Car Insurance in North Carolina

North Carolina Car Insurance

In North Carolina, you are legally required to have a means of covering any costs of injuries or damages that may result from a car accident. The best way to fulfill this requirement is by purchasing car insurance.

Learn more about North Carolina car insurance requirements, options, and programs below.

NC Car Insurance Requirements

North Carolina requires that ALL drivers have liability insurance. This coverage helps pay for injuries and damages from a car accident for which you are at fault.

The minimum liability coverage limits are:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury liability, per person per accident.
  • $60,000 of bodily injury liability total per accident.
  • $25,000 of property damage liability, per accident.

You are also required to have uninsured motorist coverage. This helps pay for your own accident-related injuries when the collision occurred with an uninsured driver.

The same minimum limits apply as with your bodily injury liability insurance.

Optional Car Insurance

In addition to the required liability coverage, most NC auto insurance companies also offer optional types of auto insurance coverage.

Options typically include:

  • Collision – This will cover collision-related damages to your car.
    • (NOTE: This covers collisions with other moving vehicles.)
  • Comprehensive – This will help cover damages to your car for non-collision incidents, such as vandalism.
  • Towing and labor.
  • Rental car.

NOTE: North Carolina does not require you to have collision and comprehensive coverages. However, your finance company or bank will require you to purchase comprehensive and collision car insurance IF you are paying off a loan or are leasing your car.

Proof of Insurance

North Carolina requires you to provide proof of insurance when registering your car.

Acceptable forms of proof of insurance include:

  • A FS-1 form issued by your insurance agent certifying that you currently hold an insurance policy.
  • Your NC car insurance policy.
  • An insurance binder.
  • An insurance card.

You can obtain any of the above from your car insurance carrier.

Safe Driver Incentive Plan

North Carolina's Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP) is a program that helps promote safe driving through a point system that increases insurance costs for unsafe drivers.

Essentially, bad driving is penalized with increased car insurance premiums.

Drivers get points when they have a traffic violation or are found at-fault in an accident. The more severe the violation or accident, the more points you may receive.

With each point increase, your car insurance premium will increase considerably. For example, 1 point results in a 40% increase on your insurance rate.

The North Carolina Department of Insurance offers a detailed look at how SDIP points are given and how they might affect you.

North Carolina Reinsurance Facility

Because North Carolina requires all drivers to have liability insurance, NC state laws do not allow car insurance companies to refuse liability coverage to any driver. However, high-risk drivers will typically pay higher premiums.

If you are considered a high-risk driver due to a poor driving record, an insurance company can elect to insure you through the North Carolina Reinsurance Facility (NCRF).

This organization offers insurers a way to share the risk associated with your policy amongst the insurers in the NCRF umbrella.

Drivers in the reinsurance facility will end up paying more in comparison with other drivers purchasing insurance policies.

Additionally, in order to keep their risk low, insurance companies apply the following maximum coverage amounts to facility policyholders:

  • $30,000 of bodily injury liability, per person per accident.
  • $60,000 of bodily injury liability, total per accident.
  • $25,000 for property damage liability per accident.
  • Medical payments varies by policy.
  • Uninsured drivers varies by policy.

FS-1 Proof of Insurance

North Carolina requires that you have continuous car insurance coverage, meaning that it cannot lapse. If the DMV gets notification of a lapse on a certain date, they will send a request that an insurance agent confirm that you were sufficiently covered on that date by submitting an FS-1 as proof of insurance.

If the agent cannot confirm that you were covered on the date of the supposed lapse, you will be subject to fines and penalties, including the revocation of your license plate for 30 days.

If your license plates are suspended, you'll be able to reinstate them on the 31st day of suspension by:

  • Paying the license plate fee.
  • Paying any fees related to your insurance violation.
  • Submitting an FS-1 form proof of liability insurance (to be completed and submitted by your car insurance agent.

Car Insurance Fraud in North Carolina

Insurance fraud costs customers like you a lot of money. Insurance companies use customers' premiums to make up for losses incurred from insurance fraud.

Because of this, the North Carolina Department of Insurance's Criminal Investigations Division takes insurance fraud very seriously.

Auto insurance fraud often involves the following:

  • Car repair fraud:
    • Overpricing costs of repairs.
    • Overstating damages.
    • Charging for new parts when using used parts.
  • Staging accidents:
    • Stopping suddenly to cause an accident.
    • Reporting accidents with no real accident.
    • Listing false drivers, passengers, and witnesses on a claim.
    • Ignoring right-of-way rules or giving up the right of way to cause accidents.

Reporting Car Insurance Fraud

By reporting car insurance fraud, you can help keep auto insurance rates low.

In North Carolina, you can report suspected insurance fraud:

Car Insurance Discounts

When shopping around and comparing auto insurance quotes, inquire about discounts.

Some common discounts NC car insurance companies offer include:

  • Good driver discount.
  • Good student discount.
  • Multiple car discount.
  • Homeowner's discount.
  • Auto-theft alarm discount.
  • Airbag or safety device discount.

Taking advantage of these discounts can save you a significant amount of money. However, the best way to maintain low-cost car insurance rates is to drive safely and obey all traffic laws.

Most Stolen Cars in North Carolina

Owning a car model that is often stolen can mean higher car insurance rates.

The following is a list of the most stolen cars in North Carolina for 2013, according to

  1. Honda Accord.
  2. Honda Civic.
  3. Ford Pickup (Full Size).
  4. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size).
  5. Toyota Camry.
  6. Ford Explorer.
  7. Dodge Caravan.
  8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee.
  9. Nissan Altima.
  10. Dodge Pickup (Full Size).
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