Delaware’s auto insurance rates were among the top ten most expensive in the nation when compared to the national average for 2017. That means shopping around and comparing rates is vital for Delaware drivers looking to save on their premiums. The best car insurance companies in the state are a good place to start looking for a great value on your coverage.
The Basics of Auto Insurance in Delaware
Delaware law mandates a minimum amount of car insurance that every driver must have in order to be on the road legally. This coverage is required in order to be sure that all drivers can be financially responsible for injuries and damage when they are found to be at fault in a car accident.
The law requires that you have at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident for bodily injury liability. In addition to covering you for injuries, your policy must also provide at least $10,000 in property damage coverage.
While the bodily injury coverage limits are about on par with other states, the property damage minimum in Delaware is quite low. Drivers can purchase higher liability limits to better protect themselves – and that decision is highly recommended.
Delaware law also requires a minimum amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This coverage pays for injuries to you and those in your car regardless of who is at fault in the accident. The minimums are $15,000 per person and $30,000 per incident.
Delaware has no further legal requirements for drivers in order to register a vehicle, but anyone that has a loan or lease on their vehicle is also subject to lender requirements. The terms of your loan or lease will set out the insurance requirements that are part of the agreement. Most agreements mandate comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, and some also have requirements placed on the deductibles or even your liability limits. Check with your lender to make sure you know what you need to carry.
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Specifics of Delaware Auto Insurance
Delaware is a no-fault state when it comes to paying for injuries. It differs, however, from states where the no-fault law places limits on the rights of an injured party to sue the other driver. If you are at fault in an accident, you can be sued for any injury-related costs as well as for pain and suffering that exceeds the limits of the injured party’s PIP coverage. Thus, if an injured person has medical bills that exceed their PIP limit, your liability coverage will kick in. Once that has been exceeded, you can be sued for the rest.
Property damage is not subject to no-fault laws. The legal minimum for property damage in Delaware is too low to protect you from anything but a minor fender bender. If you are at fault for the total loss of another driver’s vehicle, $10,000 will not cover you for the majority of newer cars on the road. In the case of some high-value vehicles, you will find yourself responsible for a large amount of money.
In a serious accident, Delaware’s legal minimums for bodily injury will not be enough either; this is particularly true if you are taken to court and sued for pain and suffering. Carrying higher limits is the best way to protect yourself.
The best car insurance companies in Delaware offer a combination of great coverage, excellent customer service, and competitive rates.
All of the companies on our list meet our standards for reputation. We determined this through research into customer complaint volume and content as well as a look at trusted consumer reports including those from J.D. Power. Companies that excel in claims satisfaction and general overall customer service are at the top of our list.
Delaware has high insurance rates overall, so we looked for companies that have competitive rates as well as ways to bring those rates down, including a good list of available discounts. We looked not just for inexpensive rates on basic coverage, but for good value – comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price from a reputable company.
All of the companies that made our list provide coverage across the state and to the general public. In the interest of providing a list that is useful to the largest portion of the population, we opted not to include any companies that have eligibility requirements – but we do recommend that anyone qualifying for USAA’s military insurance programs consider them due to great service and low rates.
Our Top Picks
These three car insurance companies rise to the top for their combination of service and price.
GEICO has built a reputation on low rates which has helped the company climb to the number two spot for market share both nationwide and in the state of Delaware. They have competitive rates for just about any driver and any situation, making them a great budget choice.
GEICO also ranked highly on the J.D. Power regional survey of overall customer satisfaction for car insurance. It is not only low rates that have landed them among the biggest car insurers around, but it’s also excellent customer service.
Progressive is another company that has a reputation for low rates and has a wide array of discounts available to help get those rates even lower. Their rates for Delaware live up to that promise, landing among the lowest for all types of drivers.
Progressive has also been earning a solid reputation for customer service that has landed them in the number three spot nationwide. They have solid ratings from J.D. Power to go with their reasonable premiums.
Allstate is known for having one of the longest lists of available car insurance discounts in the industry, which means that there are a lot of ways to get their rates down to an affordable price, including bundling auto and home insurance. Allstate’s rates in Delaware are competitive even before the discounts.
Allstate also ranks well with J.D. Power and is a good pick for anyone that prefers to purchase their insurance with the help of a local agent.
Shopping for Car Insurance in Delaware
All of our top picks for car insurance in Delaware are big companies, but there are also plenty of smaller companies that offer great value and are well worth a look. Especially in a state where car insurance is on the expensive side, shopping and comparing rates from as many companies as possible is the key to getting a great deal.
In addition to getting some quotes online from the big companies, it is always worth talking to a local independent agent. They can provide you with quotes from local companies and also help you to decide what coverage is best for you.
As mentioned above, higher limits are always a wise choice. Before you start shopping, decide what you want to carry and then request that all of your quotes meet that standard. Insurance companies will often try to make their rates appealing by quoting at lower limits or with high deductibles, so make sure all of your rate comparisons are apples to apples.
The Bottom Line
Although Delaware has higher than average rates compared to the rest of the country, a good deal on car insurance can still be found – and from the biggest names in the business. Take the time to compare as many rates as you can, and shop regularly. It is the best way to keep your costs down.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.