What Is the Minimum Car Insurance Requirement in North Carolina?

How much car insurance do you need in North Carolina? According to state laws, you need at least the state’s minimum amount of liability and uninsured motorist coverage to operate a motor vehicle in North Carolina.

  • $30,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $60,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage
  • $30,000 per person for bodily injury for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
  • $60,000 per accident for bodily injury for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

The 30/60/25 state minimum will provide basic protection. If you want more coverage, you can get higher liability limits or add-ons for an additional cost.

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What Does This Minimum Coverage Mean?

North Carolina car insurance requirements include liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage. Generally, liability coverage pays for the injuries and property damage you cause to another party due to an at-fault accident. The minimum liability limits in North Carolina are 30/60/25. That means your policy must have a minimum coverage of $30,000 per person for bodily injuries and a total of $60,000 per accident for all parties involved. For property damage liability, you need to carry at least $25,000. This coverage will pay for damages to property, such as another person’s car or home.

North Carolina car insurance laws state that drivers should have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage amounting to no less than the required liability limits. That means you will also need 30/60/25 coverage for bodily injuries and property damage under uninsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage will protect you and your family against expenses related to injuries and property damage you incur due to the negligence of another driver with limited or no coverage.

How Much Does the Minimum Car Insurance Cost in North Carolina?

Car insurance rates in North Carolina vary depending on the driver. When calculating premiums, insurance providers consider the driver’s age, credit score, driving history and ZIP code, among others. The cost of auto insurance will also vary greatly by company.

In North Carolina, the cheapest option for the average driver with a policy only meeting the state minimums is Nationwide, with an average rate of $301 per year.

These prices are only estimates based on rates for an average North Carolina driver and should not be used to compare insurance prices.

MoneyGeek compared average car insurance costs in North Carolina from different insurers for a policy with state minimum liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of 30/60/25. The driver profile used is a 40-year-old male North Carolina resident driving a 2010 Toyota Camry with a clean driving record and good credit score.

MoneyGeek also ranked the best car insurance companies in North Carolina for those who want strong service and affordable rates.

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What Is the Minimum Car Insurance Requirement in North Carolina While Leasing a Car?

State laws dictate the minimum coverage requirements for North Carolina drivers. However, that does not mean it is enough coverage for all North Carolina residents. If you plan on leasing a car, your minimum requirements may be different. Usually, leasing companies require full coverage auto insurance with 100/300/50 minimum liability limits, but this may vary depending on the company. Contact your leasing company to find out how much coverage you need.

How much insurance should you have? Generally, you should look for a policy with a coverage level suitable for your needs. If you are unsure, MoneyGeek recommends at least 50/100/50 full coverage.

Aside from being a requirement in North Carolina, uninsured motorist coverage is a great way to protect yourself and your family against possible financial loss if an uninsured/underinsured motorist hits you. About 7.4% of North Carolina drivers are uninsured. While this is on the lower end compared to some other states, having full coverage will prepare you for unexpected incidents.

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in North Carolina

Auto insurance is a requirement to operate a motor vehicle on the roads of North Carolina. Additionally, drivers need to carry proof of insurance at all times and provide it to a law enforcement officer if asked. Driving without auto insurance or proof of insurance could result in the following penalties and fines:

  • 30 days suspension of registration
  • Up to 45 days probation or jail time
  • Restoration fee of $50
  • Civil fine from $50 to $150

Drivers who fail to pay the fines may have their car’s license plates revoked or seized by law enforcement. You may also incur additional penalties.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Insurance in North Carolina

Here are some of the questions drivers frequently ask to help you better understand auto insurance in North Carolina.

Yes. North Carolina laws require auto insurance for anyone who operates a motor vehicle in the state. You must carry at least 30/60/25 coverage for liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. Additionally, you will need to carry a certificate of insurance and present it to a law enforcement officer if necessary.

Yes. Vehicle owners need to present proof of insurance when registering a motor vehicle in North Carolina. Make sure you have a policy that meets at least the state minimum requirements to prevent penalties and fines.

Basic car insurance refers to the state minimum requirements. In North Carolina, that includes 30/60/25 in liability coverage and 30/60/25 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You must have at least these amounts of coverage to legally drive in North Carolina.

The coverage, insurer and policy will determine whether an auto insurance policy will follow the car or the driver. In North Carolina, auto insurance typically follows the car. That means your auto insurance applies to anyone driving your vehicle during an at-fault accident.

Yes. It is possible to get auto insurance without a driver’s license in North Carolina. However, not all companies offer insurance to people with no license. The process may also be a bit more complicated. Note that it is illegal to drive in North Carolina without a license, whether you’re insured or not.

No. North Carolina is not a no-fault state. That means the insurance policy of the driver who caused the accident will cover bodily injuries and property damage to another party. If you get hit by an uninsured/underinsured driver, your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will take care of your expenses.

No, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is not a requirement in North Carolina. Instead, North Carolina drivers need liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Yes, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is mandatory in North Carolina. Drivers must have at least 30/60/25 limits.

No. North Carolina does not allow policyholders to file diminished value compensation claims after an accident.

Driving while impaired (DWI) is illegal in North Carolina. While it will not affect car insurance requirements, it can lead to criminal charges, steep fines and other penalties. Additionally, your auto insurance rates will increase.

CARCO inspections are done pre-insurance to document the condition of a vehicle. In some states, this is a requirement when buying an auto insurance policy. North Carolina does not require CARCO inspections.

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About Mark Fitzpatrick

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Mark Fitzpatrick has analyzed the property and casualty insurance market for over five years, conducting original research and creating personalized content for every kind of buyer. Currently, he leads P&C insurance content production at MoneyGeek. Fitzpatrick has been quoted in several insurance-related publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Fitzpatrick earned a master’s degree in economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his knowledge of economics and insurance to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.