Updated on 06.20.16

Car Insurance in Delaware

Kailey Fralick

I saved $526 with five online quotes.

Delaware’s auto repair costs are some of the most expensive in the nation, driving their car insurance premiums up 40 percent above the national average. And unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to change that — but it doesn’t mean you can’t score a good deal! I found that with as little as 30 minutes of comparison shopping, you could save hundreds on your annual premium.

I got quotes for minimum coverage from five major insurers while searching for Delaware’s best car insurance policy and found prices varied by over $500 from one company to the next. Progressive turned out to be the cheapest for me, but a different company may be able to offer you a better rate. Insurance premiums depend on a ton of individual factors, so there’s no way to predict which company is going to offer you the most competitive rates.

Insurers look at your driving record, vehicle make and model, address, age, education level, and more when calculating your rates. Every company has its own algorithm that weighs these factors slightly differently, so the only way to find the best deal for you is to get a handful of quotes and compare their rates. The more quotes you get, the better, and I wouldn’t settle for anything less than five or six.

You should be able to get most quotes online within five minutes. And really, they’re the best way to go. (Online quotes are saved, so if you want to go back and play around with the coverage limits later, you can do so.) If you have to call, expect that to take about 15 minutes, and know that you may have to sit on hold. Most of the information you need will be at the front of your brain, but if you don’t know your average annual mileage or the details of any accidents from the past five years, find that out before getting started.

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Delaware

I got quotes from the following five companies, all of whom are national insurers licensed in Delaware, and I’d recommend them to all residents.

Insurer My quote
Progressive $436
GEICO $473
Allstate $572
State Farm $760
Travelers $962

A good insurer must be financially stable enough to pay out when you need them to and their customer service shouldn’t cause extra headaches. After all, filing a claim is stressful enough. These companies fulfill both those requirements. They’ve all received top ratings from A.M. Best, a top financial strength rating agency, and high scores in the latest auto insurance customer satisfaction survey from J.D. Power, a global leader in customer satisfaction reporting. Abiding by these two criteria is the top way to find the best car insurance policy for you, bar none.

Progressive ended up being my number-one option for cheap car insurance, with the next-best company, GEICO, falling $37 behind. Even GEICO’s price was over $500 cheaper than what Travelers wanted to charge me for the same coverage. At these rates, I could purchase significantly higher coverage with Progressive for the same or less than what Travelers quoted me for minimum coverage, and that’s definitely the way I would go.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

Your insurance premium depends not only on your risk, but also your shopping habits. A technique known as price optimization has become increasingly common — and increasingly controversial — in recent years. Companies look at your credit score, online shopping habits, and even your social media activity to determine how likely you are to stay loyal to your insurer and charge you accordingly.

Unfortunately, loyalty’s not rewarded. If insurers think you won’t shop for a better deal, they’ll charge you higher rates and you’ll be none the wiser. Don’t be fooled by loyalty discounts. You may think they’re saving you money, but it’s just a ploy to keep you around. Sure, these discounts claim to cut 5 percent off your average premium, but what your insurance company didn’t tell you is it had already raised your rate 15 percent based off your likelihood of shopping for a better deal. That means you’re still paying 10 percent more than you have to.

Shop for a new policy every year or two to ensure your quotes are accurately reflecting your risk — not your shopping habits. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it makes a huge difference. If companies know you’ll go with whoever offers you the best price, they’ll offer more competitive rates to secure your business. After all, it’s better for their bottom line to offer you a lower rate and keep you as a customer than to lose you to a competitor.

In October 2015, Delaware joined a growing number of states that have banned price optimization within their borders. The state issued a bulletin requiring all insurers to remove non-risk-related factors from their pricing algorithms by mid-2016, arguing that they’re unfairly discriminatory and in violation of state laws. If you last purchased auto insurance before July 2016, you may want to look around for a new policy to make sure your rate reflects your level of risk as a driver, not your shopping habits.

Delaware’s Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

Delaware’s liability coverage minimums are far below the national average. Residents are required to carry just $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per person and $30,000 per accident, plus $10,000 of property damage liability coverage. You may see this written as $15,000/$30,000/$10,000. This coverage pays for damages to another driver, their passengers, and their property when you are found to be at fault in the accident.

Delaware is one of the few states that also requires personal injury protection, with the same $15,000/$30,000 minimums as the liability coverage. Personal injury protection pays for medical bills, lost wages, and funeral costs, among other things. It is a no-fault coverage, meaning you can use it to cover your medical expenses even if you were at fault in the accident. And you can usually get that money from your insurance company much quicker because you don’t have to wait around for them to determine blame or file lawsuits.

The Best Car Insurance is Not Just Cheap Car Insurance

Minimum coverage might seem like a good idea at the time, but if you can afford to do so, it’s always better to go with higher coverage limits. Consider this:

  • The average driver will file an auto insurance claim every 17.9 years.
  • The average cost of a disabling, nonfatal injury is $80,700, and that’s just for one person. If you injure multiple people, expect that cost to rise astronomically.

If I stick with the state minimum coverage and I get into an accident that causes an $80,000 injury, my insurance is only going to pay its $15,000. That leaves me with $65,000 to pay out of pocket — and that’s money I don’t have lying around. All the same, I’m likely to find myself in court being sued for the remainder of the damages and I’ll have to kiss goodbye to any money I’d been saving up for emergencies or a down payment on a house.

Raising my coverage limits to $50,000/$100,000/$25,000 would only cost an extra $44 a year with Progressive (about $4 a month), and it would save me $35,000 in the example above. That would still leave me with $30,000 to pay out of pocket, which is less than ideal, so personally, I’d go with even higher coverage limits. A few extra dollars on my monthly premiums is worth the added peace of mind.

Consider adding uninsured motorist coverage as well. This isn’t required by law, but it can save you quite a bit of money. According to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 12 percent of Delaware drivers don’t have insurance. If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, your insurance won’t pay for the damages unless you have uninsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage goes hand in hand with this. If the other driver only has minimum coverage, they may not have enough to pay for all the damages. Underinsured motorist coverage steps in and pays the remainder of the damages beyond the at-fault driver’s policy limits.

If you have a lease or loan on your vehicle, you may be required to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage as well. These pay for repairs to your vehicle and lenders often require them to make sure they’ll still get paid, even if something happens to your car. Collision coverage deals primarily with accidents involving another vehicle. Wildlife collisions, vandalism, theft, and natural disasters are all included under comprehensive coverage. Even if you aren’t required to purchase vehicle protection, it’s often not a bad idea to do so, especially if you have a newer car. Repair costs add up quickly and paying a few extra dollars per month is much easier than coming up with thousands of dollars to cover the damages following an accident.

If You Skip Coverage, It’ll Cost You

Driving uninsured will cost you a lot more than your auto insurance premiums would. A first offense will earn you a fine of at least $1,500 and your driving privileges will be suspended for six months. Repeat offenses within three years will earn you a $3,000 fine, on top of the suspension.

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

Beat the Average Premium: 9 Ways to Snag Cheap Car Insurance Rates

There are a ton of factors that affect your premiums and surprisingly, there’s a lot you can do to adjust these factors in your favor. Most people aren’t going to do anything as drastic as moving to a cheaper zip code, but simpler things like letting your insurance company monitor your driving and limiting your time spent on the road, can also lead to big savings. I always like to pay my premium in full, as most companies will offer you a nice discount for doing so. For more ideas, check out our list below.

Nine Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Rates

FAQs

Why are Delaware’s rates so high?

What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
United States $139
Delaware $224
Wilmington $224
Source Quadrant

Delaware’s insurance premiums come in nearly 40 percent above the national average. This is in part because the state has a higher population density than most, and more people in close quarters increases the chances of accidents, theft, and vandalism. It also tends to raise the costs of medical care and auto repair, which means insurance companies have to pay out more for a claim in Delaware than they would in Nebraska, for example. In fact, one study found Delaware’s auto repair costs rank as the third most expensive in the nation.

Delaware’s uninsured drivers may also be contributing to the high rates. Nearly 12 percent of drivers are uninsured, which isn’t bad compared to some states (over a quarter of Florida’s drivers are uninsured), but it’s still far from ideal. When insurance companies know there’s a chance they could get stuck paying for damages another driver caused, they raise your rates to reflect that risk.

The Bottom Line

Spending some time evaluating your car insurance situation is likely to save you a lot of money now, and if you do it on a regular basis, you can avoid becoming a victim of price optimization. Most of the time you don’t even have to pick up the phone — and the entire process takes no more than 10 minutes a quote. Go ahead, try it out on a few companies and compare the rates. Odds are, you’re going to find some savings.

Get Quotes Now

Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

Simple Share Buttons
Simple Share Buttons