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North Carolina Car Insurance Laws and Requirements (Updated August 2022)

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Amy Beardsley

By: Amy Beardsley

Edited by Jackie Cohen

Last Updated June 17, 2022

North Carolina law dictates the minimum requirements for insurance coverage that all drivers must carry. All drivers in North Carolina must hold 30/60/25 in liability for bodily injury for one person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage, as well as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Additionally, drivers can pick from a long list of additional coverages for added protection.

Quick Facts

  • Car insurance is required by law in North Carolina.
  • Drivers in North Carolina must carry 30/60/25 in bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured motorist coverage.
  • If caught driving uninsured, drivers face up to $150 in fines.

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in North Carolina

The minimum car insurance requirements in North Carolina[1] are:

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

Additionally, North Carolina doesn’t accept out-of-state policies. If your vehicle is registered in North Carolina, it must have liability insurance provided by a company licensed to do business in the state.

Why is car insurance required in North Carolina?

Auto insurance protects drivers from financial liability in the event of an accident. Depending on a policy’s specific coverage limitations, car insurance may cover everything from vehicle damage to medical bills.

Bodily Injury Liability

Bodily injury liability is part of your liability car insurance coverage. If you cause an accident, this coverage will help cover the other party’s medical expenses. This type of coverage will not cover your own medical expenses for injuries sustained in a car accident you caused. Bodily injury liability coverage is required in North Carolina.

Property Damage Liability

Property damage liability is the other half of your liability car insurance. It covers repair costs and damage expenses to the other cars involved in an accident you caused. This coverage does not cover damage to your own car in an accident you were at fault for. Property damage liability coverage is required in North Carolina.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If an uninsured (or underinsured) driver causes an accident and you suffer bodily injury, uninsured motorist coverage will cover your medical expenses. If the at-fault driver surpasses their bodily injury liability coverage limits, your underinsured motorist coverage will cover the rest of your medical expenses. Uninsured motorist coverage is required in North Carolina.

See More: Cheap Car Insurance in North Carolina

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Is state minimum car insurance enough in North Carolina?

The minimum required car insurance coverage in North Carolina provides drivers with a solid foundation of auto insurance coverage, but it may not be enough for everyone. The required amount is pretty small. Medical bills and other accident-related expenses could exceed the limits.

Without additional coverage, you may be responsible for covering the cost out of your own pocket. One accident could end up costing you for a long, long time.

Optional Car Insurance Coverage for North Carolina

North Carolina drivers who want to be protected in any situation should consider bolstering the minimum car insurance coverage with the following supplemental car insurance coverages:

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage covers damages to your car after a collision with another vehicle or object. If your vehicle is a total loss, collision coverage will reimburse you for the actual cash value of your vehicle. This is a great addition to the required property damage liability coverage in North Carolina, which applies only to the damages to the other driver’s vehicle.

Comprehensive Coverage

Complementing your collision coverage, comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle that occurs during an event that is not a collision with another vehicle or object. This may apply in situations of vandalism, theft, weather damage, or a run-in with an animal. Adding comprehensive and collision coverage together creates a full-coverage car insurance policy.

Personal Injury Protection

Personal injury protection, also known as PIP, covers medical bills, lost wages, and replacement services for you and other members of your household if you’re injured in a car accident. PIP provides coverage regardless of who is at fault for an accident.

Other Supplemental Coverage

Medical payments (MedPay) coverage is an option you may want to consider. It can pay for medical bills and other costs, protecting you, your family, and anyone occupying your covered vehicle.

You may also want to add rental car reimbursement and roadside assistance. The two optional coverages can help you if you’re in a bind, whether you’re without a car because it’s in the shop getting repaired or you have an unexpected event while traveling.

See More: Average Cost of Car Insurance in North Carolina

Penalties for Driving Uninsured in North Carolina

It is illegal to drive in North Carolina without the minimum car insurance coverage. You could face fines, civil penalties, interest, and collections, such as:

  • $50 fee for first insurance lapse, plus a $50 restoration fee
  • $100 fee for second insurance lapse, plus a $50 restoration fee
  • $150 fee for subsequent lapses, plus a $50 restoration fee

See More: High-Risk Car Insurance in North Carolina

Minimum Requirements for High-Risk Drivers in North Carolina

The insurance company is at increased risk if anyone living in your house has a poor driving history, and you could pay more for auto insurance. If you’re a high-risk driver and lost your license due to a DUI, speeding ticket, or other violation, you may need to meet specific requirements to get back on the road.

North Carolina has a Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP) to encourage safe driving habits. Your insurance rates could increase by up to 340 percent, depending on the conviction and number of at-fault accidents[2].

More Information for High-Risk Drivers in North Carolina

DUI Insurance in North Carolina

Cheapest Minimum Car Insurance in North Carolina

Car insurance companies weigh different factors to determine what to quote drivers on their car insurance policies. Minimum coverage generally means lower car insurance rates. It also means low coverage limits, which may cost you if you’re ever involved in an accident. Here are the cheapest car insurance quotes for minimum coverage in North Carolina.

Insurance CompanyMonthly Quote for Minimum Coverage
Progressive$56
Travelers$84
Dairyland$73
Liberty Mutual$124
Disclaimer: actual quotes may vary based on the policyholder's unique driver profile.

How to Find Cheap Car Insurance in North Carolina

With prices increasing everywhere you go, finding cheap car insurance can help you save on household expenses. You can find the best cheap auto insurance coverage when you compare car insurance quotes on Insurify.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes. North Carolina requires all drivers to have minimum liability insurance for their vehicles. Specifically, motorists must carry $30,000/$60,000/$25,000 in bodily injury for one person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage. The state also mandates uninsured motorist coverage be included with your policy.

  • North Carolina is not a no-fault state. Like most states, North Carolina uses an at-fault system for auto insurance claims. That means the driver who is responsible for causing the accident must pay for damages to people and property.

  • Yes. State law in North Carolina requires uninsured and underinsured motorist protection. It protects you, your family, and others in your car if the negligent driver’s car insurance isn’t enough to cover the cost of medical bills or other accident-related damages.

  • Yes. You must maintain North Carolina liability insurance to register a vehicle in the state. Additionally, your car may require safety and/or emissions inspections.

  • Shopping around is the best way to find cheap car insurance in North Carolina. The quickest way to shop around is to compare car insurance quotes on Insurify. It takes only a few minutes, and you can review rates side by side.

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Amy Beardsley
Amy Beardsley
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Insurance Writer

Amy is a personal finance and technology writer. With a background in the legal field and a bachelor's degree from Ferris State University, she has a talent for transforming complex topics into content that’s easy to understand. Connect with Amy on LinkedIn.

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Sources

  1. North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. "State Minimum Car Insurance Requirements." Accessed June 16, 2022
  2. North Carolina Department of Insurance. "Safe Driver Incentive Plan." Accessed June 16, 2022