Cheapest car insurance in North Carolina in 2021

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Geico sells the cheapest full coverage car insurance in North Carolina, with an average annual premium of $835, according to our research. Geico also sells the cheapest minimum coverage in the Tar Heel State, with an average annual premium of $260. These premiums are far lower than the national average annual cost of car insurance, which is $1,674 for full coverage and $565 for minimum coverage.

Although minimum coverage is generally cheaper than full coverage, there are ways that you can purchase more coverage and keep your rates low. If you are searching for the cheapest car insurance in North Carolina, Bankrate’s research may help you decide which car insurance company is right for you.

The cheapest car insurance companies in North Carolina

Bankrate’s insurance editorial team began our research by obtaining 2021 premium data from Quadrant Information Services for the largest auto insurance companies in North Carolina by market share. We also considered a few other factors in addition to searching for the companies with the cheapest rates. We analyzed each provider’s J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores and AM Best financial strength ratings to ensure that the companies we featured had more to offer than just affordable rates.

Based on our search criteria, drivers looking for cheap car insurance in North Carolina may want to consider getting quotes from Geico, State Farm, Erie and North Carolina Farm Bureau. Nationwide could also be a good choice if you are seeking minimum coverage, and Penn National also made our list of cheapest full coverage companies.

The cheapest companies for minimum coverage in North Carolina

Geico and State Farm offer the cheapest minimum coverage premiums in North Carolina, according to our investigation. Minimum coverage means that you are only purchasing the state-required coverages and base limits. However, most insurance professionals recommend that you purchase higher liability limits for greater financial protection.

If you are seeking minimum coverage in North Carolina, we found these companies are among the cheapest:

Car insurance company Average annual minimum coverage premium Average monthly minimum coverage premium
Geico $260 $22
State Farm $292 $24
Erie $365 $30
Nationwide $368 $31
North Carolina Farm Bureau $374 $31

The cheapest companies for full coverage in North Carolina

Geico and State Farm also sell the cheapest full coverage car insurance in North Carolina, based on our analysis. Full coverage adds both comprehensive and collision to your policy, giving you coverage for damage to your own vehicle.

If you are looking for the cheapest auto insurance in North Carolina and need full coverage, these companies might be a good place to start:

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage premium Average monthly full coverage premium
Geico $835 $70
State Farm $958 $80
North Carolina Farm Bureau $1,107 $92
Erie $1,125 $94
Penn National $1,333 $111

Events that can impact your cheap rates in North Carolina

Car insurance rates do not stay the same over the course of your life. Rates change based on a number of factors, including live events. When your life changes, you may want to consider reviewing your car insurance to make sure your coverage is appropriate and that your company is still the best fit. It may be helpful to review your policy and coverages if you have recently:

  • Added a teen driver: Teens are typically considered high-risk drivers by most insurance companies, due to their inexperience. If you have a teen driver who is getting their license, you might want to shop your policy to see which carrier can offer you the cheapest rate. A number of cheap car insurance companies are available for teen drivers, and many carriers offer discounts to help offset the increase in your premium.
  • Received a speeding ticket: Speeding tickets are common, but that does not mean they don’t impact your premiums. Speeding is considered a risky behavior and can be a sign that you might cause an accident, so insurance companies will generally charge you more. However, not all companies will penalize you the same amount, so getting quotes can be helpful.
  • Involved in an at-fault accident: It may be common knowledge that accidents can increase your insurance premium, but just like with speeding tickets, not all companies respond in the same way. If you have recently caused an accident, you might want to talk to your provider about discounts or coverage changes that could lower your premium. Shopping your policy could also help you find cheaper coverage.
  • Been deemed a high-risk driver: High-risk drivers are those who have poor driving records, including accidents, tickets and DUI convictions. If you have been deemed a high-risk driver, you may have experienced an increase in your premium or found it difficult to qualify for coverage with certain companies. Not all insurance companies will insure high-risk drivers, so you may have to do a bit more research to find cheap car insurance.

Cheapest cities in North Carolina for minimum coverage

How much you pay for car insurance in North Carolina will also depend heavily on where you live in the state. Generally, the more urban your area, the more you will pay. Cities with high population densities like Charlotte and Raleigh tend to have higher average premiums. More cars on the road generally means more of a chance of getting into an accident.

If you live in one of the four following cities, you might pay less for minimum coverage car insurance:

City Average annual minimum coverage premium Average monthly minimum coverage premium
Burnsville $336 $28
Lake Lure $336 $28
Bakersville $337 $28
Zionville $337 $28

Cheapest cities in North Carolina for full coverage

Your full coverage premium can be affected by your city and even your ZIP code, as well. Higher cost of living areas, like Greensboro and Durham, tend to have higher average premiums. This could be because, in these areas, the cost of vehicle repairs and labor is higher. Because full coverage car insurance covers damage to your vehicle, these costs can increase your premium.

However, it is possible to still find cheap full coverage. The following four cities pay among the lowest full coverage rates in North Carolina:

City Average annual full coverage premium Average monthly full coverage premium
Weaverville $1,130 $94
Alexander $1,132 $94
Swannanoa $1,133 $94
Barnardsville $1,133 $94

Minimum coverage requirements for North Carolina drivers

Like most states, North Carolina has minimum coverage car insurance requirements. To drive legally in the state, you must carry at least the following coverages and limits:

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $30,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist property damage liability per accident
  • $30,000 underinsured motorist bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 underinsured motorist bodily injury liability per accident

However, most insurance agents recommend that you purchase higher limits if you can afford to. Minimum coverage limits are quite low and may not provide adequate protection in the event of an at-fault accident. Additionally, if you have a loan or lease on your vehicle, you likely need to have full coverage to satisfy your financial institution’s requirements.

Here is how to find (and keep) cheap car insurance in North Carolina

Finding cheap car insurance may take a bit of research, but it is possible. Here are some ways you can find the cheapest car insurance for your needs:

  • Shop around: Every carrier has different rates. Because of this, the same coverage can cost different amounts with different companies. Getting quotes from several carriers may help you find the most competitively priced policy.
  • Understand your coverage: Buying an appropriate amount of car insurance for your needs can help you keep your costs in check. However, this is a balance. Overinsuring your vehicle might mean that you are paying more than you need to, but underinsuring could leave you in financial distress in the event of a costly incident.
  • Take advantage of discounts: Most car insurance providers offer discounts to help you lower the cost of your coverage. Taking advantage of as many as you qualify for might help you keep your premium low. Common discounts include multi-policy, paperless and student discounts.

Once you find cheap car insurance, there are also things you can do to maintain your low premiums:

  • Maintain a clean driving record: Accidents, tickers and DUI convictions all typically increase your premium. Maintaining a clean driving record can help you avoid hefty surcharges on your policy. You might even earn a discount if you have been claim-free for a certain number of years.
  • Improve or maintain your credit score: Although it may seem strange, your credit rating can affect your car insurance rate. Drivers with poor credit tend to file more claims, so insurance companies commonly charge higher premiums to compensate for the risk. Maintaining your credit score, or improving it, might help keep your premiums down or reduce them over time.
  • Shop your policy occasionally: Staying with the same car insurance company for a length of time might help you earn coveted loyalty discounts. However, checking your rates with different companies occasionally might help you know if your carrier is still the best fit for your needs.

Frequently asked questions

What is the average cost of car insurance in the U.S.?

Car insurance in North Carolina is much cheaper than most states. The national average cost of car insurance is $565 annually for minimum coverage and $1,674 per year for full coverage. Meanwhile, North Carolina drivers pay an average of $413 per year for minimum coverage and $1,325 a year for full coverage.

Can you drive without car insurance in North Carolina?

Driving without insurance is illegal in North Carolina and you must maintain at least the state’s minimum car insurance limits to drive legally. This includes both liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, in case you are in an accident with someone who does not have car insurance. If you are caught driving without auto insurance, you could be fined, have your license suspended or even face jail time. If you cause an accident and you do not have insurance, you are responsible for paying for the damages out of pocket.

Who has the cheapest car insurance in North Carolina?

We found Geico and State Farm are among the cheapest car insurance companies in North Carolina. However, the cheapest price offered for your auto insurance policy will typically depend on several factors, such as your credit score, driving history and the kind of car you drive. Getting quotes from several companies might help you find the lowest priced policy for your situation.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Written by
Cate Deventer
Insurance Writer & Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional with nearly a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent.
Edited by
Insurance Editor