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Laura Berry

Former Insurance Agent

Former Insurance Agent

Joshua Adamson

Joshua is a copywriter at Obrella who for more than 10 years has been creating content about insurance, health care, and more. He helps companies explain complex insurance subjects in simple ways so that customers can make smart buying decisions. He spends way too much time binge-watching Netflix, loves the outdoors and has a cat who tolerates him.

UPDATED: Dec 11, 2023

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Tar Heels: Don’t hit the tar without knowing you’re properly insured and paying the right price. We’ve gathered all of the information you need to know as an insured North Carolina driver—from state laws, state minimums, discounts, and more.

What are the minimum requirements for auto insurance in North Carolina?

If you’re at-fault in an accident, you’ll need to have at least this much coverage or you’ll find yourself in an additional jam when it comes to fees and penalties:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury liability, per person per accident
  • $60,000 for bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage liability per accident
  • $60,000 for uninsured motorist insurance.

Car Insurance Add-Ons
You can never be too careful. That couldn’t be more true when it comes to auto coverage either. If the bare minimum gives you nightmares, consider adding the following to protect yourself and your assets.

  • Collision – Make sure you’re covered if you smash your car into something with this insurance option.
  • Comprehensive – If you hit an animal or have bad weather that damages your car, this type of coverage will help pay for the repairs.
  • Towing and labor – After an accident, you might need a tow. This coverage will help pay for that.
  • Rental car – Get this coverage if you want your insurance company to pay for a rental car if yours is undriveable after an accident.

How are insurance premiums determined?

Would you lend someone money if you knew they wouldn’t ever pay you back? Probably not. It’s kind of like that with car insurance companies too because they need to measure your risk to determine how much you could cost them down the line if you get into an accident. If you’re a risky driver, you’ll pay more in a premium as a result. If you’re safer, you may pay less. Your risk level is determined by the following factors:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Address
  • Occupation
  • Car make, year, and model
  • Credit history
  • Driving/claims history

North Carolina Point System
North Carolina really wants people to be extra safe on the road. So much so, that they use a safe driving initiative called, The North Carolina Safe Drive Incentive Plan. Based on a pointing system, your rates will see a spike from traffic violations, accidents and more. For example, if you get a ticket, you’ll get a point on your record and your premiums can shoot up 30%.

What are the average rates for a car insurance policy in North Carolina?

We have good news for you. In 2012, North Carolina was named one of the top 10 least expensive states for car insurance. Winstom-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte and Fayetteville were also in the nation’s cheapest cities. According to our research, here is where you can find the cheapest car insurance in North Carolina.

Average Annual Rates
Liberty Mutual$900.03
North Carolina Farm Bureau$1,198.80

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Because rates are based on your driver profile, seeing average costs for drivers like you can save you big. Here is our full analysis on North Carolina’s cheapest car insurance companies.

How To Provide Proof of Insurance

You can’t register your car if you don’t have insurance—plain and simple. Prove you’re insured with:

  • A DL-123 form issued by your insurance agent certifying your current insurance policy
  • NC auto insurance policy
  • Insurance binder
  • Insurance car

What happens if you get caught driving without proof of coverage?

If you let your coverage lapse, your insurance company will tell the North Carolina DMV. You’ll get an FS 5-7 form in the mail and will only have 10 days to mail it back with your insurance information. If you let this ticking time bomb explode, you will:

  • Be subject to penalties and fines
  • Have your license plates revoked for 30 days

If your plates are taken away, you can get them back on day 31 by:

  • Paying license plate fee
  • Paying any fees related to insurance violation
  • Submitting FS-1 as proof of insurance

If You Get Caught Driving Without Proof Of Coverage

Don’t do it, it’s not worth the headache. Don’t believe us? Here’s what can happen:

First offense

  • $50 fine
  • Probation, 1 to 45 days
  • 30-day registration suspension
  • $30 reinstatement fee

Second offense, within 3 years

  • $100 fine
  • Probation or imprisonment, 1 to 45 days
  • 30-day registration suspension
  • $50 reinstatement fee

Third offense, within 3 years

  • $150 fine
  • Probation or imprisonment, 1 to 45 days
  • 30-day registration suspension
  • $50 reinstatement fee

Is there insurance for high-risk drivers?

The North Carolina Reinsurance Facility (NCRF) doesn’t allow insurance companies to deny you coverage because you’re a high-risk driver. You’ll pay more for premiums, but you’ll be able to get a plan with:

  • $100,000 of bodily injury liability per person per accident
  • $300,000 of bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $50,000 of property damage liability per accident
  • $2,000 for medical payments
  • $1,000,000 for uninsured driver

Car Insurance Fraud in North Carolina

Lying isn’t something you should get into the habit of doing. Lying to your car insurance company is something you never should do because when you do, it’s called fraud and fraud can send you to jail. The North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division takes auto insurance fraud very seriously. If you’re not sure what car insurance fraud is, here’s a sampling:

  • Car repair fraud
    • Overpricing costs of repair
    • Overstating damages
    • Charging for new parts, but using used parts
  • Staging accidents
    • Stopping suddenly to cause an accident
    • Reporting an accident when no real accident occurred
    • Falsely reporting a witness, driver and/or passenger(s) on a claim
    • Ignoring/giving up right-of-way rules to cause an accident

Have you witnessed fraud? Report it to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners online or by;

  • Fax: (919) 715-1156
  • Phone: (919) 807-6840 / Toll-free: (888) 680-7684

What are the most stolen cars in North Carolina?

Thieves really grind our gears. That’s because they make insurance rates go up for drivers of commonly stolen cars. If you drive one of the following cars, know that it’s a top stolen car in North Carolina and could cost you more in insurance premiums.

  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic
  • Ford Pickup (full size)
  • Chevrolet Pickup
  • Toyota Camry
  • Ford Explorer
  • Dodge Caravan
  • Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
  • Nissan Altima
  • Dodge Pickup (full size)

Licensed Experts Can Provide Assistance

Are you ready to begin shopping around? Do you need additional clarification and want to speak to a real person who can break down the terms in a way you actually understand? Call [mapi-phone /] to get additional help from one of our savvy agents.

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