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If you’ve been shopping around for cheap auto insurance in North Carolina, you’ve probably realized that monthly rates can vary greatly from one provider to the next. Ultimately, the amount you pay for insurance will depend on your driver profile. In our study, we compared quotes from several leading insurance companies to find the best and most affordable carriers in the state.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in North Carolina
The best way to find the most affordable car insurance rates in North Carolina is by comparing quotes from multiple insurers. The table below outlines the results of our comparison study:
|Liberty Mutual||Safe Drivers|
|USAA||Drivers in the Military|
|State Farm||Low Annual Mileage|
|Esurance||Drivers Who Pay Their Premiums Upfront|
Best Car Insurance Companies in North Carolina
By looking at consumer feedback and complaint data, our Geeks were able to identify North Carolina’s best auto insurance companies. The table below outlines the results of our analysis:
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in North Carolina
Motorists in the state of North Carolina must purchase auto insurance that has the following minimum limits:
- Coverage For Bodily Injury Per Person / Per Accident: $30,000 / $60,000
- Coverage For Property Damage: $25,000
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Per Accident: $25,000
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Per Person / Per Accident: $30,000 / $60,000
Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance in North Carolina
By law, you are required to carry insurance meeting the state’s minimum liability limits. This ensures that if you cause an accident, you have the financial means to compensate the other parties involved for any damages or injuries sustained. But what happens if you choose not to purchase an auto insurance policy, your coverage lapses, or you decide not to renew your current insurance?
In most situations, your vehicle will be flagged as an uninsured car on the state Department of Vehicle’s database. You will receive a notice warning you to comply with the state’s insurance laws. You will then have 10 days to present proof that your vehicle is insured up to the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. If you are unable to do so, you could lose your driving privileges for a month and the Department may choose to suspend your vehicle’s registration. You may also be forced to pay additional fines.
However, if you are stopped by authorities and cannot produce proof of an active insurance policy, the penalties are far harsher. Driving without insurance is classed as a misdemeanor in the state. As a result, you could be prosecuted and may even have to spend time behind bars. At best, you could be ordered to pay a $50 civil penalty fine and may be put on probation for up to 45 days. Your vehicle’s plates and registration will be suspended until you are able to present proof of financial responsibility to the department.
Serial offenders (those caught driving without insurance a second, third, or subsequent time within three years of a previous offense) may have to pay up to $150 in fines. These errant rulebreakers will be barred from driving for 30 days and will have to present proof of insurance before their driving privileges are restored. In some cases, second and third offenses may result in short prison sentences.
North Carolina Car Insurance FAQs
What Types of Car Insurance Are Available in North Carolina?
Liability coverage for bodily injury is a type of insurance that covers costs associated with injuries sustained by other drivers in an accident that was your fault. These costs can include legal fees, lost wages, funeral expenses, and treatment costs.
Liability coverage for property damage is a type of insurance that covers replacement and repair costs for damage sustained by any other party’s property in a crash that was your fault. Typically, this will cover the costs of repairing damage to another driver’s vehicle, but could also go towards fixing damage to other personal property, such as someone’s home if you collided with their property’s outer walls.
Uninsured motorist property damage protection is insurance that will kick in to cover damage your vehicle sustained in a crash with an at-fault driver who isn’t insured. This protects you against financial loss when the at-fault party does not have the means to compensate you for your loss. Similarly, motorist bodily injury coverage will reimburse you for costs associated with injuries sustained in a crash with an uninsured motorist.
Can I Have a Driving Without Insurance Misdemeanor Expunged in North Carolina?
A Driving Without Insurance misdemeanor is entered into your criminal record. This public is often used by banks, rental agents, and employers to vet clients, renters, and applicants. Fortunately, minor misdemeanors, such as this driving without coverage, can be expunged from your permanent records, unshackling you from the immense burden of a criminal offense next to your name.
You can apply to expunge a misdemeanor from your records five years after you completed your sentence for the offense. You will have to file a petition for expungement in the County Courthouse where you were first charged. Our Geeks suggest contacting a local lawyer well versed in these court proceedings and processes as clearing your criminal record is a complex undertaking best left to the professionals.
What Is Acceptable Proof of Insurance in North Carolina?
While the world transitions over to a digital way of life, in North Carolina you will still be required to present physical evidence of a current policy to authorities. According to the state’s DMV, acceptable forms of proof of insurance can include:
- Your North Carolina car insurance policy document;
- An insurance binder;
- An official insurance card issued by your provider; and
- An FS-1 form issued by your auto insurance agent confirming you are carrying coverage up to the state’s mandated minim liability limits.
Can I Reduce My Rates After My License Is Suspended?
Definitely. While it’s not easy, there are always several ways to snag a discounted premium – even after your license is suspended. Typically, any serious moving violation – including driving without insurance – will be entered into your permanent driving record. This offense is a red flag to insurers, who, as a result, may choose to brand you as a high-risk driver. Motorists in this category have a higher chance of being involved in or causing an accident than other motorists on the road.
You can still reduce your rates by:
- Reading up on and following local traffic laws;
- Staying violation- and accident-free for a significant period of time;
- Switching to public transport to reduce your mileage;
- Never driving while intoxicated; and
- Swapping out your current car for a vehicle that either costs less or is cheaper to insure.
Some insurers offer discounted rates to motorists looking to transfer over their current policy. Use our quote finder above to browse through the best policies for your budget and needs.
What Are Some Important North Carolina Traffic Laws?
The trick to landing some of the best rates available? Keeping your driving record clear of violations and accidents. Hedge the odds in your favor by reading up on some of the state’s most important rules of the road below:
North Carolina Drunk Driving Laws
The state is home to hundreds of microbreweries serving up fizzy, delicious pitchers of golden ale. While you may be tempted to overindulge, driving under the influence of alcohol will turn your pub crawl into a police chase.
More than 4,100 people were killed in crashes involving drunk drivers in the decade between 2003 and 2012. This rate exceeds the national average for all age groups.
The legal alcohol limit for adults over age 21 in NC is 0.08%. For the average person, this is the equivalent of consuming a glass of wine, 12oz can of beer, or shot of spirits (such as vodka). Drivers operating commercial vehicles must adhere to the state’s 0.04% alcohol limit. Warning: Authorities take a zero-tolerance approach against drivers under age 21 who test positive for any trace of alcohol in their systems.
If you’re stopped and test over the legal limit, you could face the following penalties:
- License suspended for 60-365 days
- $200 in fines
- Minimum 24 hours behind bars
- License suspended for 1-4 years
- Fines determined by the courts based on severity of offense
- Minimum 4 days behind bars
- Ignition interlock device installed in vehicle after license is reinstated
- License suspended for at least 1 year (permanent suspension in some cases)
- Fines determined by courts based on severity of offense
- Minimum 14-30 days behind bars
- Ignition interlock device installed in vehicle if courts decide to lift permanent driving ban
Take note: North Carolina’s penalty system for drunk drivers is tiered based on the factors involved, such as whether you were caused an accident leading to death or injury.
While you can choose to refuse an alcohol test, doing so is violating the state’s “implied consent” laws. Implied consent is an unspoken contract between you and the state agreeing to alcohol testing at any point while you are on state roads. If you choose not to take a test when requested to do so by authorities, your license could be revoked for up to a year for breaking these rules, regardless of whether you were drinking or not.
North Carolina Texting and Driving Laws
Texting from behind the wheel is prohibited on North Carolina’s highways and public roads. However, you may use your cellphone in your car if:
- You are parked or stopped on the shoulder of the road;
- You are a first responder using your device to complete your official duties;
- You are using your phone’s GPS navigation features;
- You are using a hands-free kit; or
- You are using your phone’s voice-operated functionality.
North Carolina Child Safety Seat Laws
Restraining your young ones in an appropriate child car seat can reduce their risk of death in a crash by almost 50%. By law, if your child is under the age of 8 and/or weighs less than 80 lbs, he or she must travel in a restraint system, such as rear-facing infant car seat, convertible car seat, or booster seat.
Once your child is age 8 or older and weighs 80 lbs or more, he or she must be restrained using your car’s seatbelts.
What Is the Multi-Car Insurance Discount?
If you own more than one vehicle – for example, you and your wife may drive separate cars – you can save money and simplify your life by purchasing a multi-car insurance policy from your provider. Typically, this type of plan can cover up to 5 different vehicles under one plan.
The only limitation is that all your cars must be registered to the same address. As a result, if your teen driver spends the majority of their time living and driving somewhere else, you would not be allowed to include their car as part of your policy.
You can however, customize the individual limits and features for each vehicle included under this umbrella plan. Not only will you score a discount by buying a multi-car policy, but it can also be cheaper to insure high-risk drivers, such as teen drivers, in your household through this type of coverage.
North Carolina Car Accident Statistics
In 2016, 1,441 people were killed in accidents in North Carolina in a total of 267,494 crashes. This marked a 6.3% increase in collisions from the previous year, according to the North Carolina Department of Transport. It’s reported that 32.2% of all fatalities involved a driver who was speeding and the majority of these accidents took place during the day. A further 130,137 people were injured in crashes during that same period.
Meanwhile, 198 pedestrians were killed in road accidents, a 1.5% increase over 2015. According to the state DoT, 8.8% of all pedestrians involved in crashes were killed.