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Car insurance laws in North Carolina

As a resident of North Carolina, you are required to carry car insurance and purchase coverage before you register your vehicle. Insurance coverage and cost may also vary depending on where within the state you live. Before you get started, here are some important factors to keep in mind:

North Carolina teen driving laws

Young drivers are eager to get out on the road and experience that kind of freedom for the first time in their lives. To ensure safety on the road for everyone, it’s important to become familiar with the laws for new drivers in North Carolina.

New drivers can apply for their learner’s permit once they turn 15 years old. After one year, a teen may apply for a level two permit, followed by after six months they can apply for a level three provisional full license. You can learn more about the rules a young driver in North Carolina must follow here.

Minimum insurance requirements for North Carolina

The minimum amount of North Carolina auto insurance coverage is $30,000/$60,000/$25,000. In the event of a covered accident, your limits for bodily injury are $30,000 per person, with a total maximum of $60,000 per incident. It also covers up to $25,000 for damage to another person’s property.

Liability coverage

Liability may cover certain legal defense expenses if you are sued for a covered accident. As a resident of North Carolina, there are two types of liability coverage your insurance policy must include: property damage and bodily injury.

  • Property damage safeguards your assets if you are found legally responsible for a covered accident. It covers certain damage you may cause to the property or vehicle of another party.
  • Bodily injury safeguards your assets if you’re found legally responsible for a covered accident, including certain expenses associated with bodily harm sustained by the other parties.

Optional North Carolina insurance coverage

It’s often a good idea to add the following coverages to your policy so you can enjoy the security of being protected on the road:

Comprehensive

This type of North Carolina auto insurance coverage is used to repair your vehicle when physical damage occurs from non-collision related incidents (subject to deductible). Such incidents include theft, fire, vandalism, glass breakage, and contact with animals.

Collision

Collision coverage is used to repair your vehicle when physical damage occurs from collision with another vehicle or object (subject to deductible).

Uninsured/underinsured motorist

Protects you in the event of an accident where the other party is at-fault and either doesn’t carry insurance or whose insurance limits are not enough to reimburse you for damages they caused.

  • Bodily injury may protect you if you’re involved in an accident and the other party is at-fault and either is uninsured or doesn’t carry enough insurance to cover costs related to your bodily injury damages.
  • Property damage may protect you if you’re involved in an accident where the other party is at-fault and uninsured/underinsured for damages sustained to your vehicle and other covered property (subject to deductible). You do not need Uninsured/Underinsured property damage coverage if you have collision coverage.

Medical benefits

May pay for necessary medical expenses or funeral costs for you or others covered under the policy, no matter who is at fault.

Tailor your policy with these options

Accident Forgiveness

With this optional coverage, Nationwide will not raise your auto insurance rates following your first at-fault automobile accident. Learn more about Accident Forgiveness.

Roadside Assistance

Nationwide Roadside Assistance coverage is available in two different levels, Basic and Plus, so you can choose the one that works best with your budget. Get covered for fuel delivery, lockout service, jump-starts and more.

Loss of use

If you can’t drive your car due to a covered loss, this coverage helps pay for a rental car or other transportation expenses so you can get back on the road.

What factors affect your car insurance rate?

Some car insurance rating factors, such as your driving record, can significantly impact your insurance costs. Below are the most common rating factors used to determine a low or high risk driver.

1. Your vehicle

The type of car you own can affect your car insurance rate. This will include car safety features, year and make, age of the vehicle, vehicle ownership and cost of repairing the vehicle.

2. Where you live

Car insurance rates vary by state and zip code. Each state has their own regulations and insurance coverage requirements.

3. Your characteristics

Your demographics such as age, gender, marital status, credit score and profession can impact your rate.

4. Driving history

Your driving history would include your driving record, how much you drive and years of driving experience.

What can increase my car insurance rate?

Once you find the right coverage, be sure to keep in mind the factors that can increase your rate.

1. Traffic violations

Traffic violations include minor and major violations such as speeding tickets, careless driving and DUIs.

2. At-fault accidents

At-fault accidents that result in large insurance claims may affect your premium.

3. Adding a driver to your policy

If someone else drives your car you should add them to your policy. Their driving record and driving history may increase your insurance rate.

4. Lapse in insurance

A lapse in car insurance is when you have a registered car but no car insurance. Going without car insurance in many states can make you a high-risk driver when purchasing car insurance.

What are the consequences of driving without car insurance?

Driving uninsured can result in varying penalties and is against the law in most states. The consequences of driving without insurance outweigh the monthly insurance premium and may result in the following penalties.

1. Fines

Fines vary by state and can add up to thousands of dollars if you are involved in an accident.

2. License suspension

Some states revoke or suspend your license if you are caught driving without insurance.

3. Vehicle impounded

In some states your vehicle may be towed and you will not be able to claim your car until you submit proof of insurance. Getting your car back will require additional impound and reinstatement fees.

4. Vehicle repair and medical costs

If you are uninsured and involved in an accident you have to pay out-of-pocket for damages and, depending on the severity of the accident, the costs can be very high. You could even be sued for bodily injury or property damage.

5. Increase in car insurance premium

Driving uninsured will make you a high-risk driver and this can increase your premium. Some states require an SR-22 document to prove you can meet the state’s minimum insurance requirements. Having an SR-22 will reflect poorly on your driving record.

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We have Nationwide agents throughout North Carolina.

Insurance terms, definitions and explanations are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance contracts, policies or declaration pages, which are controlling. Such terms and availability may vary by state and exclusions may apply.