Don’t Let a Boost in Delaware Tourism Boost Your Car Insurance Rate

The First State gets its first president, and the Delaware tourism and hospitality industries are expecting a boon thanks to Joe Biden.

We’ll provide pointers on how to handle the influx, especially when you’re driving in your small but densely populated state.

Delaware auto insurance is already expensive, so you want to keep an eye on your insurance mileage limit. You also want to keep a check on road rage caused by more drivers and more traffic, because if it leads to an accident or a ticket your insurance rate could rise dramatically.

Delaware Tourism Is On the Rise

Those who live in popular tourist areas have a love-hate relationship with their visitors, and residents of Delaware’s hot spots — including Wilmington and Dover, and, of course, Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach — are no exception. Here’s why.

Delaware’s Tourism Advantages: Money and Jobs

Tourism plays a big part in this small state. The value in tourism is seen in increased economic and employment opportunities, as evidenced in statistics from the Delaware Tourism Office. Tourism accounts for $3.7 billion of the state’s gross domestic product as well as 45,500 jobs, making it the fourth-largest private employer in the state.

The tourism industry generates over $568 million in tax revenue, which saves each Delaware household an additional $1,564 in taxes.

Delaware’s Tourism Disadvantages: COVID-19 and Traffic

The downside of tourism is that whenever there is a crisis, opportunities dry up in the hospitality industry. For example, COVID-19’s impact on tourism in Sussex County hit within just a few short weeks of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic.

As for traffic, with the exception of the pandemic, Delaware housing and jobs have been steadily growing for the past several years alongside tourism, which equals steadily increasing traffic. Add to that what locals call “Joe Jam”, which is the traffic jams that are caused every time Joe Biden visits the state.

Joe Biden and Delaware Tourism

While locals and business owners are excited that Rehoboth Beach has become the nation’s summer capital, drivers are frustrated by the backups that come with the territory when a sitting president comes to visit. Whenever his motorcade travels, causing stretches of roads to be closed, it can cause up to an hour delay on the roadways.

The President doesn’t even have to be in the state to be causing traffic challenges for the locals. Tourists are interested in Biden’s Delaware ties, so much so that Delaware is encouraging visitors to do more driving.

The Joe Biden driving tour takes curiosity seekers all over the state. There’s the Biden Welcome Center on I-95 on the way to Wilmington; the Queen Theater, the Chase Center, and the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Railroad Station in Wilmington; the Air Mobility Command Center in Dover; the Junction Breakwater Trail in Rehoboth Beach, and the UDairy Creamery in Newark.

Delaware Car Insurance

Those extra tourist dollars are certainly nice, especially if you have any connection to the hospitality industry. But with more drivers on the road, that increases risks of accidents, as well as adding mileage to your vehicle to find alternate routes to get where you need to go.

And while no one wants to incur higher insurance rates for damaging their car or for driving it more miles than estimated on their insurance, increases are especially harmful on Delaware drivers’ finances.

Delaware car insurance is high, close to 20% above the national average. The average cost for minimum coverage in the state is nearly $800 a year and full coverage is over $1,700 a year.

There are several factors at play causing the expense. Delaware is small in physical size, but, as noted, it’s densely populated. It has a large number of uninsured drivers. It’s in the top 10 states with the worst drivers, with infractions including failure to obey stop signs and traffic lights, and not wearing seat belts

And Delaware has unique insurance requirements. Like other states, it requires liability coverage, specifically:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury and death that occurs as the result of an at-fault accident
  • $25,000 per incident for multiple people injured in the same accident
  • $10,000 to pay for damage to another person’s vehicle or any other personal property damaged as a result of an at-fault accident.

But even though it’s not a no-fault state, Delaware also requires personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Also known as no-fault insurance, it covers medical expenses, lost wages, and all other related costs up to two years following an accident for all parties in any accident involving a car, including the drivers, passengers, and anyone injured in the collision.

Those minimum coverage requirements are $15,000 of expenses per person involved in an accident, $30,000 of expenses for all parties involved in an accident, and $5,000 of funeral expenses.

Delaware also has restrictions on canceling policies for bad drivers. As a last resort option to drivers who’ve been denied coverage by multiple companies, the state’s Delaware Automobile Insurance Plan assigns high-risk drivers to an insurance company.

So all of the insurance companies in Delaware absorb high-risk drivers, and although the rates are still high, the insurance companies have to pay for carrying those higher-risk drivers somehow.

Does mileage affect car insurance?

Delaware drivers have many reasons to be mindful of their mileage, since mileage affects car insurance rates.

Insurance companies ask you to estimate how many miles you drive a year as a factor in weighing their risk of insuring you. Since the average annual mileage is 12,000 miles, an estimate in that area will help get you a fair rate.

But if that car insurance mileage limit is exceeded, that means you’re on the road more so your risk of being in an accident is higher. To insurers, that means their chances of having to pay out a claim is higher, so they mitigate that risk by increasing your premium. The limits and the pricing increase vary by company.

Conversely, car insurance mileage limits can benefit you. If you drive less than 7,500 miles annually, most insurers offer a low-mileage discount. This can range from 10% to 30% off your rate.

Car Insurance and Road Rage

If you let Delaware traffic get the best of you, you won’t only raise your blood pressure. You could raise the points on your driving record and be in danger of suspension. You could also raise your insurance.

It only takes 14 points to suspend a driver’s license in Delaware. And if your road rage leads to a few major violations, it won’t take long to reach that limit. Reckless driving and aggressive driving each equal 6 points, speeding 20 miles per hour over the speed limit nets you 5 points, and disregarding a stop sign or a red light adds 3 points.

Repeated offenses can place you into the high-risk category for insurance, and you could end up paying a whopping 84% more than standard car insurance.

And unless you have accident forgiveness, it only takes one road-rage indulgence to drive up your insurance rates. One accident can impact a clean driving record by a 45% increase, and one DUI can up your rate by at least $1,000.

How to Save Money on Car Insurance in Delaware

Driving smarter and comparing car insurance quotes are two of the best ways to keep your car insurance rates as affordable as possible. Here are tips to help you deal with the increased amount of traffic in Delaware.

In general, be more mindful of White House news, especially the President’s comings and goings. The earlier you know of a presidential visit to Delaware, the better opportunity you have to make driving plans that won’t add too much to your mileage or your frustration level.

How to Reduce Your Mileage

Finding ways to get around without using your car can also save you on mileage and road rage. Embrace public transportation; i.e. DART First State (Delaware Transit Corporation buses).

If that’s not feasible, try carpooling to work or even for personal activities. Take turns driving with coworkers, neighbors, friends, and relatives so that everyone gets a break from being behind the wheel in their vehicle.

If you need to go only a short distance, consider walking or biking. If you must drive your car, planning ahead can help. Combine your errands to make fewer trips, or find alternative places away from high-tourist areas to buy your goods and services.

Other good ways to combat road rage are allowing for extra commute time, listening to calming music, ignoring an angry driver, and staying patient by remembering how much acting out your impatience can raise your car insurance.

Now that you have a better handle on mileage limits and other car insurance savings, don’t let the traffic get to you: Mimic the president by slapping on those aviator glasses, smiling wide, and looking at the positive side of your Delaware driving situation.

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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Ahmedabad Local journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.