North Carolina Car Insurance Laws
The Tar Heel State mandates that drivers carry minimum liability coverage limits of 30/60/25 on their vehicles. It's pretty decent coverage and usually can be found at a decent price. North Carolina car insurance premiums are some of the lowest in the nation.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury is required, as is uninsured motorist property damage. Underinsured motorist is required to be offered but can be declined if you carry only minimum liability limits. If you increase your liability limits from the state minimums, then North Carolina auto insurance companies must provide you with combined uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage.
North Carolina has a contributory negligence provision in its torts law; a driver cannot recover damages if found at fault in an accident by even a small percentage. More than in most states, North Carolina residents should carefully consider how easily they might afford to replace a car before dropping collision coverage, which would pay for repairs no matter who is at fault.
DL-123 form for proof of insurance: North Carolina requires drivers to demonstrate that they have a liability insurance policy by filing a DL-123 form. Liability insurance is the minimum amount of auto insurance you must have to drive in the state of North Carolina.
North Carolina law requires that a DL-123 form be filled out and signed by your car insurance company before you can receive your license and sometimes for other reasons, such as after a reinstatement of a license after a DUI suspension. Certification of liability insurance coverage must be submitted to the DMV and it must be from an insurance company licensed to do business in North Carolina.
Safe driver incentive plan (SDIP): North Carolina has a set list of SDIP points that auto insurance companies must assign drivers who are convicted of moving traffic violations or at-fault accidents. The more insurance points you have, the more you'll pay in surcharges. The points range from one to 12, with one point equaling a surcharge of 30 percent and a driver with 12 points receiving a 340% increase in rates. Read more about the North Carolina SDIP points table on the state's Department of Insurance site.
How long to settle a claim?: Car insurance companies in North Carolina have 30 days after receiving a claim to acknowledge it by either: making payment on the claim, making a settlement offer, denying the claim, or informing the claimant that there is an ongoing investigation of the claim. Loss and claim payments by auto insurers are to be mailed within 10 business days after the claim is settled.
Prayer for Judgment: Unique to North Carolina law, prayer for judgment allows a person to plea neither innocence nor guilt to a judge. As it relates to driving, this means drivers may avoid having a citation affect their driving record, assuming they aren't cited for the same offense in a five-year period. Read more on our prayer for judgment page.
Uninsured motorist penalties in North Carolina: You may have to pay up to $1,000 in fines, your license and registration may be suspended and your plates confiscated if you are ticketed for driving without insurance in North Carolina. You may also end up with 3 points on your driver's license. Penalties for an insurance lapse in North Carolina are not quite as harsh.
No grace period: North Carolina does not have a grace period for cancelled insurance policies.
Largest car insurance companies in North Carolina by market share
||Company / Group
||Direct Premiums Written ($)
||Market Share ($)
||State Farm Group
||NC Farm Bureau Insurance Group
||Allstate Insurance Group
||Berkshire Hathaway Insurance
||National General Group
||Progressive Ins Group
||Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies
||Erie Insurance Group
|Source: A.M. Best market share rankings are based on direct premiums written in 2013.