What is the penalty for driving without insurance in North Carolina?

The first time you are charged with driving while uninsured in NC, you will face $100 in civil fees, a one-month driving suspension, and a probation period.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • North Carolina residents must have 25/30/60 coverage
  • Second-time offenders face jail time for driving without insurance
  • Anyone caught driving without insurance loses their license and registration for 30 days

North Carolina driving is enjoyable to many because it can be so diverse. From coastal beach commutes to mountain driving to country roads with farmland as far as the eye can see, you can drive a few hours in one direction and find yourself surrounded new scenery.

The state has much to offer those who love to spend time on the road.

One thing the state also has to offer is a hefty fine and some serious consequences if you’re caught driving without the mandatory insurance requirements.

North Carolina drivers must have car insurance. You need not purchase full coverage if you own your car and don’t feel it’s worth paying for full coverage, but you must meet the state’s minimum requirements.

The North Carolina Motor Vehicle Safety and Financial Responsibility Act requires drivers protect themselves, everyone else on the road, and their financial future with an insurance policy.

You get to choose the company you use for your insurance and you get to compare as many rates as you want until you find the best policy, but you must carry a car insurance policy.

Compare rates today by entering your ZIP code into our free quote tool above.

What are the minimum car insurance requirements in North Carolina?

All North Carolina drivers must carry a policy that includes at least $30,000 per person bodily injury and uninsured motorist coverage and $60,000 bodily injury and uninsured motorist coverage per accident.

You must also carry at least $25,000 in both property damage and uninsured motorist property damage insurance.

This requirement is for your own financial safety. Even a minor accident can result in tens of thousands of dollars in repairs and medical bills.

There are several reasons drivers choose to purchase only the minimum requirements in terms of their car insurance policy. Some drivers own their cars outright, and they’re a bit older and worth very little.

They aren’t worth full coverage, and it’s more affordable to carry only what’s required by law.

Other drivers can’t afford to spend more. It’s so imperative you shop around for car insurance rates to get the best and most comprehensive rates.

If you finance your car with a bank, you cannot purchase only the minimum insurance coverage in North Carolina. The bank financing your car technically owns your vehicle, and they have requirements of their own.

Since they own your vehicle until you make the final payment, they require you carry full coverage.

If you lease your car, you must also carry full coverage. Failure to carry the proper coverage results in a letter from the lender requiring you purchase insurance right away or they will purchase a policy for you, and you’ll pay for it.

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Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in North Carolina

North Carolina drivers are penalized for driving without insurance based on how many times you try to drive without the proper coverage. There are different penalties for drivers caught once, twice, and three or more times.

If you’re caught driving without insurance one time, you will face the following:

  • a $50 civil penalty
  • your license and car registration suspended for 30 days
  • a $50 fee to have it reinstated at the end of the 30-day period
  • probation for 45-days

If you are caught a second time without insurance, the civil penalty you pay is increased to $100.

Your license and registration are suspended for 30 days, you must pay $50 to reinstate them, and a judge determines whether he or she wants to place you on probation for 45 days or put you in jail for as many days as the court sees fit.

Any North Carolina driver caught without insurance a third or subsequent time pays a civil penalty of $150. The rest of the penalties are the same as anyone who is caught only twice driving without insurance.

Most people caught a third time are sentenced to a combination of jail time and probation by the judge on their case. If you managed to avoid jail the second time you were caught, you won’t find it so easy the third time.

Why is car insurance so important?

One of the many questions people ask when they are forced to pay for an insurance policy is why it’s so important to have a policy.

Many consumers believe they should be able to choose whether to buy insurance or pay out-of-pocket if an accident occurs, but most people can’t afford to pay the costs associated with an accident out of their own pocket.

Car repair bills, medical bills, and damages the other drivers seek if you were at fault in an accident can reach the tens of thousands of dollars.

If the accident was serious, the cost could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars once the medical bills begin to arrive. It’s not affordable, and drivers should be protected.

North Carolina Car Insurance Stipulations for Out-of-State Drivers

One of the most commonly asked questions is about out-of-state drivers. If you are driving in North Carolina from out-of-state, your own insurance policy is fine even if it doesn’t meet the state requirements in North Carolina.

If you just moved to the state, you have one month from the date you move to change your policy to meet the state requirement. You can shop around to find the best rates, the best policies, and you get to make your own decision regarding your policy.

Shop around right here to compare car insurance quotes and find the best coverage for your needs.

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