Compare the cheapest auto insurance rates in North Carolina and save up to 50% off your policy premiums each year. By shopping and viewing the best quotes, instantly, we show you the companies that offer the lowest prices and the best deals in your area. NC auto insurance is more affordable than you realize, regardless if you are a preferred or high-risk driver. Discounted full coverage and "liability only" options are available, with special discounts for Seniors, homeowners, good students, and drivers that have had no tickets or at-fault accidents within the last 24-36 months.
What Is The Least Expensive Available Coverage?
All NC drivers are required to have a minimum of $30,000 bodily injury per person, $60,000 per occurrence and an extra $25,000 for property damage. Since there are still many uninsured vehicles on the road, uninsured motorist (um) coverage for $30,000/$60,000 is also a requirement. Increasing these limits is always recommended, especially for homeowners that are more susceptible to a lawsuit. The next levels of liability coverage are $50,000/$100,000 and $100,000/$300,000. A personal liability umbrella can also be considered. Family members are covered on NC policies (related by blood, marriage, or adoption that is a household resident).
If your existing policy is canceled or not renewed by the carrier, the Division of Motor Vehicles is immediately notified. You also will receive written notification of the date of lapse, and which options are available to reinstate coverage. A penalty may need to be paid and/or satisfied. When the policy is reinstated, privileges will also apply if you are driving in another state. The vehicle should never be driven until written verification of a reinstatement (or new coverage) is received in writing.
Supplementary payment coverage may also be included in your policy, although exclusions and limitations may apply. Premiums paid on appeal bonds, bail bonds, expenses following a court judgment, expenses from administering first aid when involved in an accident in a covered car or truck, and loss of earnings from a required trial are common benefits. This benefit is in addition to the bodily injury and property damage liability limits.
Raising your property damage from $25,000 to $50,000 is highly recommended, since many vehicles (especially new cars and trucks) cost between $25,000 and $50,000 (or more) to replace. Also, there is always a risk of hitting multiple vehicles, or causing damage to buildings or structures, such as houses, trees, stores, offices, telephone polls, and other road signs. $100,000 property damage options are available with most carriers, and the premium increases is not significant. Commercial policies often provide options for $250,000, $500,000, and $1 million.
Currently, medical payments coverage is optional, regardless of what type of healthcare benefits you have (Group, Marketplace, or private). Since the cost is inexpensive, a minimum of $5,000 should be elected. Although uninsured motorist coverage is not required as a minimum limit, with any subsequent increases in your um limits, underinsured protection must then be bundled. The latter coverage is important if your vehicle is struck by another driver that has state-required coverage, but the limits are not enough to cover all damages and medical bills. For example, if recoverable damages are $400,000, and the insurer of the at-fault part is only legally obligated to pay $250,000, the remaining $150,000 would be covered.
The next level of $50,000/ $100,000/$50,000 provides much more suitable limits without much change to your premium. For individuals and families that have a combination of youthful drivers, rental property, boats and/or off/road vehicles (such as mopeds), adding a separate liability umbrella may be financially prudent and certainly would help protect your assets. However, you may required by the underwriting company to further increase your limits of liability. Often, $100,000 per person, and $300,000 per occurrence are the minimum acceptable limits for adding a personal liability umbrella.
If your vehicle is financed by a bank or other lending institution (or leased), typically you must also have collision and comprehensive benefits (which cover damage to the vehicle). $500 deductibles are sometimes allowed, although if you are leasing, a lower amount may be required. Deductibles of $100 and $250 (collision) are available, but they tend to be the least cost-effective choice. Most Tar Heel state residents change their deductibles at least once every 10 years. Unless you have at-fault accidents every four years, increasing the collision deductible will save money (long-term). Vehicles that are less than four years old will provide the most cost-effective options when increasing the collision deductible.
Once the vehicle title is in your name (and not the bank), you can remove collision and comprehensive coverage, although an at-fault accident will result in paying for all damages. Generally, if the car (or truck) is worth more than $5,000, full coverage should remain. Another option is keeping comprehensive (fire, theft, glass breakage, and vandalism) only. Since comprehensive coverage costs less than collision coverage, and deductibles are often less, it's not unusual to see vehicles 10-20 years old with this option. If you are hit by a deer, it is classified as a comprehensive claim, and typically, you are not surcharged, regardless of the extent of the damage. Note: Flood damage is typically covered by comprehensive benefits.
Additional coverage for your vehicle includes death indemnity and disability, miscellaneous endorsements (golf carts, travel trailers, and motorcycles), rented cars or trucks up to 21 days, towing and labor (including lost or broken keys), extended transportation expenses, and damage to customized equipment, and electronic devices that are permanently installed. Additional riders are offered by many carriers along with customized benefits from non-property and casualty carriers.
Who Are The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies In North Carolina?
There are many variables that impact the rate (county you reside, types of vehicles, number of tickets and accidents etc...). However, typically, the following 12 companies often offer very affordable pricing compared to most other carriers in the area:
Of course, there are many other reputable companies that also must be considered. Some of the larger carriers are Integon, Peak Property and Casualty, USAA, and State Farm. Some of the smaller companies we also monitor include Cincinnati, Amica, Hartford, Metropolitan, Grange, and Central Mutual. NOTE: The NC Property And Casualty Market Share report is available, but it is 164 pages!
Specific cities are often much less costly than others. For example, five cities with the cheapest prices in the entire country, are actually here in our state! They are Greensboro, Durham, Charlotte, Fayetteville and Winston-Salem. Other cities with very low prices include Lexington, Raleigh, Cary, Wilmington, King, Gastonia, Chapel Hill, Apex, Rocky Mount, and Asheville. The entire NC state mean average is also more than 20% less than the rest of the US.
How Do I Get My Free Quote?
Once you have entered your zip code (where requested) at the top of the page, we will instantly calculate local average premiums in your area (county and zip code) and show you the companies that offer the lowest prices. You can choose a few (or all) of or recommendations and view rates. You are never under any obligation to buy a policy or cancel existing coverage. Of course there are no fees or long forms to fill out. Your free quotes can usually be emailed, and you're not required to speak to a live person. We also do not need your personal or financial information, and we do not save any other information you provide.
NOTE: High-risk drivers (SR-22 Bonds, license suspensions, multiple tickets/accidents) will be presented with a different selection of companies that tend to specialize in the non-standard market. The resulting savings is often as much as $1,000-$2,000 per year. As violations eventually drop off the MVR report, different carriers will be included in the quoting process. If there are multiple drivers in the household, and only one person is a high-risk, the remaining household members will still be able to qualify for preferred status. However, if any household member has a suspended driver's license, naturally, he(or she) will not be covered on other vehicles without a separate bond.
Does The NC Department Of Insurance Really Set Maximum Rates?
Yes, they do! Annually, the maximum price that companies can charge is set in advance. Most consumers are not aware of this practice. However, insurers can charge less than the maximum allowed amount, and often they do, if paid claims are lower than anticipated. To help protect pricing, a $20 surcharge is collected with each policy (yearly) to pay for many of the state's substandard drivers. Once these operators have driven without at-fault accidents and violations for 1-2 years, they are no longer considered "high-risk." However, regardless of a previous clean driving record, a DUI or DWI conviction will result in an immediate high-risk classification.
Listed below are approximate costs of common moving and non-moving violations:
$250 -- Speeding in school zone or on school property.
$250 -- Speeding in a work zone.
$100 -- Illegal parking in handicapped space.
$100 -- Driving while texting.
$50 -- Failure to reduce speed to avoid accident.
$50 -- Use of darkened windows
$50 -- Speeding 16 mph over limit.
$35 -- Following too closely.
$30 -- Speeding 11-15 mph over limit.
$25 -- Driving left of center.
$25 -- Driver under age 18 using a cellphone.
$25 -- Improper turn.
$25 -- Driving too slow.
$15 -- Speeding 6-10 mph over limit.
$5 -- Failure to use headlights when windshield wipers are operating.
What If I Have A Suspended License Or Am A High-Risk Driver?
You can still get coverage that satisfies the state minimum liability requirements. An SR-22 Bond may be required, but they are easy to apply for. Approval is typically the same day, so you are quickly back on the road. Once you have met the requirements of the Bond, you can apply for conventional coverage, which will be much cheaper. Typically, you are required to keep the Bond for three years. Once the three years has passed, you are in a much better position for securing a low-cost policy, especially if you have maintained a clean driving record. Also, drivers (regardless of driving record), are rated on the vehicle they drive most, and not necessarily the most expensive vehicle to insure.
If getting too many tickets or being involved in too many accidents has caused your rates to surge, there may be ways to reduce your costs by as much as 20%-50%. Of course, increasing deductibles or lowering liability limits will potentially save hundreds of dollars per year. However, you are increasing your risk, and often, by driving slower and waiting for the price to naturally fall, much of that risk is eliminated. As teenagers add driving experience to their record, prices will naturally reduce. And of course, "good-student" discounts can easily reduce premiums by hundreds of dollars each year.
We specialize in finding the companies that feature the lowest high-risk prices. These companies will reduce or roll back rates quickly after tickets either fall off your record, or become more than 12 months old. If accidents are not your fault, they are not counted against you. And if you have above-average credit (or better), you are rewarded. Having excellent credit, driving under 12,000 miles per year, and parking your vehicles in an enclosed garage can also help reduce costs. Smaller compact vehicles (including SUVs) also cost less to cover than larger vehicles.
What Is The Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP) And How Does IT Save Me Money?
The NC General Assembly created this program in the late 1950s that rewards drivers that maintain a clean driving record by avoiding tickets and at-fault accidents. "Booze It And Lose It" is another traffic enforcement program that is also designed to keep roadways safe.
SDIP has a point system, based on the type of ticket you receive. One point will result in a 30% increase in rates, five points will increase premiums by 100% and 10 points will result in a whopping 260% increase. Listed below are some common convictions and their corresponding points.
1 -- Most moving violations, speeding 10 mph over a speed limit under 55 mph, at-fault accident that causes $1,800 or less bodily injury to all persons.
2 -- Illegal passing, driving on wrong side of road, following too closely, speeding more than 10 mph above the speed limit between 55mph and 76 mph, speeding 10 mph or less above the speed limit in a speed zone of 55 mph or higher.
3 -- At-fault accident resulting in death or bodily injury higher than $1,800.
4 -- Reckless driving, passing a stopped school bus, driving 80 mph in a 70 mph zone, driving 75 mph in a 70 mph zone, person driving is under age 21 and consumed drugs or alcohol, a hit and run with just property damage.
8 -- Driving with a suspended license or aggressive driving.
10 -- Highway racing, driving with a suspended license, and speeding to elude arrest.
12 -- Manslaughter, negligent homicide, DUI, hit and run resulting in death, driving vehicle with blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher, prearranged highway racing, transporting illegal liquor for sale, operating commercial vehicle with blood-alcohol level of .04 or higher, and driving while impaired.
Points are not charged in accidents where all of the following occur: The amount of damage is $2,300 or less, there is only property damage, convictions for moving violations were not issued, and all household members do not have at-fault accidents or moving violations for the most recent experience period.
SDIP Points And Resulting Policy Rate Increases
NOTE: Some violations do not accumulate points. The most common situations are: Failure to show registration, not having a driver's license available, improper display of license plate, non-working lights, and violation of a local ordinance. Also, accidents with only property damage, damages of less than $1,800, or no conviction for a moving violation, will not result in points charged. Speeding less than 10 mph over the posted limit will not accumulate points in most situations. Speeding in a school zone is an exception.
I Live In Charlotte But Work In Durham. Does That Make A Difference?
NC Auto insurance prices are calculated by zip code. Thus, regardless where you work, it's always your residence that is used to determine your premium. However, if you drive long distances daily (to work or for business purposes), your vehicle may be classified in an unconventional way. If that occurs, we'll match your situation with the companies that offer the most lenient underwriting guidelines for business-related travel and driving. If you use a company vehicle, we can make the appropriate adjustments, including offering commercial coverage. A commercial vehicle parked at home is still considered as "business use."
Also, areas with higher incidences of crime and/or vandalism will always tend to have the least competitive rates. For example, the North Carolina cities with the highest number of vehicle thefts (per capita) are Fayetteville, Conway, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Greensboro. However, many other factors are considered when determining prices, and often they will have a bigger impact on the premium. Moving from one state to another will also affect the cost of coverage.
What Services Does The NC Department Of Motor Vehicles Provide?
Although providing a copy of your driving record (upon request) and notifying you of a license suspension, renewal, and reinstatement are the most common services, there are many additional types of assistance that they provide. Listed below are several additional services that are offered to residents of the state:
Ordering custom license plates. More than 100 options are available.
Ordering identification cards when a photo ID is needed, but not a driver's license.
Pay and estimate vehicle property taxes.
Commercial help with liability insurance (LITES), fuel taxes, medical certification, and carrier registration.
How to avoid paying a lapse in coverage, and a civil penalty charge.
Help to Car Dealerships with dealer education courses and application for salespersons.
Employer alcohol and drug testing.
View safety and emissions consumer manual.
What Is Senate Bill 180?
Originally filed about four years ago, this legislation was designed to allow state auto insurance companies to offer specific discounts that could potentially lower premiums. In June of that year, it was assigned to the Commerce and Job Development subcommittee for review. A compromise amendment was later submitted and eventually the Senate unanimously passed the legislation. The House blocked the bill that would ultimately allow carriers to offer a broader range of policies that could make it easier to find the most cost-effective policy.
Currently, the NC Rate Bureau requests rate increase that can be ultimately approved by the Insurance Commissioner. The original bill capped increases at 12%. One of the main issues is whether national data (instead of local data) can be used to determine price increases. The Charlotte Observer, along with many other newspapers, seems to support passage. The Bill was assigned to the Commerce and Job Development Subcommittee on Energy and Emerging Markets, but was never approved.
What Is Fair NC?
Fair NC is a group of auto insurers (State Farm, Geico, Progressive and several additional carriers) that are attempting to create an alternative to the existing method of requesting permission to adjust consumer rates for their coverage. Even though NC rates are among the 10 lowest in the US, Fair NC feels changes are needed.
Their last proposal gave companies the option of continuing to do business under the existing rules and guidelines, or offering a more individualized rating system that offers discounts and accident-forgiveness to preferred drivers. These types of reductions are not offered under the existing system. Also, it is expected that a new type of underwriting may result in smaller increases when an at-fault accident occurs. However, consumers in the state have been generally satisfied with rates, and none of the Fair NC initiatives have been implemented.
How Much Money Will I Save By Using This Website?
You might save $200, $2,000 or $20. The results depend on how competitive your current pricing compares to the best offers available on the Marketplace. If your household driving record is fairly solid, and your rates have been steadily increasing, there's a good chance we will find some very attractive offers for you. In fairness, there is also a chance that we will recommend that you continue with your current company without making any changes. In some situations, you may already be getting the best possible deal. Since rates change often, and new discounts are introduced each year, it is therefore prudent to compare premiums each year. Of course, there are never any costs or obligations.
If you're a young driver, you may especially benefit. We realize that finding the cheapest NC auto insurance for students is not easy or fun! And if you have a ticket or accident, it can be very costly. But typically, we can quickly provide an easy comparison of multiple companies that offer low prices to high school and college students. The savings can be substantial. If moving violations or at-fault accidents have dropped off your driving record, and your premiums are still high, we will find competitive options.
What Are the Costs And Fees For Using Your Research And Comparison Tools?
None. That's right...there are no fees or costs. The unbiased information and knowledge you receive from our website is designed to help you save money and obtain the best available coverage. We update content daily so you always are one step ahead of any potential price increases or decreases. And by utilizing a simple zip-code rating system, we can follow changing trends that can potentially save thousands of dollars of premiums. If new legislation is proposed or passed, we will keep you updated. If a carrier introduces a new discount, we will inform you.
Additional Information From The Past:
Our beloved state of North Carolina has made a "Top-10" list, although not the type of recognition we like to see. The seventh ranking in a recent "Worst Driver" list is the result of fatality rates, DUIs, speeding tickets and other violations. Louisiana and South Carolina, by the way, head the list.
In a recent national study, NC ranked at the top of the list for average rate increases following a moving violation or at-fault accident. If additional activity was already present on the MVR, the prices could rise further.
A new tax on North Carolina auto insurance policies will be delayed, at least for now. House Bill 927 would reduce the cost of gasoline by six cents per gallon. But, a 6% tax on car insurance premiums and a substantial hike in DMV fees would offset the gas savings. However, the legislation, if passed will remove the insurance hike.
Wayne Goodwin (Commissioner of Insurance) does not approve of the increase and seemed to be able to convince Rep. John Torbett that the proposed tax was not a good idea. However, Torbett indicated that a smaller increase still might become part of the bill.