North Carolina Car Insurance: How to Get the Cheapest Rates
One of the perks of living in North Carolina is that it’s one of the states with the lowest average car insurance premiums.
It’s not the lowest, but it is one of the 10 least expensive among the 50 states.
But even though car insurance premiums are generally lower across-the-board in North Carolina than in other states, you still owe it to yourself to get the best coverage at the lowest rates.
What are Average Car Insurance Rates in North Carolina?
Here are the average car insurance premiums in North Carolina based on three popular liability coverage levels (all premium information we’ll be providing comes from our sister site, Car Insurance.com):
- “Full coverage” – 100/300/100***, with comprehensive and collision coverage, including a deductible of $500: $1,425 per year
- Liability only, with 50/100/50: $481 per year
- Liability only, using the state minimum coverage levels: $438 per year
Your actual rate with vary because car insurance premiums are based on a mix of at least seven major factors – which we’ll cover in the next section.
The specific mix of those factors will determine the premium you’ll pay.
Different coverage levels offered
The three numbers in "100/300/100" refer to liability coverage levels.
The first number represents bodily injury or death to one person in a single at-fault accident.
The second number represents bodily injury or death to two or more people in a single at-fault car accident.
The third number refers to property damage caused to other vehicles in an at-fault accident.
Full coverage also includes collision and comprehensive coverage, which pays for repairs to your vehicle no matter who is at fault.)
Factors that Will Affect Your North Carolina Car Insurance Premium
There are seven primary factors that will affect the premium you’ll pay for car insurance in North Carolina. Let’s look at each individually, and the impact each may have on what you’ll pay.
In most states, men typically pay higher car insurance premiums than women.
This is most pronounced among drivers under 25, and especially those under 21. By age 25, premium rates even out and can even favor men in certain situations.
But that’s not the case in North Carolina. There’s no significant difference in premiums between men and women at various ages.
Drivers under the age of 26 will pay substantially more for car insurance than drivers 26 or older. Drivers over 65 will pay slightly higher than average premiums.
For example, an 18-year-old female driver living in North Carolina will pay $296 per month, or $3,552 per year, for 100/300/10 coverage. But a 30-year-old woman with the same coverage will pay just $133 per month, or $1,596 per year.
The premium increase for drivers over 65 is only slight. For example, the premium will be $136 per month, or $1,614 per year for a 75-year-old woman.
When you apply for car insurance, the company will review your driving history for at least the past three years.
That will include a review of both moving violations and at-fault accidents. If you have either, you’ll pay substantially more for your car insurance premium than if your record is completely clean.
For example, your North Carolina premium can increase by 50% for a speeding citation, and as high as 371% for a DUI/DWI first offense. (The premium increase will be even greater for a subsequent offense, and the insurance company may even refuse to renew your policy.)
A typical car insurance premium in North Carolina will increase by 41% after a single at-fault accident claim. However, that’s only an average. Exactly how much your premium will increase will be based on the dollar amount of the claim, and whether anyone was injured in the accident.
The good news on at-fault accidents and moving violations is that you begin to fall off your record after just three years. That makes a strong argument in favor of defensive driving.
This factor may come as a surprise, but your credit history does affect how much you’ll pay for car insurance.
As you might expect, the premium will be higher if you have poor credit.
That’s because insurance industry data indicates a connection between poor credit and high-risk driving.
As shown earlier, drivers in North Carolina will pay $1,425 per year for 100/300/100 coverage. But the premium falls to $481 per year for 50/100/50 coverage, and just $438 for minimum liability coverage required in the state.
Though maintaining the lowest level of coverage may reduce your premium, it’s a cost savings strategy that could backfire.
If you have several hundred thousand dollars in net worth, and maintain only minimum coverage, the other party in an accident that’s determined to be your fault could sue you for damages exceeding your coverage limits.
The Vehicle(s) You’re Covering
The value and type of vehicle you drive will impact the premium you’ll pay. The more valuable the vehicle, the more it will cost to insure. In addition, certain vehicles – like sports cars, luxury vehicles, and pickup trucks – have higher premiums.
The age of the vehicle also matters. Older vehicles are less expensive to insure, if only because they have lower values. But if the car is worth no more than maybe $3,000, you won’t need to carry collision and comprehensive coverage. That alone can reduce your car insurance premium by several hundred dollars per year.
The Company You Buy Coverage From
Despite slick advertising, not every company has low rates. Premium rates are not standard. Two companies can charge very different rates for what is essentially the same coverage.
Consider the list below of six popular car insurance companies in North Carolina. Each includes the average annual premium for 100/300/100 coverage:
- Geico, $922 per year
- North Carolina Farm Bureau, $1,141 per year
- State Farm, $1,269 per year
- Progressive, $1,606
- Allied Property & Casualty, $1,549
- Allstate, $2,064
As you can see from this list, Allstate’s average premium is more than twice as high as Geico’s.
Average Car Insurance Rate Based on North Carolina City
North Carolina departs from the national norm of having wide variations in car insurance premiums in different ZIP Codes.
There are differences, to be sure, but they’re not as dramatic as in other states where they can sometimes vary by as much as 100%.
Consider the average annual premiums in seven major North Carolina cities for 100/300/100 coverage:
- Ashville, $1,284
- Charlotte, $1,476
- Fayetteville, $1,536
- Raleigh, $1,524
- Wilmington, $1,440
- Winston-Salem, $1,284
Though there are differences from one city to another, not only are they slight, but they all have right around the statewide average $1,425 per year.
That said, premiums for residents of rural areas are generally lower than they are in cities.
What are Auto Insurance Laws in North Carolina?
Below are the state mandated minimum liability coverage levels in North Carolina:
- $30,000 for bodily injury, for injury or death to one person in a single car accident.
- $60,000 for bodily injury, for injury or death to more than one person in a single car accident.
- $25,000 per accident for property damage (covers damage to the other driver’s vehicle, not yours).
This coverage is commonly shown as “30/60/25”.
Basic Information on Optional Coverages in North Carolina
There are other coverage provisions you may be interested in adding to your policy even though they’re not required by state law.
This is a common car insurance option, but one you should take advantage of.
In spite of state laws, large numbers of drivers have no insurance at all.
Many more have only minimal coverage, which means you may not be fully compensated for an accident caused by that driver. Adding this option to your policy will cover you in either case.
Collision and comprehensive
These are two separate coverages, but they’re typically offered in tandem.
Collision covers damage to your vehicle while it’s moving, while comprehensive covers it when it’s parked.
If you’re involved in an accident that’s determined to be your fault, collision will cover the damages.
These options typically come with a deductible that can range between $100 and $3,000, but the most typical range is $500 or $1,000.
Standard car insurance liability limits top out at 150/300. But if your net worth is substantially higher, you may want to add umbrella coverage to your policy.
That will cover any liability that exceeds the standard limits in your policy.
There are many more options you can add to your policy. Ask your insurance company what they offer, and abb any that may be necessary.
Tips to Get the Best Rates on North Carolina Car Insurance
Below are the most popular strategies to get the best rates on car insurance in North Carolina:
Shop, shop, shop!
This is the single most important strategy. Shop between at least three or four providers and choose the one that offers the coverage you need and want at the lowest premium.
Sign up for any discounts available
Insurance companies have dozens of discounts. Find out what they are and take advantage of any that apply to you.
If you have any moving violations or at-fault accidents, drive more carefully. After three years, those incidents will fall off your driving record, making a noticeable difference in your car insurance premium.
Complete a safe driver course
If you’re either a new driver or you have moving violations or at-fault accident claims, look into completing an insurance company approved driver safety course.
Increase your deductible
If your current deductible (for collision and comprehensive) is $500, increase it to $1,000.
That may lower your premium by several hundred dollars per year.
Of course, this will only be an option if you have collision and comprehensive coverage.
While it’s true North Carolina’s car insurance premiums are lower than in most other states, you still owe it to yourself to do what you can to lower your premium.
If nothing else, you may be able to use any premium savings to increase your liability coverage, or even add options, like uninsured/underinsured motorist.