D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has appeared on legaladvice.com, themanifest.com, and vice.com.

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Oct 4, 2020

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City Population244,605
City Density2,247 people per square mile
Average Cost of Car Insurance$2,654.84
Cheapest Car Insurance ProviderLiberty Mutual
Road ConditionsPoor Share: 12%
Mediocre Share: 25%
Fair Share: 25%
Good Share: 38%
VOC: $435
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Welcome to the heart of the North Carolina Piedmont. Winston-Salem is a postcard-ready city with roads that can lead you to both its storied past and its bright future.

The first Krispy Kreme Doughnuts opened on South Main Street in 1937. Before that, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was founded in Winston-Salem in 1875 (leading to one of the city’s nicknames, Camel City). But whether you call the city Camel City, Twin City, or City of the Arts and Innovation, Winston-Salem is a great place to call home.

And whether you’re a long time resident or new to the region, we’ve created this guide to help you navigate car insurance in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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The Cost of Car Insurance in Winston-Salem

Whether you’re drawn here by the abundance of outdoor adventures, by the top-tier universities, or just the lure of the old Camel City, there’s a lot to love about Winston-Salem.

And with a cost of living 14 percent below the national average, Winston-Salem’s an affordable place to call home, whether you’re here to work, raise a family or retire.

In the sections below, we’ll cover some of the key factors that can help you make a more affordable car insurance decision.

Male vs. Female vs Age

Though North Carolina is one of six states to ban gender discrimination in car insurance premiums, there is often still a gender gap. In most places, men will pay more than women.

It’s important to know that this gap is small and decreases with age and marital status.

The table below provides the average car insurance premiums for folks in Winston-Salem of various genders, ages, and marital status.

DemographicAverage Rate
Single 17-year old female$4,756.83
Single 17-year old male$4,751.23
Single 25-year old female$2,503.10
Single 25-year old male$2,501.35
Married 35-year old female$2,420.49
Married 35-year old male$2,414.09
Married 60-year old female$2,237.70
Married 60-year old male$2,231.55
Overall Average$2,977.04
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Cheapest ZIP Codes in Winston-Salem

Did you know your car insurance premium can not only vary by what city you live in, but by what ZIP code you live in within that city?

Luckily, car insurance premiums across Winston-Salem only vary slightly. The cheapest ZIP code is 27105, a neighborhood just north of downtown and east of Wake Forest University. Residents of 27105 can expect to pay a yearly average of $2,654.09 for their car insurance.

The table below shows you average car insurance premiums for Winston-Salem by ZIP code.

Zip CodeAverage Rate
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What’s the best car insurance company in Winston-Salem?

Folks in Winston-Salem might say the Wake Forest Devil Deacons are the best athletes in the NCAA. And they might not be wrong.

But who do they say is the best car insurance company?

Not surprisingly, the best car insurance company largely depends on what you want from your insurer. In the sections below, we’ll cover some of the factors that can help you figure out the best car insurance company for you and your family in Winston-Salem.

Cheapest Car Insurance Rates by Company

Is the cheapest always the best? Not always, but that doesn’t mean a cheap provider is a bad provider either.

It’s like shopping in bulk: sometimes bigger companies can offer cheaper premiums to their many customers.

In Winston-Salem, Liberty Mutual is likely to be your cheapest car insurance provider.

The table below offers the average premiums for Winston-Salem’s seven biggest car insurance companies.

State Farm$2,582.25
Liberty Mutual$1,937.65
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Best Car Insurance for Commute Rates

Did you know that your commute distance can also affect your car insurance premium?

The table below provides average premiums for the Camel City’s top insurers based on a 10- or 25-mile average commute.

Company10 mile commute. 6000 annual mileage.25 mile commute. 12000 annual mileage.Average
State Farm$2,574.56$2,589.95$2,582.26
Liberty Mutual$1,937.65$1,937.65$1,937.65
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Best Car Insurance for Coverage Level Rates

You’re probably not surprised to learn that the more car insurance you need, the higher your premium will be.

In Winston-Salem, however, Liberty Mutual is likely to be your cheapest provider whether you need a high, medium, or low level of car insurance.

The table below provides average rates for Winston-Salem’s biggest car insurers by coverage level.

State Farm$2,706.20$2,472.49$2,568.07$2,582.25
Liberty Mutual$2,046.19$1,841.97$1,924.80$1,937.65
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Did you know that your credit history is one of the key factors car insurance companies use to determine your car insurance premium?

Best Car Insurance for Credit History Rates

Your credit history can seriously affect your car insurance premiums. This video offers a great explanation as to how and why.

Winston-Salemites with good credit might find Progressive or State Farm to be even more affordable than Liberty Mutual.

The table below offers average premiums in Winston-Salem for those with good, fair, or poor credit histories.

State Farm$1,802.42$2,319.02$3,625.33$2,582.26
Liberty Mutual$1,937.65$1,937.65$1,937.65$1,937.65
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But let’s be honest: what affects your car insurance premium even more than your credit history? Your driving record.

Best Car Insurance for Driving Record Rates

Most of us don’t have spotless driving records. Accidents (and speeding tickets) happen. But not all past violations affect your car insurance premium equally.

Folks with a clean driving record in Winston-Salem will likely find Progressive to be their most affordable car insurance provider. What about those with a past DUI? Our research shows Liberty Mutual to likely be the cheapest insurer.

The following table provides the average rates for drivers of various histories in Winston-Salem.

CompanyClean recordWith 1 accidentWith 1 DUIWith 1 speeding violationAverage
State Farm$1,374.01$1,990.38$4,974.24$1,990.38$2,779.54
Liberty Mutual$1,158.17$1,483.92$3,624.58$1,483.92$2,088.89
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Car Insurance Factors in Winston-Salem

As more people discover how great the city is, Winston-Salem is forging forward. The City of the Arts and Innovation is outpacing North Carolina’s average growth rate in every year for the last few decades.

In the sections below we’ll cover some of the factors of this growth that can affect your car insurance premiums.

Metro Report – Growth & Prosperity

The Brookings Institute shows that people aren’t the only things moving to Winston-Salem. The area is seeing tremendous financial growth and job prosperity.

The figures below reflect their most recent findings.


  • Jobs: +0.8 percent  (74th of 100)
  • Gross metropolitan product (GMP): +4.8 percent (ninth of 100)
  • Jobs at young firms: +3.1 percent (53rd of 100)


  • Productivity: +4.0 percent (third of 100)
  • Standard of living: +3.9 percent (fourth of 100)
  • Average annual wage: +4.3 percent (second of 100)

Median Household Income

According to DataUSA, “Households in Winston-Salem, NC have a median annual income of $42,219, which is less than the median annual income of $60,336 across the entire United States.”

But as we’ve seen above, annual incomes are growing in the area, as DataUSA confirms that this median annual income “is in comparison to a median income of $40,898 in 2016, which represents a 3.23 percent annual growth.”

With an average annual car insurance premium of $2,654.84, that means folks in Winston-Salem spend approximately 6.28 percent of their annual income on car insurance.

Use the handy calculator below to see what percent of your income could go to car insurance.


Homeownership in the Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is growing in part because of the city’s affordable cost of living. In 2017, the median home value was $142,200.

And more people are buying homes here. According to DataUSA, “In 2017, 54.5 percent of the housing units in Winston-Salem, NC were occupied by their owner. This percentage grew from the previous year’s rate of 54.1 percent.”

Education in Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is truly the City of Innovation and Arts. This is in large part because it’s an educational hub.

The city is home to several world-class research universities, both public and private.

They include Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Salem College, and Piedmont International University. Forsyth Technical Community College is a technical school in Winston-Salem quickly growing to meet the industrial needs of the growing Piedmont region.

DataUSA reports that “in 2016, universities in Winston-Salem, NC awarded 6,271 degrees.”

Poverty by Age and Gender

Women ages 18-34 make up a disproportionate amount of the people living below the poverty line in Winston-Salem.

Employment by Occupations

According to DataUSA, “The most common job groups, by number of people living in Winston-Salem, NC, are Office & Administrative Support Occupations (13,067 people), Sales & Related Occupations (10,713 people), and Management Occupations (10,360 people).”

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Driving in Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem offers not only gorgeous country drives just outside its city limits, but also the excitement of a much larger city.

If you call Winston-Salem home, you should know that the city’s road conditions, congestion, and traffic laws can all affect your car insurance premiums.

In the sections below, we’ll provide you with some of the best information about driving in the gorgeous Twin City.

Roads in Winston-Salem

Most folks in Winston-Salem drive. So what kind of roads do they have to work with?

Major Highways in Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem Roads

Though Winston-Salem isn’t the largest city in North Carolina, several major highways converge here.

Lucky for Winston-Salemites, no toll roads exist near the city.

Popular Road Trips/Sites

Winston-Salem offers a lot to visitors. From outdoor adventures to world-class theater, it’s definitely a place worth spending a weekend (or a lifetime).

We recommend the Reynolda House Museum of American Art at Wake Forest University, located in the restored 1917 mansion of R.J. and Katharine Reynolds.

Thrillist offers a great list of Winston-Salem’s best restaurants to keep you well-fed and, uh, hydrated.

Road Conditions in Winston-Salem

TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, finds that road conditions are pretty good in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

In 2018, they break down the city’s roads as follows:

  • Poor condition — 12 percent
  • Mediocre condition — 25 percent
  • Fair condition — 25 percent
  • Good condition — 38 percent

With 63 percent of roads in either fair or good condition, it’s clear the city cares about keeping its residents safe.

Does Winston-Salem use speeding or red light cameras?

The city of Winston-Salem currently doesn’t utilize speeding or red light cameras. Though keep in mind: moving violations are one of the quickest ways to raise your car insurance premiums.

And it should be pretty easy to get around Winston-Salem anyway. The city recently installed wireless traffic signals, meaning residents will be spending less time at red lights with no oncoming traffic.

Vehicles in Winston-Salem

If you live in Winston-Salem, chances are you live in a two-car household, have a commute under 20 minutes each way, and drive alone to work.

In the sections below, we’ll look at the particulars of Winston Salem’s car culture.

How many cars per household

Around 42 percent of Winston-Salem households own two vehicles, as DataUSA illustrates.

Households without a Car

Less than 5 percent of Winston-Salemites live in a household without a car.

Speed traps in Winston-Salem

Residents report that Winston-Salem is home to some of the worst speed traps in the state of North Carolina, particularly along the stretch of I-40 that runs through the city.

Vehicle Theft in Winston-Salem

In 2017, the FBI recorded 15 vehicle thefts in the city of Winston-Salem.

Crime is fairly high in Winston-Salem, according to Neighborhood Scout, who explains that the city is only safer than 7 percent of U.S. cities. Though it’s important to note that the vast majority of these crimes are non-violent petty crimes concentrated around Winston-Salem’s universities.

Traffic in Winston-Salem

As we’ve talked about above, Winston-Salem has fairly good roadways. But how congested are the Twin City’s roads?

Traffic Congestion

Winston-Salem does not have much of a traffic problem, our research shows.

According to TomTom, Winston-Salem had an overall congestion level of 10 percent in 2018. The city’s highways were less congested, at only 4 percent, and its non-highways were 16 percent on average.

They also report that folks in Winston-Salem spent an extra four minutes for their morning commute and an extra eight minutes for their evening commute because of traffic congestion during peak driving hours.


As the DataUSA graph shows below, residents of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, have a significantly lower than average commute time at 19.6 minutes each way vs. the national average of 25.1 minutes.

They also report that “in 2017, the most common method of travel for workers in Winston-Salem, NC was Drove Alone (82.9%), followed by those who Carpooled (7.48 percent) and those who Worked At Home (4.61 percent).”

How safe are Winston-Salem’s streets and roads?

Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn’t track city-specific roadway safety statistics, they do provide county-wide statistics for Forsyth County, of which Winston-Salem is the largest city and the county seat.

In 2017, 42 fatalities were recorded on the county’s streets. The table below provides the number of fatalities in Forsyth County by crash type from 2013 to 2017.

Crash Type20132014201520162017
All Crashes2734404242
Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver (BAC = .08+)812101812
Involving a Single Vehicle2120171723
Involving a Large Truck14663
Involving Speeding1112101411
Involving a Roadway Departure1522202521
Involving an Intersection241096
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Though the majority of fatalities in Winston-Salem are car passengers, pedestrians and cyclists are also at risk, especially in a college town. The table below provides the number of fatalities in Forsyth County for car passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists from 2013 to 2017.

Person Type20132014201520162017
Car Passenger817131817
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Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report

Drivers in Winston-Salem are pretty safe across the board.

According to Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report for 2019, Winston-Salem ranked as the 28th safest driving city in the United States.

On average, residents of the City of Arts and Innovation also went around 11.1 years between filing each car insurance claim.


According to RideGuru, the following rideshare services are available in Winston-Salem:

  • Blacklane
  • Lyft
  • Traditional taxis
  • Uber

Lyft, Uber, and traditional taxis are available to pick you up from or take you to both Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) and Smith Reynolds Airport (INT).

EStar Repair Shops

You will want to make sure that you are getting quality repairs on your vehicle should you, unfortunately, find yourself involved in an accident.

One of the best ways to do this is to locate your nearest EStar Repair Shop. You can do this by typing in your address in their convenient EStar repair Shop finder tool.

Winston-Salem has one EStar Repair Shop: Carolinas Collision Center at North Point. You can call them at (336) 759-2993 and find them at 7600 Phoenix Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27106.

Weather in Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem enjoys a very temperate climate with very little snowfall.

The table below offers some of the Camel City’s annual atmospheric averages.

Atmospheric ConditionAverage
Annual high temperature:69.7°F
Annual low temperature:49.4°F
Average temperature:59.55°F
Average annual rainfall:46.93 inches
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Public Transit in Winston-Salem

As we’ve seen above, not many Winston-Salemites take public transit. But that’s not because it isn’t available. The Winston-Salem Transit Authority offers fairly comprehensive bus routes for the city’s residents, especially to and from the city’s several institutions of higher education.

WSTA Fares are fairly affordable, too. Adults pay $1.00 per trip (transfers are free) and can buy a 30-day pass for $30. They also offer services for the elderly and disabled.

Alternate Transportation in Winston-Salem

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the city has recently given operating licenses to two electric scooter companies, Zagster and VeoRide.

Parking in Winston-Salem

The City of Winston-Salem operates several public parking garages downtown, with park and shuttle, hourly, and monthly options.

The city also operates 800 metered parking spots. Single-space meters only take quarters, but Winston-Salem has been installing more parking stations that accept both cash and credit cards.

Air Quality in Winston-Salem

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides air quality reports for all cities and counties across the nation. The agency designates an area’s air quality as good, moderate, unhealthy for certain groups, unhealthy, and very unhealthy for every day of the year.

The air quality in Winston-Salem is consistently good, with a vast majority of days being designated as such by the EPA.

The table below shows the number of days in Winston-Salem with each EPA designation for the years 2016 to 2018.

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According to DataUSA, “Winston-Salem, NC has a large population of military personnel who served in Vietnam, 2.03 times greater than any other conflict.”

Though no military base is within an hour of Winston-Salem, many veterans still call the city home.

Our research shows that many car insurance companies offer discounts to either active or retired military personnel, including Allstate, Esurance, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, MetLife, Safe Auto, Safeco, State Farm, and The General.

USAA is consistently ranked as one of the best auto insurance companies, and they insure only military personnel, active or retired, and their immediate family members.

Unique City Laws

Though North Carolina’s handheld cellphone ban is on hold in the state legislature, it’s not safe to drive distracted. Help keep Winston-Salem’s streets safe, and your car insurance premium affordable, by waiting to text or talk until you’re not driving.

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Winston-Salem Car Insurance FAQs

Now that you have a good grasp of the types of car insurance options available to you in the City of Arts and Innovation, plus a general idea of the culture that makes Winston-Salem so unique, we want to help you really make the city feel like home.

Here are some of the questions asked most by new and soon-to-be Winston-Salemites.

Who handles the utilities in Winston-Salem?

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County provides water, waste, and recycling services to residents through their public utility co-op. Duke Energy provides the area with gas and electric services.

Do I need to get a resident parking permit?

Nope. Easy breezy.

 What are the state minimums for car insurance in North Carolina?

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the minimum car insurance coverage that you must carry to comply with state laws is:

  • ​Bodily injury (one person): $30,000
  • ​Bodily injury (two or more people): ​$60,000
  • ​Property damage: ​$25,000

Where is the airport?

Good question! Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem itself is not a passenger-serving airport. Most folks fly into Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO). GSO is in Greensboro, North Carolina, just 24 miles from downtown Winston-Salem.

Is there really anything to do in Winston-Salem, NC?

ABSOLUTELY. Just ask these two.

Now that you understand the basics of driving, living, and working in the City of Arts and Innovation, it’s time to put your knowledge to work for you by getting the best deal on your car insurance.

Need car insurance? Start comparing rates for FREE. Just enter your zip code in our quote tool above.


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  2. https://datausa.io/profile/geo/winston-salem-nc/#housing
  3. http://www.calculatorpro.com/calculator/insurance-cost-calculator/
  4. https://datausa.io/profile/geo/winston-salem-nc/#education
  5. https://www.thrillist.com/eat/charlotte/best-restaurants-near-wake-forest-university
  6. https://tripnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/CA_San_Francisco-Oakland_Transportation_by_the_Numbers_TRIP_Report_Aug_2018.pdf
  7. https://www.speedtrap.org/north-carolina/winston-salem/
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  11. https://cdan.nhtsa.gov/SASStoredProcess/guest
  12. https://www.allstate.com/americas-best-drivers/index.htm
  13. https://ride.guru/cities/winston-salem-north-carolina-united-states-of-america
  14. https://www.esurance.com/info/car/e-star-direct-repair-program
  15. https://www.esurance.com/e-star-repair-shop-locator
  16. https://wstransit.com/
  17. https://wstransit.com/fares-passes/
  18. https://www.journalnow.com/news/local/scooters-return-to-winston-salem-in-september/article_17c57ca6-2e89-5b0a-87b7-117e019bcc2f.html
  19. http://www.cityofws.org/portals/0/pdf/transportation/forms-reports/parking/downtownparking_201301.pdf
  20. https://www.epa.gov/outdoor-air-quality-data/about-air-data-reports
  21. https://datausa.io/profile/geo/winston-salem-nc/#income
  22. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232236132.html
  23. http://www.cityofws.org/Departments/Utilities/Residential-Services
  24. https://www.duke-energy.com/home
  25. https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/title-registration/insurance-requirements/Pages/default.aspx