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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 many 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. 

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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.

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. 

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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 rankings 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 nine 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 study rates shown here, we computed the mean rate for male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60 who drive 15,000 miles per year and 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 North Carolina 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?

See the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

According to our study, the average rate for car insurance in North Carolina is about $1,171. 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

Company

25-year-old female

25-year-old male

35-year-old female

35-year-old male

60-year-old female

60-year-old male

Allstate

$2,037

$2,037

$1,823

$1,823

$1,504

$1,504

Geico

$646

$646

$813

$776

$743

$709

Nationwide

$1,186

$1,186

$1,186

$1,186

$1,186

$1,186

Progressive

$1,235

$1,235

$1,235

$1,235

$1,235

$1,235

State Farm

$1,279

$1,279

$934

$934

$814

$814

Travelers

$1,128

$1,128

$1,076

$1,076

$1,060

$1,060

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. Geico is the only company that adjusts its average rates by gender for the married 35- and 60-year old driver profiles.

Representative rates for new driver profiles in North Carolina are among the lowest in the country. For men and women at age 25, the average representative rates come in at about $1,250. At age 35, the representative rates go down by about $73, and at age 60, they fall again to an average of $1,085. 

Geico, Progressive, and Nationwide all offer average rates below the state average. Allstate is the most expensive, costing about 63% above the state average for the single 25-year-old driver profile. 

To determine the average rates 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.

North Carolina Car Insurance Rates by Mileage

Company

6,000 miles annually

12,000 miles annually

Allstate

$1,788

$1,788

Geico

$722

$722

Nationwide

$1,186

$1,186

Progressive

$1,235

$1,235

State Farm

$991

$1,009

Travelers

$1,088

$1,088

On average, the driver profiles with the 6,000-mile annual hours of driving pays only a $3 difference than the profile who commutes 12,000 miles a year.

Allstate is the priciest, costing average profiles about 53% above the state average, while the company with the most affordable average rates, Geico, offers average rates of about 38% below average.

We created two driver profiles to compare how annual mileage can change car insurance rates: one with low mileage (6,000 miles per year) and one with high mileage (12,000 miles per year). The profiles covered males and females in the 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old age groups with a medium level of insurance coverage, a good credit score, and a clean driving record. The vehicles used in our study were the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

North Carolina Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type

Company

Low

Medium

High

Allstate

$1,717

$1,788

$1,893

Geico

$684

$722

$781

Nationwide

$1,136

$1,186

$1,264

Progressive

$1,182

$1,235

$1,318

State Farm

$963

$1,009

$1,083

Travelers

$1,038

$1,088

$1,167

Between the low and the high coverage, average North Carolina driver profiles see about a $130 difference, which could definitely be worth the cost for the increased coverage in case of an accident. Allstate has some of the highest average rates, costing average driver profiles with high coverage 51% above the state average. Geico is the most affordable, costing average driver profiles with high coverage 38% below the state average.

We created identical profiles in our study to represent drivers, then found out how rates changed with the three levels of coverage. The profiles were assigned a clean driving record, a good credit score, and 12,000 miles of annual driving. We used both males and females aged 25, 35, and 60. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 were the vehicles used in our analysis. 

North Carolina Car Insurance Rates by Credit Score

Company

Good

Fair

Poor

Allstate

$1,788

$2,035

$2,884

Geico

$722

$896

$1,198

Nationwide

$1,186

$1,186

$1,186

Progressive

$1,235

$1,235

$1,235

State Farm

$1,009

$1,330

$2,330

Travelers

$1,088

$1,197

$1,487

Across the state, our driver profile with good credit has an average representative rate of $1,171. The driver profile with fair credit sees that average representative rate go to $1,313 and with poor credit, that representative rate goes up to $1,720. 

Some companies have far lower average representative rates for driver profiles with good credit. 

Allstate charges average driver profiles with poor credit more than the other insurance companies, about 68% above the state average. State Farm is pricey for this demographic, too, while Nationwide is the most affordable for those with poor credit history, costing average driver profiles 31% below the state average.

Based on profiles of male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60, our study verified that credit scores affect car insurance rates. 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 driving. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 were the vehicles used in our analysis. 

North Carolina Car Insurance Rates by Driving Record

Company

Clean record

With 1 speeding violation

With 1 accident

With 1 DUI

Allstate

$1,788

$2,669

$2,262

$7,652

Geico

$722

$1,306

$1,387

$4,598

Nationwide

$1,186

$1,652

$1,497

$4,705

Progressive

$1,235

$1,715

$1,555

$4,865

State Farm

$1,009

$1,522

$1,380

$4,132

Travelers

$1,088

$1,644

$1,726

$4,713

Driver profiles with a clean record have the lowest average representative rates of anyone in North Carolina at $1,171. Driver profiles who get a speeding ticket or have one accident are likely to see their study rates go up by about $120 to about $580. However, a DWI in North Carolina will leave a serious dent in your wallet. 

Allstate charges driver profiles with one DWI the most, about 50% above the state average. State Farm is the most affordable for this profile, costing about 19% below the state average.

To find out just how much of an effect a person's driving record has on insurance rates, we made driving profiles with a clean record, with one speeding violation, with one accident, and with one instance of driving under the influence (DUI). These driving record representative profiles were based on 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females who drove 12,000 miles per year and had a medium level of insurance coverage and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis were the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

North Carolina Car Insurance Rates by City 

City

Average Rate

Cary

$1,037

Charlotte

$1,349

Concord

$1,193

Durham

$1,156

Fayetteville

$1,447

Greensboro

$1,149

High Point

$1,157

Raleigh

$1,173

Wilmington

$1,155

Winston-Salem

$1,038

Insurance rates can be affected by the city or town in which a vehicle is registered, based on crime rates and other factors. Quadrant Information Services looked at 10 cities and towns in North Carolina to find average representative insurance rates for each.

Some of the most affordable car insurance rates in North Carolina are found in Cary and Winston-Salem, both costing average driver profiles about 11% below the state average. The priciest place to insure in North Carolina is in Fayetteville, costing average driver profiles 24% above the state average.

Within each state, insurance rates can vary dramatically from city to city. To get a sense of how these differences affect car insurance premiums, we looked at average representative rates across 10 of Iowa’s top cities. In our study, we used male and female driver profiles aged 25, 35, and 60 who put 12,000 miles on the odometer each year. Our profiles have medium insurance coverage, a clean driving record, and good credit. We included three vehicles in our study: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

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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

Note: Due to USAA's limited membership, we excluded them from this segment evaluation.

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

According to our analysis, Geico offers the lowest car insurance study rates in the state of North Carolina, 38% below the state average. 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 $1,171. Even after one accident, the average study rate is still fairly low, at $1,635. Typically, married 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, averaging just over $1,085.

To find which car insurance company offers the lowest rates, our study used representative driver profiles with good credit, medium insurance coverage, and a clean driving record. Our profiles included males and females aged 25, 35, and 60 who drove 12,000 miles per year. The vehicles used in our study were the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

Why Car Insurance Rates Vary in North Carolina

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. 

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 good student discounts 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. 

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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. These increases range from 30% for speeding 10 mph or less over the limit under 55 mph, to 340% for manslaughter, street racing, or driving while intoxicated. 

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 to everyone involved. For example, 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 both are considered to have partially 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. 

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 traffic stop, as well.

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.

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?

No, North Carolina 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 in North Carolina. 

Is Liability Insurance Required in North Carolina?

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

Does North Carolina Accept Digital Insurance Cards?

Yes, North Carolina does accept digital insurance cards.

The Best Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Our Car Insurance Ranking

  1.     USAA
  2.     Geico
  3.     Allstate
  4.     State Farm
  5.     Farmers
  6.     Progressive
  7.     American Family
  8.     Nationwide
  9.     Travelers

The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Average Annual Rates:

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