Auto Insurance in North Carolina

Overview

In North Carolina, you’ll save money by keeping your driving record blemish free. For drivers with clean records, North Carolina offers motorists reduced auto insurance rates through a program called the Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP). North Carolina motorists will pay more for their auto insurance premiums if they are convicted of violating driving laws and/or cause accidents.

SDIP points are charged to drivers on an ascending scale, from one to 12, for convictions and any accidents the driver may have caused. Penalties for drinking and driving violations are especially tough, with 12 points assessed against your record if your blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher.

North Carolina’s mandatory automobile insurance requirements

The North Carolina Financial Responsibility Law makes it mandatory for North Carolinians to meet certain minimum auto insurance liability. The requirements are:

Bodily injury 

  • $30,000 – per person
  • $60,000 – per accident

Property damage

  • $25,000

Mandatory uninsured/underinsured coverage

Previously North Carolina auto insurance laws required drivers to have Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured (UM/UIM) auto insurance limits that are at least equal to the highest bodily injury liability limit on any one motor vehicle insured under the policy. However, for policies issued or renewed on, or after February 1, 2010, UM/UIM auto insurance coverage can be purchased with lower limits, but not less than the minimum Bodily Injury and Property Damage limits required for your vehicle.

UM/UIM coverage

  • Provides protection when you are injured by an at-fault, uninsured driver in an automobile accident. It also provides property damage coverage.
  • Provides protection when an at-fault underinsured driver causes injury to a covered individual.
  • UIM coverage doesn’t provide property damage protection.

Contact your North Carolina auto insurance agent or company to discuss the kind of UM/UIM coverage you and your family members may need in order to be fully protected in the event that an underinsured driver or uninsured driver causes an accident in which you are involved. UM/UIM also covers you in the event that a driver flees the scene of a car crash.

You and your family, or any passengers in your auto are covered under your policy if you elect to purchase UM/UIM insurance.

Important additional information

  • Collision insurance is not mandatory by the state of North Carolina but may be required by your lender.
  • Comprehensive insurance is not mandatory, but may be required by the lender.
  • You will need to provide proof of insurance when registering your automobile.
  • A license plate must be surrendered whenever insurance has been cancelled for any reason.

Who is liable

North Carolina’s auto insurance laws are based on a tort liability system. In addition to allowing unrestricted lawsuits, a tort liability systems means that a driver who causes a car crash is responsible for paying for the costs of any injuries received by others, including medical costs, pain, suffering and loss of wages from employment.

Penalty for a lapse of liability insurance coverage

You must re-certify your automobile with the NCDOT Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with proof of your current auto insurance if there has been a break in coverage.

 

Sources:

Insurance Information Institute: www.iii.org
NCDOT Division of Motor Vehicles www.ncdot.org/dmv
North Carolina Department of Insurance
Phone: 919-807-6750; 800-546-5664 (In State)
Web: www.ncdoi.com