Erie offers the best full and minimum liability car insurance coverage in North Carolina. The insurer is also our top pick for customer service, young drivers, senior drivers, and those with traffic violations. Kemper is the best for drivers with new cars in the Tar Heel State.
If you are interested in quality service at the lowest rates, MoneyGeek also analyzed the cheapest car insurance in North Carolina.
Best Car Insurance in North Carolina
Best Overall for Car Insurance in North Carolina
Erie offers the best auto insurance for full coverage in North Carolina. Based on MoneyGeek’s research, the state’s top two providers are:
- Erie: MoneyGeek score of 94 out of 100 ($630 per year)
- Nationwide: MoneyGeek score of 91 out of 100 ($631 per year)
Erie has the lowest premium of the providers in MoneyGeek’s review and offers its customers the best experience and support. The average annual cost of full coverage car insurance in North Carolina is $841, making Erie's policy substantially less.
For buyers seeking to save on premiums, MoneyGeek also reviewed the cheapest full coverage car insurance in North Carolina.
Costing about $630 per year, Erie topped the list of car insurance providers in North Carolina for affordability and customer satisfaction. The company provides personal property insurance as add-on coverage.
Erie offers better car replacement, personal property and glass deductible modification coverage as part of its array of add-on options not typically available from other insurers.
With Erie’s personal property coverage, the company pays up for lost or damaged clothing, personal belongings and luggage inside an insured car up to $350. The insurer's better car replacement coverage, also known as Auto Security, replaces your car with a newer model if it gets totaled in an accident. If your car is older than two years, you will receive a model that’s two years newer.
If you are an Erie policyholder, you may choose glass repair coverage that waives the deductible when repairing broken glasses. You can purchase Full Window Glass coverage, which waives the deductible amount regardless of the replacement or repair costs. If the repair process entails replacing the windshield, you also get new wiper blades.
Policies from Nationwide cost $631 annually on average, the second cheapest in the state. The insurer is the most reliable for add-on coverage options and scores well for customer satisfaction.
Nationwide is more likely to offer a positive customer experience due to its third-highest rating in customer satisfaction. That means the insurer is better positioned to address your complaints than its competitors.
Nationwide has identity theft coverage as one of its unique add-ons. With this coverage, up to $25,000 of your expenses get covered if you or a family member are victims of fraud or identity theft.
Nationwide offers a total loss deductible waiver, which covers the deductible amount of your comprehensive or collision insurance after your car gets totaled in an accident. Rental car reimbursement from the insurer offers you access to a rental car or alternative transportation if your vehicle remains in the repair shop after a covered accident based on the guidelines in your policy.
Erie Insurance is a large, very financially stable regional company based out of Erie, Pennsylvania, that has provided insurance to people since 1925. Erie serves 12 states (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin) and Washington, DC. It is ranked as the 12th largest auto insurer by Best's Insurance Reports in the United States for 2023 based on direct premiums written. It has an AM Best rating of A+.
If you have not heard of Erie, don't let it keep you from getting a policy quote from the company. It is a respected regional company that often provides affordable rates for different types of drivers and excellent customer service.
How the Best Insurers in North Carolina Rank: MoneyGeek Scores and Costs
MoneyGeek’s analysis indicates that Erie offers the best auto insurance in North Carolina among the providers we reviewed due to its low cost and high customer satisfaction score.
Nationwide, the second-best provider, has the highest coverage availability rating and ranks third for providing an excellent customer experience. If you need a provider with a wide selection of coverages, Allstate, Nationwide or Progressive may be better fits than Erie, although some may feature higher premiums.
To qualify for a MoneyGeek score, an insurer must have sufficient data across all the weightings of our ranking system. Costs are based on full coverage car insurance policies.
Best Car Insurance in North Carolina for Customer Service
Without considering affordability, Erie is the best car insurance company for those who desire an excellent customer experience. According to MoneyGeek, the top insurers for customer service are:
- Erie: MoneyGeek score of 90 out of 100 ($630 per year)
- Nationwide: MoneyGeek score of 88 out of 100 ($631 per year)
Erie scored the highest on customer satisfaction and had the second-highest claims experience score, which contributes to the company’s overall positive reputation. Nationwide ranked lower than Erie on both customer satisfaction and claims experience. Erie's and Nationwide's costs are the cheapest compared to the other insurers MoneyGeek reviewed.
The cheapest option out of reviewed insurers
Highest satisfaction and second-highest claims ratings
Wide selection of unique add-on coverages, including better car replacement, glass deductible modification and pet coverage
Lacks common coverages like roadside assistance
Erie balances customer satisfaction and low premiums for customers seeking a provider with the best customer service. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) customer complaint ratings and J.D. Power customer satisfaction indices, Erie tops the list for customer service in North Carolina.
Erie's better car protection covers the cost of replacing your older car with one that’s two years newer. Additionally, you can purchase Lease Loan Protection to pay for your auto loan if your car is at least two years old and is totaled. The insurer offers a unique pet coverage, which pays for your pet’s treatment costs up to $1,000 if it’s injured in an accident while in an insured car.
Erie charges the lowest premium, about $630 annually, for a full coverage policy. A drawback of the insurer is the absence of roadside assistance.
What Makes an Insurer the Best for Customer Service?
When comparing customer service across auto insurance companies in North Carolina, data from market intelligence companies such as J.D Power can help you determine the best option. Review a company’s:
- Claims management process and whether it pays approved claims promptly
- Ability and availability to respond to customer complaints and inquiries
- Ability to resolve policy-related issues as they arise
Erie’s customer satisfaction score was near-perfect, surpassing the rest of the insurers in our study. North Carolina Farm Bureau had a perfect claims score but lower customer satisfaction than Erie. State Farm is the second best for customer satisfaction but ranks poorly for claims management.
Best Car Insurance in North Carolina for Minimum Coverage
MoneyGeek found that Erie is the top provider for those who need an auto insurance policy in North Carolina that only meets the state’s minimum requirements. The best companies offering affordable minimum coverage policies with quality service are:
- Erie: MoneyGeek score of 92 out of 100 ($300 per year)
- Nationwide: MoneyGeek score of 92 out of 100 ($292 per year)
Although Erie is slightly more costly than Nationwide, the company ranked higher because of its excellent customer satisfaction score. The average annual cost of minimum coverage in North Carolina is $436.
The state minimum liability policy is the cheapest but offers the lowest coverage and may not cover all your expenses during an accident.
An affordable minimum coverage policy costs about $300 per year
Offers discounts for full payments, automatic payments and cars with honing devices
No discount for paperless payments
Poor rating on coverage options
According to our analysis, Erie is the most affordable and offers the best customer service for buyers seeking minimum coverage insurance. You can lower your premiums through discounts if you insure multiple cars at Erie, bundle car insurance with a different type of insurance or complete a safe driving course.
You can also save on costs with some unique discounts if you have a car with anti-lock brakes, airbags or an anti-theft device. Erie also offers some rare discounts, including for having daytime running lights, honing devices and for etching the VIN on a car window. If you do not use your car for at least 90 consecutive days, you may be eligible for reduced premiums if your Erie policy is active.
What Makes an Insurer the Best for Minimum Coverage?
You can find quality minimum coverage policies in North Carolina, although the level of protection will only meet the basic requirements for the state. A good insurer should offer the best rates and service, along with discounts that can further lower your premium.
Erie offers a balance of low cost, excellent customer service and the best claims experience. Nationwide is the cheapest, but its customer satisfaction ranks significantly lower than Erie’s.
Best Car Insurance in North Carolina for Young Adults
The best insurer for young drivers in North Carolina is Erie, based on MoneyGeek's analysis of full coverage car insurance rates for drivers in their 20s. High scorers balance quality service and affordability.
The top two providers in North Carolina are:
- Erie: MoneyGeek score of 94 out of 100 ($644 per year)
- Nationwide: MoneyGeek score of 90 out of 100 ($886 per year)
Erie topped the list of the insurers MoneyGeek reviewed on affordability, claims experience and overall customer satisfaction.
If you are in your 20s, you will pay less for auto insurance than teen drivers, but your rate will likely be higher than for middle-aged drivers. To get the cheapest car insurance in North Carolina for this age bracket, you may need to compare rates from multiple providers.
Affordable cost of coverage for young drivers at $644 per year
Offers legacy discount
Highest claims and customer satisfaction scores
Customers have limited common add-on coverage options
On average, auto insurance for young drivers is costlier than for older drivers, but Erie offers a combination of quality service and cheap coverage. With the highest customer satisfaction and claims ratings, the insurer is likely to provide customers with excellent support and efficient claims processing.
The Legacy Discount offers reduced rates for young, unmarried drivers previously covered for several years under another Erie policy, such as a parent’s or guardian’s. Safe driving also gets you a discount, as does having safety devices like airbags, anti-lock brakes, an anti-theft system or daytime running lights.
Auto Security, the company’s better car replacement coverage, replaces totaled cars less than two years old with the latest model year. Erie offers other add-on coverages, including accident forgiveness, gap insurance, locked vehicle assistance and rental car or travel reimbursement coverage.
What Makes an Insurer the Best for Young Adults?
If you are in your 20s, the best auto insurance carriers offer affordable rates, an excellent customer experience and discounts that apply to young drivers.
Erie tops the list of insurers in North Carolina in this category due to its low rates and availability of discounts and coverages relevant to young drivers, such as the Legacy Discount. While Nationwide ranks better on essential coverages, it has lower affordability, customer satisfaction and claims management scores.
Best Car Insurance in North Carolina for Seniors
Based on service quality and the cost of a full coverage policy, Erie is North Carolina's top insurance carrier for senior drivers. MoneyGeek’s findings show the following are the best companies if you are in your 60s:
- Erie: MoneyGeek score of 92 out of 100 ($619 per year)
- Nationwide: MoneyGeek score of 92 out of 100 ($514 per year)
Erie is the second-most affordable and ranks second for claims experience, but it has the best customer service of the insurance companies profiled.
Premiums for drivers in their 60s are similar to drivers between 30 and 50 years old but tend to increase for those in their 70s due to increased accident frequency. If you wish to save on your rates, you can find the cheapest coverage for seniors by comparing quotes across several companies.
The second-cheapest insurer, costing an average of $619 per year
Offers discount to seniors
Highly rated for customer service
Lower score on coverage availability as it lacks common add-on options
Senior drivers in North Carolina seeking the best customer experience should consider purchasing an auto insurance policy from Erie, the second-most affordable insurer in the state. Cost-conscious seniors can also take advantage of the company’s discount for retired persons.
Its rental car expense coverage is available to drivers with comprehensive insurance, allowing them to select from six classes of rental car options. This coverage ensures drivers continue to have transportation after an accident.
The better car and new car protection coverages from Erie can help seniors get a replacement for their totaled vehicle with a new one of the same or better model. Policyholders may also receive payments for personal property damaged or lost while in an insured vehicle.
What Makes an Insurer the Best for Seniors?
If you are a driver in your 60s, it’s best to have full coverage auto insurance with affordable rates and medical payments coverage, which pays medical expenses after an accident. While you may be considered a safe driver, you are more prone to injuries in a car accident. Discounts, such as defensive driving, can also reduce your premium significantly.
Erie, our top pick, has a discount exclusive for senior drivers and safe driving and defensive driving discounts. The company is the second cheapest after Nationwide and has the highest customer satisfaction rating.
Best Car Insurance in North Carolina for Drivers With Offenses
According to MoneyGeek’s ranking of car insurance companies in North Carolina, Erie offers the best coverage to drivers with traffic violations. Based on the analysis, the top insurers are:
- Erie: MoneyGeek score of 93 out of 100 ($1,485 per year)
- Nationwide: MoneyGeek score of 92 out of 100 ($1,391 per year)
We determined the top scores based on customer service and affordability for a driver with a full coverage policy and a traffic violation on their record.
On average, you will pay $380 more for car insurance after an at-fault accident, $2,473 more after a DWI and $456 more after a speeding ticket. You can find the most affordable auto insurance after a violation by comparing rates from several providers.
Provides the third cheapest premium for drivers with violations, at $1,485 per year
Offers new and better car replacement and rental car or travel reimbursement coverage options
Has the best customer service rating
Lacks roadside assistance coverage
Erie offers the best auto insurance to North Carolinians with a poor driving history. The policy costs an average of $1,485 per year, among the cheapest. The insurer offers the best customer experience of the insurers MoneyGeek reviewed.
Erie offers rental car reimbursement to cover transportation costs if you’re unable to use your car because of an accident. You may also purchase new car and better car replacement coverages to get your totaled car replaced after an accident.
Erie has a wide selection of other unique coverage options that may benefit you if you have a traffic violation on your record, such as gap insurance and deductible modification coverage.
What Makes an Insurer the Best for Drivers With Offenses?
A good insurer for those with traffic violations will offer an affordable policy plus discounts that can lower your costs significantly. With a traffic offense on your profile, you will likely pay more for auto insurance than a driver with no violation.
Although Erie is not the cheapest if you have a violation, it has coverage options that may come in handy after an accident, such as rental car reimbursement. Nationwide’s policies are cheaper than Erie’s, and the insurer offers roadside assistance, but it lacks new and better car replacement coverage and rates below average for claims management.
Best Car Insurance in North Carolina for Drivers With New Cars
Kemper is the best insurance provider for drivers with new cars, according to our comparison of companies that offer new or better car replacement coverage.
The top two recommendations are:
- Kemper: MoneyGeek score of 80 out of 100 ($1,094 per year)
- Allstate: MoneyGeek score of 77 out of 100 ($1,915 per year)
We based ratings for this study on customer service and affordability for drivers with a 2022 car model. Kemper had a higher affordability score than Allstate. The insurer also had the highest score on claims experience, although it’s still below average.
Offers the most affordable policy at an average of $1,094 per year
Has new car replacement as an add-on coverage
Provides better claims experience than other insurers
Lowest customer satisfaction rating
Lacks roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement coverage
Kemper has the best auto insurance for North Carolinians with new cars. Although it earned less than average scores for customer experience, it is the most affordable and offers better claims processing than its counterpart.
While most insurers pay for the actual cash value of your car if it’s totaled, Kemper Total coverage pays for any repair or replacement costs of your car after an accident. Policyholders can also get gap insurance that covers the difference between their car’s actual cash value and an outstanding auto loan amount.
The company also offers the Kemper Prime Auto Enhanced premium that combines several popular coverage options, including accident forgiveness, diminishing deductible credit for safe driving, personal property protection and entry transmitter device replacement coverage.
What Makes an Insurer the Best for Drivers With New Cars?
The best auto insurance policy if you have a new car should provide better car replacement or new car replacement add-on coverages. These two coverage options pay for replacing your car with a similar or better model if it’s totaled in an accident.
Kemper ranked the highest for providing affordable premiums and better claims experience and offers new car replacement coverage. Allstate had the highest user satisfaction rating, but the lowest claims experience score. It also offers a new car discount and new car replacement coverage.
Best Car Insurance in North Carolina for Military Drivers
Erie has the best auto insurance in North Carolina for active-duty military members and veterans, scoring 94 out of 100 on our ranking system, with $630 as the average annual premium.
Although USAA does not appear in the top list of insurers in the state, it is renowned for offering the cheapest coverage for members of the military community.
Offers policies customized to military members and their families
Provides accident forgiveness
Does not offer unique coverage options and lacks new or better car replacement coverage
USAA provides the best coverage for military drivers and their families. Its policies are also widely available and the most affordable in the United States.
USAA policyholders can access roadside assistance and rental car or travel reimbursement coverage, which are common to most insurers. Also available are accident forgiveness coverage and rideshare insurance.
Individuals without a serious traffic offense for at least five years may be eligible for a discount at USAA. They may also pay less for coverage after completing a basic driver or defensive driving course. Premiums are also lower if you store your car on a military installation.
How to Find the Best Car Insurance in North Carolina for You
When choosing the best car insurance policy in North Carolina, consider a provider that offers the best price, quality service and has excellent financial stability.
We compared the top providers across these factors and outlined below the steps you can take to compare the available options on your own.
Research customer service reputations in North Carolina
We sourced car insurance quotes from various companies using a sample driver and data from J.D. Power and NAIC to determine the top provider in North Carolina. You can also use NAIC’s complaint ratios and J.D. Power’s scores to determine the best insurer for your needs, or check out the North Carolina Department of Insurance for additional information.
Although MoneyGeek analyzed quotes from insurers in various locations within North Carolina, the average estimates may not be applicable everywhere in the state. Compare quotes from at least three providers to accurately estimate your rates.
Find the coverages you want in North Carolina
When selecting a car insurance policy in North Carolina, choose a provider that offers the type of coverage and discounts you need. Note that some insurers will advertise a coverage option or discount online even if it’s not available in all areas.
Check financial stability ratings
A company’s financial strength determines how likely it is to settle customer claims. Consider this crucial factor when comparing auto insurance providers.
Compare Auto Insurance Rates
Ensure you're getting the best rate for your auto insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.
FAQs About the Best Car Insurance in North Carolina
The most suitable auto insurance in North Carolina will vary based on your profile and preferences. Some commonly asked questions about auto insurance are as follows:
What is the best way to figure out which insurer is best for me in North Carolina?
Comparing rates is half the story. You should also consider the following:
Check out potential auto insurance companies on AM Best to see what their most recent rating is. How do the companies you are looking at stack up? You want a company that is highly rated and will be able to pay your claims. You can also check the Better Business Bureau to see ratings and complaints on local agencies, but keep in mind that not all agencies or insurers are reviewed by the BBB.
Understand what coverages you really need and what you want so you can be sure to ask about those coverages/options when you are comparing companies and quotes. If the company doesn’t offer the specific coverage you need, they aren’t right for you. Understanding the price of individual coverages along with potential discounts you might be eligible for can help you more accurately compare costs. A company might have some good discounts, but if those discounts are hard to qualify for or maintain, it might be more effort than you are willing to give. Can the company provide you with other insurance (home, rental, umbrella) that could help you save on your overall insurance bill?
Decide what kind of customer service experience you want. If you want to be able to speak with someone or be face-to-face with an agent instead of only being able to communicate via email or a self-service website, make sure you understand what channels and hours are offered by the companies you are considering. Keep in mind that top-rated insurance companies may or may not have a local agent. Regardless of what company you choose, if it is necessary to file a claim, it will most likely be done through a 1-800 number.
Talk with friends, family members, neighbors and colleagues to see what their experiences have been with various insurers. What you are looking for are patterns — did the people who are with XYZ Auto Insurance Company have issues getting claims paid or getting help through customer service? We use the example of an insurer that had lower rates than most of the competition but also had a lot of negative feedback for claims service.
What are the best coverages to add to your car insurance policy in North Carolina?
The answer to this question depends on what is important to you or what you are most concerned about. Some of the additional coverages available are for things that you might be able to cover out of pocket, so how does the cost you’d pay out of your pocket compare to what you’ll pay for the coverage? Understanding the specifics of each additional coverage—what is covered and how it is covered, what is not covered—can make a big difference in the cost and usefulness of the coverage. Here are a couple of examples:
- Gap insurance: This covers the gap between what the car is worth and what you owe on it. Given how the values of used cars have dramatically gone up, you should check to see what that gap currently is before electing this additional coverage. Double check that you don’t already have this coverage with the vehicle loan.
- Roadside assistance/Rental coverage: In your area, what is the average cost of getting a tow truck to come on a service call? How does that compare to the additional cost of this coverage, and what are the specifics of the tow insurance coverage? Unless you have access to an alternative vehicle for an extended period of time, auto rental insurance should be included with a daily rate of at least $45. This will ensure that you have access to a car if extensive repairs are needed on your car.
- Custom equipment or OEM endorsement: If you have any custom parts or modifications to your car, you may want to consider this coverage. How much would it cost you to replace or potentially repair your custom part? How expensive is the coverage? With the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) endorsement, how concerned are you with only having parts from the car manufacturer used on your vehicle to make the repairs? If other brands of parts are used, will that significantly impact the value of your vehicle? How does that impact the value of your vehicle compared to the cost of coverage?
- Minor violation forgiveness/Accident forgiveness: If this has been an issue for you or you are concerned with what a violation or accident would do to your rates, you may want to consider this coverage. Again, what does this coverage cost versus how much could it save you? What is considered a “minor violation” or forgivable accident? Knowing the specifics of this kind of additional coverage is key.
About Mark Fitzpatrick
- Erie. "Auto Insurance." Accessed January 28, 2023.