posted speed limit are required to move to the right line or as close as is practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

Vehicles are prohibited from driving in the left lane when:

  • approaching or upon a curve or the crest of a grade on the highway, where the driver’s view is obstructed within such distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction;
  • approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing, unless otherwise indicated by official traffic-control devices;
  • the view is obstructed upon approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct or tunnel.

Speed Limits

The maximum posted speed limits in Delaware are as follows:

  • 65 mph on rural interstates and limited-access roads
  • 55 mph on urban interstates and all other roads


To promote safe transportation through ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, Delaware passed legislation in 2016 which set insurance requirements for transportation network companies and their drivers.

Most rideshare drivers will use their own insurance policies, however, personal auto insurance policies contain a specific exclusion barring coverage if the car is used for commercial activities.

The insurance requirements laid out in Senate Bill 262 ensure that all parties involved are covered beyond the driver’s personal insurance policy, which will not provide enough coverage in the event of an accident.

Automation on the Road

Autonomous vehicles haven’t quite made their way to Delaware, but the First State is preparing to welcome them when they do.

Following the tragic incident in Arizona, however, when a self-driving Uber vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian, it is clear that it will still be a while before autonomous vehicles are ready to be officially set loose on the roads.

And as of right now, Delaware does not have any laws pertaining to self-driving vehicles.

Safety Laws

Two of the biggest safety laws needed are laws regarding driving under any influence of a substance and distracted driving.

These laws are implemented to keep drivers and passengers safe. Let’s take a look at the laws and make sure you know them to keep you and others safe on the road.

DUI Laws

Driving under the influence is very dangerous and costly. You could be another fatalities statistic or rack up serious fees and fines – neither is an option any driver wants.

BAC Limit0.08
High BAC Limit0.15-0.2; 0.2+
Criminal Status by Offense1st-2nd unclassified misdemeanors, 3rd class G felony, 4th-5th class E felonies, 6th class D felony, 7th class C felony.
Formal Name for OffenseDriving Under the Influence (DUI)
Look Back Period/Washout Period10 years for 2nd offense, unlimited/lifetime for 3rd+
1st Offense - ALS or Revocation12 months
1st Offense - Imprisonmentno minimum
1st Offense - Fine$500
1st Offense - OtherIID Installed for 12-23 months on one vehicle registered in offenders name after serving 30 days of revocation period and enrollment in rehabilitation program.
2nd Offense - DL Revocation2 years
2nd Offense - Imprisonmentmin 60 days up to 18 months
2nd Offense - Fine$750-$2,500
2nd Offense - Other2nd+ offenses - IID installed on all vehicles in offenders name for 16-48 months depending on BAC and enrollment in rehabilitation program
3rd Offense - DL Revocation24 months
3rd Offense - Imprisonmentnot less than 1 year and not more than 2 years
3rd Offense - Fine$1,500 up to $5000
4th Offense - DL Revocation60 months
4th Offense - Imprisonmentnot less than 2 years and not more than 5 years
4th Offense - Fineup to $7000
Fifth OffenseSame as 4th except up to $10000 fine, not less than 3 years not more than 5 years imprisonment
Sixth OffenseSame as 5th except imprisonment not less than 4 years and not more than 8 years
Seventh OffenseSame as 6th except up to $15000 fine and not less than 5 years nor more than 15 years imprisonment
Mandatory InterlockAll offenders
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Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

Delaware currently has a zero-tolerance policy for THC and metabolites, though several groups are working to change that in 2020.

Until that bill is passed, however, driving while under the influence of marijuana is still considered a crime, and will be treated as such if traces of the drug are found in your system.

Distracted Driving Laws

In 2017, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety announced that it would be paying 14 police departments $16,100 “to send Delaware officers out to find drivers whose eyes are on a phone rather than the road”, in response to the rise of distracted driving-related accidents in the First State.

Delaware law prohibits motorists from talking or typing (texting) on any hand-held device. This law can also extend to making posts on social media, playing popular phone games such as Pokemon Go, or taking selfies — all rising problems with today’s drivers.

Bluetooth and hands-free devices are still permitted to be used while driving, with the exception of learner’s permit and intermediate license holders, for whom cell phone usage while driving is banned completely.

Driving in Delaware: Everything (Else) You Need to Know

Lastly, we are going to cover some important statistics regarding theft and fatalities for drivers in Delaware

When drivers know who, when, and where fatalities occur in their state, they can be more aware and hopefully avoid fatalities. The same is true for vehicle theft. If you have a vehicle more susceptible to theft, you can be more cautious in regards to parking and safety.

Vehicle Theft in Deleware

ModelYearNumber stolen (2016)
Honda Civic200053
Honda Accord200443
Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)200536
Ford Pickup (Full Size)199931
Chevrolet Impala200728
Nissan Altima200623
Honda CR-V200123
Ford Taurus200222
Toyota Corolla201021
Toyota Camry201220
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The numbers listed as stolen for a particular make and model includes all model years of it, not just the year listed. The year indicated in the table stands for the most commonly stolen year of that particular make/model.

Road Fatalities in Deleware

The following tables display the most recent driving statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), providing insight into some of the dangers motorists in Deleware face on a daily basis.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal
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Fatalities (All Crashes) by County

Kent County 1421273121
New Castle County 4859635359
Sussex County 3644413539
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Traffic Fatalities

Total Fatalities99124131119119
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Fatalities by Person Type

Total Fatalities119
Enclosed Vehicles70
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Fatalities by Crash Type

Crash Type2017
Single Vehicle62
Involving a large truck14
Involving Speeding33
Involving a Rollover13
Involving a High Departure47
Involving and Intersection/Intersection-Related39
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Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

New Castle County853148
Sussex County1327181216
Kent County161314139
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Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County

New Castle County8107710
Sussex County1623191615
Kent County141814147
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Teen Drinking and Driving

DUI Arrest (Under 18 years old)0
DUI Arrests (18 years old and older)355
Total DUI Arrests355
Total Arrests34,687
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EMS Response Time

If you are in need of emergency medical services, you want to know how fast EMS can get to you and get you to a hospital.

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In under forty-five minutes, EMS can have an injured driver to a hospital.

Transportation in Delaware

The average Delaware employed resident spends about 25.1 minutes commuting to and from work. Unlike its higher-than-average annual insurance rates, the First State’s commute time is actually not much lower than the national average of 25.5 minutes.

And then you have the small, 2.52 percent of Delawareans whose commute averages about 90 minutes or more.

Whether you have lived in Delaware your entire life, or are just moving to The First State, you shouldn’t hold off any longer on finding the best insurance policy for you and your needs.

No one ever anticipates being involved in a traffic incident. But if you ever are, you want to be prepared and find peace of mind in the fact that you are covered and will sustain minimal losses in the long-term.

Ready to get that quote? Enter your zip code below for a free no-obligation quote.