What To Do If You’re In a Car Accident Without Insurance But Not At Fault In Delaware

Driving without insurance is a criminal offense in Delaware and you could lose your license if involved in an accident while uninsured.
Written by Jaya Anandjit
Reviewed by Claire Beaney
Even if you’re not at fault, there can be serious consequences if you’re involved in a car accident in Delaware without insurance. Since Delaware is an at-fault state, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company for car repairs or medical bills, but you will face harsh penalties for driving without insurance.
Car accidents can be stressful enough, but what’s worse—getting into an accident without car insurance. To help you navigate car accidents without insurance in Delaware, the trusted
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is here with a guide on claiming damages, plus penalties you could face for driving without insurance. 
To help you avoid a costly accident, we’ll even throw in tips on how to get affordable
Delaware car insurance
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What to do if you’re in a car accident without insurance in Delaware and not at fault

First things first—driving without auto insurance is a crime in the state of Delaware, and if you’re in an accident, you may face expensive and stressful legal circumstances. Here’s what to do if you’re in a car accident but don’t have insurance in Delaware.
One: stay at the scene of the crash. You might consider heading out to avoid the hard conversation and penalties that come with being uninsured, but leaving could lead to harsher consequences. It’s a crime to leave the scene of an accident in Delaware, regardless if you have insurance or weren’t at fault, and you could face penalties such as: 
  • A fine between $230 to $1,150 or imprisonment for 60 days to six months if the accident involved property damages
  • A fine between $1,000 to $3,000 or imprisonment for one to two years if the accident involved injuries
  • A class E Delaware state felony if the accident involved death
  • Driver’s license suspension for six months to two years
With this said, try to stay calm if you’re in an accident and safely pull over to a nearby spot where you can check for injuries and damages to both parties involved. If necessary, call 911 and exchange your name, address, driver’s license, registration number, and license plate number with the other driver. Be sure to take pictures of any property damages or documents you might need to reference later.
If the other driver has insurance and you weren’t at fault, you can file a claim with their insurance company for car repairs or medical expenses that resulted from the accident. Suppose you both are uninsured but you weren’t at fault—you’ll need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover reimbursements for medical bills, car repairs, or lost wages.
If you don’t have insurance but you’re not at fault for the accident, you cannot sue for long-term effects from the accident or “noneconomic damages”. This is referred to as the “No Pay, No Play” rule, which means you can’t legally recover compensation for your pain and suffering.

Who decides fault in a car accident in Delaware?

Insurance companies ultimately determine liability but the police may also play a part in resolving the accident. 
If your accident is reported to the police, their report will help insurance companies determine fault. If emergency services are not necessary, you will need to submit personal evidence and a claim to your insurance company.
If you are uninsured but you are not at fault for the accident, you will need to file a claim and provide personal evidence, such as pictures or videos, to the other driver’s insurance company.
MORE: How to Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident

Do you need to report a car accident in Delaware? 

Not all accidents require emergency services, but you must immediately contact the Delaware police if it resulted in injuries or death, occurred on a highway and resulted in property damage of $500 or more, or involved a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, if you or the other driver leave the scene, it must be reported to the police.
You will also need to submit an accident form to the
Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles
(DMV) if there was a death or injury that occurred on a public highway and resulted in property damage of $500 or more, or involved property damages of $1,000 or more from a driver with physical impairments from drugs and alcohol. 

What if you’re at fault?

The consequences of operating a vehicle without insurance and causing a crash can be almost as impactful as the crash itself. 
Delaware is a comparative negligence state, which means that you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages if you are deemed 51% negligent for the accident. If you don’t have insurance, the not-at-fault driver can file a lawsuit against you to recover these damages.
In general, driving without insurance can result in fines of up to $2,000 for first offenses and a six-month license suspension. If you caused an accident without insurance, your license will be suspended for six months and you could face a registration suspension and an uninsured motorist penalty fee. 

What if you’re hit by an uninsured driver in Delaware?

Suppose the driver who caused the crash was uninsured, but you have insurance. You can directly pursue the at-fault driver, but that may be time-consuming, especially if you need to take legal action.
Thankfully, as a Delaware resident, you have access to additional auto insurance options for medical expenses and vehicle repairs. This includes underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) and
uninsured motorist coverage
For example, you can add up to $15,000 per person in uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, and up to $10,000 in uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) insurance per accident to your policy. These types of coverage will ensure that your insurance company protects you from damages caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
If you have
collision coverage
, you can file a claim for physical damages, and as a Delaware resident, you are required to have
personal injury protection (PIP)
coverage, which will pay for medical expenses for you and any passengers. 
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Penalties for driving without insurance in Delaware

Yes, you can claim damages without insurance coverage if you weren’t at fault for the accident, but no—you cannot avoid the penalties for driving without insurance in Delaware.
Title 21 of the Delaware Vehicle Code
, you can be fined between $1,500 to $2000 for a first offense driving without insurance, or between $3,000 to $4,000 for following offenses within three years of the first one. Your license will also be suspended for six months. 
This applies whether you were at fault or not, and you cannot buy insurance after the accident to cover any liability. You can appeal the charges if you failed to provide proof of insurance but had insurance coverage at the time of the accident. Regardless, the only way to avoid these penalties is by purchasing valid car insurance before you hit the road.

Minimum required car insurance in Delaware

To avoid the negative consequences of being insurance-less in an accident, it’s best to get insured with at least the minimum requirements set out by Delaware state law. Here are the requirements for valid auto insurance policies in Delaware:
  • $25,000 of
    bodily injury liability
    coverage per person 
  • $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident 
  • $10,000 of
    property damage liability
  • $15,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) per person
  • $30,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) per accident
While Delaware’s minimum car insurance requirements are good enough to get you by with most accidents, it is recommended that you purchase higher limits that will protect you from financial losses in the event of serious accidents.
For example, Delaware doesn’t require collision or
comprehensive coverage
, but it may be wise to protect your car from damages that are out of your control, especially if you’re a frequent commuter or encounter harsh weather conditions.

Driving without insurance can increase premiums

If you weren’t already convinced, another reason to get car insurance is to avoid a higher premium, which you’ll have to endure if you’re caught driving insured. Car accidents and insurance violations can lead to rate increases for as long as the points remain on your record, so you’ll end up paying a lot more in the long run.

How to find cheap car insurance in Delaware

We get it—insurance can be expensive, and if you’re a Delaware resident who’s gone back and forth with different companies trying to find an affordable rate, you’re probably a bit stressed out. To save you the worry of finding a great rate, and to help you avoid the consequences of driving without insurance,
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