North Carolina car insurance laws

Auto insurance requirements in North Carolina

Drivers in North Carolina must carry a certain amount of car insurance to be legal. This coverage is required in order to protect you and others on the roads. Proof of coverage must also be carried while you are driving, and must be shown at the request of law enforcement officials. Read on to see what insurance coverages are required in North Carolina as well as a breakdown of optional coverages that can further protect you and your assets.

Minimum Liability Coverage: 30/60/25
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: 30/60/25
  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident
  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

Those who finance or lease a vehicle could be required to purchase physical damage coverage — sometimes referred to as full coverage — as a part of your loan or lease agreement.

 

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in North Carolina

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is a legally required coverage in North Carolina and pays for injury and lost wages that you or your passengers may suffer in the event that you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver who is at fault. The coverage limits are determined by each state. These amounts are typically split into two categories.

 

Liability coverage in North Carolina

Liability coverage is legally required in North Carolina and pays for injury, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage that you cause to another driver in an at-fault accident. Keep in mind that your liability coverage only pays those whom you harm. It never pays for your own injuries or property damage.

 

What are North Carolina state-mandated car insurance limits?

Limits are the maximum amount that an insurance company will pay for a claim. States can set minimum limits of coverage that all drivers must carry in order to be legal. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into three categories. In North Carolina, the liability insurance minimum is listed as 30/60/25 and explained below:

  • $30,000 bodily injury coverage per person is the total dollar amount paid out for a single person that you injure in an auto accident.
  • $60,000 bodily injury coverage per accident refers to the maximum amount paid out for all injuries you cause in an accident where more than one person is hurt.
  • $25,000 property damage per accident is the total amount paid for damages that you cause in an at-fault accident.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in North Carolina has limits that are set up in much the same way as liability coverage, including bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage per accident. Have a look below to see a breakdown of these coverages.

  • $30,000 bodily injury coverage per person is the limit that your insurance company will pay for a single person injured in your vehicle by an uninsured/underinsured driver.
  • $60,000 bodily injury coverage per accident is the total dollar amount an insurer will pay for all injuries in your vehicle by an uninsured/underinsured driver if more than one person is hurt.
  • $25,000 property damage coverage per accident refers to the total dollar amount an insurer will pay for damage caused to your vehicle by an uninsured/underinsured driver.

 

Do North Carolina’s insurance minimums provide enough coverage?

North Carolina’s car insurance requirements are pretty much on par with much of the country. However, this doesn’t mean that they provide enough coverage to keep you fully protected. For example, $30,000 in bodily injury liability could go rather fast, as medical expenses tend to skyrocket quickly. If you injure more than one person in a larger accident, the $60,000 limit would barely scratch the surface. This can mean that you may be held personally accountable for paying the rest of the damages.

One way to better protect yourself is to follow the guidance of most insurance experts who recommend setting your liability coverage to at least 50/100/50 and even higher if you have assets such as a house. This can help to keep you and your assets better protected.

 

North Carolina’s penalties for driving without proof of insurance

If you are found to be driving in North Carolina without sufficient car insurance coverage, you can expect the following penalties to apply:

North Carolina penalties for uninsured drivers*
  • 1st insurance lapse: $50
  • 2nd insurance lapse: $100
  • Subsequent insurance lapses: $150

*A $50 restoration fee is also applied to each offense in order to relicense the vehicle.

 

Optional car insurance coverage in North Carolina

While North Carolina law only requires liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, most insurance companies have a number of other coverage types available. Below you’ll find a list of some of the more common car insurance coverages in North Carolina.

  • Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage is a form of physical damage insurance that protects your vehicle against non-collision damages (though it does cover collisions with animals).
  • Collision: Collision insurance covers your vehicle in situations where you collide with another car or fixed object.
  • Gap coverage: Because of the rapid depreciation of most new vehicles, it can be a good idea to have some built-in protection to cover the difference between the actual cash value of your car and what you still owe on your loan. Sometimes known as loan/lease coverage, this is a great option for those who don’t want to be caught upside down in a loan.
  • Medical payments: Often referred to as “med pay,” this coverage goes towards your medical bills or funeral expenses (as well as those incurred by passengers in your vehicle). This coverage usually has limits that fall between $5,000 and $10,000 and can be used regardless of who is at fault.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement: If your car is unable to be driven due to a covered loss, this coverage can go toward paying for a rental until yours can be fixed. Limits and terms can vary depending on which insurer you have.
  • Roadside assistance: If you break down on the highway, this coverage goes toward covering the cost of towing, battery charges, or a number of other related costs.

 

Why adhering to North Carolina’s car insurance requirements is important

Carrying North Carolina’s required minimum car insurance is a great way to protect yourself, but it’s also the law. While North Carolina’s liability limits are slightly higher than some states, it’s recommended that you carry slightly more coverage to adequately protect yourself. If you are concerned about the added costs these increases might bring, it may be time to search for a new policy. The Zebra is a great way to find free car insurance quotes which can help you find affordable coverage that meets your needs.

 

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Ross Martin LinkedIn

As a licensed insurance agent, Ross is responsible for researching and writing about all matters related to auto and home insurance. He has a background in writing and education, as well as a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London. He has been quoted by CNET, iDriveSafely.com, and Kin Insurance.