Liability Limits for Delaware Car Insurance Policies
On June 13, 2017, Governor Carney signed House Bill (HB) 114 into law. With an effective date of December 13, 2017, the law raises bodily injury liability coverage for all new car insurance policies. For existing ones, the new law takes effect upon renewal.
HB 114 increases the liability limits under Title 21 Delaware Code Section 2902 from $15,000/$30,000 to $25,000/$50,000. Under the first version of HB 114, the liability limits were $30,000/$60,000. However, the amounts were lowered after the bill went to the Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce Committee.
The new liability coverage amounts are long overdue. The last time Delaware’s minimum car insurance liability limits were raised was over 30 years ago in 1983.
Related: Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Delaware
Car Insurance – Liability Coverage After a Delaware Car Accident
Many Delaware residents don’t know how liability coverage works after a car accident. If you’re at fault for a car accident in Delaware and another party (driver, passenger, pedestrian, etc.) is injured, the liability coverage on your car insurance policy kicks in and covers damages to the injured party up to the amount purchased. Under the new law, that amount is now $25,000 per person (max $50,000).
The $50,000 max liability coverage applies to car accidents where 2 or more people are injured. Even if 5 people are injured due to a car accident you cause, the max amount your car insurance company would pay out for the accident is $50,000 (with a per person max of $25,000). Again, the new coverage amounts go into effect on December 13, 2017.
How the New Law Affects Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist (UIM/UM) Coverage in Delaware
The new changes also affect UIM/UM coverage in Delaware. Under Title 18, Section 3902, UIM/UM coverage amounts must be in an amount no less than the bodily injury liability coverage amounts. In other words, the UIM/UM coverage amount equals the bodily injury liability coverage amounts, which are now $25,000/$50,000 (effective in December).
While UIM/UM coverage is not mandatory, it is one of the most important types of car insurance coverage. UIM/UM coverage protects Delaware residents when they are injured in car accidents where the other driver either doesn’t have enough coverage (underinsured) or isn’t covered at all (uninsured). When these types of car accidents happen, and they do happen quite often, an injured Delaware resident can make a UIM/UM claim under their own policy.
As of December 13, 2017 (and for policies renewed after that date), the UIM/UM coverage amount on a minimum limits policy would be $25,000/$50,000.
Delaware Car Accident Injury Laws – Friendly for Car Accident Victims
The increased coverage limits show that Delaware law continues to be favorable for innocent victims of car accidents. These law changes follow an amendment in 2014 which made it easier for Delaware residents to make underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage claims. In addition, Delaware courts apply the collateral source rule which allows injured victims to make claims for the full amounts of any financial losses, such as medical bills, even if they were paid by health insurance.
Visit the Delaware car insurance law library for more info.
Delaware Car Accident Law Firm – Wilmington, Dover & Newark Offices
Contact our injury lawyers for a free consultation. We have offices throughout Delaware and handle car, truck, pedestrian and bike accidents. (302) 658-1717
*Disclaimer: This website page does not provide any legal advice or create any attorney-client relationship. Every case is unique and you should not take any action or make decisions in your case without speaking to a qualified car and truck accident lawyer in Delaware. Any discussion of results is no guarantee of the same or similar results in current or future cases.