Delaware Car Insurance (Coverage, Companies, & More)
The average Delaware car insurance rates are $103 per month, but where you live and the level of coverage you need can impact your rates. Read our guide to Delaware car insurance to see a breakdown of rates by ZIP code, or enter your ZIP code below to get your free Delaware car insurance quotes. Use these quotes to compare the top Delaware car insurance companies to find the policy that's perfect for you.
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UPDATED: Sep 11, 2020
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|Delaware Statistics Summary|
|Annual Roadway Miles||6,407
Vehicle Miles Driven: 10,178 Million
|Vehicles Registered in State||927,276|
|Most Popular Vehicle||Chevrolet Silverado 1500|
|Total Driving Fatalities||2008-2017
|Annual Premiums||Liability: $799.30
Delaware is known as a “drive-to” state. A vast majority of tourists — 97 percent — take a car to get there, making it a true road trip destination. And 75 percent of those visitors travel less than 200 miles, often from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
Visitors will find plenty to do in Delaware. Most tourists flock to the First State to experience its sunny beaches, fine dining, and tax-free shopping.
Popular Delaware beach resorts are Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, South Bethany, and Fenwick Island. Rehoboth Beach promotes itself as “The Nation’s Summer Capital,” because hordes of vacationers arrive there from Washington, D.C. and neighboring Mid-Atlantic states.
Other sites and events of interest include the First State National Historical Park, the World Championship Punkin Chunkin, and the Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival.
When you hit the road, your car insurance gives you the peace of mind that you’ll be protected from high costs in case an accident or mishap occurs along the way.
The claims companies make in their ads and the variety of options and information available may make your search for the right coverage overwhelming.
We’ve done the hard work for you. We’re here to make the task an adventure, through offering you facts about state insurance requirements and laws, company reviews and price comparisons, driving laws, and everything else in-between.
Are you ready to roll?
Start comparing car insurance for FREE today! Just enter your zip code above.
Delaware Car Insurance Coverage and Rates
The average Delaware resident pays $1,240 yearly for insurance, slightly less than the national average of $1,311. When you buy insurance, you want to make sure that you get a fair price. You might wonder, is it possible to pay less?
This guide is here to help. We’ll go over the many policy options, explain why that coverage is crucial, and explain the confusing industry lingo.
So, read on to find out all you need to know to get the right deal for you.
– Delaware’s Car Culture
One interesting fact about Delaware car culture is that license plates with lower numbers are a status symbol. The older and the more worn looking, the better. And thus, the more scarce and highly sought after they are. They can be worth thousands of dollars.
A reason for this is that the state’s vehicle registration rules let the plates be transferred and passed down through generations.
More than 100 years ago, when Delaware started issuing license plates in numerical order, the first car owners in Delaware were wealthy — they could afford the first cars — and got the first license plates.
In 2008, the license plate number 11 sold at auction for a whopping $675,000.
So, obviously, in this small state, older license plates are a big deal.
Let’s explore the minimum insurance coverage required in the First State.
Delaware Minimum Coverage
Delaware is an at-fault state. So, if you’re responsible for an accident, you must pay for any damages or injuries.
Minimum auto insurance coverage and rates vary from state to state. Compare state to state below:
Liability insurance pays any person owed money for property damage and/or injuries that result from a car accident you or anyone under your policy causes.
Delaware law requires the following minimum liability coverage if you want to drive there:
- $25,000 for bodily injury for one person.
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident.
- $10,000 for property damage liability.
Automobile accidents that involve death do happen, and if you are found to be at fault, you alone will be held financially responsible.
In the First State, you must also carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP). It pays for your medical costs no matter who caused the accident. These are the minimum limits:
- $15,000 for bodily injury to one person.
- $30,000 for bodily injury to more than one person.
PIP also pays up to $5,000 for any needed funeral expenses.
If you get caught without insurance in Delaware, you could find yourself paying hefty fines. So, don’t leave home without it.
Individuals or businesses that have 15 or more cars registered in the First State can apply for self-funded insurance.
Remember that basic liability protection at the minimum required amounts won’t completely cover you if you need to repair or replace damages you caused to your car. For that, you can apply for collision and comprehensive coverage as part of a full coverage policy.
Now, let’s discover the average prices Delaware drivers pay for auto insurance premiums. The rates you pay may vary, but the information can help you see how much you can afford and whether you’re paying too much.
– Forms of Financial Responsibility
Delaware law requires that drivers carry proof of liability insurance from a company licensed by the state insurance commissioner. This insurance serves as a form of financial responsibility that shows that you can pay for injuries or damages if you cause an accident.
State law enforcement also accepts electronic proof of insurance, if you have it ready on a mobile device.
These are other acceptable forms of financial responsibility:
- Proof-of-insurance card.
- A written statement stating your vehicle carries a liability insurance policy.
- Surety bond.
- $40,000 in cash or securities.
You must show proof of insurance when:
- You’re pulled over at a traffic stop
- Get into a car accident
- Register or renew your car’s registration
- Apply or renew your driver’s license
- Have your car inspected
Delaware can perform random audits on uninsured drivers. If you don’t respond to the audit, officials can revoke your license and registration.
Next, let’s see how much Delaware residents earn compared to how much they spend on car insurance.
– Premiums as a Percentage of Income
In 2014, Delawareans had an annual disposable personal income of about $40,256.
Disposable personal income (DPI) is the total amount of money an individual can spend (or save) after they have paid their taxes.
Annual minimum coverage car insurance in Delaware costs about $1,300 a year, which is three percent of the average DPI.
Those figures remained steady from 2012 to 2014 and were close to those of one of neighboring New Jersey. Other border states, Pennsylvania and Maryland, averaged premiums a good $200.00 to $300.00 less and had slightly lower DPI percentages, at just over two percent.
The average Delaware resident has about $3,400 each month for expenses and basic living needs. Car insurance will take about $100 a month out of that monthly.
How much of your DPI do you spend on car insurance every month? Try the calculator below and see.
Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates in DE (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)
Your average monthly car insurance rates by coverage may be cheaper than expected for additional coverage like comprehensive. Review rates for car insurance coverage below:
|Coverage Type||Annual Costs (2015)
The above table provides the most recent data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The combined total is just under the national annual premium average of $1,311. Expect rates in Delaware to be higher in 2019 and in future years.
Remember: Delaware has minimum requirements for liability coverage with coverage amounts starting at 25/50/10.
Let’s go over some popular coverage options to add to an auto insurance policy.
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||77%||77%||72%|
|Medical Payments (Med Pay)||128%||86%||176%|
As we mentioned earlier, Delaware requires that drivers carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Delaware law doesn’t mandate collision and comprehensive coverage, but it may still be good to have. Why? Sometimes, as part of a car’s finance or lease agreement, you must have those two coverages.
Regarding loss ratios, MedPay loss ratios sometimes surpass 100 percent. Loss ratios measure the dollar amount of paid claims versus how much the insurance company takes in premiums. If it’s over 100 percent, it means the insurer is losing money.
The MedPay loss ratios might have been high because of higher-than-expected medical losses connected with the Affordable Care Act.
The more claims consumers file, the more insurers must pay, which increases loss ratios and results in higher premiums.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage isn’t required in Delaware, but it’s an option. In this video, lawyer Ben Schwartz goes over UM claims:
Now, let’s see look at optional additions to your car insurance policy.
Add-Ons, Endorsements, & Riders
We know that getting the most coverage for the best price is your main goal. You’re in luck: you can add lots of useful extras to your policy. These are your options in Delaware:
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
- Usage-Based Insurance
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
- Rental Reimbursement
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Non-Owner Car Insurance
- Modified Car Insurance Coverage
- Classic Car Insurance
Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in DE
The rates for young drivers age 17-25 are predictably high (and males in that age range tend to pay more than females), but after that, drivers achieve more gender equality in rates as they decrease and balance out.
|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|
|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|
Cheapest Rates by Zip Code
How does ZIP code affect auto insurance? Factors like traffic, crime, and claim frequency in your area all matter. Find out how your ZIP code compares against other zips in STATE ABBREVIATION.
Cheapest Rates by City
The same figures, but by name this time.
|City||Average Grand Total|
Now, let’s find out which companies score financially and in customer satisfaction.
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Best Delaware Car Insurance Companies
When it comes to the best car insurance providers, you’ll find a lot of information. Maybe too much. That can make your search frustrating and tedious.
Below, we’ve gathered just the facts you need — no more, no less.
Keep reading to find out all about the best and worst car insurance companies.
|City||Average Grand Total|
The Largest Companies’ Financial Ratings
Many of the top-rated companies in Delaware, such as Geico and State Farm, have existed for a long time and have built a solid, sturdy financial record.
|State Farm Group||A++|
|Nationwide Corp Group||A+|
|Liberty Mutual Group||A|
|Allstate Insurance Group||A+|
|Hartford Fire & Casualty Group||A+
|CSAA Insurance Group||A|
– Companies with Best Ratings
Erie Insurance tops J.D. Power’s U.S. Auto Insurance Study of overall customer satisfaction, while bigger name contenders Geico and The Hartford round out the top three.
Nobody’s perfect! The number of complaints a company receives reveals customer dissatisfaction, yet how they handle them tells a lot about their level of service. Let’s read more about them below.
– Companies with the Most Complaints in Delaware
State Farm outranks the list, with Liberty Mutual a distant second.
|Company||Number of Complaints|
– Cheapest Companies in Delaware
Liberty Mutual has the highest coverage rates, while USAA has the lowest.
|Liberty Mut Fire Ins Co||$18,360.01|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$4,466.85|
|Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co||$4,182.36|
Commute Rates by Company
Again, Liberty Mutual sits atop this list.
|Group||Commute (in miles)||Annual Mileage||Annual Average|
Who is the cheapest car insurance company in DE? Review the average auto insurance rates by company below:
– Coverage Level Rates by Company
|Group||Coverage Type||Annual Average|
– Credit History Rates by Company
Geico and USAA outrank the rest with the lowest rates for drivers with good credit.
|Group||Credit History||Annual Average|
Driving Record Rates by Company
Regardless of the insurer, even one DUI, speeding ticket, or accident can cause your rates to skyrocket.
Six major factors affect car insurance rates in Delaware. Which auto insurance factors will affect rates the most? Find out below:
|Group||Driving Record||Annual Average|
|Liberty Mutual||With 1 DUI||$26,825.11|
|Liberty Mutual||With 1 accident||$16,885.42|
|Liberty Mutual||With 1 speeding violation||$15,044.50|
|Liberty Mutual||Clean record||$14,685.04|
|Allstate||With 1 DUI||$7,464.16|
|Allstate||With 1 accident||$6,398.38|
|Nationwide||With 1 DUI||$6,329.52|
|Allstate||With 1 speeding violation||$6,062.01|
|Travelers||With 1 DUI||$5,847.26|
|State Farm||With 1 accident||$4,885.02|
|Geico||With 1 DUI||$4,842.11|
|Progressive||With 1 accident||$4,773.89|
|State Farm||With 1 DUI||$4,466.85|
|State Farm||With 1 speeding violation||$4,466.85|
|Progressive||With 1 speeding violation||$4,247.32|
|Progressive||With 1 DUI||$4,103.13|
|Nationwide||With 1 speeding violation||$4,081.55|
|State Farm||Clean record||$4,048.67|
|Geico||With 1 accident||$3,960.12|
|Travelers||With 1 speeding violation||$3,744.85|
|Travelers||With 1 accident||$3,573.78|
|Nationwide||With 1 accident||$3,454.89|
|USAA||With 1 DUI||$3,280.40|
|Geico||With 1 speeding violation||$3,247.89|
|USAA||With 1 speeding violation||$2,189.94|
|USAA||With 1 accident||$1,916.79|
Largest Car Insurance Companies in Delaware
Again, the most financially stable insurers, State Farm and Geico have a higher market share than their competitors.
|Company||Direct Premiums Written||Market Share|
Who are the largest auto insurance companies in DE?
Number of Insurers in Delaware
More than 100 insurers formed in Delaware — 101, to be exact — and 766 out-of-state, or foreign, providers offer coverage in the First State.
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Next, let’s learn about Delaware’s driving and insurance laws.
Laws in Delaware
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, especially if you break driving laws. Rules and regulations keep you and everyone around you safe, and it can be hard to keep track of them.
Below, we’ll cover the most vital ones you need to follow to obey the law, and we’ll cover what happens if you don’t.
Sound like a plan? Let’s dive into Delaware laws.
– Delaware’s Car Insurance Laws
Many of us aren’t completely familiar with state insurance laws. These are the ones you should pay most attention to before and after an accident.
– How Delaware Insurance Laws are Determined
The Delaware Department of Insurance’s Rates/Forms Division reviews and regulates insurance contracts and rate filings. The Department of Insurance weighs several factors into determining First State insurance rates:
- Type of vehicle
- Driving record
- Amount of coverage
- Deductible amount
- Vehicle use
- Your place of residence
- Your credit score
The First State doesn’t have any laws specific to windshield damage and repair, however, some insurers may offer this with comprehensive coverage.
You can choose the shop where you have repairs, but you might have to pay for the difference in price. You can choose OEM parts, and again, pay the difference, or replace your windshield with aftermarket or used parts.
High-Risk Insurance in Delaware
Uninsured drivers and those who have committed violations or multiple infractions in Delaware must file an SR-22 form. Drivers who’ve had their licenses revoked or suspended may need to file an SR-22 to have them reinstated.
The SR-22 form is available from your insurance company, but it is not an insurance policy.
Your license may be canceled for an incorrect or fraudulent license application or it may be canceled if a check written to pay driver license fees is returned for insufficient funds.
“High-risk” drivers who’ve committed serious offenses or have several violations can apply for coverage through the Delaware Auto Insurance Plan (DAIP), which provides coverage to drivers who can’t get insurance.
Bear in mind that the DAIP will choose your provider and your premiums will be higher than normal. Drivers who have this coverage must keep it for at least three years.
Those who are eligible must be licensed in the First State and have tried and failed to get insurance coverage within the past 60 days.
Low-Income Insurance in Delaware
The State of Delaware doesn’t currently offer any special low-cost car insurance. Your best bet is to compare the most affordable rates.
Auto Insurance Fraud in Delaware
To fight fraud, Delaware has established a fraud unit, the Delaware Department of Insurance. Delaware Code Title 18, Chapter 24 covers different types of insurance crimes and how they protect victims.
The Delaware Department of Insurance outlines the following examples of fraud:
- Falsely reporting where your vehicle is normally garaged. Example: Your insurance rates are based on the location that you tell the insurance company your vehicle is normally kept and used. If your primary residence is in another state; however, you improperly register and insure your vehicle using a friend or relative’s residence in Delaware for financial gains, such as to get lower premiums, you are committing insurance fraud.
- Failing to disclose prior claims or accidents when asked during the application process for insurance.
- Failing to list all eligible drivers in a household on the application.
- Obtaining insurance on a vehicle in your name on which another person will be the principal driver because that driver cannot either obtain coverage elsewhere or would have to pay higher premiums.
Filing False Claims
- Overstating the value of repairs or replacement costs as reported for a loss from an auto collision, damage to property or theft claim.
- Altering any receipts for any of the above items.
- Creating a false receipt for any of the above items.
- Claiming false or exaggerated injuries to secure lost wages or any other injury settlement resulting from an accident.
If you suspect insurance fraud or have been the victim of it, you can file an online report.
Statute of Limitations
Delaware’s statute of limitations for filing a claim is two years for personal injury and property damage.
– Vehicle Licensing Laws
Delaware began offering secure driver’s licenses and identification cards in 2010 to comply with the REAL ID Act Congress passed and the Department of Homeland Security enforced.
In the process, the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles states that you must bring original or certified copies of documents with you to get a REAL ID card:
- An original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics or State Board of Health (wallet cards, birth registration or hospital announcements/records are NOT accepted) OR valid passport/immigration documents (must have the correct legal name).
- One proof of Social Security Number (SSN) which can be a Social Security card, W-2 tax form, SSA 1099 form, SSA Non-1099 form, pay stub containing full SSN or any valid document issued by the Social Security Administration that contains the full SSN (Medicare/Medicaid cards NOT acceptable).
- Two proofs of Delaware residency from two different sources containing a residential street address that includes applicant’s name and is postmarked or dated within 60 days (i.e.; utility bill, cable bill, voter registration card or junk mail) Personal mail and non-U.S. postal mail are NOT accepted. P.O. boxes and business addresses are also not acceptable as a residential address.
- *Legal name change documentation if applicable (i.e.; valid marriage license(s), divorce decree(s) stating legal name, court order(s), spouse’s death certificate(s)). Documents are required if your current name is different than the name that appears on your birth certificate. If you have had several name changes, in the case of multiple marriages and divorces, you will need to provide all name change documents. Clergy certificates are NOT accepted as proof of marriage. *If you recently changed your name, you MUST update your name change with the SSA 48 hours before you apply at the Division of Motor Vehicles.
In addition to the documentation listed above, the following documents are also required:
- Out-of-state driver license/ID OR an official out-of-state driving record
Graduated Driver License (GDL) / ID Under 18
In addition to the documentation listed above, the following documents are also required:
- Parent, legal guardian, or court-appointed custodian with valid identification. (Legal custody order document required)
- Delaware Driver Education certificate (White or Blue slip) – Only applicable for GDL applicants
The original or certified copy of the birth certificate must list both parents’ names and must be provided in addition to immigration documentation, if applicable.
This card is also an acceptable form of identification at federal facilities, airports, and nuclear power plants. It will be required for domestic air travel starting Oct. 1, 2020.
This Delaware Online video goes over the features of the ID cards:
– Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Delaware
If law enforcement officers catch you for driving without insurance in Delaware, you’ll pay a $1,500 fine and $3,000 for subsequent offenses. You also risk losing your license for up to six months.
So, keep those fines in mind to stay on the straight and narrow.
Teen Driver Laws
Delaware requires young drivers to pass a Graduated Driver License program. The program is intended to reduce the high accident and fatality rate among teen motorists and gives young drivers supervised driving experience to help them earn a Level 1 Permit and a Class D License.
|Restrictions||Level 1 Learner's Permit||Class D License|
|Age||15 years, 10 months||16 - must have held a Level 1 Permit for a minimum of six months prior|
|Passengers||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 prohibited for all drivers
Texting prohibited 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|
Older Driver License Renewal Procedures
Like the general population, older Delaware drivers must renew their licenses every eight years and show proof of adequate vision at every renewal. And like their younger contemporaries, they must renew in-person only.
If you move to Delaware, you have 60 days to register your vehicle and update your license.
This is crucial! You have 60 days from the time you move to Delaware to register your vehicle, and you must follow certain steps. The Delaware DMV and Department of Transportation also offer Guidelines for New Residents.
License Renewal Procedures
Delaware drivers must renew their licenses every eight years in person and show adequate proof of vision.
Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)
As part of Delaware’s point system, major violations, including those below, will earn you points on your license or a suspension in Delaware:
Calculated points are credited at full point value for the first 12 months from the date of a violation. After the initial 12 months have expired, the calculated points will be credited at one-half point value for the next 12 months. All actions are based upon total calculated points with-in a 24-month period following the offense.
Driver Improvement Problem Driver Program Actions
The Division of Motor Vehicles sends the driver an advisory letter.
Driver must complete a behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course within 90 days after notification (unless extended by DMV). Failure to comply or upon the driver’s preference, a mandatory two-month suspension will be imposed.
Mandatory four-month license suspension. To become eligible for reinstatement, the driver must complete or have completed a behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course within the previous two years.
Mandatory six-month license suspension. To become eligible for reinstatement, the driver must complete or have completed a behavioral modification/attitudinal-driving course within the previous two years.
Mandatory eight-month license suspension. To become eligible for reinstatement, the driver must complete or have completed a behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course within the previous two years.
Mandatory ten-month license suspension. To become eligible for reinstatement, the driver must complete or have completed a behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course within the previous two years.
Mandatory 12-month license suspension. To become eligible for reinstatement, the driver must complete or have completed a behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course within the previous two years.
A speeding violation of one to 14 mph over the posted speed limit may not be assessed points, IF (a) it is the first violation within any three-year period and (b) the ticket is paid through the Voluntary Assessment Center.
A Delaware driver can receive a three-point credit by taking a defensive driving course. This credit is applied to a driver’s point total with the satisfactory completion of an approved defensive driving course. Defensive driving courses are valid for three years. The three-point credit is only applied to future violations and does not remove or reduce existing DMV points.
Serious Speeding Violations
Speed violations are among the most dangerous offenses. This is how the Delaware DMV handles serious speeding penalties:
- They send an advisory letter to drivers convicted of speeding 20-24 mph over the posted speed limit.
- The DMV will suspend drivers convicted of speeding 25 mph over the posted speed limit for one month. They will increase the length of the suspension by one month for each additional 5 mph over the initial 25 mph threshold. The driver may choose to attend the behavior modification/attitudinal-driving course in lieu of license suspension when driving 25-29 mph over the posted limit. For speeding 30 mph over the posted limit or more, the suspension is mandatory.
- They will suspend the licenses of drivers convicted of driving 50 mph or more over the posted speed limit or driving 100 mph on a highway for one year.
Read about more violations that can result in fines or a suspended license.
– Delaware Rules of the Road
We’ve covered some of the more minor offenses. As you might have guessed, that’s not all. Next, we’ll go over the more serious laws that affect your safety on the road and have more severe penalties.
Fear not, fair traveler. We’ve got your back. Scroll down to find out what you should do to stay safe and comply with the law to avoid penalties and violations.
Fault vs. No-Fault
Delaware law holds drivers responsible for an accident at-fault for medical expenses, damages, and other collision costs under the following liability limits:
- $25,000 for each injured person.
- Up to $50,000 per accident.
- $10,000 for property damage per accident.
Again, this is the minimum required liability coverage, and to protect yourself and your loved ones, we suggest you buy coverage that exceeds those requirements.
In determining who’s at fault the state uses comparative negligence laws to assign a certain percentage of responsibility to each party involved. To receive a monetary award for damages, the victim’s (or plaintiff’s) level of fault must be less than or equal to 50 percent.
The following scenario explains how this works:
- The plaintiff suffers a broken leg, cuts, bruises, and a sprained back.
- The plaintiff was going five mph over the speed limit, but the defendant ran through a stop sign.
- The jury determines that the case is worth $50,000.
- The jury decides the plaintiff was ten percent at fault and the defendant was 90 percent at fault.
Comparative negligence will reduce the award by 10 percent, which means the plaintiff will get $45,000 ($50,000 minus $5,000). If the plaintiff was driving 15 mph over the speed limit, the jury may decide the plaintiff was 40 percent at fault. Thus, the jury would reduce the plaintiff’s award by 40 percent to $30,000.
Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws
Delaware drivers and all front-seat passengers age 16 and older must wear a seat belt. Passengers in the back seat ages 8-15 or who weigh 66 pounds or more can wear an adult safety belt.
Law enforcement officers can ticket offenders if they notice this violation. The minimum base fine for a first offense is $25.
Delaware residents must put their children in a car seat if they are seven years old and younger and weigh less than 66 pounds. The law prefers children 11 years and younger sit in the rear seat, and if the passenger side airbag is active, the child must be 65 inches in height.
The First State lacks specific laws against riding in the cargo areas of vehicles.
Keep Right and Move Over Laws
Delaware law states that drivers should keep right if they’re moving slower than the average speed of traffic around them:
Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
A current issue on the highways is slow drivers in the left lane, which is meant for passing. This has raised some safety concerns. State lawmakers have proposed a bill that would make it illegal to hog the left lane:
|Type of Roadway||Speed Limit|
|Rural Interstates||65 mph|
|Urban Interstates||55 mph|
|Other Limited Access Roads||65 mph|
|Other Roads||55 mph|
No car insurance providers currently offer ridesharing coverage.
Rideshare Delaware, part of the DART First State initiative, is a special state commuter service that works with employers, employees, colleges, and students to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion by championing clean commutes, including:
- Carpooling & Vanpooling.
- Compressed Work Weeks.
Automation on the Roads
Delaware doesn’t have any specific laws that regulate automated vehicles.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and distracted driving are among the risks of the road. Let’s explore some of the laws that regulate them.
In 2006, the state of Delaware added more DUI checkpoints across the state to reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes. And in 2018, Delaware lawmakers introduced a bill that would lower the legal blood-alcohol threshold from .08 to .05.
This law firm video covers the consequences of driving while under the influence in Delaware:
These are some of the most recent DUI statistics:
|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
Delaware has a zero-tolerance policy on THC and metabolites.
Distracted Driving Laws
The Office of Highway Safety in Delaware bans all handheld smartphones, cell phones, tablets, laptops, games, and other portable computers while driving. As the law states, “Drivers are not allowed to talk without using a hands-free device, read, write or send text messages, email or use the Internet while operating a motor vehicle.”
There’s a good reason for these strict laws: the First State has the second highest rate of crash deaths linked to distracted driving.
Police officers may find drivers $100 for using a hand-held device on their first offense. Subsequent offenses will be no less than $200 and no more than $300.
Driving in Delaware
As we noted earlier, driving in Delaware comes with plenty of risks. It’s among the states with the highest distracted driving deaths and according to AAA Mid-Atlantic Region research, and aggressive drivers are another problem. It’s no wonder there are strict laws to prevent these behaviors.
Thefts and crashes also number among the hazards, and below we’ll present some interesting statistics about them further below.
So, read on to find out more about the risks of the road.
– Vehicle Theft in Delaware
Did your car make the list? These were the most stolen vehicles in 2015:
|Car||Year of Vehicle||Number Stolen|
|Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2005||36|
|Ford Pickup (Full Size)||1999||31|
– Vehicle Theft by City
Wilmington, the city with the highest population in Delaware, ranked number one.
|Top Ten Cities in Delaware With Most Vehicle Thefts||Number of Stolen Vehicles|
– Road Fatalities in Delaware
These are some alarming statistics regarding driving-related fatalities. Remember to drive safely.
– Fatal Crashes by Weather and Light Condition
Most crashes occurred in normal daylight conditions.
|Weather Condition||Daylight||Dark, but Lighted||Dark||Dawn or Dusk||Other / Unknown||Total|
– Fatalities (All Crashes by County)
– Traffic Fatalities: Rural vs. Urban
– Fatalities by Person Type
|Bicyclist and Other Cyclists||1||3||2||2||5|
– Fatalities by Crash Type
|Delaware Traffic Deaths by Crash Type||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017|
|Single Vehicle Crash||51||67||71||71||62|
|Large Truck Involved||10||12||12||9||14|
|Roadway Departure Involved||39||63||48||57||47|
|Involving an Intersection||25||26||36||37||39|
– Five-Year Trend for the Top Ten Counties
|New Castle County||48||59||63||53||59|
– Fatalities Involving Speed by County
– Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver
– Teen Drinking and Driving
These are some underage drunk driving stats for Delaware in 2016:
- Under 18 DUI arrests: 0
- Under 18 DUI arrest rate: 0 percent
- Under 21 drunk driving death rate: 1.7
Note: The above drunk driving arrest rate is for every 100,000 residents under the age of 18, while the death rate listed is per 100,000 Delaware residents of all ages.
– EMS Response Times
Rural areas may have higher response times because of their distance from major urban areas.
|Location||Time of Crash to EMS Notification||Notification to Arrival||Arrival at Scene to Hospital Arrival||Time of Crash to Time of Hospital Arrival|
The First State, like a similar small state, Connecticut, is part of a tri-state traffic jam. In this case, Delaware, southeast Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey merge along the I-95 corridor, which is at its most hectic during peak traffic times in the day and in the evening.
– Car Ownership
Like the national average, more than 40 percent of Delaware drivers own at least two cars.
– Commute Time
Delaware drivers share an average commute time of 25 minutes, while 2.5 percent of them report they face “super commutes” of 90 minutes or more.
– Commuter Transportation
Most Delaware residents drive alone.
– Traffic Congestion in Delaware
Sussex County is growing at a rate of more than 5,000 permanent residents yearly. As Sussex County has grown, so has traffic congestion and related issues. Even outside of the summer tourist season, Route 1 between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach is jammed with cars, trucks, motorcycles and recreational vehicles.
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