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Like many states, North Carolina has a few cities with high density and lots of rural areas with fewer people – and cars – per square mile. But unlike other states, North Carolina is growing fast. Between 2015 and 2016, its population grew 1.1%, which was higher than the national population growth average of 0.7%. Between 2010 and 2017, the population in the state increased by 738,000 people, for a total now of about 10.4 million residents . Most of that growth was in cities like Cary, Durham, and Raleigh. That’s the fifth highest inflow of new residents in the country. In the Raleigh News & Observer, this was called a “ginormous apartment boom” for the region. 

Most of the people in North Carolina drive, and most of them drive trucks. There are 3.2 million private automobiles in the state and 4.5 million private trucks. When you include motorcycles and other vehicles, that’s a total of 7.9 million private vehicles on 80,000 miles of roads.  

Despite all of those vehicles on the roads, we found that auto insurance rates in North Carolina are lower than the national average by about $325. That’s in part due to the fact that the population is expected to skew older, above age 65, in the next few decades. Older drivers with decades of practice tend to have the lowest rates anywhere. North Carolina also has a quirky “contributory negligence” law that helps keep car insurance rates low, but only because it keeps insurance companies from having to accept claims. We’ll dive into that law later in this article.

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Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in North Carolina

The rates shown here are based on a study performed by Quadrant Information services on behalf of U.S. News. The study examined rates from 10 largest car insurance companies in the United States, using certain driver profiles. Your rates will differ. See more about the rates in this study. 

How We Found the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

At U.S. News, we’re all about helping people make life’s important decisions. Our college rankings, launched in 1983, set the standard in educational rankings. Our ranking in other fields, like healthcare, government, and the automotive sphere, help people and thought leaders make choices that make lives better. Now we’re continuing to empower you with the information you need to make the right choices for your life with our Cheapest Car Insurance Rankings

Our Study Rates

For this study, U.S. News worked with Quadrant Information Services to analyze a report of insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies, though not every company operates in every state Quadrant obtained publicly available rate data that car insurers file with state regulators. Our study rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150, with annual mileage ranging from 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations of certain driver archetypes. 

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To get the state-wide study rates shown here, we computed the mean rate for male and female drivers ages 25, 35 and 60 who drive 12,000 miles per year, have medium coverage, good credit and a clean driving record.  The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Because car insurance rates are based on individual factors, your car insurance rates will differ from the rates shown here.

A Note on Progressive Rates in North Carolina

North Carolina is a unique state where rates are set by the NC Rate Bureau. Companies are allowed to deviate from it to offer lower premiums. For Progressive, the deviation factor calculated for our driver profile is really low compared to other companies and thus their premiums are significantly lower, too. Since we cannot verify if Progressive has instituted a cap to limit the amount of deviation in its rates, we have chosen to include them in our tables of rates, but not in our analysis of the rates. 

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in North Carolina?

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According to our study, the average rate for car insurance in North Carolina is about $997. What you pay will depend on several factors, including how much coverage you choose to buy, your age, where you live, your driving record, and much more. Auto insurance rates in North Carolina vary widely.

North Carolina Car Insurance Rates by Age

To find the average rates in or study based on gender and age, we created driver profiles for males and females in each of the following ages: 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. The profiles also have a clean driving record, insurance coverage for 12,000 miles per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

Let’s talk about the good news first: for decades, male drivers have had higher car insurance rates due to riskier behaviors behind the wheel. But a recent report found that in 25 states, women were inexplicably paying more than men. This is a nonissue in North Carolina now, because as of January 2019, it is one of six states that bans the use of gender in calculating car insurance rates.

Representative ates for new driver profiles in North Carolina are among the lowest in the country. At age 25, the average representative rates come in at  about $1,066. At age 35, the representative rates go down by about $60, and at age 60, they fall by another $100. 

Company

25-year-old male

25-year-old female

35-year-old male

35-year-old female

60-year-old male

60-year-old female

Allstate

$1,863.82

$1,863.82

$1,828.66

$1,828.66

$1,508.53

$1,508.53

Geico

$646.23

$646.23

$775.87

$812.67

$709.45

$742.92

Nationwide

$1,185.94

$1,185.94

$1,185.94

$1,185.94

$1,185.94

$1,185.94

Progressive

$398.45

$398.45

$320.22

$320.22

$271.66

$271.66

State Farm

$1,172.90

$1,172.90

$858.29

$858.29

$748.22

$748.22

Travelers

$1,127.62

$1,127.62

$1,076.06

$1,076.06

$1,060.10

$1,060.10

North Carolina Car Insurance Rates by Driving Record

Driving record has a large impact on insurance rates, according to our study. To find out just how much of an effect, we compared driver profiles including those with a clean record, those with one speeding violation, those with one accident, and those with one instance of driving under the influence (DUI). These driving record representative profiles included 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles of mileage per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150. 

Driver profiles with a clean record have the lowest average representative rates of anyone in North Carolina at $998. Driver profiles who get a speeding ticket or have one accident are likely to see their study rates go up by a by about $550 to about $750. However, a DWI in North Carolina will leave a serious dent in your wallet. Average representative rates with a DWI are about $4,881, with a low of $3,779 and a high of $7,412, based on our study data. 

Company

Clean record

With 1 speeding violation

With 1 accident

With 1 DWI

Allstate

$1,733.67

$2,586.47

$3,458.65

$7,412.15

Geico

$722.23

$1,324.82

$1,530.51

$4,597.89

Nationwide

$1,185.94

$1,651.90

$1,651.90

$4,704.89

Progressive

$330.11

$636.26

$690.73

$3,926.18

State Farm

$926.47

$1,395.81

$1,395.81

$3,779.36

Travelers

$1,087.93

$1,643.88

$1,726.33

$4,871.16

North Carolina Car Insurance Rates by Credit Score

Our study reviewed the effects of credit score on car insurance rates using male and female driver profiles with ages of 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. We created a profile for each level of credit score (good, fair, and poor) and assigned the profiles a clean driving record, a good credit score, a medium level of insurance coverage, and 12,000 miles of annual mileage. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are the vehicles used in our analysis. 

Across the state, our driver profile with good credit has an average representative rate of $998. The driver profile with fair credit sees that average representative rate go to $1,131 and with poor credit, that representative rate goes up to $1,582. A few companies, such as Nationwide, have the same average representative rates for driver profiles with poor credit, fair credit, or good credit. Other companies have far lower average representative rates for driver profiles with good credit. State Farm, for example, has a low average representative rate of $926 for driver profiles with good credit, while its average representative rate for driver profiles with poor credit in the state is $1,782. That’s nearly twice the representative rate for driver profiles with good credit. 

Company

Good

Fair

Poor

Allstate

$1,733.67

$1,973.60

$3,101.51

Geico

$722.23

$896.21

$1,198.33

Nationwide

$1,185.94

$1,185.94

$1,185.94

Progressive

$330.11

$425.15

$735.47

State Farm

$926.47

$1,185.13

$1,781.76

Travelers

$1,087.93

$1,120.68

$1,487.20

North Carolina Auto Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements

Like almost every state, North Carolina does require that drivers have liability coverage. It also requires uninsured motorist coverage. The minimums in North Carolina are:

  • Bodily injury liability per person: $30,000
  • Bodily injury liability per accident: $60,000
  • Property damage liability: $25,000
  • Uninsured motorist coverage: $25,000

Bodily injury liability will cover up to $30,000 in medical costs for any one person injured in an accident you caused, and up to $60,000 for any two or more people injured in an accident where you’re found to be at fault. Property damage liability covers the costs of repairs in an accident where you’re at fault, whether that’s another car or a lamp post. Uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your medical costs if you’re injured in an accident where another driver was found at fault, but that person doesn’t have car insurance.

Cheapest Car Insurance in North Carolina

Category

Cheapest Company

Single Young Adult Drivers

Geico

Married Adult Drivers

Geico

Senior Drivers

Geico

Drivers with Good Credit

Geico

Drivers with Poor Credit

Nationwide

Drivers with a Clean Record

Geico

Drivers with One Speeding Violation

Geico

Drivers with One Accident

State Farm

Drivers with One DUI

State Farm

Low-mileage Drivers

Geico

High-mileage Drivers

Geico

Drivers with Low Coverage

Geico

Drivers with High Coverage

Geico

Drivers with Used Cars

Geico

Drivers with New Cars

Geico

To find which car insurance company offers the lowest rates in North Carolina, our study used representative driver profiles with good credit, medium insurance coverage, a clean driving record, and 12,000 miles of annual mileage. Our profiles included male and females with the ages of 25, 35, and 60. The vehicles used in our study are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

According to our analysis, Geico offers the lowest car insurance study rates in the state of North Carolina. Geico’s rates in our study tend to be lower regardless of driving record, age, credit history, coverage type, or annual mileage driven. The average study rate for Geico is about $722 in North Carolina.

Driver profiles with a clean record have the lowest average car insurance representative rates in the state, with an average of $998. Even after a speeding ticket, the average study rate is still fairly low, at $1,540. Typically, driver profiles at age 60 have the lowest car insurance representative rates in most states. In North Carolina, this demographic does have lower average rates in our analysis than any other age group, at just over $900.

Why Car Insurance Rates Vary in North Carolina

We checked our study's driver profiles in some of North Carolina's largest cities and towns to find out how city of residence can affect insurance rates. Our profiles are based on 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with a clean driving record, 12,000 miles of mileage per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150. 

Many factors determine your car insurance rates, but where you live can have one of the biggest impacts. When offering rates, insurance companies evaluate the frequency of claims in a ZIP code, as well as the cost of medical and repair services. An area’s population and traffic are also considered. That’s why consumers can expect higher rates in ZIP codes with dense traffic and lower rates in more rural areas. The more crowded the area, the more likely you are to make a claim on your auto insurance, which means higher costs for your insurance company, and thus higher rates for you.

Larger cities have more people, and more people means more cars – or in the case of North Carolina, more trucks. More cars on the road means more chances to get into an accident. As the largest city in the state, Charlotte has one of the highest average car insurance representative rates: $1,157. But it’s not the highest average representative rate in the state. The top spot is occupied by Fayetteville, which has a quarter the population of Charlotte and an average auto insurance representative  rate of $1,232. That’s likely because just west of Fayetteville is Fort Bragg, which has 53,700 troops on base and a total population of about a quarter million residents. 

The cheapest auto insurance representative rates in our study were in smaller cities like Winston-Salem, with an average representative rate of $881. The fast-growing cities of Cary and Raleigh were also among the least expensive. Cary had an average car insurance representative rate of $879, and Raleigh had an average rate of $999. 

City

Average Rate

Charlotte

$1,156.85

Raleigh

$999.23

Greensboro

$972.28

Durham

$978.96

Winston-Salem

$881.26

Fayetteville

$1,232.07

Cary

$879.24

Wilmington

$981.88

High Point

$976.85

Concord

$1,008.84

How to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance in North Carolina

Most insurance companies offer discounts for bundling policies. If you have more than one vehicle insured with the same company, or if you have your car and your home owner’s or renter’s insurance with the same company, you’ll probably get a discount on all of those policies. 

It’s also common to find a good student discount that can help lower those high costs for young drivers. Usually, if a teen driver on your policy can maintain a B average, companies will extend a discount for their car insurance. 

The best way to lower your rates is to keep a clean driving record. Speeding and driving under the influence increase the chances of being in an accident, so insurance companies will raise rates for drivers with a history of citations. This is especially true in North Carolina, which has a Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP) in place that rewards good drivers and penalizes those with convictions and at-fault accidents by raising insurance rates by set amounts. The increases range from 30% for speeding 10 mpg or less over the limit under 55 mph to 340% for manslaughter, street racing, or driving while intoxicated. 

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Important Laws Around Auto Insurance in North Carolina

North Carolina is an at fault state, which means that the driver who caused the accident, or even most of the accident, is responsible for the medical and repair costs that stem from that accident. 

North Carolina adds a wrinkle to finding fault in an accident. It’s called contributory negligence, which means for every accident, fault can be portioned out among everyone involved. If another driver runs a red light but you were going 5 mph over the speed limit, you will both likely be found to have some responsibility for the accident. Since both drivers were being negligent – one wasn’t watching the traffic light and one was speeding – they contributed to the accident. 

This affects the assignment of liability, or who is responsible for paying for the damages and medical costs. Other states have some kind of shared fault laws, but in North Carolina, it’s all or nothing. If you contributed even 1% to the accident by speeding or texting, your claim is likely to be denied.

North Carolina Driving Laws and Punishments

North Carolina does not allow texting or emailing while driving, though you are allowed to do so while stopped at a traffic light. Drivers under age 18 may not use a cell phone at all while driving. Despite this, 20% of crashes in the state in 2016 involved distracted driving. 

As for driving while intoxicated, North Carolina has five levels of citations, with five being the least serious and one being the most serious. Level V includes a fine up to $200, 24 hours or more in jail, or community service. Level I includes $4,000 and 30 days to two years in jail, and the sentence cannot be suspended. Level I comes into play for repeat offenders, drivers who are under the influence while they have kids in the car, causing an accident that results in injury, and people driving under the influence without a license. 

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A DWI can also mean having your vehicle seized or having an ignition interlock installed. Like most states, the blood alcohol limit in North Carolina is .08%, but if you’ve got one DWI already, your new limit is .04%. Drug tests can be ordered at a stop as well, not just alcohol. 

North Carolina requires drivers to have a minimum of $25,000 in uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in addition to the required liability coverage. This coverage will pay for your medical costs in the case of an accident that was caused by a driver who does not have insurance. Insurance companies in the state are required to tell the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles if coverage on a particular car lapses or is cancelled. If you can’t provide proof of coverage within ten days, you can be subjected to fines. Repeat offenders may have their license plates revoked.

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North Carolina Car Insurance FAQs

Is car insurance required in North Carolina?

Yes, bodily liability, property damage liability, and uninsured motorist coverage are all required in North Carolina.

Which cars are required to be insured in North Carolina?

If your vehicle is registered in North Carolina, it must have insurance. If it is not registered to drive, such as a car that’s in storage, it does not need to be insured. 

When should I get car insurance in North Carolina?

You should get car insurance as soon as you become a resident. Out of state insurance is not accepted when registering a vehicle.

What happens if my car is not properly insured in North Carolina?

At a minimum, you will be fined. If you repeatedly drive without insurance, your license plates may be revoked.

Is North Carolina a no-fault state?

It is an at-fault state with a contributory negligence law that allows for shared fault.

Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in North Carolina?

Yes, uninsured motorist coverage is required. 

Is liability insurance required in North Carolina?

Yes, you are required to have bodily injury and property damage liability insurance

Does North Carolina accept digital insurance cards?

Yes, it does accept digital insurance cards.