North Carolina ranks 10th in the nation for cheap insurance, making it a great place to live if you want to avoid high premiums. Finding affordable car insurance in North Carolina is much easier than in other parts of the country, but you should still take your time to secure the best deal. Rates depend heavily on individual driver factors, making it important to get a few different quotes before settling on an insurer. MoneyGeek is here to walk you through the steps of finding the best and cheapest car insurance in North Carolina.
The Best Cheap Car Insurance in North Carolina for 2020
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- The Best Affordable Car Insurance in North Carolina for 2020
The Best Cheap Car Insurance Companies for NC Drivers in 2020
When looking for the cheapest car insurance in North Carolina, most consumers choose from five top companies. Finding the best car insurance is made easier by using MoneyGeek’s discount checklist. Wondering where to get started? Check out the best North Carolina auto insurance companies below.
While reviewing the table, remember that the figures shown above represent approximate costs. Because insurance quotes rely on several factors to create a personalized premium, your quote may look different.
The Best Car Insurance Companies in North Carolina for 2020
Securing the best car insurance in North Carolina starts with locating a top-rated insurance agency. MoneyGeek designed a unique rating system based on the findings of reputable outlets such as J.D. Power and AM Best. Each of the companies below were scored out of 100 based on factors such as customer satisfaction, affordability, financial strength, and number of claims.
Market Share by Company
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, State Farm Group operated as the largest auto insurer in the state for 2018. To learn about other large North Carolina car insurance companies, review the table below.
Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With a DUI in North Carolina
More than 4,100 drunk driving deaths occurred in North Carolina between 2003-2012, with the rate of deaths by age in the state higher than the national average. North Carolina has instituted strict penalties for those caught driving under the influence, including jail time, fines, and license suspension. Finding cheap car insurance with a DUI in North Carolina may take extra work, but it can be done. Review the table below to get a sense of how premiums stack up across several companies.
In previous years, individuals convicted of a DUI in North Carolina could have their records expunged after seven years. That law changed and now only individuals found not guilty – or those whose cases were dismissed – can have their record expunged. Otherwise it stays permanently. Driving while under the influence can result in real costs far beyond court fees and fines, so think twice before getting behind the wheel while impaired.
Cheapest Car Insurance for NC Speeding or Distracted Driving Tickets
Tickets for distracted driving and speeding can cause your car insurance rates to rise in some cases, and for good reason. Distracted driving accounted for 1,321 fatal wrecks in North Carolina in 2018 alone. Whether looking at your cell phone or adjusting your radio dial, these acts can have serious consequences for yourself and others. The table below looks at approximate rates of auto insurance for those with a ticket on their record.
According to the North Carolina Department of Insurance, moving violations stay on your driving record for approximately three years. After this time – assuming you do not receive any other citations – you can apply for more affordable auto insurance.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in NC for Drivers With Bad Credit
North Carolinians maintained an overall average credit score of 694 as of 2019, a number considered “good” by credit reporting company Experian. But not all residents have a great credit score. For those with low numbers, their car insurance rates may be higher. When writing an insurance policy, agencies must assess the risk they take on by insuring that person. People with bad credit are seen as higher risk because they may not be able to pay their premiums due to outstanding debt. The table below gives you a sense of what to expect if you have a bad credit rating.
A bad credit score can impact your rates for a lot more than car insurance, so it’s best to try and raise it as soon as possible. The good news is that time and discipline can make this a reality. Check out our guide on improving your credit score to get started today.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in North Carolina for Seniors
Drivers aged 65 and older are considered seniors and may encounter several unique factors when gathering free car insurance quotes in North Carolina. Due to the fact that these drivers were responsible for 14.3% of all fatal crashes in the state during 2017, some insurers may require them to pay higher rates. When seeking car insurance for seniors, emphasize factors such as a clean record and a reduced amount of driving to vie for lower rates. The table below demonstrates the spectrum of costs senior drivers may be quoted.
Seniors in North Carolina can renew their license every eight years until the age of 66. Those aged 66 and older must renew their license every five years. Regardless of age, seniors must pass a vision test every time they apply.
Cheapest Car Insurance for Students
North Carolina Car Insurance: How Much a Teen Driver Will Cost You
Median annual price change for families with a teen driver on their policy:$1,428 INCREASE
This is a difference of 137%.
Inform your insurer when your teenager is ready to begin driving and discuss ways to minimize the inevitable increase in premiums. If you limit your child to driving your least expensive car, for example, it may keep your rate down.
Talk to your teen about laws and any additional safety rules you expect her/him to follow – a precaution that research suggests may cut a teen's risk of an accident in half. The North Carolina Department of Insurance suggests signing a contract with your teen before turning over the keys. You can find a sample contract on the DOI website.
If your child heads off to college in another state, your coverage will continue but your premium may change based on where she/he lives. Even if not driving at school, you can't remove your child from your policy as long as their permanent residence is your home. They will be covered for liability when borrowing a car at school and visiting home during breaks.
North Carolina currently ranks third in the nation for teen driver deaths, averaging 2.36 fatalities per 10,000 licensed drivers aged 16-19. Because of this, finding cheap car insurance quotes for this age group can be difficult. Review the following table to see how approximate costs vary across insurance companies.
Premium Comparison by Student Type
PREMIUM COMPARISON FOR TWO ADULTS + A 16-YEAR-OLD
Town and Country Limiteds$2,288
This is 38% less expensive.
Cheaper premium for college vs. high school drivers
Median premium change with a college student vs. high school driver:
This is a savings of 49%.
Potential discounts for teens in North Carolina
Impact on annual premium with good student and defensive driving discounts:
North Carolina students: a long-distance discount
You may pay a smaller annual family premium if your child lives 150 miles or more away from home.
$1,343 at home
$1,343 at school
$0 IN SAVINGS
$1,343 at home
$1,277 at school
$66 IN SAVINGS
Insurance Rate Information for Military Drivers and Veterans
Home to Fort Bragg, America's largest Army base, North Carolina has a large active military and veteran population. When comparing insurance rates, look into companies that cater to active military, veterans, and their families, like USAA or Armed Forces Insurance (AFI). They will likely offer special insurance options to cover you during military deployments, for example. Other insurance companies, like GEICO, also provide special discounts for military families.
If you are a member of the Armed Forces and deployed outside North Carolina, you can present the DMV with your deployment orders and renew your license prior to leaving. If your license expires while on active duty outside of North Carolina, you have 60 days after you are released from active duty to renew. You can also register a vehicle by mail when deployed out of state.
Age savings for North Carolina service members
Median auto insurance for service members: $871
Who Needs Car Insurance in North Carolina?
All drivers in North Carolina must carry liability insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You are required to hold liability coverage on your vehicle the entire time it is registered and in your possession. If you plan to cancel your insurance or switch to a new company, turn in your license plate or purchase the new policy before canceling your old insurance. Otherwise, you could be fined.
Proof of Insurance in North Carolina
You must provide proof of auto insurance to register your vehicle in North Carolina, and not just any insurance. A company licensed to sell insurance in North Carolina must issue your policy. Out-of-state policies are not accepted.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements in North Carolina
- $30,000 injury for one person.
- $60,000 injury for two or more people.
- $25,000 property damage.
The state also requires that all policies include uninsured motorist coverage with the same minimums as liability insurance (30/60/25 in thousands). If you're hit by a motorist without insurance, this coverage helps pay for it.
Car Insurance Requirements in NC: How Much Coverage Do You Need?
What percentage of drivers in North Carolina lack vehicle insurance?
National average: 13%
Source:Insurance Information Institute.
North Carolina's liability coverage minimums are slightly higher than average, but that doesn't mean it will be enough to cover you in a serious accident. Most experts recommend carrying liability insurance with up to $100,000 or more per injury or death per person and $300,000 per accident. If you have a new car, for example, you probably will want (and your lender will probably require) collision and comprehensive insurance. Talk with your insurance agent to decide what combination of insurance is best for you.
North Carolina adds a surcharge on all insurance policies to fund the North Carolina Reinsurance Facility - the state's "residual" auto insurance program for high-risk drivers. When an insurance company doesn't think it can charge a rate that reflects the true risk for a driver at the limit set by the state, it will transfer the driver to the residual pool. North Carolina's Reinsurance Facility now covers around a whopping 25% of the state's drivers. This is the largest percentage of drivers insured in any state residual pool in the country.
Because surcharges are incorporated into all premiums to help fund the pool, some consumer advocates have complained that the program punishes drivers with good driving records. But former North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin argues the system works. "Drivers in North Carolina are fortunate to have among the lowest average car insurance costs in the country," he says. "On top of that, they have an abundance of choices of coverage from more than 150 car insurance companies. Making drastic changes to our system would only benefit insurers' bottom lines and lead to higher rates for all North Carolina drivers."
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Ensure you're getting the best rate for your car insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.
Expert Advice on Finding Cheap Car Insurance in North Carolina
- What are the key factors drivers in North Carolina should look for when searching for the best auto insurance coverage?
- How do regulations and rules in North Carolina impact insurance pricing and how consumers might shop for coverage?
- AAA. "Senior Driving, North Carolina." Accessed March 13, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Sobering Facts: Drunk Driving in North Carolina." Accessed March 13, 2020.
- Experian. "2019 Consumer Credit Review." Accessed March 3, 2020.
- Insurance Information Institute. "Facts + Statistics: Auto Insurance." Accessed March 13, 2020.
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "2018 Market Share Reports." Accessed March 13, 2020.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Traffic Safety Facts." Accessed March 13, 2020.
- NOLO. "DUI Laws by State." Accessed March 13, 2020.
- North Carolina Department of Insurance. "A Consumer’s Guide to Automobile Insurance." Accessed March 13, 2020.
- North Carolina Reinsurance Facility. "About NCRF." Accessed March 13, 2020.