Like most of the other states in the country, North Carolina requires all of its residents who own and operate a motor vehicle to obtain and maintain an auto insurance policy. However, you can’t just make random purchases; there are certain laws you have to follow, one of which specifies the minimum amount for each coverage you should have. To help you better understand how North Carolina car insurance works, here are some of the must-knows about it.

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Average cost of car insurance in North Carolina

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) claim that the average person pays roughly $624.76 for car insurance in North Carolina each year.

They broke this figure down to:

$355.19 is the average annual liability insurance expenditure.

$263.06 is the average annual collision insurance expenditure.

$120.72 is the average annual comprehensive insurance expenditure.

Young Drivers in North Carolina

Our methodology1 found that a young driver living in the First in Flight State can expect to pay an average of:

  • $417.6 for state minimum coverage2,
  • $470 for basic full coverage3 and
  • $1166 for premium full coverage4.

Compared with many of the other states, NC teens and new drivers spend a lot less for their auto insurance. Take note as well, that in general, the bigger the city, the better the premiums. Out of the 10 cities from our study, Winston-Salem, with an estimated population of 241,218 (2015, latest data5), offers one of the cheapest possible premiums, at around $27 a month.

Female Drivers in North Carolina

Women can expect their yearly premiums to have averages of:

  • $321.6 for state minimum coverage,
  • $356.4 for basic full coverage and
  • $834.4 for premium full coverage.

Insurance companies take into consideration as many factors as possible to determine the level of risk a motorist has. Because female drivers statistically cause least number of road related incidents, insurers categorize them as low-risk.  

Senior Drivers in North Carolina

Our study found that a senior driver can expect to pay an annual premium average of:

  • $303.2 for state minimum coverage,
  • $335.6 for basic full coverage and
  • $763.6 for premium full coverage.

Because age greatly affects premiums, many older adults would have to face an increase in their insurance expenditures. There are several ways to prevent a huge change though. Qualifying for age-specific discounts and completing a defensive driving course can help keep costs at minimum.

Minimum car insurance requirements

It is a legal requirement, not to mention your responsibility, to get liability insurance. You need this before you can even lawfully drive your car. With this coverage, you will receive financial assistance when you cause a road accident. It will help cover expenses associated with paying for bodily injuries sustained by other people as well as for property damage.

To remain compliant with all the motor vehicle insurance regulations of the state, you should get, at the very least, the following: a $30,000 coverage minimum for bodily injury/person/accident, a $60,000 coverage minimum for total bodily injury/accident, and a $25,000 coverage minimum for property damage/accident.

And because there are still quite the number of drivers in the state who don’t have any insurance policy, you also have to include the uninsured motorist coverage in your policy. The minimums here mirror those in your liability insurance coverage.

While these are the only requirements, know that you also have the option to create a more extensive policy. You should take a closer look at your other options, which include collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, towing and labor coverage, as well as rental car coverage.

Read the article, Car Insurance: The Facts, for more information on car insurance.

Violations and Penalties 

When you don’t follow the rules surrounding motor vehicle insurance in North Carolina, you can end up facing these violations and penalties.

For a first time violation, you need to pay a $50 fine, plus a registration restoration fee of $50. You need to wait for up to 30 days though for the lifting of your registration suspension, in the event the authorities find you guilty of operating your vehicle even though you know you don’t have insurance. A probationary period of anywhere between 1 to 45 days also apply.

Committing the same mistake for a second time within a period of 3 years will result in the same restoration fee, registration suspension period, and probationary status. However, the fine for the violation goes up to $100.
Any subsequent violations from your second one means facing the same penalties, but with the fine increasing to $150.

Driving safety in North Carolina

88% of motorists and front-seat passengers in North Carolina wear their seatbelts according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is 2% higher than the national average of 86%.

The National Highway Safety Administration assessed the number of driving fatalities in the country, and the results for NC was 1,379 casualties. 411 cases (30%), happened due to alcohol impaired driving.

Because of this, the CDC gave the state a vehicle occupant death rate of 8.6 per 100,000 residents.

Final thoughts

Don’t treat auto insurance as just another unnecessary expense; look at it more of as an investment, not only because you want to remain a law-abiding citizen, but also because it really does provide you (and other people on the road) with protection.

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licensed drivers in North Carolina, 2014
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privately insured vehicles in North Carolina

Source: StatistaInsurance Information Institute

1Methodology: To achieve accurate results we obtained estimates for 10 cities in the state: 5 of the largest cities and 5 randomly picked smaller cities. For each city, we collected premiums for 3 levels of coverage: state minimum coverage, basic full coverage and premium full coverage. We used 3 different driver profiles for the case studies. For the young driver profile we used a 20-year-old single male or female with 1 year driving experience. Second, the profile fit that of a 35-year-old married female with 12 years of driving experience. The last profile we used in our studies is a male senior driver who was 68-year-old with 45 years of driving experience. The vehicle we used for all three driver profiles was a 2012 Honda Accord EX.
2State minimum coverage includes the minimum liability insurance limits required in your state but excludes the following:
  • No Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
  • No Towing Coverage
  • No Rental Car Coverage
  • No Full Glass Coverage
3Basic full coverage includes:
  • $50,000 Bodily Injury Liability Per Person/$100,000 Per Accident
  • $25,000 Property Damage Liability
  • $50,000 Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage Per Person/$100,000 Per Accident
  • $25,000 Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage
  • $750 Deductible Collision And Comprehensive Coverage
  • $50 Towing Coverage
  • No Rental Reimbursement Coverage
  • No Full Glass Coverage
4Premium full coverage includes:
  • $250,000 Bodily Injury Liability Per Person / $500,000 Per Accident
  • $100,000 Property Damage Liability
  • $250,000 Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage Per Person / $500,000 Per Accident
  • $100,000 Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage
  • $250 Deductible Comprehensive Coverage And No Deductible Collision Coverage
  • $75 Towing Coverage
  • $30/day Rental Reimbursement, Max Of $900
  • Full Glass Coverage
5Latest data: The U.S. census is conducted every 10 years as per requirement of the United States Constitution. The 23rd edition and the latest data is the 2010 United States Census. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_Census
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