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North Carolina Auto Insurance

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NC Minimum Insurance Requirements

From Asheville to Cape Hatteras, Greensboro to Fayetteville, Wilmington to Raleigh, North Carolina has thousands of miles of roadways. They’ll take you from downtown Charlotte to the Appalachians, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Great Smoky Range. They’re used by over 6.5 million licensed drivers, who each put in an average of over 10,700 miles a year. Along the way, those drivers are involved in thousands of traffic accidents every year, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the Tar Heel State, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to North Carolina’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.

North Carolina state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines and jail time. Under North Carolina’s tort system, you may also be liable for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damages (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering.

The bare minimum car insurance requirement for North Carolina drivers is:

  • $30,000 bodily injury per person per accident
  • $60,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability
  • $30,000/$60,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury
  • $25,000 minimum uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage

North Carolina does not require you to carry additional coverage such as personal liability insurance or Collision and Comprehensive. However, If you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.

Penalties for Failure to Carry North Carolina Auto Insurance

You are required by law to carry proof of North Carolina car insurance in your car and show it if a law enforcement officer asks to see it. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties. The first offense typically carries a $50 fine, which must be paid within 10 days to avoid having your license suspended. Fail to comply and your license will be suspended for 30 days and you will be charged an addition $50 restoration fee, a $50 service fee and a license plate fee.

North Carolina Car Insurance Premiums

Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the North Carolina Department of Insurance. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:

  • The type of car you are insuring
  • Prior auto insurance coverage
  • How much you drive
  • Your driving record
  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your marital status
  • Your geographic location
  • How long you’ve been driving
  • Whether or not you use your car for business

North Carolina also allows insurers to consider your credit rating to determine your premium.

How to Get the Cheapest North Carolina Car Insurance Policy

You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:

  • Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
  • Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
  • Eliminate unnecessary coverage
  • Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer

  • New North Carolina Driving Laws

    Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in North Carolina. The following laws have recently been enacted in North Carolina and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.

    • There is a ban on texting for all North Carolina drivers.
    • There is a ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers.
    • Effective December 2013, the fine for illegally passing a stopped school bus increased to $500. Under certain circumstances, the offending driver can lose his or her driver’s license.
    • Effective 2012, North Carolina’s move-over law has been extended to utility and maintenance crews working on the roads.

    North Carolina Regulating Agencies and References

    North Carolina Department of Insurance

    North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles

    Insurance Information Institute

    National Association of Insurance Commissioners



    Last Updated: 3/7/2014