North Carolina Car Insurance [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]
The average North Carolina Insurance rates are $65.76/mo. North Carolina car insurance minimum requirements are 30/60/25 for bodily injury and property coverage.
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UPDATED: Jan 13, 2021
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|North Carolina Summary Stats||Details|
|Most Popular Vehicle||Ford F-150|
|Total Driving Related Deaths||Speeding: 423
Drunk Driving: 354
|Average Annual Premiums||Liability: $359.42
|Cheapest Provider||Liberty Mutual|
North Carolina, known to those who live there as either the “Old North State” or the “Tar Heel State”, has its traditions and stakes in art, music, and cuisine. The North Carolina arts culture generates $1.2 billion dollars in economic activity for the state and is home to the North Carolina Museum of Art, the first major museum collection to be formed by state funding.
Getting lost in all the artwork at the museum is an amazing experience; getting lost when searching for car insurance is not.
Well, let us provide this road map for you full of every piece of car insurance information because we have put together a guide that has all the car insurance information that you’d ever want to know about North Carolina: coverage and rates, car insurance providers, state laws, and lots, lots more.
So cook yourself up some of the state’s food staple (pork BBQ), and prepare to dive into the finger-lickin’ goodness of this guide
Comparing rates is a great way to save money! Start today with just your ZIP code.
North Carolina Car Insurance Coverage and Rates
Speaking of food, North Carolina has a lot in terms of food firsts: Pepsi-Cola was first produced in New Bern in 1898; Golden Corral, a famous buffet restaurant chain, began and started in North Carolina in 1973, and the donut chain Krispy Kreme started in North Carolina.
Before you go run out to buy a dozen delicious donuts, let’s go over the basic requirements of car insurance and what it will cost you in North Carolina.
North Carolina Minimum Coverage
|Body Injury Liability - One Person||$30,000|
|Body Injury Liability - Two or More People||$60,000|
North Carolina ranks 48th in the United States when it comes to people who are uninsured. This equates to 6.5 percent of the total state population that is not insured.
It is great that most of the state is insured! But whether you are insured or not, it is important to know that you need, at the minimum, liability insurance. Liability insurance covers you in the event you are in an accident and there is bodily injuries or property damage. It pays all the individuals involved.
It is important to know North Carolina is an at-fault state. This means that the person who was at fault in the accident is the one who has to pay for any damage or injuries sustained.
Also, if you work or do business in North Carolina, it is important to know you must have liability insurance you have purchased in the state of North Carolina. Out-of-state policies will not be accepted as valid insurance policies.
- $30,000 for injuries per person.
- $60,000 for total injuries per accident.
- $25,000 for property damage per accident.
This minimum liability coverage is known as 30/60/25.
Experts recommend if at all possible to purchase more than the minimum amount for your state as seen below.
Required Forms of Financial Responsibility in North Carolina
To drive in North Carolina, you must carry insurance and some form of financial responsibility.
According to North Carolina law G.S. 20-309, the following will serve as valid forms of financial responsibility in addition to insurance:
- A surety bond in the amount of $85,000 or more.
- Certificate of deposit of money or securities of $85,000 or more.
- Self-insurance (if you own/lease 26 cars or more).
Every time you operate a vehicle, you need to have, on hand, proof of insurance and/or financial responsibility.
If you let your insurance lapse, the North Carolina liability insurance law is heavily enforced. Insurance companies have to, by law, notify the state DMV if insurance is canceled or coverage lapses.
There is no grace period for insurance lapses in North Carolina.
The penalties for letting your insurance lapse?
- First time: $50 fine.
- Second time: $100 fine.
- Subsequent times: $150 fine.
- Restoration fee for license plate: $50 fee.
If you need to cancel your insurance, for any reason, make sure you follow the proper procedures! It’s much better than having to pay fines and fees.
Premiums as Percentage of Income in North Carolina
In 2017, the average annual disposable income was $35,099.
What is disposable income? That is the amount you have left to spend after you have taken care of your necessary expenses and after taxes have been paid.
The average annual cost of car insurance in North Carolina is $768.28, which is about 2.2 percent of your total disposable income.
If you live in North Carolina, your monthly disposable income, on average, totals about $2,924.92. On average, a full coverage premium will deduct about $64 out of your total monthly income.
Why is full coverage so low in North Carolina?
According to a study cited on the Charlotte Observer, North Carolina (as of 2018) is the least expensive state to buy car insurance in, as its residents pay 41 percent less annually than the national average of $811.
The study lists three potential reasons for low car insurance:
- North Carolina is mostly rural, which means less crime, cheaper cost of living, and fewer accidents. This drives insurance rates lower.
- The Commissioner of Insurance, Wayne Goodwin, is responsible for capping car insurance rates. Insurance firms compete with one another by offering rates lower than the state cap.
- Because of this competition, more than 2,000 different auto insurance discounts are offered by North Carolina auto insurance companies, an amount the study calls “uncharacteristically high.”
American Consumer Credit Counseling suggests saving 20 percent of every paycheck. With North Carolina’s DPI, that is a whopping $585 each month! How much are you putting aside for savings?
Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates in NC (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)
|Core Car Insurance Coverage Costs in North Carolina||Cost|
The above table illustrates the most recent data provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This data is as of 2015, so expect rates to possibly be a bit higher for 2019, and so on.
Don’t forget: North Carolina has minimum requirements for liability coverage, but experts suggest drivers purchase more than what the state law requires, especially when the state is an “at-fault” state like North Carolina.
Additional Liability Coverage in North Carolina
|Medical Payments (Med Pay)||81%||81%||79%|
Uninsured Motorist coverage is required in North Carolina. It is bundled with liability insurance, which is also required, by state law.
Underinsured Motorist coverage and Medical Pay (Med Pay) are not required, but experts do recommend these optional coverages, as they can provide needed protection in the event something happens!
Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders
Getting complete coverage at an affordable price is your main goal when it comes to car insurance, right?
Good news: there are lots of powerful but cheap extras you can add to your policy.
Here’s a list of useful coverage available to you in North Carolina:
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
- Rental Reimbursement
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Non-Owner Car Insurance
- Modified Car Insurance Coverage
- Classic Car Insurance
- Pay-as-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance
Average Monthly North Carolina Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender
|Company||Married 35-year old female Annual Rate||Married 35-year old male Annual Rate||Married 60-year old female Annual Rate||Married 60-year old male Annual Rate||Single 17-year old female Annual Rate||Single 17-year old male Annual Rate||Single 25-year old female Annual Rate||Single 25-year old male Annual Rate|
|Geico Govt Employees||$2,521.28||$2,474.28||$2,482.19||$2,437.32||$4,603.65||$4,563.43||$2,212.08||$2,199.26|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$2,692.15||$2,692.15||$2,327.42||$2,327.42||$3,966.45||$3,966.45||$3,328.58||$3,328.58|
|Standard Fire Ins Co||$2,665.43||$2,665.43||$2,644.05||$2,644.05||$4,485.32||$4,485.32||$2,735.84||$2,735.84|
The chart above shows how much men and women pay on average in each age group. While age is still a large factor in determining rates, insurers in North Carolina are not allowed to determine rates based on gender alone.
North Carolina Car Insurance Rates by ZIP Code
Check the table and chart below to see if your ZIP code is among the most expensive or cheapest ZIP codes.
|25 Most Expensive Zip Codes in North Carolina||City||Average Annual Rate by Zip Code||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Annual Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Annual Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Annual Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Annual Rate|
|28205||CHARLOTTE||$4,803.84||Allstate||$10,255.09||State Farm||$4,754.10||Liberty Mutual||$3,198.09||Progressive||$3,600.76|
|28206||CHARLOTTE||$4,801.37||Allstate||$10,255.09||State Farm||$4,730.74||Liberty Mutual||$3,198.09||Progressive||$3,606.80|
|28212||CHARLOTTE||$4,795.85||Allstate||$10,255.09||State Farm||$4,752.72||Liberty Mutual||$3,198.09||Progressive||$3,546.16|
|28208||CHARLOTTE||$4,786.44||Allstate||$10,176.40||State Farm||$4,724.45||Liberty Mutual||$3,198.09||Progressive||$3,587.28|
|28217||CHARLOTTE||$4,746.83||Allstate||$9,909.55||State Farm||$4,710.84||Liberty Mutual||$3,198.09||Progressive||$3,590.48|
|28262||CHARLOTTE||$4,649.95||Allstate||$9,496.84||State Farm||$4,569.67||Liberty Mutual||$3,198.09||Progressive||$3,466.15|
|28215||CHARLOTTE||$4,639.07||Allstate||$9,084.42||State Farm||$4,766.92||Liberty Mutual||$3,198.09||Progressive||$3,605.20|
|28213||CHARLOTTE||$4,633.71||Allstate||$9,102.08||State Farm||$4,674.82||Liberty Mutual||$3,198.09||GEICO||$3,621.01|
|28216||CHARLOTTE||$4,530.13||Allstate||$8,427.84||State Farm||$4,764.99||Liberty Mutual||$3,198.09||Progressive||$3,501.10|
|28310||FORT BRAGG||$4,347.17||Allstate||$9,218.95||Travelers||$4,040.19||Liberty Mutual||$2,815.72||Progressive||$3,204.08|
|28308||POPE A F B||$4,330.29||Allstate||$9,205.54||Travelers||$4,040.19||Liberty Mutual||$2,815.72||Progressive||$3,149.93|
|28307||FORT BRAGG||$4,328.13||Allstate||$9,218.95||Travelers||$4,040.19||Liberty Mutual||$2,815.72||Progressive||$3,108.69|
|28390||SPRING LAKE||$4,274.80||Allstate||$8,991.91||Travelers||$4,040.19||Liberty Mutual||$2,815.72||Progressive||$3,113.76|
|28348||HOPE MILLS||$4,256.98||Allstate||$8,867.89||Travelers||$4,040.19||Liberty Mutual||$2,815.72||Progressive||$3,092.61|
Charlotte and Fayetteville’s ZIP codes make a majority of the most expensive ZIP codes.
|25 Least Expensive Zip Codes in North Carolina||City||Average Annual Rate by Zip Codes||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Annual Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Annual Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Annual Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Annual Rate|
|27265||HIGH POINT||$2,883.83||Allstate||$6,076.76||Travelers||$2,750.53||Liberty Mutual||$1,918.26||Progressive||$1,993.83|
|28711||BLACK MOUNTAIN||$2,891.80||Allstate||$6,227.12||Travelers||$2,681.73||Liberty Mutual||$1,865.73||Progressive||$2,054.26|
|27516||CHAPEL HILL||$2,894.00||Allstate||$6,543.38||Travelers||$2,628.40||Liberty Mutual||$1,833.71||Progressive||$1,926.80|
|27103||WINSTON SALEM||$2,906.04||Allstate||$6,155.71||Travelers||$2,750.53||Liberty Mutual||$1,918.26||Progressive||$2,038.99|
|27105||WINSTON SALEM||$2,906.78||Allstate||$6,155.71||Travelers||$2,750.53||Liberty Mutual||$1,918.26||Progressive||$2,027.48|
|27045||RURAL HALL||$2,911.84||Allstate||$6,076.76||Travelers||$2,750.53||Liberty Mutual||$1,918.26||Progressive||$2,035.22|
|27101||WINSTON SALEM||$2,913.24||Allstate||$6,155.71||Travelers||$2,750.53||Liberty Mutual||$1,918.26||Progressive||$2,025.74|
North Carolina Car Insurance Rates by City
The table below shows which cities have the most expensive rates.
|10 Most Expensive Cities in North Carolina||Average Annual Rate by City||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Annual Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Annual Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Annual Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Annual Rate|
|Pope Army Airfield||$4,330.29||Allstate||$9,205.54||Travelers||$4,040.19||Liberty Mutual||$2,815.72||Progressive||$3,149.93|
|Fort Bragg||$4,328.13||Allstate||$9,218.95||Travelers||$4,040.19||Liberty Mutual||$2,815.72||Progressive||$3,108.69|
|Spring Lake||$4,274.80||Allstate||$8,991.91||Travelers||$4,040.19||Liberty Mutual||$2,815.72||Progressive||$3,113.76|
|Hope Mills||$4,135.67||Allstate||$8,944.64||Travelers||$3,802.86||Liberty Mutual||$2,670.66||Progressive||$2,928.48|
|Rex||$4,043.21||Allstate||$9,021.39||State Farm||$3,678.16||Liberty Mutual||$2,525.61||Progressive||$2,824.28|
Now let’s see which cities have the cheapest rates.
|10 Least Expensive Cities in North Carolina||Average Annual Rate by City||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Annual Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Annual Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Annual Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Annual Rate|
|Black Mountain||$2,891.80||Allstate||$6,227.12||Travelers||$2,681.73||Liberty Mutual||$1,865.73||Progressive||$2,054.26|
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Best North Carolina Car Insurance Companies
There are a lot of car insurance providers out there, and it can be a pain to try and navigate who is the best, and who you can trust.
So let us help you!
Find out who the best providers are, and why, in the state of North Carolina.
North Carolina Companies’ Financial Ratings
The A.M. Best Financial Rating lets you, the consumer, know the strength of a particular insurance company and how well they are doing financially.
|North Carolina Farm Bureau Group||A|
|Amtrust NGH Group||Not Rated|
|Erie Insurance Group||A+|
Sometimes it’s more important to know what people say about these companies instead of the financial data. You’re the customer, after all, and you need to be treated well!
Read on to find out about customer reviews.
Companies with the Best Customer Ratings in NC
J.D. Power and Associates conducted a study in 2018 that asked customers in several U.S. Regions how they would rank auto insurance companies.
When it comes to the Southeast Region (where North Carolina falls), Auto-Owner’s insurance is ranked the highest, as “better than most.”
Companies with the Most Complaints in North Carolina
Every business gets a bad review every now and then. It’s only natural.
But when there are multiple bad reviews and complaints, it’s wise to pay attention.
Here are the companies in North Carolina that customers believe are the worst and have the most complaints, with number one being the company that has the most complaints:
- MAPFRE North America
- MetLife Auto & Home
- Mercury General
- Progressive Insurance
- Liberty Mutual
- Farmers Insurance
- Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group (Geico)
- State Farm
The information above was gathered from Consumer Reports regarding the state of North Carolina in 2018 and cited on the Charlotte, North Carolina website for WSOC-TV.
North Carolina has your back if you need to file a complaint. Go to the Insurance Complaints Website to file a complaint.
Who has the cheapest car insurance in North Carolina?
|Geico Govt Employees||$2,936.69|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$3,078.65|
|Standard Fire Ins Co||$3,132.66|
When it comes to the cheapest annual rates, Liberty Mutual has the cheapest. It is middle of the road when it comes to customer complaints, and about average when it comes to financial ratings. You must decide, as the consumer, whether you feel paying less is getting your money’s worth!
Commute Rates in North Carolina
|Company||Commute and Annual Mileage (in miles)||Annual Average|
|Allstate||10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.||$7,190.43|
|Allstate||25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.||$7,190.43|
|Travelers||10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.||$3,132.66|
|Travelers||25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.||$3,132.66|
|State Farm||25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.||$3,093.71|
|State Farm||10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.||$3,063.59|
|Geico||10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.||$2,936.69|
|Geico||25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.||$2,936.69|
|Nationwide||10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.||$2,848.03|
|Nationwide||25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.||$2,848.03|
|Progressive||10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.||$2,382.61|
|Progressive||25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.||$2,382.61|
|Liberty Mutual||10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.||$2,182.71|
|Liberty Mutual||25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.||$2,182.71|
Liberty Mutual, again, seems to be the cheapest, no matter the length of your commute.
North Carolina Auto Insurance Rates
In North Carolina, the lengthy of your commute has a very negligable effect on your car insurance rates. Compared to some of the other more dramatic factors, it’s not even something companies consider.
Credit History Rates in North Carolina
In North Carolina, your credit history can work for you or against you when it comes to purchasing insurance.
|Company||Credit History||Annual Average|
Liberty Mutual has the best rates, no matter your credit history. If you have good credit overall, Progressive has the best rates.
Driving Record Rates in North Carolina
Much like with credit, your driving record can work for you or against you in North Carolina.
|Company||Driving Record||Annual Average|
|Allstate||With 1 DUI||$12,757.11|
|Allstate||With 1 accident||$6,855.02|
|State Farm||With 1 DUI||$5,926.55|
|Travelers||With 1 DUI||$5,836.08|
|Geico||With 1 DUI||$5,666.30|
|Nationwide||With 1 DUI||$5,390.16|
|Allstate||With 1 speeding violation||$5,262.09|
|Progressive||With 1 DUI||$5,173.29|
|Liberty Mutual||With 1 DUI||$4,095.53|
|Travelers||With 1 accident||$2,448.95|
|Travelers||With 1 speeding violation||$2,400.64|
|State Farm||With 1 accident||$2,371.17|
|State Farm||With 1 speeding violation||$2,371.17|
|Geico||With 1 accident||$2,336.01|
|Geico||With 1 speeding violation||$2,167.56|
|Nationwide||With 1 accident||$2,164.71|
|Nationwide||With 1 speeding violation||$2,164.71|
|Liberty Mutual||With 1 accident||$1,668.53|
|Liberty Mutual||With 1 speeding violation||$1,668.53|
|State Farm||Clean record||$1,645.72|
|Progressive||With 1 accident||$1,642.22|
|Progressive||With 1 speeding violation||$1,590.55|
|Liberty Mutual||Clean record||$1,298.25|
Progressive has the best rates for a clean driving record.
Accidents happen, and it seems like Progressive has the best rates if you have minimal speeding violations or minimal accidents.
Largest Car Insurance Companies in North Carolina
|Company||Premiums Written||Market Share|
|North Carolina Farm Bureau Group||$558,355||9.46%|
|Amtrust NGH Group||$558,355||9.33%|
|Erie Insurance Group||$226,829||3.79%|
Number of Insurers in North Carolina: Domestic vs. Foreign
What in the world do domestic and foreign insurers mean?
The difference is simple.
Domestic means that the insurer is based in-state, or it may be an insurance company only available in the state of North Carolina.
Foreign means it is based out of state, or a company such as Geico that is available in multiple states.
In North Carolina, there are 56 domestic insurers and 855 foreign insurers.
Laws in North Carolina
To keep rates on car insurance low, it helps to know the laws in North Carolina.
Never fear! This guide will help you with knowing all the facts.
North Carolina’s Car Insurance Laws
Each state can have different rules and different laws, so it helps to read up on all of them.
To stay in the know, read up on the North Carolina laws here. The sections below get a little more detailed.
North Carolina’s Windshield & Glass Repair Laws
Oh no! The unthinkable has happened. That tiny crack in your windshield is starting to become a big one.
Are insurers required to pay for windshield repairs? It looks like from research, yes, they are.
You can choose where the repairs are done, and the insurance company must use aftermarket parts that are equal to the original parts they are replacing. By law G.S. 58-3-180, “it is a violation for an automobile repair facility or parts person to place a nonoriginal crash repair part, nonoriginal windshield, or nonoriginal auto glass on a motor vehicle and to submit an invoice for an original repair part.”
High-Risk Insurance in North Carolina
North Carolina high-risk insurance is for people who have had past driving violations or no experience behind the wheel, or poor credit. Car insurance premiums will be high as a result.
From research, it looks like insurance rates will either increase or decrease according to the North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan.
Low-Cost Insurance in North Carolina
The Safe Driver Incentive Plan is the easiest way to get low-cost auto insurance in North Carolina. Be a safe driver, and enjoy the discounts!
More information on the SDIP is down below.
North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP)
It pays to be a safe driver in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP) is, according to the North Carolina Department of Insurance,
a financial incentive to practice safe driving habits. SDIP points are charged as follows for convictions and at-fault accidents occurring during the
Experience Period (the three-year period preceding either the date an individual applies for coverage or the insurance company prepares to
renew an existing policy).
If you drive safely, you save money.
However, if you rack up the points, your insurance rates will go up.
Automobile Insurance Fraud in North Carolina
The Department of Insurance in North Carolina is charged with protecting its customers from insurance fraud.
Ten percent of all insurance claims involving some degree of fraud — totaling nearly $120 billion per year lost.
The Department of Insurance warns you to be on the lookout for the most common types of insurance schemes in North Carolina:
- Automobile repair fraud.
- Staged automobile accidents.
- Fraudulent billing of customers for medical services.
- Property claims adjusting.
- Property repair.
The DOI is there to help you. However, they also want you to be proactive. How can you protect yourself?
The Statute of Limitations in North Carolina
If you are in any kind of accident, you have until the day of the accident to a set amount of time to file charges or file a claim. This length of time is known as the statute of limitations. It protects both you and the other party by giving each of you a set amount of time to bring charges forth.
In North Carolina, the statute of limitations is three years for either personal injury or property damage cases.
North Carolina’s Vehicle Licensing Laws
To be able to operate a vehicle in the state of North Carolina, you must have insurance, and also a license. Keep on reading to find out more about the specifics and the rules of the road.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
The penalties for driving without insurance are steep.
- First offense: $50 civil penalty; license/registration suspended for 30 days and $50 reinstatement fee; 45-day probation.
- Second offense: $100 civil penalty; license/registration suspended for 30 days and $50 reinstatement fee; 45-day probation.
- Third and subsequent offenses: $150 civil penalty; license/registration suspended for 30 days and $50 reinstatement fee; 45-day probation.
Remember that you must have the required insurance and/or forms of financial responsibility in your vehicle at all times.
Teen Driver Laws in North Carolina
If you are the parent of a teen driver, or if you’re a teen driver yourself, it is important to know that a teen cannot get a full-fledged license right off the bat. If you are between the ages of 15-17, you go through a process called graduated licensing.
What is graduated licensing?
It is a series of strict requirement teens must follow before they can receive a full driver’s license.
What are those requirements? Find out in the table below.
|Teen Driving Laws in North Carolina||Requirements #1||Requirements #2||Requirements #3|
|To get a learners license you must:||Have a minimum age of 15.||Pass a driver's education course.||Receive a driver's eligibility and a driver's education certificate.|
|Before getting a license or restricted license you must:||Have a minimum age of 16.||Have a mandatory holding period of 12 months||Have 60 hours of supervised driving time. 10 hours must be at night;.|
|Restrictions||Nighttime restrictions from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.||No more than one passenger younger than 21.||-|
Important to know: if you are younger than 18, you are banned from using a cellphone to talk or text. The texting ban is primarily enforced for all drivers, no matter your age.
Older Driver Laws in North Carolina
The rules for older drivers in North Carolina? Pretty straightforward.
- Older Population License Renewal: Five years for people 66 years and older
- Proof of vision required: every renewal.
- Mail or online renewal permitted: Yes, for every other renewal.
You can save yourself a trip to the DMV every five years by renewing online. Now that’s what I call convenience!
New Residents of North Carolina
Moving to North Carolina?
You must register and title your vehicle, as well as get a North Carolina license, within 60 days of moving to the state.
You should also familiarize yourself with the North Carolina driver’s handbook since every state is different with their laws and regulations.
License Renewal Procedures in North Carolina
When it comes to renewing your license, you must have a current or expired license with you at the time of renewal. If you do not have these, you must present two forms of identification.
The North Carolina DMV will make sure to send you a renewal card 60 days before your license expires, but you can renew your license 180 days before its expiration date.
Good news! If you don’t have a restriction on your driver’s license and if you have a Class C driver’s license, you can renew online!
North Carolina REAL ID
Starting October 1, 2020, federal agencies will endorse what is known as the REAL ID Act, which requires you to have a REAL ID U.S. Passport or another federally approved ID to board flights or enter federal buildings.
In North Carolina, a REAL ID is optional and not required to drive, but it is recommended if you fly a lot in the United States.
Here is what you need if you want to apply for a REAL ID in North Carolina!
Rules of the Road in North Carolina
It is important to know the rules of the road so you can be a responsible driver in the state of North Carolina. Read on to find out more…
Fault vs. No-Fault
Remember, North Carolina is an at-fault state. This means that the person who was at fault in the accident is the one who has to pay for any damage or injuries sustained.
Seat Belts and Car Seat Laws
North Carolina takes seat belt and car seat laws VERY seriously, as they are primarily enforced. This means if a police officer sees you not wearing your seat belt or doesn’t see a child in a car seat, they will stop you.
If your child is 7 years old or younger and less than 80 pounds, they must be in a car seat. If your child is 4 years old or younger and less than 40 pounds, they must be in the rear seat.
A $25 fine applies if you are not wearing your seat belt or if your child is not in a car seat.
Keep Right and Move Over Laws
In North Carolina, the laws are as follows:
State law requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, including towing and recovery vehicles, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest if safe and possible to do so, or slow to a safe speed. Also included in the law are utility vehicles, municipal vehicles, and road maintenance vehicles.
If you are in the left lane, slow driving is not allowed if you are traveling under the speed
In North Carolina, the speed limit is 70 miles per hour on rural interstates, urban interstates, and other limited access roads. All other roads have a limit of 55 miles per hour.
Share the Ride!
In North Carolina, you can quickly find commute partners with the use of their website!
When it comes to automated vehicles, North Carolina is one of 12 states that have authorized the full deployment of automated vehicles.
Other important pieces of information to know:
- Depending on the level of automation, an operator may or may not need to be licensed.
- An autonomous vehicle in North Carolina does not require an operator.
- Autonomous vehicles in North Carolina do require liability insurance.
Safety Laws in North Carolina
You are considered Driving While Intoxicated if you have a BAC of .08 or higher (if you are 21 or older) or .04 if you are a commercial driver. Younger than 21, any BAC is considered Driving While Intoxicated.
With a DWI offense, you have to deal with a driver’s license suspension (handled separately by the DMV), and your criminal case, depending on what “level” of DWI you are charged with. The higher your BAC, the more severe your penalties will be. Watch it explained in this video:
Can’t see the video? Here are the levels explained:
- Level V: $200 fine, a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours and a maximum of 60 days.
- Level IV : $500 fine, a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours and a maximum of 120 days.
- Level III : $1,000 fine, a minimum jail sentence of 72 hours and a maximum of six months.
- Level II: $2,000 fine, a minimum jail sentence of seven days and a maximum of one year.
- Level I: $4,000 fine, a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and a maximum of two years.
A DWI turns into a felony if the following is found out:
• Three DWI Convictions within the past seven years.
• Serious injury caused while driving.
• Death caused while driving.
The penalty is a minimum of one year in state prison.
Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws
There is no marijuana-specific law in the state of North Carolina, but it doesn’t mean you won’t get in trouble for driving under the influence.
Distracted Driving Laws
When it comes to distracted driving, the laws are as follows, according to AAA:
Text messaging and emailing while driving are prohibited for all drivers. Limited learner’s permit and provisional driver’s license holders, and drivers under 18, are prohibited from all cell phone use. School bus drivers are not permitted to use cell phones.
However, in 2018, 123 deaths were attributed to distracted driving. With this in mind, North Carolina lawmakers are now pushing for the Hands-Free NC Act.
North Carolina Can’t-Miss Facts
So many new pieces of information and facts! But we’re not done yet.
Let’s continue with the guide…
Vehicle Theft in North Carolina
Vehicle theft is definitely an annoyance, and it can be attributed to the type of car you own. Here are the top 10 vehicles stolen in the state of North Carolina:
|Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2004||424|
|Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2003||370|
|Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee||1999||203|
The Honda Accord takes over the number one spot for the most stolen vehicle!
Dangers on the Road in North Carolina
The best way to stay out of danger on the roads is to drive defensively and be aware of common issues in North Carolina.
Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition
Weather and the time of day can contribute to traffic fatalities.
|Weather Condition||Daylight||Dark, but Lighted||Dark||Dawn or Dusk||Other / Unknown||Total|
In normal weather conditions, during the day, North Carolina had 619 traffic fatalities.
There were fatalities in other instances, but remember to always keep your eye on the road!
Fatalities (All Crashes) by County
This shows the fatalities over the course of five years.
Traffic Fatalities: Rural vs. Urban
This shows the fatalities over the course of 10 years.
Interestingly, rural areas have a lot more traffic fatalities than in urban areas. This may be due to the fact that North Carolina is mainly a rural state.
Fatalities by Person Type
|Light Truck - Pickup||149||152||154||177||151|
|Light Truck - Utility||146||144||149||184||170|
|Light Truck - Van||43||52||39||55||51|
|Light Truck - Other||1||0||1||1||3|
|Bicyclist and Other Cyclist||22||19||23||17||29|
This shows the fatalities over the course of five years.
Passenger cars, motorcyclists, and pedestrians have a high rate of fatalities in this five-year timespan.
Fatalities by Crash Type
|Involving a Large Truck||139||121||129||152||164|
|Involving a Rollover||311||336||332||361||360|
|Involving a Roadway Departure||775||771||803||889||798|
|Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)||239||230||256||245||268|
This shows the fatalities over the course of five years.
Five-Year Trend for the Top 10 Counties in North Carolina
Fatalities Involving Speeding by County
Fatalities Involving Alcohol-Impaired Driving by County
Teen Drinking and Driving
Remember, the DWI Laws in North Carolina are some of the strictest in the United States.
Here are some of the sobering facts about drunk driving in North Carolina, and here are the facts when it comes to teens:
|Teens and Drunk Driving||Details|
|Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Per one million people||1.5|
|Higher/Lower Than National Average (1.2)||Higher|
|DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old)||201|
|DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old) Total Per Million People||87.44|
EMS Response Time: Rural vs. Urban
|Region Types||Time of Crash to EMS|
|EMS Notification to|
|EMS Arrival at Scene|
to Hospital Arrival
|Time of Crash to Hospital
|Rural||6 minutes||10 minutes||41 minutes||48 minutes|
|Urban||3 minutes||8 minutes||29 minutes||37 minutes|
The response times in both rural and urban areas are excellent. Both areas take under an hour from the time of the crash to hospital arrival.
If you live in Arizona, chances are you live in a two-car (or more!) household, drive alone to work, and spend a hefty amount of your day commuting!
Most people in North Carolina live in a two-car household.
With an average commute time of 23.1 minutes, North Carolina ranks above the national average!
1.8 percent of North Carolina residents report a super-commute, which is spending 90 minutes or more of your time commuting.
86.1 percent of the workforce report driving in to work alone. 9.2 percent carpool, and 5.4 percent work at home.
Top Cities for Traffic Congestion
By the year 2040, North Carolina’s population looks to increase by 3 million, according to North Carolina DOT (as cited by WRAL). This is why the DOT is gathering data from North Carolina residents so it can better plan for the future.
When it comes to traffic, only two North Carolina cities are the worst: Greensboro and Charlotte rank 209th and 91st, respectively, for the worst traffic in the WORLD, according to the INRIX Global Traffic scorecard. Greensboro residents lose 43 hours a week (almost totaling two days) to congestion, whereas Charlotte residents lose 95 hours a week. That’s a total of almost four days!
And according to experts, congestion in Charlotte is likely to only get worse.
Want to get a first-hand sense of just how bad traffic congestion in Charlotte is?
Want to see further stats on how bad North Carolina traffic is?
In Greensboro, drivers see an increase of 9 percent extra travel time. This amounts to minutes extra minutes per day and 33 extra hours per year. When it’s morning traffic, drivers see an increase of 11 percent extra travel time, and in the evenings, drivers see an increase of 17 percent extra travel time.
Highways seem a bit easier to travel on, as they see a 2 percent increased as opposed to non-highways, which see a 17 percent increase.
In Charlotte, drivers see an increase of 17 percent extra travel time. This amounts to 23 extra minutes per day and 90 extra hours per year. When it’s morning traffic, drivers see an increase of 28 percent extra travel time, and in the evenings, this increase nearly DOUBLES at 48 percent.
Highways seem a bit easier to travel on, as they see an 8 percent increased as opposed to non-highways, which see a 27 percent increase.
Let’s break this down even further into several other factors: traffic index, time index, and inefficiency index:
- Traffic index: Time consumed in traffic.
- Time index: the average time, one-way, that is spent in a commute.
- Inefficiency index: estimation of “inefficiencies”, such as people driving a car instead of carpooling or taking public transport.
These factors are not listed for Greensboro, but they are for Charlotte.
- Traffic index: 183.17 hours.
- Time index (in minutes): 38.02 minutes.
- Inefficiency index: 222.03 hours.
Get an idea of what driving on the highways is like:
We hope this guide about car insurance and the rules/laws in North Carolina has helped you!
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