Whether you’re a first-time driver or you’re shopping around for a better price on your auto insurance, it’s important to know what coverage is required in North Carolina. Not only is your insurance policy designed to protect you in the event of a car accident, but it may also come in handy during other types of property damage or theft.

If you’re not sure what types of insurance coverage you need in North Carolina, keep reading, and then head over to Insurify. You’ll be able to compare quotes from multiple insurers and find the best policy that meets your driving and financial needs.

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Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in North Carolina 

Anyone who wants to operate a vehicle on the streets of North Carolina needs to enroll in an auto insurance policy. The minimum coverage limits can be thought of as a “bare-bones” policy because you need to purchase at least these options to drive. The minimum car insurance requirements in North Carolina include:

  • Bodily injury limits of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident: This type of protection will pay toward the medical bills of the other parties should they sustain an injury during a collision. This kind of auto insurance coverage may also pay toward lost wages or funeral expenses in some situations.
  • Property damage protection with a limit of $25,000: If you’re found to be the at-fault driver, this coverage will pay toward the vehicle repairs of the other party. Property damage liability may also pay toward other types of repairs—for example, if you crash your car into someone’s fence, this insurance may help cover the repair cost.
  • Along with these facets of liability coverage, drivers in North Carolina are also required to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This protects you when someone without insurance hits your vehicle. 

Some states also require PIP, personal injury protection; however, since North Carolina uses the at-fault system to determine financial responsibility, drivers here won’t need to worry about that policy feature.

Is state minimum car insurance enough in North Carolina?

It might be tempting to only enroll in liability insurance in order to save money; however, your insurance company offers a number of other options for a reason. In most cases, minimum coverage may not be enough to cover the damages in an accident. An individual’s medical expenses could easily soar beyond the $30,000 limit that comes with minimum coverage, requiring you to pay any additional costs out of pocket.

If you’re looking for a more complete policy that offers more than just minimum limits, North Carolina car insurance rates include collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage applies to situations where your car collides with another car or property, while comprehensive covers most situations that don’t involve a collision including theft, vandalism, and other damages from hail or debris from a storm.

Only you can determine if both collision and comprehensive coverage are right for you, so it’s smart to gather multiple insurance quotes to see what makes the most sense for your budget. 

Keep in mind that your rates will be based on a number of factors, including your driving record and the various options available for deductibles and insurance limits. Using a tool like Insurify can help you decide what coverages are best for you and what company can offer those to you at a good price—check it out today!

What is the penalty for driving without car insurance in North Carolina?

North Carolina takes insurance laws seriously, and drivers are urged to maintain continuous coverage at all times. Should your insurance coverage lapse or be canceled, the insurer will send a notification to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. Then, the DMV will send the driver a letter giving them 10 days to respond.

Should a driver fail to respond to the letter and not provide proof of insurance, the North Carolina DMV may revoke your license plates and require you to pay a fine. Drivers who do not maintain coverage will be faced with a $50 fine and be charged a $50 restoration fee. A second offense comes with a $100 fine, and all subsequent lapses in coverage will include a fine of $150.

Minimum Requirements in North Carolina for SR-22 and FR-44 Policies

Obtaining car insurance coverage after receiving a DWI isn’t impossible, but there are certain stipulations to consider in North Carolina. Rather than simply enrolling in a new auto policy, motorists are required to obtain an SR-22 form. Issued by North Carolina auto insurance companies, this form tells the DMV that you have enrolled in at least the minimum coverage limits set forth by the state.

Drivers in North Carolina are not legally required to obtain an FR-44, a form that demonstrates you have purchased coverage in excess of the minimum requirements. It’s common for insurance rates to be quite high with an SR-22 on your record; however, after two to three years, you may be able to enroll in cheaper coverage.

If you’re looking for an affordable car insurance policies that includes a North Carolina SR-22 insurance filing, check out Insurify today. 

Additional Coverage North Carolina Drivers Should Consider

Enrolling in auto coverage often requires drivers to make a multitude of decisions, as they not only have a range of types of coverage to choose from, but each option also includes various policy limits. It’s common to select a policy with higher bodily injury liability limits or property damage coverage for added peace of mind, but these options are just the tip of the insurance iceberg.

Drivers who want the ultimate coverage may opt for robust uninsured motorist coverage as well, ensuring that they have a high level of protection should someone without insurance cause an accident. There are two facets to this feature, uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) and uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI), and they can be raised to match your bodily injury limits.

Other options like MedPay, which helps cover the cost of injuries or funeral expenses, and roadside assistance (for when you break down or get a flat tire) can be quite advantageous.

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North Carolina Minimum Car Insurance FAQ

Is car insurance mandatory in North Carolina?

Yes, North Carolina law requires all drivers operating a motor vehicle to have car insurance. There are minimum limits required for both bodily injury and property damage protection, with the option to increase these types of coverage as well as add on other protection as you see fit.

In what situations do drivers in North Carolina have the right to sue?

Should you get hit by someone without insurance, you may have the ability to sue for compensation. In North Carolina, drivers must file any claims against another party within three years of the date of the accident. If the case involves wrongful death, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit is two years. Each situation will be different, and drivers may not always have the ability to file a suit, so it’s advised that you speak with your insurance agent before initiating any legal recourse.

Are there alternative proofs of financial responsibility in North Carolina?

Some North Carolina drivers may be able to demonstrate financial responsibility in ways other than enrolling in car insurance. Ultimately, the state wants to make sure that you will be able to pay for expenses should you be involved in an accident. Some drivers will buy a bond issued from a surety company or a real estate bond or could place a security deposit with the state insurance commissioner. Business owners who own or lease at least 26 vehicles can also apply to become self-insurers.

Updated May 27, 2021

Courtney Elder has loved to write since age six, yet she didn’t turn it into a career until many years after that. She graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in Communications, and when she’s not creating content for Insurify, she’s exploring Portland, OR with her kids.