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North Carolina Auto Insurance Review (Coverage, Rates, & More)

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UPDATED: Mar 18, 2020

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North Carolina Summary Stats
Annual Road MilesTotal in State: 106,334
Vehicle Miles Drive: 111,879,000
Vehicles Registered7,682,387
State Population10,383,620
Most Popular VehicleFord F-150
Uninsured Motorists6.5%
State Rank: 48th
Total Driving FatalitiesSpeeding: 423
Drunk Driving: 354
Average Annual PremiumsLiability: $359.42
Collision: $293.59
Comprehensive: $136.08
Cheapest ProviderLiberty Mutual

North Carolina was originally part of the Carolina colony, which was formed from land south of Virginia in 1663. English King Charles II named it after his father, Charles I, and granted the land to friends who helped restore the monarchy.

Over the next 50 years, settlers moved to Carolina from other colonies, and landowners brought slaves to work their farms. By 1712, the population was large enough to create two colonies: North Carolina and South Carolina.

Transportation has played a vital role in North Carolina’s development. Before the Civil War, the state built “plank roads,” an early, wooden roadway, to ease horse and buggy travel and improve the economy. They competed with rail travel, which was faster, and many of the roads ended up being destroyed in the war.

North Carolinians are lucky to have a modern interstate highway system that takes them where they need to go. Drivers nowadays need to register and plate their cars and carry a license and insurance.

If you’re looking for help shopping for the right car insurance, you’ve come to the right place. This complete guide to North Carolina car insurance covers car insurance rates, companies, and the factors that set prices, laws, and traffic statistics.

If you’re ready to roll, let’s get started. And to start exploring rates, enter your zip code.

Table of Contents

 State Car Insurance Coverage & Rates

A major factor in car insurance buyers’ minds is how much they’ll pay for premiums. Depending on the coverage and the company, they can be costly. But, if you drive without insurance, you risk paying a higher price in the form of fines or an arrest on your record.

So, in this section, we’ll inform you of the state car insurance requirements and additional liability you need to drive in North Carolina.

Read on to find out more about the coverage you must buy.

North Carolina Minimum Coverage

In North Carolina, the driver who is at fault for an accident must pay for any damage or injuries they caused.

The Tarheel State requires drivers to buy coverage at the following minimum amounts:

Minimum Requirements
Body Injury Liability - One Person$30,000
Body Injury Liability - Two or More People$60,000
Property Damage$25,000

Though the state ranks 48th nationwide for uninsured motorists, equal to 6.5 percent of the state population, you must buy the minimum liability insurance. It will cover you and the other party in case you’re in an accident that causes bodily injuries or property damage.

We recommend you buy more than the minimum liability required in case you face high costs. If your insurance doesn’t cover everything, you will pay out of pocket.

This law firm video goes over the state-required coverage:

North Carolina’s Car Culture

According to Kelley Blue Book, the most popular vehicle in North Carolina is the Honda Accord. The Hartford reports that Subarus are also popular, particularly with “Yankee” transplants.

There’s also a Tarheel State trend, the “Carolina Squat.” These “beefed up” SUVs and pickup trucks sport large tires that stick out from under a front end that sits higher than the rear.

Car owners often modify these vehicles more for looks than practicality, as a higher front end can affect a drivers’ view and lead to accidents. The video below features some examples of this Carolina car craze:

https://youtu.be/ZawhOJv1GsM

– Forms of Financial Responsibility

If you have auto liability insurance in North Carolina, that will serve as your proof of financial responsibility. Other acceptable forms of proof of insurance include:

  • An FS-1 form from your insurance agent certifying that you’re insured
  • An insurance binder

If you cancel your insurance or let it lapse, your insurer must notify the state Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If the DMV finds out your insurance has lapsed, it will ask your insurer to confirm you have coverage.

The Tarheel State doesn’t allow a grace period for insurance lapses. These are the penalties for a lapse in coverage:

  • First time: $50 fine
  • Second time: $100 fine
  • Subsequent times: $150 fine
  • Restoration fee for license plate: $50 fee

Next, let’s explore how much of North Carolinians’ earnings go to car insurance.

Premiums as a Percentage of Income

Disposable income (DPI) is the amount of money you have left to spend after you’ve paid taxes. In 2017, the average North Carolina resident had a DPI of $35,099.

With average annual premiums that cost $768.28, North Carolinians spend 2.2 percent of their total DPI on car insurance — that’s equal to $64 of their total monthly income.

From 2012 – 2014, car insurance rates in North Carolina increased by 12 percent, or $48.

North Carolina has among the lowest car insurance rates nationwide. Drivers in neighboring states South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee pay an average of $100 – $200 more yearly. Like North Carolina residents, in recent years, they also saw slight rises in their insurance costs.

How much of your income goes to car insurance? Try our free calculator below.

CalculatorPro

Core Coverage

Below are the average costs of the four main types of car insurance coverage: liability, collision, comprehensive, and full coverage (a combination of the prior three).

Core Car Insurance Coverage Costs in North CarolinaCost
Liability$359.42
Collision$293.59
Comprehensive$136.08
Combined$789.09

The data above, from 2015, comes from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which is based on the state-mandated requirements. Expect rates to increase in 2019 and beyond.

Now, we’ll go over more options for liability coverage.

Additional Liability

As we mentioned, North Carolina drivers must carry uninsured motorist coverage. You can also choose to buy MedPay or medical payments insurance. Regardless of fault, it will pay for treatment for bodily injuries and funeral expenses.

The loss ratios below for these additional coverages show whether insurance companies pay their claims. A ratio under 100 percent indicates they do.  If they’re well below 100 percent, they may not pay enough claims. A loss ratio of over 100 percent means the company loses money on claims.

Loss Ratio201220132014
Medical Payments (Med Pay)81%81%79%
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist53%56%53%

Add-Ons, Endorsements, & Riders

The following are more types of coverage you can add to a basic car insurance policy in North Carolina:

Male vs. Female Rates

North Carolina is among a handful of states that have banned the practice of basing insurance rates on gender.

We’ve partnered with Quadrant to bring you the data below. It’s based on coverage the state population has purchased and includes rates for high-risk drivers and those who choose to buy more than the state minimum. It also includes other types of insurance the state doesn’t require.

CompanyMarried 35-year old femaleMarried 35-year old maleMarried 60-year old femaleMarried 60-year old maleSingle 17-year old femaleSingle 17-year old maleSingle 25-year old femaleSingle 25-year old male
Allstate P&C$5,499.72$5,499.72$4,516.40$4,516.40$13,137.37$13,137.37$5,608.24$5,608.24
Geico Govt Employees$2,521.28$2,474.28$2,482.19$2,437.32$4,603.65$4,563.43$2,212.08$2,199.26
Liberty Mutual$1,823.22$1,823.22$1,886.88$1,886.88$3,197.53$3,197.53$1,823.22$1,823.22
Nationwide Mutual$2,431.91$2,431.91$2,431.91$2,431.91$4,096.41$4,096.41$2,431.91$2,431.91
Progressive Premier$1,785.15$1,785.15$1,623.93$1,623.93$4,132.18$4,132.18$1,989.17$1,989.17
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,692.15$2,692.15$2,327.42$2,327.42$3,966.45$3,966.45$3,328.58$3,328.58
Standard Fire Ins Co$2,665.43$2,665.43$2,644.05$2,644.05$4,485.32$4,485.32$2,735.84$2,735.84

Except for the Geico Government Employees plan, rates are the same for males and females. Understandably, insurers charge less experienced drivers, 17-year-olds, higher premiums than other age groups. Interestingly, unlike other states, rates don’t vary much in North Carolina from ages 25 – 60. After age 17, Nationwide charges everyone the same rates.

 Best North Carolina Car Insurance Companies

You might not always shop for car insurance by rate, but also by the company. With the many providers available, you can struggle to find the best company for your insurance needs.

This section is here to help you. We’ll cover the financial strength of the top insurers, company complaints, reviews, and how their rates vary by different insurance risks.

Keep reading to learn more.

The Largest Companies’ Financial Rating

A.M. Best ranks companies based on their financial strength. And, as we discussed above, loss ratio is part of that. These are their ratings for some of the top companies.

CompanyRating
State Farm A++
Nationwide A+
GeicoA++
North Carolina Farm Bureau GroupA
Amtrust NGH GroupNot Rated
AllstateA+
USAAA++
ProgressiveA+
Erie Insurance GroupA+
Liberty Mutual A

State Farm, Geico, and USAA garnered the highest rating of “A++.” These insurers also have good loss ratios, which is a major sign of their long-term financial stability.

Companies with Best Ratings

J.D. Power’s U.S. Auto Insurance Study measures car insurance customers’ overall satisfaction. Here’s how they ranked insurers in the Southeast Region:

JD Power 2019 Southeast Region

Among North Carolina–based insurers, Erie Insurance ranked highest with four “power circles,” which means that it’s “better than most.”

Companies with Most Complaints in North Carolina

No company is perfect, so you can expect some complaints here and there. But lots of complaints may be a cause for concern. The national average complaint ratio is 1.20. If your car insurance company has a score lower than that, it doesn’t see many complaints.

Company NameComplaint Ratio
State Farm Group0.44
Nationwide Corp Group0.28
Geico0.62
North Carolina Farm Bureau Group0.66
Amtrust NGH Group0
Allstate Insurance Group0.5
USAA Group0.94
Progressive Group0.75
Erie Insurance Group0.7
Liberty Mutual Group5.95

Only one company, Liberty Mutual, received more complaints than average in the Tarheel State. If you need to make a complaint, you can file a claim with the state online.

Cheapest Companies in North Carolina

Below are rates for the top insurers compared to the state average prices.

CompanyAverage
Allstate P&C$7,190.43
Geico Govt Employees$2,936.69
Liberty Mutual$2,182.71
Nationwide Mutual$2,848.04
Progressive Premier$2,382.61
State Farm Mutual Auto$3,078.65
Standard Fire Ins Co$3,132.66

Liberty Mutual has the cheapest annual rates, while Allstate has the highest — a difference of $5,000.

Commute Rates by Companies

How far you commute regularly also factors into your car insurance costs. Let’s see how much they can vary for 10-mile versus 25-mile commutes.

CompanyCommute and Annual Mileage (in miles) Annual Average
Allstate10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$7,190.43
Allstate25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$7,190.43
Travelers10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$3,132.66
Travelers25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$3,132.66
State Farm25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$3,093.71
State Farm10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$3,063.59
Geico10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,936.69
Geico25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$2,936.69
Nationwide10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,848.03
Nationwide25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$2,848.03
Progressive10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,382.61
Progressive25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$2,382.61
Liberty Mutual10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,182.71
Liberty Mutual25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$2,182.71

Liberty Mutual, again, offers the cheapest rates.

Coverage Level Rates by Companies

Let’s see how rates vary among the top insurers for high, medium, and low coverage.

CompanyCoverage TypeAnnual Average
AllstateHigh$7,473.78
AllstateMedium$7,164.38
AllstateLow$6,933.13
TravelersHigh$3,279.91
State FarmHigh$3,221.52
TravelersMedium$3,116.45
GeicoHigh$3,080.53
State FarmMedium$3,063.31
TravelersLow$3,001.62
NationwideHigh$2,978.58
State FarmLow$2,951.13
GeicoMedium$2,926.41
NationwideMedium$2,834.35
GeicoLow$2,803.12
NationwideLow$2,731.17
ProgressiveHigh$2,517.70
ProgressiveMedium$2,368.67
Liberty MutualHigh$2,300.51
ProgressiveLow$2,261.45
Liberty MutualMedium$2,169.37
Liberty MutualLow$2,078.26

With most of the companies (except Progressive), there’s only a $200 difference between the highest and lowest coverage.

Credit History Rates by Companies

Your credit score also affects your rates. Often, the higher your score, the less you’ll pay. The average credit score nationwide is 675. North Carolina came close, at a “devilish” 666.

CompanyCredit HistoryAnnual Average
AllstatePoor$9,736.64
AllstateFair$6,309.79
AllstateGood$5,524.87
State FarmPoor$4,327.76
TravelersPoor$3,352.92
GeicoPoor$3,177.49
TravelersFair$3,043.96
TravelersGood$3,001.11
GeicoFair$2,922.17
NationwideFair$2,848.03
NationwideGood$2,848.03
NationwidePoor$2,848.03
State FarmFair$2,763.43
GeicoGood$2,710.39
ProgressivePoor$2,689.33
ProgressiveFair$2,325.80
Liberty MutualFair$2,182.71
Liberty MutualGood$2,182.71
Liberty MutualPoor$2,182.71
State FarmGood$2,144.76
ProgressiveGood$2,132.70

Nationwide and Liberty Mutual were the only top insurers who didn’t use credit history to determine their rates.

Driving Record Rates by Companies

Your driving record is one of the most crucial factors in your insurance premiums.

CompanyDriving RecordAnnual Average
AllstateWith 1 DUI$12,757.11
AllstateWith 1 accident$6,855.02
State FarmWith 1 DUI$5,926.55
TravelersWith 1 DUI$5,836.08
GeicoWith 1 DUI$5,666.30
NationwideWith 1 DUI$5,390.16
AllstateWith 1 speeding violation$5,262.09
ProgressiveWith 1 DUI$5,173.29
Liberty MutualWith 1 DUI$4,095.53
AllstateClean record$3,887.51
TravelersWith 1 accident$2,448.95
TravelersWith 1 speeding violation$2,400.64
State FarmWith 1 accident$2,371.17
State FarmWith 1 speeding violation$2,371.17
GeicoWith 1 accident$2,336.01
GeicoWith 1 speeding violation$2,167.56
NationwideWith 1 accident$2,164.71
NationwideWith 1 speeding violation$2,164.71
TravelersClean record$1,844.98
NationwideClean record$1,672.56
Liberty MutualWith 1 accident$1,668.53
Liberty MutualWith 1 speeding violation$1,668.53
State FarmClean record$1,645.72
ProgressiveWith 1 accident$1,642.22
ProgressiveWith 1 speeding violation$1,590.55
GeicoClean record$1,576.88
Liberty MutualClean record$1,298.25
ProgressiveClean record$1,124.37

Insurers tend not to raise rates much for a minor infraction, such as speeding. But, with one DUI, they can increase by thousands of dollars. With Allstate, that amounts to $8,000.

Largest Car Insurance Companies in North Carolina

Here’s how the top insurers compare by market share and direct premiums written.

CompanyPremiums WrittenMarket Share
State Farm $915,68615.30%
Nationwide$760,13612.70%
Geico$670,83011.21%
North Carolina Farm Bureau Group$558,3559.46%
Amtrust NGH Group$558,3559.33%
Allstate$503,5018.41%
USAA $449,6877.51%
Progressive $338,2655.65%
Erie Insurance Group$226,8293.79%
Liberty Mutual$175,2502.93%

State Farm, Nationwide, and Geico write the most premiums.

Number of Insurers by State

Domestic insurers were formed in North Carolina law, while foreign insurers were founded out of state. Out of a total of 911 insurers who operate in the Tarheel State, 56 are domestic and 855 are foreign.

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 North Carolina Laws

Now that you know how to find the best insurance at the best price, we’ll switch gears and explore state laws.

North Carolina State Laws

With the many laws that have been enacted, it can be hard to sort through the ones that apply to car insurance and driving. And it can be confusing to determine which ones apply to you.

But, we’ve done all the research for you. You’ll find everything you must know about car insurance laws in the Tarheel State here.

Keep reading to stay informed.

Car Insurance Laws

In this section, we’ll go over what sets North Carolina car insurance rates and the laws governing windshield replacement, high-risk drivers, and fraud.

How State Laws for Insurance are Determined

The North Carolina Department of Insurance sets insurance rates based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ standards.

Regarding form filings, insurance companies must get prior approval from the state insurance commissioner or 80 days must have passed after filing.

Windshield Coverage

If your windshield cracks or breaks, it can be frustrating.

Fortunately, in North Carolina, you can choose your windshield repair vendor. The vendor must use aftermarket parts equal to the original manufacturer’s parts.

Insurers may also offer zero-deductible policies for windshield glass replacement. Comprehensive coverage, which covers damage from “Acts of God” such as vandalism, theft, fire, and natural disasters, can also cover windshield replacement.

High-Risk Insurance

If you’ve been convicted of several offenses, such as driving without insurance or a DUI, insurance companies may consider you a “high risk” to insure. That can make it harder to get insured in the open marketplace.

In North Carolina, you don’t have to file an SR-22, a DMV form that shows you carry the state-required minimum liability insurance.

“High-risk” drivers can find insurance through the North Carolina Reinsurance Facility. This organization offers insurers a way to share the risk associated with your policy among a pool of companies, but you may end up paying more for insurance compared to standard premiums.

Low-Cost Insurance

Though North Carolina has a program to help high-risk drivers, it doesn’t have one for low-income drivers.

California, Hawaii, and New Jersey are the only states with government-funded programs to help low-income drivers pay for their car insurance.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in North Carolina

Misrepresenting facts on insurance claims, submitting false claims, and faking accidents are among the most common forms of car insurance fraud.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III),  insurance applicants, policyholders, third-party claimants, and insurance professionals are among those who commit fraud.

Insurance fraud is a crime in the Tarheel State. The North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Criminal Investigations Division handles car insurance fraud claims. In 2016 alone, the unit investigated 4,523 fraud claims, a 2 percent decrease from the prior year. It also made 233 arrests and 153 convictions for insurance fraud.

You can report fraud in the following ways:

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the time you have left to file a legal claim. In North Carolina, drivers have three years to file a personal injury or a property damage insurance claim or lawsuit.

Evidence can degrade and witnesses can be hard to keep track of over time, so it’s best to file sooner rather than later.

Vehicle Licensing Laws

To register and drive a vehicle in North Carolina, you must carry insurance and a license. Let’s go over the vehicle licensing laws in the Tarheel State.

REAL ID

Starting on Oct. 1, 2020, federal agencies will enforce the REAL ID Act. They will require a REAL ID, U.S. passport, or other federally-approved identification to board commercial flights and enter secure federal buildings.

The North Carolina REAL ID Act–compliant driver’s license is just like a traditional license or ID but has a star at the top. Driver’s licenses and IDs without a gold star are marked “Not for Federal Identification.” The N.C. REAL ID is optional.

You may need a REAL ID, however, to board a commercial domestic flight, visit military bases, courthouses, and other federal facilities. To apply for one, you must go to the North Carolina DMV and provide additional documents with your traditional license or ID: ​

  • One document (with full name) proving your identity and date of birth
  • One document (with full name and full Social Security number) confirming your social security number
  • Two documents (with current physical address) proving your North Carolina residency
  • For non-U.S. citizens, one document (with full name) proving your legal presence/lawful status
  • If applicable, one or more documents verifying any name change

The video below from the NC DMV explains REAL ID:

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Whenever law enforcement pulls you over, you must show your license, registration, and insurance.

As we mentioned before, in North Carolina, you must carry proof of insurance or financial responsibility with you at all times. If you can’t, you’ll face the following penalties:

  • First offense: $50 civil penalty; license/registration suspension for 30 days and $50 reinstatement fee; 45-day probation
  • Second offense: $100 civil penalty; license/registration suspension for 30 days and $50 reinstatement fee; 45-day probation.
  • Third and subsequent offenses: $150 civil penalty; license/registration suspension for 30 days and $50 reinstatement fee; 45-day probation.

Teen Driver Laws

In North Carolina, teens must go through a graduated licensing program that grants them a permit before they qualify for a full license.

Below are the state requirements for getting a learner’s permit.

RestrictionsLimitMinimum Age Restrictions are lifted
Nighttime Driving11 p.m.-5 a.m.12 months after initial license (min. age: 17)
PassengersNo passenger under 20 (limited exception with family)12 months after initial license (min. age: 17)

Also, it’s illegal for drivers younger than age 18 to text or use a cellphone. If they’re caught in the act, they will pay a $25 fine.

Older Driver License Renewal Procedures

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, older drivers must meet these guidelines to renew their licenses:

  • License renewal: Every five years for drivers age 66 and older
  • Proof of vision is required at every renewal
  • The DMV allows mail or online renewal at every other renewal

New Residents

If you’ve moved from out of state, you must apply for a North Carolina driver’s license at a DMV office within 60 days after you establish your residency.

You may not have to undergo driving or written tests if you have a license valid in another state.

To apply for a North Carolina license, you must bring the following documents. If your legal name doesn’t match the name on your documents, you must provide proof of the name change, such as a certified marriage license, a divorce decree, or documents from the courts or Register of Deeds.

  • An out-of-state license or one document (with your full name) proving your identity and date of birth
  • A social security card or another document proving your social security number
  • One document verifying your physical address in North Carolina (two are required if you’re getting an NC REAL ID)
  • For individuals not born in the U.S., one document (with your full name) proving your legal presence/lawful status
  • A document proving liability insurance coverage from a provider licensed to do business in North Carolina

License Renewal Procedures

The North Carolina DMV will send you a renewal card 60 days before your license expires, but you can renew your license 180 days before it expires.

To renew your license, you must have a current or expired license. If you don’t have those, you must present two forms of identification.

The IIHS reports that renewal is every eight years for drivers younger than age 66, and you may renew online at every other renewal. Vision tests are mandatory for all in-person renewals. Drivers under age 66 may renew their licenses remotely at every other renewal period.

Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

North Carolina’s Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP) promotes safe driving through a points system that increases insurance costs for traffic violations. The more severe the violation or accident, the more points you may receive.

For example, one point may raise your insurance rates by 30 percent. The North Carolina Department of Insurance provides more information about points it assigns for each violation and the insurance rate increases.

Rules of the Road

Below you’ll find yet more information about driving laws. These laws regulate seat belt and car seat use, when you should keep right and move over, speed limits, ridesharing, and automation.

Fault vs. No-Fault

In North Carolina, whoever caused an accident or is “at fault” must pay bodily injury and property damages.

For accident claims, the Tarheel State follows a rule of pure contributory negligence, which assigns a percentage of fault to each party involved. It means that when someone shares any responsibility for damages, they can’t get compensation.

So, if one party is one percent responsible — and the other party was 99 percent at-fault — they can’t get compensation. You must be found free of fault to get a payout from the other driver’s insurance.

Seat Belt & Car Seat Laws

North Carolina requires everyone who rides in a car to buckle up. This law is under primary enforcement. So, if a police officer catches you without a seat belt on, you will pay a minimum $25 fine for a first offense.

Children aged seven or younger and who weigh less than 80 pounds must be in a car seat. Children aged four or younger who weigh less than 40 pounds must be in a rear seat.

Riding in the cargo area of a truck is against the law for passengers 15 or younger unless they’re belted or with a supervising adult. Riding in the back is allowed in emergencies, if the vehicle is used in farming, or if the truck has “permanent overhead structures.”

The news report below goes over North Carolina’s safety belt laws:

Keep Right & Move Over Laws

North Carolina bans vehicles traveling slower than the speed limit from driving in the left lane.

As for its “move over” laws, drivers must slow down or move to the closest lane when they approach a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights. This law includes towing and recovery vehicles, utility vehicles, municipal vehicles, and road maintenance vehicles.

Speed Limits

In North Carolina, the speed limit is 70 miles per hour on rural interstates, urban interstates, and other limited-access roads. All other roads have a limit of 55 miles per hour.

Ridesharing

In 2015, North Carolina enacted a law to regulate ridesharing services. These are the requirements for drivers:

  • Transportation network company (TNC) drivers or the TNC itself must have insurance that meets certain requirements, including coverage of at least $1,500,000 for death, injury, or property damage from an accident that occurs while a driver is on the job.
  • Rideshare drivers’ vehicles must undergo a safety inspection yearly.
  • Drivers must provide their photo, license plate number, vehicle description, and location on a map to customers who request a ride.
  • Drivers must be age 19 or older.
  • TNC drivers must pass local and national criminal background checks.
  • Drivers may not qualify to drive if they don’t have a valid driver’s license, proof of financial responsibility, or registration for the vehicle.
  • Registered sex offenders can’t drive for TNCs.
  • People with three or more moving violations or a major violation in the past three years can’t drive for a TNC in North Carolina.
  • Those who have been convicted in the past seven years of driving while impaired, fraud, sexual offenses, or other crimes can’t drive for TNCs.
  • Drivers must collect fees through the rideshare service’s online app only.

Not every insurance company that operates in the Tarheel State offers ridesharing insurance. Farmers and Liberty Mutual are two who do.

Automation on the Road

An autonomous vehicle controls every aspect of driving on the road. Depending on the level of a vehicle’s automation, North Carolina requires autonomous vehicle drivers to have a license. The operator doesn’t have to be in the car. The state requires owners to carry liability insurance.

This law firm video reveals more details about North Carolina’s autonomous vehicle laws:

Safety Laws

Below are more regulations controlling safe driving in North Carolina: DUI laws, marijuana laws, and distracted driving laws.

DUI Laws

Driving while under the influence is a serious offense. North Carolina classifies a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or over as driving while intoxicated.

For this misdemeanor, the state has five levels of convictions:

North Carolina DWI CategoriesLevel V (Least Serious)Level IVLevel IIILevel II
North Carolina Penaltiesup to $200, 24 hours-60 days jail OR with suspended sentence, 24 hours in jail, 24 hours community service or no driving for 30 daysup to $500, 48 hours-120 days jail OR with suspended sentence, 48 hours in jail, 48 hours community service or no driving for 60 daysup to $1000, 72 hours-6 months jail OR with suspended sentence, 72 hours in jail, 72 hours community service or no driving for 90 daysup to $2000, 7 days-1 year, minimum sentense cannot be suspended
Level I (Most Serious)Habitual DWI/Felony DWIAll OffendersGovernor's DWI InitiaitveFactors Involved in Sentencing
up to $4000, 30 days-2 years, minimum sentence cannot be suspended3 prior convictions in 7 years: minimum active jail term of 1 year - not suspendable. Offenders must attend substance abuse program while in jail or as condition of parole.Must complete substance abuse assessment and comply with any recommended treatment as condition for restored license.If person receives DWI charged while license is revoked for DWI, vehicle may be seized at time of arrest. If court convicts offender, judge will order vehicle to be forfeited and given to the school board to be used or sold for profit.Grossly Aggravating Factors, Aggravating Factors, Mitigating Factors

North Carolina considers drivers who have three DWI convictions over seven years to be habitual offenders. They face a mandatory one-year jail sentence.

This law firm video also explains the five levels of DUI charges in the Tarheel State:

It’s best to think before you drink. To protect yourself and others, don’t drink and drive.

Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

North Carolina doesn’t have a marijuana-specific drugged driving law. Overall, marijuana — even for medicinal use — is illegal in the Tarheel State. Offenders who possess a small amount of marijuana won’t face jail time for a first offense.

Distracted Driving Laws

According to AAA, North Carolina bans texting and emailing while driving. Limited learner’s permit and provisional driver’s license holders and drivers under age 18 can’t use cell phones while they drive. School bus drivers also can’t use cell phones on the road.

Driving in North Carolina

When you take the wheel in the Tarheel State or even simply own a vehicle, some risks are involved. For instance, someone could steal your car or rear-end you in traffic. The number of hazards can be alarming.

The statistics below remind everyone of the importance of being careful. You’ll learn a lot about the state of vehicle theft in North Carolina, and the average amount of fatal accidents that happen there. The figures are sobering, yet enlightening.

If you’re ready, read on to find out more.

Vehicle Theft in North Carolina

Some cars are more likely to be stolen than others. Below are the most popular stolen vehicles. Did your car make the list?

VehicleYearThefts
Honda Accord1997609
Ford Pickup (Full Size)2004424
Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)2003370
Honda Civic2000350
Toyota Camry2014291
Nissan Altima2015249
Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee1999203
Chevrolet Impala2006194
Toyota Corolla2014190
Ford Explorer2003185

The 1997 Honda Accord — one of the most attractive makes and models to thieves nationwide — and the 2004 full-size Ford pickup topped the list.

Vehicle Theft by City

These are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s 2017 figures for vehicle thefts that occurred in North Carolina cities in 2017.

CityMotor
vehicle
theft
Aberdeen6
Albemarle31
Angier4
Apex14
Archdale9
Asheboro77
Asheville324
Atlantic Beach2
Ayden7
Bailey1
Banner Elk0
Beaufort2
Beech Mountain0
Belhaven2
Belmont21
Benson9
Bessemer City6
Beulaville0
Biltmore Forest1
Biscoe2
Black Mountain9
Blowing Rock2
Boone12
Brevard9
Bunn0
Burgaw6
Burlington112
Burnsville3
Butner5
Carrboro15
Carthage4
Cary72
Chapel Hill53
Charlotte-Mecklenburg2,622
Clayton19
Cleveland3
Clinton19
Columbus3
Concord65
Conover13
Cramerton3
Creedmoor4
Davidson5
Dobson4
Drexel3
Duck0
Durham762
Eden27
Edenton3
Elizabeth City25
Elkin13
Elon1
Emerald Isle8
Erwin4
Fairmont7
Farmville5
Fayetteville415
Fletcher10
Fuquay-Varina21
Garner43
Gastonia262
Gibsonville7
Goldsboro60
Granite Falls17
Greensboro846
Greenville104
Havelock10
Haw River4
Henderson41
Hendersonville35
Hertford3
Hickory178
Highlands0
High Point280
Hillsborough7
Holly Ridge4
Holly Springs8
Hope Mills11
Hudson6
Huntersville36
Indian Beach0
Jacksonville52
Jefferson1
Jonesville6
Kannapolis70
Kernersville50
Kill Devil Hills11
King5
Kings Mountain1
Kinston34
Kitty Hawk3
Knightdale16
Lake Lure1
Laurel Park1
Leland6
Lenoir49
Lincolnton17
Long View32
Louisburg4
Maiden3
Manteo2
Marion35
Mars Hill0
Marshville3
Matthews51
Maxton7
Mayodan2
Maysville0
Mebane19
Mint Hill30
Mocksville12
Mooresville33
Morehead City9
Morrisville8
Mount Airy47
Mount Holly11
Mount Olive3
Murfreesboro2
Murphy8
Nags Head2
New Bern15
Newport1
Newton21
North Wilkesboro5
Oak Island7
Oxford18
Pinebluff2
Pinehurst2
Pine Knoll Shores0
Pine Level0
Pineville41
Pittsboro4
Plymouth5
Raeford5
Ramseur4
Reidsville36
Richlands2
Roanoke Rapids25
Robbins0
Robersonville1
Rockingham25
Rockwell4
Rocky Mount120
Rolesville7
Rowland2
Rutherfordton3
Selma11
Shallotte5
Siler City10
Smithfield14
Snow Hill0
Southern Pines6
Spencer6
Spruce Pine2
Stallings9
Surf City1
Swansboro1
Sylva9
Tabor City9
Tarboro10
Thomasville68
Trent Woods1
Troutman4
Troy5
Tryon1
Valdese4
Wadesboro15
Wake Forest15
Warsaw3
Washington18
Waxhaw2
Waynesville34
Weaverville1
Weldon3
Wendell4
West Jefferson1
Whispering Pines0
Whiteville16
Wilkesboro7
Williamston14
Wilmington281
Windsor0
Winterville2
Woodfin6
Wrightsville Beach1
Yadkinville5
Youngsville2
Zebulon5

Not surprisingly, the most populated areas, including Greensboro and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, had the most thefts.

Road Fatalities in North Carolina

Here, we’ll explore fatal crashes on the road and potential contributing factors, including weather and light conditions, speeding, and alcohol impairment. This data comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

But first, let’s see which North Carolina highway is the deadliest.

Most Fatal Highway in North Carolina

According to Geotab, in North Carolina, over 200 fatal crashes occurred along I-95, including the Dick Fleming Freeway, a memorial to a local businessman.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition & Light Condition

The table below shows how many fatal accidents happened in different weather and light conditions in the Tarheel State.

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal
Normal6191323844721,184
Rain3818317094
Snow/Sleet412209

Most of the fatalities occurred in normal daylight conditions.

Fatalities (All Crashes) by County

Let’s see how many fatal crashes took place in each North Carolina county.

County20132014201520162017
Mecklenburg County676980103114
Guilford County4457575966
Robeson County4232533853
Wake County7363658153
Cumberland County5340434343
Forsyth County2734404242
Harnett County2723232234
Buncombe County3529362532
Johnston County2836273432
Durham County2526252231

Many of the fatalities occurred in more populated counties, such as Mecklenberg.

Traffic Fatalities

These numbers reveal how many traffic deaths happened in rural versus urban areas of North Carolina.

 2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
Rural1,010964945835901861896910902903
Urban418349375394398426388468543509

Rural areas had 1,000 more accidents than urban areas.

Fatalities by Person Type

These are the fatalities by type of vehicle and transportation used in North Carolina.

Person20132014201520162017
Passenger Car533517605582581
Light Truck - Pickup149152154177151
Light Truck - Utility146144149184170
Light Truck - Van4352395551
Light Truck - Other10113
Large Truck1620192029
Bus00040
Motorcyclists189190192185176
Pedestrian174172182200198
Bicyclist and Other Cyclist2219231729

Passenger cars were involved in the most accidents, while pedestrian deaths placed a distant second.

Fatalities by Crash Type

This is more information about the types of vehicles and the accidents that led to fatalities from 2013 – 2017.

Crash Type20132014201520162017
Single Vehicle743756751819765
Involving a Large Truck139121129152164
Involving Speeding413497547566423
Involving a Rollover311336332361360
Involving a Roadway Departure775771803889798
Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)239230256245268

During that five-year timeframe, most of the crashes involved single vehicles and roadway departures.

Five-Year Trend For the Top 10 Counties

These are the numbers of fatalities in the most populated North Carolina counties from 2013 – 2017.

County20132014201520162017
Mecklenburg County676980103114
Guilford County4457575966
Robeson County4232533853
Wake County7363658153
Cumberland County5340434343
Forsyth County2734404242
Harnett County2723232234
Buncombe County3529362532
Johnston County2836273432
Durham County2526252231

As the data shows, the higher the population in certain counties, the more traffic fatalities tend to occur.

Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

Speed is among the many factors involved in crash deaths.

County20132014201520162017
Alamance112648
Alexander52201
Alleghany00101
Anson14010
Ashe00110
Avery10020
Beaufort01121
Bertie34324
Bladen31163
Brunswick44458
Buncombe981589
Burke26252
Cabarrus8413125
Caldwell25562
Camden00000
Carteret22241
Caswell12443
Catawba311554
Chatham32383
Cherokee11511
Chowan01023
Clay10101
Cleveland198182
Columbus65276
Craven36682
Cumberland1514142513
Currituck21011
Dare11100
Davidson1312141712
Davie13255
Duplin29430
Durham611111017
Edgecombe16752
Forsyth1112101411
Franklin32155
Gaston615121410
Gates22311
Graham22220
Granville35247
Greene11401
Guilford1327252619
Halifax45628
Harnett131113914
Haywood13342
Henderson29342
Hertford10351
Hoke221269
Hyde00101
Iredell46873
Jackson14353
Johnston101117149
Jones00021
Lee827210
Lenoir02221
Lincoln41964
Macon15322
Madison04233
Martin02232
Mcdowell24313
Mecklenburg2819444941
Mitchell10100
Montgomery23142
Moore313593
Nash413995
New Hanover58864
Northampton01111
Onslow10121665
Orange115734
Pamlico22310
Pasquotank02110
Pender78605
Perquimans00100
Person24212
Pitt75742
Polk24210
Randolph8101497
Richmond40173
Robeson1920182020
Rockingham25692
Rowan118673
Rutherford46232
Sampson50772
Scotland33613
Stanly55353
Stokes23342
Surry46522
Swain20020
Transylvania14206
Tyrrell00000
Union158711
Vance64242
Wake292124336
Warren01033
Washington00011
Watauga21641
Wayne576115
Wilkes15533
Wilson54448
Yadkin45411
Yancey11241

Fortunately, there were few crash deaths among the North Carolina counties.

Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County

Another major contributor to North Carolina’s crash deaths is alcohol consumption.

County20132014201520162017
Alamance636410
Alexander22210
Alleghany10000
Anson13002
Ashe10031
Avery10100
Beaufort32011
Bertie02333
Bladen50064
Brunswick554511
Buncombe49597
Burke33134
Cabarrus35893
Caldwell15653
Camden00001
Carteret12101
Caswell12232
Catawba610856
Chatham51235
Cherokee31313
Chowan01011
Clay00110
Cleveland365134
Columbus85274
Craven53361
Cumberland1511121711
Currituck02101
Dare01001
Davidson689108
Davie02122
Duplin35321
Durham4116712
Edgecombe32345
Forsyth812101812
Franklin21356
Gaston3101085
Gates01101
Graham00100
Granville34333
Greene20201
Guilford1414192026
Halifax54515
Harnett96877
Haywood02032
Henderson13023
Hertford10144
Hoke13856
Hyde00100
Iredell78488
Jackson22122
Johnston6561212
Jones00010
Lee71724
Lenoir41231
Lincoln62745
Macon13021
Madison11122
Martin11210
Mcdowell12100
Mecklenburg2625293940
Mitchell00000
Montgomery12123
Moore29775
Nash78494
New Hanover58665
Northampton12113
Onslow961247
Orange63743
Pamlico00210
Pasquotank01020
Pender76533
Perquimans10100
Person24211
Pitt441044
Polk00110
Randolph49756
Richmond44021
Robeson13916916
Rockingham31254
Rowan95473
Rutherford25102
Sampson44835
Scotland13234
Stanly51251
Stokes41242
Surry24551
Swain01000
Transylvania10102
Tyrrell00000
Union56588
Vance54542
Wake2919182719
Warren01132
Washington00000
Watauga22522
Wayne84565
Wilkes23333
Wilson63578
Yadkin01342
Yancey00200

Unfortunately, in some counties, such as Alamance and Brunswick, alcohol-related crash deaths rose in recent years.

Teen Drinking & Driving

Let’s look at underage drinking trends in North Carolina.

Teens and Drunk Driving
Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Per one million people1.5
Higher/Lower Than National Average (1.2)Higher
DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old)201
DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old) Total Per Million People87.44

The state ranks in the middle nationwide — 24th — for its underage drinking rates.

EMS Response Time

These are the EMS response times for crashes in rural and urban areas.

 Time of Crash to EMS
Notification
EMS Notification to
EMS Arrival
EMS Arrival at Scene
to Hospital Arrival
Time of Crash to Hospital
Arrival
Rural6 minutes10 minutes41 minutes48 minutes
Urban3 minutes8 minutes29 minutes37 minutes

Response times in rural parts of North Carolina, unfortunately, were higher than those in cities and suburbs. This may be due to difficulties getting to more remote areas.

Transportation in North Carolina

The below information from Data USA reveals how many cars North Carolinians own on average, the forms of transportation they take in their commutes and the average length of those commutes.

The gray bars represent the U.S. and the orange ones show the Tarheel State.

Car Ownership

Data from Census.gov shows how many cars the average North Carolina household owns, commute time, and commuter transportation. More than 40 percent of North Carolinians own two cars, which is slightly more than the national average.

Commute Time

North Carolinians have a shorter commute time (23.1 minutes) than the average U.S. driver (25.5 minutes). Just over 2 percent of residents have a “super commute” of 90 minutes or more, which is below the national average.

Commuter Transportation

Now, let’s see which forms of transportation North Carolina residents prefer for their commutes. Most North Carolinians drive alone, which is higher than the U.S. average.

Traffic Congestion

The INRIX Global Traffic scorecard reports that Greensboro and Charlotte have the highest traffic congestion in the Tarheel State. The traffic monitor ranks them 209th and 91st worldwide, respectively, for the worst traffic.

Greensboro drivers lose an average of 43 hours weekly in traffic congestion, while Charlotte’s citizens nearly double that figure at 95 hours a week.

In the morning, Greensboro drivers spend 11 percent more time on their commutes. Toward the evening, that travel time increases to 17 percent. This costs drivers an average of $598 yearly.

Drivers in Charlotte spend 28 percent more time in their morning commutes. By the evening, that figure rises to 48 percent. That translates to $1,332 in transportation-related costs yearly.

How’s that for drive-time?

Now that you know all about car insurance, you’re ready to hit the road. Start comparing car insurance rates today.

About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

1 Comment

  1. I am new to North Carolina, but I am near retirement age.

    I have a truck that I sometimes park for long stretches and do not drive at all, and sometimes I use it regularly, depending on the season and my wife and my needs.

    In Michigan, I could insure it quite inexpensively (comprehensive only) when I did not drive it with of course the understanding if I did want to drive it I needed to contact our insurance company and put liability, etc. coverage on it prior to getting it back on the road.

    The cost dropped by a large amount when it was parked since it just sat on our carport.

    I have been told by our new insurance broker that it is illegal to insure a car with this type of low coverage option when I am not driving it, so we must carry full liability as a minimum even though the car is not on the road.

    Great deal for the insurance companies, not so great for us.

    Is it true that in North Carolina it is not legal to insure a car solely with comprehensive coverage while it is parked and not being driven?

    Reply

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