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North Carolina Car Insurance Guide

You already know North Carolina is an awesome state to live in. It has the best barbecue (of course). It has the best beaches. And it also has some of the best car insurance.

Seriously: North Carolina is the 7th-cheapest state in the United States for auto insurance. That’s because NC sets a cap on maximum insurance rates, and insurers can’t raise rates without state permission. Even so, you may need some help finding the best rates. Read on to find out more — or skip ahead to get free auto insurance quotes for NC on Compare.com.

What are North Carolina’s auto insurance requirements?

If you want to drive legally in North Carolina, you’ve got to have insurance. The minimum auto insurance requirements for NC are 30/60/25. What does that mean?

  • $30,000 per person for bodily injury liability: This coverage will pay for other people’s damages (like medical bills, lost wages, legal expenses, or pain and suffering) as a result of an accident you cause
  • $60,000 per accident: Meaning for all people hurt in an accident you cause — for bodily injury liability
  • $25,000 per accident: For property damage liability

That’s not all you need, however. If you have NC state minimum insurance, you’re required to carry:

  • $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident: For uninsured motorist liability

But if you choose to carry more than the minimum, you’re required to have:

Which Companies Offer the Cheapest Auto Insurance in North Carolina?

This is kind of a trick question. There’s no single insurer that has the lowest rates, because every company calculates risk differently. To give you accurate auto insurance quotes in NC, insurance companies consider a lot of factors, such as where you live, your age and how much you drive.

Your driving record is the number-one thing that influences your insurance premium. Any at-fault accidents or convictions for moving violations within the last three years will be considered. And the North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan lays out exactly how much more you’ll have to pay for every kind of offense. For example:

  • Speeding 10 mph or less over a speed limit under 55 mph? 30% premium increase
  • Being at fault in an accident that results in death or total bodily injury claims of more than $1,850? 60% premium increase
  • Reckless driving or passing a stopped school bus? 80% premium increase
  • Driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more? 340% premium increase

Charlotte North Carolina

Whether you have a squeaky-clean driving record or a blotchy one, how can you find the cheapest auto insurance in NC? There’s only one way: compare personalized quotes side by side.

Compare.com makes it really easy. First, enter some basic info about where you live, what you drive, etc. Then, pick one of four levels of coverage: state minimum, Basic, Plus or Premium. To get the absolute cheapest NC car insurance, try state minimum coverage. We’ll show you quotes from different companies for a 30/60/25 policy, and then you can pick the cheapest.

Is it Smart to Buy More Than NC State Minimum Insurance?

That depends. Are you feeling lucky? How much can you afford to lose?

The reason liability insurance exists is to protect you from financial loss. In 2016, the average auto liability claim for property damage was $3,683, while the average auto liability claim for bodily injury was $16,110. NC minimum coverage can easily cover claims that size — but what if you cause a more serious crash? One that results in $100,000, or even $500,000 in damages? It happens all the time when people suffer neck injuries, back injuries or lasting disabilities.

If you’re sued for an amount greater than your insurance limits, you may have to pay out of pocket. Because owing six figures would seriously mess up your life, it’s wise to carry as much car insurance as you can afford.

Consider choosing higher liability limits and/or adding coverage like:

  • Comprehensive and collision coverage, which pays to fix your car if it’s damaged by a hurricane, flood, fire or crash
  • Underinsured motorist coverage, which pays for your and your passengers’ injuries if you’re hit by a driver whose insurance isn’t enough to cover your bills
  • Medical payments coverage, which pays for necessary medical and funeral expenses due to an automobile accident. Medical payments covers you and your family, no matter whose car you’re riding in; it also covers anyone else riding in your vehicle, and it covers you if you’re hurt by a car accident as a pedestrian.

How Do I Find Cheap NC Insurance That Gives Me Enough Coverage?

Start low, then go higher. That’s the rule for finding that perfect middle ground: cheap NC insurance that still protects your assets. How? Just start with the state minimum, then compare quotes for higher coverage until you find a level you’re happy with. Compare.com makes it easy.

We ran the numbers for a 27-year-old woman who’s shopping for auto insurance in Wilmington, NC, and has a clean driving record. Her best quote for 30/60/25 state minimum coverage: $44 per month when she pays her premiums up front (that’s cheaper than paying month to month, which often includes a down payment plus installment fees).

That’s a good deal! However, our Wilmington driver drives a newish Corolla, which means she really needs to protect it with collision and comprehensive coverage. Basic coverage gives her both, with a $1,000 deductible (and the same 30/60/25 liability limits). Now, her best quote is $126 per month.

North Carolina flight

What if she has assets to protect, such as a house or investments, and she wants better coverage? Then she can raise her coverage to the Plus level, which increases bodily injury and property damage liability to 50/100/50, with the same limits for uninsured motorist liability. She gets $2,000 in medical payments, too. Plus also adds 50/100/50 underinsured motorist liability, drops the collision/comprehensive deductible to $500 and adds towing and rental car coverage. Now her best quote is $151 per month.

For $25 more per month, compared to Basic, she gets a whole lot more coverage. And now that she knows her options, she can choose the best insurance that fits her budget.

What Else Can I Do to Make my NC Car Insurance Even Cheaper?

  • Get extra discounts by opting for paperless document delivery and e-signature confirmation
  • Make sure you check the box for any anti-theft devices you have on your car, such as OnStar or automatic disabling
  • Ditch bad driving habits, like speeding or red-light running, to improve your driving record
  • When you’re comparing insurance quotes on Compare.com, click “Customize coverage.” Try raising your deductible and/or deleting towing and rental car coverage to reduce your quotes

What Happens if I Drive Without Insurance in North Carolina?

If you let your insurance lapse, even for a short time, you can get in trouble. Your insurance company will notify the state, which may revoke your license plate. You’ll also have to pay a penalty: $50 for the first time in a three-year period, $100 for the second lapse and $150 for every one after that.

If you’re actually caught driving without insurance in NC, it’s considered a misdemeanor, and the penalties are tougher. You’ll get 3 points on your license, and you could get probation or even jail time if it’s not your first offense.

Don’t drive uninsured! If you’re having trouble finding insurance you can afford, Compare.com can help. We’ll show you accurate, personalized NC auto insurance quotes so you can choose the one that fits your budget. Get started now.

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