North Carolina was one of the first States to introduce compulsory car insurance in 1957 due to a high proportion of uninsured vehicles at the time. Wanting to ensure that other road users were compensated against injury or damage to property, the Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act legislated that all vehicles had to have a minimum level of liability coverage and that only auto insurance companies licensed by the State would be permitted to issue car insurance policies in North Carolina.
Although some other States have since introduced alternate means for vehicle owners to demonstrate financial responsibility on the roads, North Carolina has retained its original laws – reviewing them regularly and introducing amendments as necessary. The most recent amendments (2009) raised the minimum liability limits and introduced compulsory uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, yet despite these changes North Carolina car insurance rates generally remain 10 per cent lower than the national average.
North Carolina Car Insurance Requirements
The minimum liability limits for North Carolina car insurance are now among the highest in the country. However, experts believe that they do not go high enough to provide sufficient insurance in the event of being liable for a catastrophic injury. It is therefore suggested to use the car insurance comparison tool at the top of the page to see how much more it would cost to increase your minimum liability limits from those listed below.
Minimum Liability Limits for Auto Insurance in North Carolina
$30,000 for injury/death to one person
$60,000 for injury/death to more than one person
$25,000 for damage to property
$30,000/$60,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist protection
$25,000 uninsured/underinsured damage to property protection
North Carolina Auto Insurance Laws
The laws relating to North Carolina auto insurance are both strict and rigorously applied. Car owners must carry proof of North Carolina car insurance in their vehicles at all times (either a certificate of insurance form FS-1 or the policy number and name of the insurer), and failure to provide evidence of auto insurance in North Carolina when asked to do so will attract a spot-fine of $50.00. If it is subsequently discovered that a driver has been using his vehicle without insurance, the car is immediately impounded and vehicle registration revoked.
North Carolina auto insurances companies also have to report to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when a car insurance policy lapses or is cancelled, at which point the DMV will issue the vehicle owner with a Form FS 5-7 which gives the vehicle owner 10 days to return their license plates or be automatically fined. Civil penalties increase by $50.00 for each subsequent lapse – even when there is a day´s difference between changing car insurance providers – so it is often necessary to have overlapping North Carolina auto insurance policies to avoid any potential financial penalties.
Recommended North Carolina Car Insurance Coverage
Despite cheap car insurance in Carolina being available, one-in-eight vehicle owners are uninsured according to the Insurance Research Council. Therefore, if you are considering increasing your minimum liability limits, it is also worth thinking about raising the level of your uninsured/underinsured motorist protection as well. A reasonable amount of collision damage insurance is also a viable addition to car insurance in North Carolina – particularly if you have a valuable car.
As recently witnessed with Hurricane Irene, extreme weather conditions can cause extensive damage to property and, if you have comprehensive North Carolina auto insurance, your insurance company will be sending you a check to pay for any damage that was done in the storm. Furthermore, as you will see from our “Hot Spots” section below, a high level of car theft exists in Fayetteville and Charlotte, and residents there would be advised to include comprehensive car insurance on their North Carolina auto insurance policy.
Cheap North Carolina Car Insurance Quotes
There are three ways to get cheap North Carolina car insurance quotes. The first is to drive safely and maintain a clean driving record. This may sound like the right thing to do in any State, but in North Carolina a “Safe Driver Incentive Plan” exists which assigns points to a person’s driving record for being convicted of certain offenses. These points then convert to percentage increases in North Carolina auto insurance rates – acting as a disincentive for drivers to ignore traffic laws and making North Carolina a safer State in which to drive.
The second way in which it is possible to obtain cheap North Carolina car insurance quotes is to improve your car insurance ratings. Details of North Carolina car insurance ratings are given below with advice on how to raise your rating and benefit from cheap auto insurance in North Carolina. The third method is to shop around for cheap North Carolina auto insurance quotes. This can be done by going door-to-door, picking up the phone and calling around North Carolina car insurance companies, or by using the handy car insurance comparison tool at the top of the page.
North Carolina Auto Insurance Ratings
Any quotes you receive for car insurance in North Carolina will be calculated on your car insurance rating. These ratings show car insurance companies in North Carolina what level of risk they are taking when they offer you auto insurance, and are based on historical data as much as your own personal driving history. Inasmuch as not having any points in the “Safe Driver Incentive Plan” will contribute towards cheap car insurance in North Carolina, there are many other factors which go towards creating your North Carolina car insurance rating.
- Where You Live – The first question that an auto insurance company in North Carolina will ask you is “What is your ZIP code”. This enables them to see if you live in, or near, a historical accident blackspot, an area which has a high level of vehicle theft or if you should get a discount for living in a quiet rural area with barely any other vehicles on the road.
- Your Age and Gender – Your age and gender play a significant part in establishing your North Carolina auto insurance rating. Male drivers – particularly young male drivers – have a historically poor driving record in North Carolina. For example, in 2008 79.69% of fatal accidents in Raleigh were caused by male drivers – 49% of them aged between 15 and 34.
- Your Credit Rating – Those who are responsible with their money are also considered to be responsible road users in the eyes of North Carolina auto insurance companies, and they will reward you with cheap car insurance quotes. Of course, if you can use your credit card to pay for your car insurance a year in advance, you might also qualify for further discounts.
- Your Marital Status – Being married is also regarded as a sign of responsibility in North Carolina, and car insurance companies to provide cheap North Carolina car insurance quotes more frequently for clients that are married than those who are not. When you start having children, your responsibility level goes even higher – until they become old enough to drive!
- Your Vehicle Usage – How much use you make of your car will greatly influence your North Carolina auto insurance rating. Drivers who only use their vehicles occasionally will benefit more from cheap car insurance in North Carolina than somebody who uses their vehicle to commute to and from work, and may even qualify for a pay-as-you-drive auto insurance policy.
North Carolina “Hotspots” for Vehicle Theft
Each year the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) compiles a list of the worst areas nationally for vehicle theft. Known as “Hot Spots” their calculations take into account the populations of the areas and rate them in the prevalence of car theft rather than the physical number of vehicles that are stolen. For that reason, Charlotte appears second on the list, behind Fayetteville, despite having almost four times as many reported vehicle thefts.
The Top Ten “Hot Spots” for North Carolina (with their national position in brackets) are:-
- Fayetteville (37)
- Charlotte (81)
- Greensboro (103)
- Wilmington (108)
- Durham (110)
- Goldsboro (130)
- Virginia Beach/Norfolk (133)
- Rocky Mount (147)
- Hickory/Lenoir (148)
- Winston/Salem (154)
Most Frequently Stolen Vehicles in North Carolina
The NICB also compiles a list of the most “popular” vehicles that are stolen by State. If you own one of these vehicles, you should consider fitting additional security devices to your car or ensuring it is locked away in a garage when not in use in order to avoid a penalty on your North Carolina car insurance.
The most frequently stolen vehicles in North Carolina for 2010 were:-
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Camry
- Ford F150 Pickup
- Ford Explorer
- Dodge Caravan
- Chevrolet Pickup
- Ford Taurus
- Nissan Altima
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
Typical North Carolina Auto Insurance Rates
As mentioned in the “ratings” section above, where you live can significantly influence how much you pay for your auto insurance in North Carolina. Below are a selection of districts in the State and the average amount of car insurance paid for the year (the national average is $1,440). Your personal North Carolina auto insurance quote may differ because of your personal circumstances but, if you are paying more than the figures quoted below, you may like to use the car insurance comparison tool at the top of the page to check if you can find any better North Carolina car insurance rates.
Car insurance in Asheville – $937
Car insurance in Raleigh – $1,267
Car insurance in Winston/Salem – $1,267
Car insurance in Durham – $1,306
Car insurance in Cary -$1,331
Car insurance in Wilmington – $1,359
Car insurance in Greensboro – $1,362
Car insurance in High Point – $1,411
Car insurance in Charlotte – $1,419
Car insurance in Fayetteville – $1,642
North Carolina Car Insurance Companies
Many car insurance companies in North Carolina may omit to advise you about discounts you may be entitled to for combining your North Carolina auto insurance with another form of insurance, or for insuring multiple vehicles. Make sure you request details of discounts for being a good student if you are a young driver (and a good student), or a reduction in your North Carolina car insurance if you have taken (and passed) an advanced driver´s course.
|Alliance Mutual||Firemans Fund||Peak|
|American Bankers||Foremost||Pennsylvania National|
|American Family Home||GEICO||Phoenix|
|American Guaranty||General Insurance Company||Progressive|
|American Home Assurance||of America||Redland|
|American International||Grain Dealers Mutual||Republic-Franklin|
|American Modern||Graphic Arts Mutual||Safeco|
|American Reliable||Hanover||Southern Fire & Casualty|
|American Security||Harleysville||Southern General|
|American Southern||Hartford||Southern Insurance Company|
|American States||Horace Mann||of Virginia|
|American Western Home||IDS||Southern Pilot|
|AMEX Assurance||Integon||Standard Fire|
|AMICA||Liberty Mutual||State Auto|
|Atlantic Casualty||Lyndon Property||State Farm|
|Auto-Owners||Massachusetts Bay||State National|
|Charter Oak Fire||MeraStar||Travelers|
|Cincinnati||Metropolitan||Twin City Fire|
|Coastal Casualty||National General||Unitrin|
|Discovery||National Union Fire||Universal|
|Encompass||North Carolina Farm Bureau||West American|
|Farm Bureau Insurance|
There are a lot of companies in North Carolina licensed to provide auto insurance. This is good for the consumer because it generates competition and also means that you may get a discount for being in a certain profession or living in a certain area. As mentioned throughout this page, shopping around is the best way of finding the best deals for cheap auto insurance in North Carolina and by using the car insurance comparison tool at the top of the page you could save both time and money!