The Complete Guide to Car Insurance in North Carolina

Whether you’re moving to North Carolina or are a longtime resident just looking to save some money, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled everything you need to know about North Carolina car insurance and outlined several ways you can save some serious cash.

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Updated July 18, 2022

As a North Carolina driver, you want the right auto insurance without breaking the bank. We made it easy with our guide to the best cheap car insurance in North Carolina. No matter your driving record age or other factors auto insurance companies take into consideration, there’s an affordable plan out there for you.

North Carolina’s Car Insurance Laws & Requirements

Charlotte North Carolina

If you want to drive legally in North Carolina, you need car 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: This is the total of bodily injury liability your insurance company will cover for all people hurt in an accident you cause.
  • $25,000 per accident: This is how much your insurance company will pay to cover your property damage liability for the accident.

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 and underinsured motorist liability

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in North Carolina

If you let your insurance lapse, even for a short time, there will be penalties. 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 occurrence after that.

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

We share this so you understand it’s not worth it to 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.

The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for Teen Drivers in North Carolina

Finding the cheapest car insurance for a teenage driver can be complicated. Due to their inexperience behind the wheel they are considered high risk, which drives insurance premiums through the roof. When possible, it may be easier to add a teen driver to the policy of a parent or guardian. However, if that’s not possible, here are a few insurers offering affordable insurance to teen drivers in North Carolina.

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Esurance $107
Liberty Mutual $113
Direct Auto $132

For minimum liability coverage, Esurance offers the cheapest rate at just $107 monthly. Liberty Mutual is the next most affordable at $113 per month, and Direct Auto is the least affordable at $132/mo.

But the best way to find the cheapest car insurance coverage in North Carolina for your specific circumstances is to shop around and get quotes from as many companies as possible. When reviewing the quotes, be sure to compare apples to apples to make sure you’re basing your decision on the same or similar coverage options.

While this will take some time and effort, the benefit of saving money on your insurance premiums should make it worthwhile.

Cheapest Insurance Rates for North Carolina’s Young Drivers

Unfortunately, drivers 18-24 (even with a spotless driving record) can still expect to pay more for car insurance in North Carolina. Insurers believe older, more experienced drivers are less likely to file claims than younger drivers and set rates accordingly.

But there is hope. We found three auto insurers offering affordable minimum liability coverage to young drivers in North Carolina.

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Liberty Mutual $92
Esurance $110
Direct Auto $112

Again, Liberty Mutual, Esurance, and Direct Auto made the list as the most affordable car insurance companies for drivers in North Carolina, this time, for 18-24 year olds. If you choose Liberty Mutual, expect to fork over $92/mo. Esurance comes in next at $110/mo. In a very close third place, Direct Auto will set you back $112/mo.

Best Rates for Single vs. Married Drivers

In the world of auto insurance, there are many factors that can affect rates, and being married is one that can save you money. Regardless of age, married North Carolina drivers can expect a significant reduction in their insurance premiums.

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Liberty Mutual $63
Esurance $87

We found two car insurance companies with affordable rates for married drivers. Liberty Mutual’s monthly limited liability premium will cost you around $63 and Esurance comes in at $87.

If you’re single, expect to dig a little deeper in your wallet for car insurance than your married counterparts, even with similar driving records and credit scores. That’s because insurers assume single drivers are more likely to take part in unsafe driving habits resulting in more accidents and tickets.

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Liberty Mutual $68
Safeco $74
Esurance $77
Direct Auto $86
Answer Financial $91

Our research discovered seven of the most affordable insurance policies for singles.

Liberty Mutual is the cheapest option at just $68/mo. Other budget-friendly options are Safeco ($74/mo.), Esurance ($77/mo.), Direct Auto ($86/mo.) and Answer Financial ($91/mo.).

Regardless of your marital status, it’s an excellent idea to compare auto insurance rates to find the most affordable premium for you.

Car Insurance Rates for Men vs. Women in North Carolina

Top 5 Cheapest Companies for Men

Surprisingly, male drivers can secure slightly cheaper auto insurance than female drivers in North Carolina. This is true even though men have historically been involved in more car accidents, are less likely to wear their seatbelts, and more likely to be ticketed for speeding and other reckless behavior while driving.

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Liberty Mutual $65
Esurance $83
Direct Auto $90

Top 5 Cheapest Companies for Women

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Liberty Mutual $68
Safeco $70
Esurance $74
Direct Auto $84

In comparing rates we found two out of the three companies that insure North Carolina drivers offer cheaper rates to women. See the comparisons – men who chose Esurance pay $9 more per month than women and $6 more with Direct Auto.

Liberty Mutual is the only company offering auto insurance to both men and women who delivered a lower rate for men at $65 per month than women at $68 per month.

That’s why it always makes sense to do your due diligence when looking for affordable insurance rates. Get quotes from as many companies as possible and ask about all available discounts, including professional, employer, and civic affiliations.

How to Save in North Carolina if You Have a Spotty Record

Cheapest Companies for Drivers with One Ticket

Suppose you get pulled over and ticketed for the first time. it could very well make it more challenging to get cheap insurance, but not always. Infractions such as speeding, running red lights, cell distraction violations, or failing to yield are viewed by insurance companies as unsafe behaviors.

More often than not, you’ll be penalized with a hike in your current premiums, or it will be more expensive to secure a new insurance policy. First-time traffic violations that are unlikely to increase your insurance rates are parking tickets or a broken headlight.

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Safeco $61
Liberty Mutual $63
Esurance $74
DirectGeneral $89

The four companies offering affordable monthly rates to drivers with a single ticket are Safeco ($61/mo.), Liberty Mutual ($63/mo.), Esurance ($74/mo.), and Direct Auto ($89/mo.).

Cheapest Company for Drivers with Multiple Tickets

It may surprise North Carolina drivers who have accumulated multiple tickets on their record that a lone company, Esurance, is offering affordable insurance rates. They provide a rate of $70 per month for minimum liability coverage for drivers with multiple tickets compared to $74 per month for drivers with a single ticket.

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Esurance $70

That’s why it always pays to do your research and shop around for insurance quotes. You may find a cheaper insurance premium based on your driving record, credit score, affiliations, geographic location, and available discounts.

Cheapest Companies for Drivers with One Accident

Whether it’s your first, second or third time, being involved in a car accident is no fun. The process can leave you emotionally and financially overwhelmed. When an accident occurs, there’s a great likelihood you’ll experience a hike in your insurance premium.. Most insurance companies will penalize you with higher rates or even cancel your policy if it occurs often.

You won’t know how much your insurance premium increases after your first accident until after it happens. Even if the accident isn’t your fault, you may be penalized with higher insurance premiums just for filing a claim. However, more and more insurers are offering “accident forgiveness” for first time offenders who have an established relationship with the insurer.

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Liberty Mutual $73
Safeco $76
Direct Auto $89
Esurance $90

Four companies are providing cheaper car insurance to drivers with an accident on their record. They are Liberty Mutual ($73/mo.), Safeco ($76/mo.), Direct Auto ($89/mo.), and Esurance ($90/mo.).

Cheapest Company for Drivers with Multiple Accidents

Muli-accident policy seekers can often see a drastic increase in insurance premiums, up to 50%. For accident claims involving damage to property or bodily injury, the rates can increase upwards of 60% or more.

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Direct Auto $119

Direct Auto is the only company on our list of affordable auto insurance for North Carolina drivers with multiple accidents on their driving record. The monthly premium for a liability-only policy will cost around $119 per month.

But, don’t give up! There may still be cheaper insurance options available to you regardless of your driving record. Shop around for more affordable quotes regardless of your driving record. You can also attend a driving school or take a defensive driving course to add positive points to your driving record which can lower your rate. In addition, be sure to adopt safer driving practices to avoid additional accidents.

The Cheapest Possible Coverage in NC: State Minimum Insurance

North Carolina drivers are required by law to obtain valid liability insurance to register a motor vehicle. Liability-only policies meet the minimum standards of protection for drivers against bodily injury and property damage in cases of negligence by other drivers. It also offers a layer of protection against drivers who cause an accident and are uninsured or underinsured.

Check out these four companies providing cheap state minimum coverage to North Carolina drivers.

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Safeco $47
Esurance $48
Liberty Mutual $50
Direct Auto $55

This time around, the rates across all four companies are relatively close. Only $8 separates our cheapest policy from our most expensive one on the list. Safeco once again takes the top spot of the most affordable auto insurance for North Carolina drivers looking for the state’s minimum coverage. Their monthly premium is $47. Other companies making the list are Esurance ($48/mo), Liberty Mutual ($50/mo), and Direct Auto ($55/mo).

The Cheapest Companies Full Coverage Car Insurance

Full coverage car insurance, which generally includes comprehensive and collision options, is not a requirement in North Carolina. However, if you don’t own your vehicle outright and still make monthly payments to a lender, they will probably require you to maintain comprehensive and collision coverage as part of your contract term.

Comprehensive coverage, also known as “other than collision” helps cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle if you’re involved in an accident that’s not caused by a collision. The opposite is true for collision insurance which helps cover the costs of damages to your vehicle if it’s caused by another car or object.

Choosing to carry full coverage insurance on your vehicle can provide peace of mind when you’re on the road. It’s like having a safety blanket wrapped around your car and knowing if an accident happens, you can rely on extra layer of financial protection.

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Direct Auto $103

In North Carolina, you can get this extra layer of protection from Direct Auto. They have an affordable full-coverage auto insurance policy starting at $103/mo. But hop online and do some comparison shopping. You might find a policy that’s better suited for your current car insurance needs and at a lower price.

The Best Rated Car Insurance Companies in North Carolina

North Carolina

Below, we’ve listed the top ten rated car insurance companies in North Carolina. This list was compiled by J.D. Power, a leader in automotive customer satisfaction surveys. The rankings are based on a 1,000-point scale and evaluate overall customer service, trust, and loyalty.

Company Rating
Erie Insurance 871
Alfa Insurance 858
GEICO 857
Auto-Owners Insurance 854
North Carolina Farm Bureau 854
Kentucky Farm Bureau 851
Region Average 849
Progressive 848
Allstate 846
Safeco 837

North Carolina Car Insurance Discounts

Just about everyone loves a discount, but did you know, insurance companies also offer rewards? Like any other business, auto insurers are always looking for ways to entice drivers to choose them for their car insurance needs. Factors allowing you to qualify for discounts on car insurance can range from having multiple vehicles to working for a specific employer and everything in-between.

Here are ten ways you may be able to cut down on your auto insurance costs.

  1. Safe Driver Discount. Maintain a clean driving record free of tickets, violations, and accidents over a specified time.
  2. Multi-Policy Discount. Bundle your homeowners, life, and vehicle insurance under one policy umbrella.
  3. Multi-Vehicle DiscountInsure more than one vehicle with the same insurance provider.
  4. Military Discount. Offered for active duty personnel, veterans, and members of the National Guard.
  5. Government Employer Discount. For employees of the federal, state, and local government.
  6. Telematics System Discount. Safe-driving rewards are offered to policyholders who allow insurers to monitor their driving style via a unique app attached to their vehicle.
  7. Good Student Discount. Available to high school and college students who make good grades.
  8. New Car Discount. If your vehicle is new and the first and only owner, you may qualify for this discount.
  9. Annual Mileage Discount. Driving less can reduce the chances that you’ll be involved in an accident, resulting in reduced rates from your insurance company.
  10. Online Payment Discount. Sign up for online payments, and your insurer may provide you with savings on your auto policy.

Which NC City Has the Cheapest Insurance?

Click on the name of each city in the table below to find detailed breakdowns on all the factors that go into calculating your monthly premium. Here, you’ll find all the information you need on how things like driving record, age, gendervehicle make and model, and more will affect how much you pay for car insurance in each locality.

City Average Monthly Car Insurance Premium
Asheville $39
Burlington $42
Cary $44
Charlotte $66
Clayton $60
Concord $58
Durham $51
Elizabeth City $42
Fayetteville $69
Ft. Bragg $64
Garner $48
Gastonia $59
Goldsboro $49
Greensboro $62
Greenville $52
Hickory $48
High Point $51
Huntersville $48
Jacksonville $68
Kannapolis $56
Kernersville $58
Kings Mountain $49
Lenoir $50
Lexington $45
Lillington $45
Lumberton $54
Matthews $70
McLeansville $61
Monroe $60
Mooresville $48
Morrisville $50
Raeford $54
Raleigh $56
Rocky Mount $49
Salisbury $56
Sanford $54
Shelby $50
Spring Lake $87
Statesville $45
Thomasville $43
Wake Forest $52
Waxhaw $59
Wilmington $55
Wilson $57
Winston Salem $48

North Carolina Vehicle Registration Fees and Other Costs

If you’re in the market for a new or used car, you’ll need to budget for more than just the vehicle’s sticker price. You can expect to be on the hook for basic DMV fees like title, license plate, and registration fees no matter where and how you purchase your new car, truck or SUV, as well as buying a new car insurance policy for your car.

Some buyers will find themselves covering additional fees such as sales tax, documentation fees, personal property tax, emissions and inspection fees, hybrid and electric vehicle fees, lien recording fees and a slew of other costs.

Check out Compare.com’s comprehensive vehicle costs breakdown to make sure you account for all the added fees you might be on the hook for when buying a car in North Carolina.

North Carolina Auto Insurance FAQs

What car insurance is required in North Carolina? 

North Carolina drivers are required to continuously maintain the following minimum liability coverage to operate a vehicle legally:

  • $30,000 – Bodily Injury per person
  • $60,000 – Bodily Injury per accident
  • $25,000 – Property Damage liability per accident

How much is car insurance in North Carolina? 

Liability car insurance in North Carolina averages $87/mo.

What happens if you drive without insurance in North Carolina?

It’s against the law to drive in North Carolina without car insurance, and the penalties are severe. If you’re caught driving without insurance, you may be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor offense, leaving you with a permanent criminal record.

You may also accumulate negative points on your DMV record which can lead to higher insurance rates.

Does North Carolina require full coverage car insurance?

North Carolina doesn’t require drivers to maintain full coverage car insurance. However, all registered vehicles must have continuous minimum liability coverage at all times.

Although not required by the state, your auto lender may demand it. Full coverage car insurance includes comprehensive and collision.

Can you get car insurance without a license in North Carolina?

You don’t need a driver’s license to get car insurance in North Carolina, however, finding an insurance company to write a policy for you may be a bit complicated. Most insurers qualify you for coverage, in large, based on your driving history. Without a driver’s license or driving history, insurers have no way to qualify you for coverage.

While it may be difficult to obtain car insurance without a license, it’s not impossible. A growing number of insurers understand purchasing car insurance without a license may be necessary for specific situations.


Methodology

All data referenced in this article comes from a combination of proprietary data — which is aggregated from millions of real customer quotes through Compare.com — and additional data gathered in collaboration with Quadrant.

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