North Carolina minimum car insurance requirements are:

Liability coverage with the limits of 30/60/25 — meaning:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death of one other person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more other persons in any one accident
  • $25,000 for injury or destruction of property in any one accident

Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist coverage with the limits of 30/60/25 — meaning:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death of one other person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more other persons in any one accident
  • $25,000 for injury or destruction of property in any one accident

Although additional coverage, such as collision and comprehensive, are not required by the state of North Carolina, many drivers choose to purchase them in order to cover any additional expenses they may accrue from an accident.

Alternative Options to Insurance:

Certificates of Self-Insurance are available in North Carolina if the following requirements are met:

  • You must have at least 26 vehicles registered in your name
  • You must qualify by application through the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles

Commissioner Mike Robertson
North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
3101 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-3148
919-861-3015

mdrobertson1@ncdot.gov

In North Carolina, you have the option to use a surety bond as proof of financial responsibility instead of purchasing an insurance policy, if the following requirements are met:

  • Surety bond of at least $85,000, made with a surety company licensed to do business in North Carolina, and filed with the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles

In North Carolina, you have the option to use a deposit of money or security as proof of financial responsibility instead of purchasing an insurance policy, if the following requirements are met:

  • Deposit of at least $85,000, made with the State Treasurer, and filed with the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles

Required Proof of Insurance in North Carolina

Insurance Card provided by an insurance company containing the following:

  • Name of the insurance company
  • Insurance policy number
  • Effective date and expiration date of the policy
  • Accurate description of year, make, model and vehicle identification number of registered vehicle
  • Name and address of insured driver

Certificate of Self-Insurance containing the following:

  • Certificate number issued by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles
  • Effective date of certificate
  • A statement that all vehicles owned are covered by insurance
  • Name and address of driver covered by certificate

Certificate of Deposit containing the following:

  • Certificate number issued by the State Treasurer
  • Effective date of the certificate
  • Name and address of driver covered by certificate of deposit

Surety Bond containing the following:

  • Name of company issuing bond
  • Bond number
  • Effective date of the bond
  • Name and address of driver covered by bond

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles

Office of the Commissioner
3101 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-3148
919-861-3015

Obtaining a Driver’s License

Here are the requirements to obtain your Limited Learner Permit:

  • Be between 15 and 18 years old
  • Complete a driver education course
  • Have a Driving Eligibility Certificate or a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Pass the vision test
  • Pass the written test and signs test
  • Pay the limited learner permit fee of $15.00 (subject to change)
  • Cash, money order, or personal check

Here are the requirements to obtain your Limited Provisional License:

  • Be between 16 and 18 years old
  • Have your learner permit for at least 12 months
  • Have no convictions of moving violations within 6 months of applying
  • Pay the limited provisional license fee of $15.00 (subject to change)
  • Cash, money order, or personal check

Here are the requirements to obtain your Full Provisional License:

  • Be between 16 ½ and 18 years old
  • Have your limited provisional license for at least 6 months
  • Have no convictions of moving violations within 6 months of applying
  • Pay the full provisional license fee of $4.00/yr (subject to change)
  • Cash, money order, or personal check

The following documents are required for application if you are under the age of 18:

  • Original birth certificate
  • Original social security card
  • Driving Eligibility Certificate or a high school diploma or equivalent

Here are the requirements to obtain your first Driver License if you are over the age of 18:

  • Pass the vision test
  • Pass the written test and signs test
  • Pass the driving test
  • You have the option to obtain a learner permit, which will allow you to practice and learn how to drive prior to taking the driving test. To obtain a learner permit, pass the vision, signs, and written tests.
  • Pay the driver license fee of $4.00/yr (subject to change)
  • Cash, money order, or personal check
  • The following documents are required for application if you are over the age of 18:
    • One document showing proof of residency
    • Two documents showing proof of age and identity
    • One document showing proof of financial responsibility

    Completing Driver Education

    Anyone under the age of 18 who is attending high school that wants to obtain a driver license must complete driver education. Driver education classes are available at all North Carolina high schools for students who are currently enrolled at the school. In order to be eligible, you must meet the following:

    • Be at least 14 ½ years old
    • Present a copy of your birth certificate or passport
    • Submit a registration form

    A driver education course will consist of three parts. Students must pass each part before continuing to the next. Upon completion of the entire course, students will be presented with a Driving Eligibility Certificate. The three parts of the course are to be completed in the following order:

    • 30 hours of classroom instruction
    • A vision test
    • Behind-the-wheel instruction

    Knowing the Rules of the Road

    North Carolina Department of Transportation provides an online overview of their rules of the road. You can also read about all of North Carolina’s traffic laws in the Motor.

There are three insurance coverage markets that residents of North Carolina typically fall into: the preferred, the standard, and the non-standard market. Those in the preferred market have the lowest auto insurance rates in North Carolina because they have clean driving records. Those in the standard market still have some of the best car insurance rates in North Carolina because they have fair driving records, though their rates may not be as low as the preferred market rates. Those in the non-standard market pay significantly more than the average cost of car insurance in North Carolina because they have less experience and/or driving records with multiple infractions, including traffic tickets, accidents, and drunken driving offenses.

Know Your Rates

When deciding what your insurance rate will be, auto insurance companies consider all of the licensed drivers who are permanent residents of your household. However, in North Carolina, you and your insurance company have the option of not including someone on your policy. Keeping someone who is a high risk to insure off your policy can be beneficial in terms of keeping your rates low. The factors are used to evaluate drivers and adjust their rates include:

  • Age. Statistics prove that drivers under the age of 25 are involved in more accidents than any other age group, so drivers younger than 25 are considered a higher risk by insurance companies and have to pay higher insurance rates.
  • Gender. Studies have shown that women are involved in fewer accidents than men of the same age. Therefore, women pay lower insurance rates than men.
  • Vehicle use. If you park your vehicle in a safe location, such as a garage or guarded parking lot, you lessen the chances of theft and damage to your vehicle, which can lower your insurance rate. If you drive often and drive long distances, you increase your chances of having an accident. Thus, if you have a long daily commute, you may have to pay a higher insurance rate.
  • Vehicle make, model, and year. Some vehicles tend to get stolen more than others for reasons including value, performance, and ease. If your vehicle has a high risk of theft, you will have to pay more to insure it, whereas those with vehicles that have a lower chance of being stolen or damaged may enjoy some of the best car insurance rates in North Carolina.
  • Geographical area. Areas with high crime rates and/or a high frequency of traffic accidents are considered hazardous because of the increased probability that vehicles in these areas will be stolen, vandalized, or damaged in a collision. Therefore, people living in these areas have to pay higher insurance rates to compensate for the increased risk.
  • Marital status. Statistical evidence proves that drivers who are married make fewer insurance claims than drivers who are single. For this reason, drivers who are married may pay lower insurance rates.
  • Credit history. Insurance companies can use your credit history to determine the likelihood that you will make your payments. If you have a history of not making payments on time or at all, you will most likely have to pay a higher insurance rate.
  • Driving record and claims history. If your driving record is full of infractions, such as accidents or tickets, and if you have made a number of insurance claims, you will have to pay a higher insurance rate because you are considered a higher risk to insure. You can obtain your driving record from the Division of Motor Vehicles, here.

Lower Your Rates

A common mistake when shopping for insurance is to look for the cheapest policy. The cheapest policy is not always worth the money. You want to find the best insurance coverage for the best price, so compare auto insurance rates in North Carolina by shopping around for insurance, rather than picking the first company you see or the cheapest policy you find. It is best to compare coverages and prices by speaking with several insurance agents and brokers and finding out what each one will offer you. You should make sure you understand the coverage before you pay for it, so ask questions. The Department of Insurance provides an onlineratecalculator that you can use to get an idea of what you might have to pay for insurance.

There are many discounts available for insurance consumers, such as discounts for having anti-theft devices on your vehicle, for drivers who have completed an accident prevention course, and drivers who are accident free. When shopping around, ask about any discounts that you may be eligible for so that you may receive low cost car insurance in North Carolina.

Before you choose to purchase an insurance policy, make sure the company you are working with is licensed by the Department of Insurance by searching for them on the Department’s onlinecompanylook-up, or by calling the Department of Insurance Consumer Services Division at 800-546-5664. In addition, if an agent, broker, or company attempts to sell ERISA or union plans, contact the Insurance Superintendent to report the activity.

Also, keep in mind that some plans, such as medical insurance, can overlap in coverage areas with your auto insurance policy.

Picking an Insurance Agent or Broker

Insurance policies are sold by two types of professionals: insurance agents and insurance brokers. An insurance agent is employed by an insurance company and earns commission by selling policies. Insurance brokers are different because they are hired by individual clients rather than working for insurance companies. Clients hire brokers to assess their needs, then search and find the right insurance policy from the right insurance company to satisfy those needs. Brokers earn commission from the insurance companies whose policies they sell. One thing to remember while you are discussing your rates with an agent or broker is that their commission is based on your premium. Therefore, the more money you save, the less money they make. However, both an agent and a broker can help you find the best car insurance in North Carolina to suit your needs.

According to North Carolina, no one is permitted to sell insurance without being licensed by the Department of Insurance. However, this doesn’t stop unlicensed people from trying. Therefore, before you purchase a policy from an insurance company, agent, or broker, make sure they are permitted to do business in North Carolina and are licensed by the Department of Insurance. To verify the license status of an insurance company, you can search for them on the Department’s online lookup. Once you verify the license status of a company, you can use the Department’s insurance company complaint ratio report to evaluate companies based on the amount of complaints that have been filed against each one. Even if they are licensed, you may not want to work with a company that has a large number of complaints filed against them. You also have the option of calling the Department of Insurance Consumer Services Division, at 800-546-5664, to verify the license status of a company, agent, or broker, find out how many complaints a company has against them, or to see if a company, agent, or broker has been faced with any disciplinary actions.

If you have a problem with an insurance company, agent, or broker, you can file a complaint online with the Department of Insurance. The Department will investigate the complaint and help to guide you through the process of resolving the issue. The Department provides a full list of what they can and cannot do do for you when you file a complaint.

After an Accident

The North Carolina General Statutes § 20-166 and § 20-166.1 explain the obligations that must be carried out by drivers who are involved in an accident. If you are involved in a collision with another driver, you are required to stop and remain at the scene of the accident. Failing to stop and remain at the scene will result in a felony charge and the suspension of your license. Check for injuries and render aid if you are able. Failing to render aid when you are able can result in a misdemeanor charge and the suspension of your license. You are required to notify law enforcement of the accident immediately. Failing to do so can result in a misdemeanor charge and the suspension of your license. If the accident occurred within the limits of a city or town, contact the local police department. If the accident occurred outside of a city or town, contact the county sheriff’s office or the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Notify law enforcement if anyone is injured or has been killed so they can make sure emergency medical services are called to the scene. All who are involved in the accident must stay at the scene until released by a law enforcement officer. Leaving without consent can result in a misdemeanor charge and the suspension of your license.

You and the other driver(s) involved in the collision are required to exchange information, including name, address, vehicle license plate number, and driver’s license number, even if one of you has no car insurance in North Carolina. Failing to surrender information can result in a misdemeanor charge and the suspension of your license. If law enforcement responds to the scene, be prepared to give a thorough account of the events that lead to the collision and the results of the collision. Take down the names and contact information of the law enforcement officers and witnesses you spoke with for your own accident report. If you are able, you should take pictures of the damage caused to all of the vehicles and property involved in the accident. If law enforcement does not respond to the scene, you must go to a nearby law enforcement office and file an accident report. Failure to report an accident can result in a misdemeanor charge and the suspension of your license.

If you collided with an unattended vehicle, you must attempt to locate the owner and provide them with your name, address, vehicle license plate number, and driver’s license number. If the owner of the vehicle cannot be located, you must leave a written note on or in the vehicle that includes your name, address, vehicle license plate number, and driver’s license number. You are then required to notify law enforcement of the accident and file a report. Failure to report such an accident can result in a misdemeanor charge and the suspension of your license.

Your insurance company must be notified as soon as possible of an accident that you are involved in. You can call your company and speak to a representative about filing a claim. If your company allows it, you may be able to file a claim online, in which case your insurance company should have procedures that you can follow to file a claim. Provide the information you attained from the other driver(s) involved in the accident, including name, address, vehicle license plate number, and driver’s license number. Explain how the accident happened and report the extent of the damage that was caused to any vehicles and/or property. Provide pictures if you have any. Also, provide the names and contact information of any officers and witnesses at the scene. Any police report filed must also be copied and sent to your insurance company.

Once your insurance company has gathered all of the information they need, they will investigate your claim and notify you of their decision within 30 days. If your claim is delayed, your insurance company must notify you. If your claim is denied, your insurance company will notify you in writing. If there is an unreasonable delay without notification, contact your insurance company and attempt the resolve the issue. If you are unable to resolve the issue with your company, contact the Department of Insurance Consumer Services Division at 800-546-5664, inform them of the issue and provide them with any additional information they may need.

Your insurance company may seek subrogation if the accident is the fault of one of the other drivers involved, but you had to use your insurance to cover your medical bills, repair bills, and any other expenses resulting from the accident. In order to be compensated for the costs, your insurance company will contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company. During this process, your insurance company may need additional information or assistance from you. Your cooperation will help the process to go smoothly. Notify your insurance company if you intend to settle with the at-fault driver or their insurance company.

Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

If your driving record is full of infractions, such as accidents, tickets, or drunken driving offenses, you may have difficulty finding an insurance company that will sell you a policy. However, due to the fact that drivers in North Carolina are required to have insurance, the North Carolina Reinsurance Facility was created in 1973 to help drivers who have been unsuccessful in purchasing insurance coverage due to their driving records.

If you violate certain traffic laws, such as driving without insurance, driving under the influence, causing an accident while driving without insurance, having too many traffic tickets within a short time span, resulting in your license being suspended or revoked, you may have to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of SR-22 insurance in order to get your license back. If this applies to you, ask your insurance company if they provide SR-22 insurance because not all insurance companies do.

Additional Help

Insurance is not always the easiest thing to understand. For this reason, the North Carolina Department of Insurance Consumer Services Division offers assistance to anyone with questions or concerns about insurance. The Division will also help you resolve any problems you may have with an insurance company, agent, broker, policy, or claim. You can contact the Consumer Services Division at 800-546-5664. The Department of Insurance also provides an online consumer’s guide to auto insurance that may help you better understand insurance in North Carolina.

Online resources include: