Registration, Title and Licenses
CHAPTER 29. Motor Vehicle Safety—Responsibility
Subchapter I. General Provisions
This chapter shall not apply with respect to any motor vehicle owned by the United States, this State or any political subdivision of this State or any municipality therein or with respect to any motor vehicle which is subject to the requirements of §§ 6101 and 6102 of this title; however, § 2904 of this title shall apply to motor vehicles owned by this State.61 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 5; 79 Del. Laws, c. 394, § 1;
(a) A “motor vehicle liability policy,” as said term is used in this chapter, shall mean an owner’s or an operator’s policy of liability insurance, certified, as provided in § 2948 or § 2949 of this title, as proof of financial responsibility and issued, except as otherwise provided in § 2949 of this title, by an insurance carrier duly authorized to transact business in this State, to or for the benefit of the person named therein as insured.
(b) Such owner’s policy of liability insurance shall:
(1) Designate by explicit description or by appropriate reference all motor vehicles with respect to which coverage is thereby to be granted; and
(2) Insure the person named therein and any other person, as insured, using any such motor vehicle or motor vehicles with the express or implied permission of such named insured, against loss from the liability imposed by law for damages arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of such motor vehicle or motor vehicles within the United States of America or the Dominion of Canada, subject to limits exclusive of interest and costs, with respect to each such motor vehicle, as follows: $25,000, because of bodily injury to or death of 1 person in any 1 accident and, subject to said limit for 1 person $50,000, because of bodily injury to or death of 2 or more persons in any 1 accident, and $10,000, because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any 1 accident.
(c) Such operator’s policy of liability insurance shall insure the person named as insured therein against loss from the liability imposed upon the operator by law for damages arising out of the use by the operator of any motor vehicle not owned by the operator, within the same territorial limits and subject to the same limits of liability as are set forth above with respect to an owner’s policy of liability insurance.
(d) Such motor vehicle liability policy shall state the name and address of the named insured, the coverage afforded by the policy, the premium charged therefor, the policy period and the limits of liability and shall contain an agreement or be endorsed that insurance is provided thereunder in accordance with the coverage defined in this chapter as respects bodily injury and death or property damage, or both, and is subject to all the provisions of this chapter.
(e) Such motor vehicle liability policy need not insure any liability under any workers’ compensation law nor any liability on account of bodily injury to or death of an employee of the insured while engaged in the employment, other than domestic, of the insured or while engaged in the operation, maintenance or repair of any such motor vehicle, nor any liability for damage to property owned by, rented to, in charge of or transported by the insured.
(f) Every motor vehicle liability policy shall be subject to the following provisions which need not be contained therein:
(1) The liability of the insurance carrier with respect to the insurance required by this chapter shall become absolute whenever injury or damage covered by said motor vehicle liability policy occurs; such policy may not be canceled or annulled as to such liability by any agreement between the insurance carrier and the insured after the occurrence of the injury or damage; no statement made by the insured or on the insured’s behalf and no violation of such policy shall defeat or void such policy;
(2) The satisfaction by the insured of a judgment for such injury or damage shall not be a condition precedent to the right or duty of the insurance carrier to make payment on account of such injury or damage;
(3) The insurance carrier shall have the right to settle any claim covered by the policy, and, if such settlement is made in good faith, the amount thereof shall be deductible from the limits of liability specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section;
(4) The policy, the written application therefor, if any, and any rider or endorsement which does not conflict with the chapter shall constitute the entire contract between the parties.
(g) Any policy which grants the coverage required for a motor vehicle liability policy may also grant any lawful coverage in excess of or in addition to the coverage specified for a motor vehicle liability policy and such excess or additional coverage shall not be subject to this chapter. With respect to a policy which grants such excess or additional coverage the term “motor vehicle liability policy” shall apply only to that part of the coverage which is required by this section.
(h) Any motor vehicle liability policy may provide that the insured shall reimburse the insurance carrier for any payment the insurance carrier would not have been obligated to make under the terms of the policy except for this chapter.
(i) Any motor vehicle liability policy may provide for the prorating of the insurance thereunder with other valid and collectible insurance.
(j) The requirements for a motor vehicle liability policy may be fulfilled by the policies of 1 or more insurance carriers which policies together meet such requirements.
(k) Any binder issued pending the issuance of a motor vehicle liability policy shall be deemed to fulfill the requirements for such a policy.61 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 5; 64 Del. Laws, c. 198, § 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 81 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 1;
(a) This chapter shall not apply to or affect policies of automobile insurance against liability required by any other law of this State, and such policies, if they contain an agreement or are endorsed to conform to the requirements of this chapter, may be certified as proof of financial responsibility under this chapter.
(b) This chapter shall not apply to or affect policies insuring solely the insured named in the policy against liability resulting from the maintenance or use by persons in the insured’s employ or on the insured’s behalf of motor vehicles not owned by the insured.61 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 5; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1;
(a) Upon condition of providing the same benefits available under a required vehicle insurance policy, any person in whose name more than 15 motor vehicles are registered in this State may qualify as a self-insurer by obtaining a certificate of self-insurance issued by the Secretary of Transportation as provided in subsection (b) of this section.
(b) The Secretary of Transportation may, in the Secretary’s discretion, approve an application for self-insurance from such a person provided the following is submitted in satisfactory form:
(1) A continuing undertaking by the owner or other appropriate person to pay tort liabilities or basic reparation benefits, or both, and to perform all other obligations imposed by § 2118 of this title;
(2) Evidence that appropriate provisions exist for prompt and efficient administration of all claims, benefits and obligations required by § 2118 of this title; and
(3) Evidence that reliable financial arrangements, deposits or commitments exist providing assurance for payment of tort liabilities or basic reparation benefits, or both, and all other obligations imposed by this chapter substantially equivalent to those afforded by a policy of insurance complying with § 2118 of this title.
(c) Upon not less than 5 days’ notice and a hearing pursuant to such notice, the Secretary of Transportation may, upon reasonable grounds, withdraw this approval of self-insurance. Failure to pay any valid claim within 60 days of its submission or any judgment within 30 days after such judgment shall have become final shall constitute a reasonable ground for the immediate withdrawal of approval of self-insurance.61 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 5; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, §§ 63, 64, 65;
(a) Any applicant for registration who in good faith has applied to 2 insurance companies for a policy of insurance or surety bond under this chapter but who is unable to procure such insurance from said companies shall thereupon notify the Insurance Commissioner, in writing, and the Insurance Commissioner upon receipt of said notice shall thereupon assign said application to 1 of the insurance companies handling such insurance and doing business in this State. Such insurance company shall promptly issue a policy at the rate then prevailing for such policies, adding an automatic surcharge of 10 percent over and above such rate then in force and effect, for similar policies of insurance. Surcharges of 50 percent and 25 percent shall be added to the then prevailing rate for such policies under the following circumstances:
(1) Fifty percent surcharge. — If the certificate is required for a conviction of:
a. Driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated;
b. Failing to stop and report when involved in an accident; or
c. Homicide or assault arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle.
(2) Twenty-five percent surcharge. — If the certificate is required for a conviction of:
a. Driving a motor vehicle at an excessive rate of speed where an injury to person or damage to property actually results therefrom; or
b. Driving a motor vehicle in a reckless manner where an injury to person or damage to property actually results therefrom.
(b) All such assignments may carry an expense charge of 5 percent.
(c) No assignment may be made or surcharge added solely because a driver license is denied or suspended in accordance with § 516(g) or § 2216 of Title 13.
(d) The surcharges specified in this section shall be limited for 3 years. The Insurance Commissioner shall notify the Secretary of Transportation of such assignments and the rate at which such assignments are made and the registration shall then be issued.61 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 5; 70 Del. Laws, c. 452, § 8; 71 Del. Laws, c. 216, § 86; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, § 66;
(a) Any insurance company may cancel any motor vehicle liability policy or bond, except such risks as may be assigned to it as provided in § 2905 of this title, for any reason it may deem proper. Such insurance company shall refund to its insured the unearned portion of the premium paid by the insured.
(b) Any insurance company may cancel any motor vehicle liability policy or bond issued to any person under § 2905 of this title by giving 30 days’ notice thereof to the Secretary of Transportation provided the insured:
(1) Is not licensed to operate a motor vehicle under the laws of this State;
(2) Is a person with mental or physical disabilities rendering it unsafe for the insured to operate a motor vehicle upon the highways;
(3) Is, in the opinion of the Secretary of Transportation, an habitually reckless or negligent driver of a motor vehicle;
(4) Is an habitual drunkard;
(5) Is addicted to the use of narcotic drugs;
(6) Is engaged in an unlawful or illegal occupation;
(7) Has refused or failed to pay the premiums due on such motor vehicle policy or bond; or
(8) Has refused or failed to cooperate with the insurance company as stated in such insurance policy or bond.61 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 5; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, §§ 67, 68; 79 Del. Laws, c. 371, § 24;
(a) A Delaware attorney who represents an injured person, or an individual injured in a motor vehicle accident who is not represented by an attorney, may, prior to the filing of a civil action for bodily injuries sustained as a result of a motor vehicle accident, request in writing that the insurer disclose the bodily injury limits of liability of any motor vehicle liability policy, as defined by § 2902(a) of this title, that may be applicable to the claim.
(b) The requesting party shall provide the insurer with the date of the motor vehicle accident, the name and last known address of the alleged liable party if it has been reported to the requesting party, a copy of the police report, if any, and the claim number, if available.
(c) When requesting the bodily injury limits of liability, the requesting party shall also submit to the insurer the injured person’s medical records, medical bills, and wage-loss documentation, pertaining to the claimed injury and supporting the damages referenced in subsection (d) of this section.
(d) If the total of the medical bills and wage losses submitted equals or exceeds $12,500, the insurer shall respond in writing within 30 days of receipt of the request, and shall disclose the bodily injury limits of liability at the time of the accident of all its motor vehicle liability policies, regardless of whether the insurer contests the applicability of the policy to the injured person’s claim.
(e) Disclosure of the bodily injury policy limits under this section shall not constitute an admission that the alleged injury or damage is subject to the policy.
(f) Information concerning the insurance policy is not by reason of disclosure pursuant to this subsection admissible as evidence at trial.
(g) The disclosure shall be confidential and available only to the individual injured and the attorney representing the injured person and personnel in the office of the attorney.81 Del. Laws, c. 421, § 1;
The Secretaries of Safety and Homeland Security and/or Transportation, in keeping with their respective responsibilities, shall administer and enforce this chapter. The State Police shall assist the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security in enforcing this chapter.61 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 5; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, § 69;
Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the plaintiff in any action at law from relying for relief upon the other processes provided by law.61 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 5;
This chapter shall not prevent the owner of a motor vehicle, the registration of which has been suspended hereunder, from effecting a bona fide sale of such motor vehicle to another person whose rights or privileges are not suspended under this chapter or prevent the registration of such motor vehicle by such transferee. This chapter shall not in any way affect the rights of any conditional vendor, chattel mortgagee or lessor of a motor vehicle registered in the name of another as owner who becomes subject to this chapter.61 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 5;
This chapter shall in no respect be considered as a repeal of the state motor vehicle laws but shall be construed as supplemental thereto.61 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 5;
This chapter shall be so interpreted and construed as to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the laws of those states which enact it.61 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 5;
All automobile transports, interstate or intrastate, shall be insured against personal injury loss and property damage loss in keeping with requirements of the Interstate Commerce Commission relating to intrastate automobile transport carriers.64 Del. Laws, c. 207, § 4;