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Our auto insurance guide to North Carolina

Car insurance quotes for North Carolina should offer you the following insurance coverage or financial responsibility at a minimum:

30/60/25 – This is shorthand for the liability policy limits required which means you need a minimum coverage of:

  • $30,000 for death or injury to one person;
  • $60,000 for death or injury to two or more people; and
  • $25,000 for property damage to others

You must also purchase uninsured/underinsured coverage for bodily injury and property damage of at least equal to the minimum liability limits.

As a typical feature most auto insurance policies will come with a provision that will adjust your coverage from the minimums required in your state to the minimum insurance or proof of financial responsibility in some other state of the US. So you do not need to get a new insurance policy for each state you are driving through. However, if you buy a policy in a low limits state (like North Carolina or say, New Mexico) but live in a high limits state (like Alaska), insurers will only write a policy where your car is principally garaged. So if your home is in Alaska, you should buy the minimum limits for Alaska.

Please note, that North Carolina’s required insurance limits are low, like in virtually all states of the US, considering the cost of repair and damages likely to occur in an accident (this holds also true in states with higher limits such as Alaska or Maine). If you are in a serious collision and the damages you caused are greater than the coverage limits you purchased, you may be personally liable to pay for those damages that exceed your insurance coverage. A simple and surprisingly cheap strategy can be to add additional coverage to your policy.

Car Insurance Law and Regulations in North Carolina

North Carolina is a comparative negligence state. A comparative negligence legal defense is one that reduces the amount of damages that a claimant/plaintiff can recover for an injury due to negligence based on percentage of which the claimant’s/plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to cause the injury. So, if you have an accident, you and the other driver could be each at fault for 50% of each others’ damages. However, just because you have the same percentage of fault, does not mean you “cancel” out each other damages. You will have to pay for 50% of the other driver’s damages. So if you total their $50,000 car, you will be liable for ½ of the damage you caused – $25,000.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

In North Carolina, a first time offense of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a misdemeanor offense. If you are 21 years or older, if you have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of .08% or higher while driving, North Carolina law presumes you are driving while intoxicated. If you are under 21, a lower BAC may apply to you.

1st DWI

If convicted, you may be sentenced from 24 hours up to 1 year in jail, depending on whether aggravating factors are present (over .15 BAC, minor in vehicle at time of arrest). A court fine of up to $2000 may be imposed. You may also be required to complete 24 hours of community service. You will also be responsible for other court fees. Your license will be suspended for at least 30 days and up to 12 additional months thereafter. SR-22 or FR-44 forms will be required for a 1st DWI.

2nd DWI

If convicted, you may be sentenced from 7 days up to a maximum of 1 year in jail. Fines may be imposed from $1000 up to $4000. Your license will be suspended for 4 years if your second conviction is within 3 years of your first conviction. Otherwise, your license will be suspended for at least 1 year. You will be required to install an ignition interlock device. You may also be required to complete 24-72 hours of community service. You may also be required to complete alcohol abuse treatment. SR-22 or FR-44 forms will be required for a 2nd DWI.

North Carolina Auto Insurance Resources


NAIC 2009 Market Share Information
Note: List does not contain duplicates of associated or affiliated insurance companies

More Information

Top Ten Car Insurance Companies in North Carolina

These are the top rated insurance companies as measured by market share in the state

  • State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
  • North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • Integon National Insurance Company
  • Government Employees Insurance Company
  • Allstate Indemnity Company
  • United Services Automobile Assoc.
  • Progressive Insurance Group
  • Geico Indemnity Company
  • Erie Insurance Exchange