Drivers in Durham, North Carolina pay an average of $444 a year for state-mandated minimum coverage, while full coverage costs an average of $1,452 annually, which works out to $121 a month. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team, which includes licensed property and casualty agents with decades of experience, analyzed insurance companies in Durham to see which companies write the best—and cheapest—insurance in the city. Geico, State Farm, North Carolina Farm Bureau, Erie and Nationwide came out on top.

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Best cheap car insurance companies in Durham

Our insurance editorial team analyzed data provided by Quadrant Information Services to determine average rates in the city. Geico, State Farm and North Carolina Farm Bureau were the cheapest car insurance companies for full coverage, with Erie and Nationwide right behind. We assigned each carrier a Bankrate Score of 0.0-5.0 points based on average rates, rankings from J.D. Power for customer satisfaction, available discounts and more, to help shoppers quickly compare companies to find the best insurer for their own policy.

Insurance company Bankrate Score J.D. Power score (Southeast region) Average annual premium for full coverage Average annual premium for minimum coverage
Geico 4.4 828/1,000 $942 $328
State Farm 4.2 847/1,000 $1,029 $331
North Carolina Farm Bureau 3.0 842/1,000 $1,093 $346
Erie 3.8 859/1,000 $1,170 $391
Nationwide 4.0 834/1,000 $1,296 $344

Geico

Geico might be a good option for drivers in Durham who want to get the most affordable rate possible and only need basic coverage, since it offers the cheapest average car insurance rates in Durham of any of our chosen companies. Geico offers lots of potential discounts, too, including potential savings for military personnel, emergency deployment and federal employees, but its overall coverage options are pretty limited, so if you want a highly-customized policy, there may be better options. The company won a 2023 Bankrate Award for Best Auto Insurance Company Overall (tie), based largely on its low rates and robust online and mobile app accessibility. Geico did, however, have the lowest J.D. Power score for customer satisfaction of any of our chosen insurers.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

State Farm

State Farm might appeal to drivers in Durham because its premiums are extremely affordable and the company offers excellent discount opportunities, including two safe driver discount programs. Young drivers under 25 could save up to 15 percent by enrolling in the Steer Clear program, and drivers over 25 could save up to 30 percent by enrolling in the Drive Safe & Save program. State Farm also earned a 2023 Bankrate Award as Best Insurance Company for High-Risk Drivers, so if you are in this category, you may want to ask for a quote. One quibble: State Farm’s customer service is not available 24/7.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

North Carolina Farm Bureau

North Carolina Farm Bureau is another highly-rated insurance provider in North Carolina. It is known for offering exceptional customer service, as well as reliable coverage and low average premiums. In order to get coverage through North Carolina Farm Bureau, however, you must be a Farm Bureau member, which requires a small annual fee. Farm Bureau members also get access to other perks, like discounted hotel rooms and free banking services. Farm Bureau’s mobile app is not as highly-rated as some of the other top car insurance companies in North Carolina, so if you prefer to do your insurance business via an app, you may want to consider getting quotes from other providers.

Learn more: Farm Bureau Insurance review

Erie

Erie is highly rated for overall customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2023 U.S. Auto Insurance Study for the Southeast region. With Erie, Durham drivers can typically get an affordable rate without sacrificing coverage. We like that Erie offers a number of unique perks with every policy, like a rate lock guarantee, first accident forgiveness, a diminishing deductible, new car and better car protection and pet injury coverage. Erie insurance is only available in 12 states, however, so if you move frequently, it may not be the best choice for long-term coverage.

Learn more: Erie Insurance review

Nationwide

Although Nationwide’s average rates were the highest of any of our chosen companies, they were still well below the average for Durham, making them one of the best car insurance companies in Durham if you are looking for affordable rates. It could also be the right company for you if you value policy customization. There is a generous handful of endorsements, or add-ons, that you can purchase to augment your policy, including gap coverage, accident forgiveness and roadside assistance. You can also elect to have a vanishing deductible, that takes $100 off your deductible for every year you are claims-free. Like Erie, Nationwide is not available in all states, and the company scores below average on the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Survey, so if customer service is your top priority, there may be better options.

Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review

How to get and keep the cheapest car insurance in Durham

If you’re looking for the best car insurance in Durham for the cheapest rates, there are a few strategies you might want to use to help ensure that you find the best deal for your policy. Consider the following:

  • Shop around: Don’t assume that the first quote you receive for car insurance in Durham is the best rate you will find. It can be a good practice to ask for pricing from a range of cheap car insurance companies—you may be surprised at the range of prices you will receive for the same coverage. Consider getting quotes every year when your policy is up for renewal to see if another carrier offers a better rate.
  • Maintain a clean driving record: One of the best ways to potentially lower your insurance premium is by proving that you are a low-risk driver. Avoiding tickets and accidents may help you avoid surcharges associated with these infractions and may even earn you safe driver discounts after a set number of years. If you want to speed up the process, you might consider enrolling in a telematics program (if your carrier offers one) that tracks your real-time driving and adjusts your premium accordingly.

Frequently asked questions

    • The best car insurance company is different for everyone. It depends on your personal criteria for what makes a great insurance company, like customer service, price or discounts. To find the best policy for your needs, we recommend starting with a list of the best companies in the state and asking for quotes from several of them.
    • Durham drivers must carry at least 30/60/25 liability insurance. This translates into: 
      • $30,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
      • $60,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident
      • $25,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident
      • You will also need the same amount in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

      However, it is a good idea to consider raising your coverage limits for more protection, or opt for a full coverage policy that includes coverage for your vehicle.

    • You can request car insurance quotes in Durham by looking for online quoting tools, calling an insurance agent or working with a broker. Most large carriers offer online insurance quoting on their websites, but smaller regional carriers may require you to call one of their agents. Insurance brokers work on your behalf to collect a handful of quotes from different carriers for you to compare. In order to get a quote, you’ll need to provide details about yourself and all other drivers you plan to list on the policy as well as your vehicle information. The more specific information you provide during the quoting process, the more accurate your quote will be.
    • North Carolina drivers pay an average of $432 for minimum coverage and $1,446 annually for full coverage, which includes collision and comprehensive insurance. This is roughly the same as the average cost of car insurance in Durham, which stands at $444 for minimum and $1,452 for full coverage.
    • Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. 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 coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 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.

    • Our 2023 Bankrate Score considers variables our insurance editorial team determined impacts policyholders’ experiences with an insurance company. These rating factors include a robust assessment of each company’s product availability, financial strength ratings, online capabilities and customer and claims support accessibility. Each factor was added to a category, and these categories were weighted in a tiered approach to analyze how companies perform in key customer-impacting categories. Like our previous Bankrate Scores, each category was assigned a metric to determine performance, and the weighted sum adds up to a company’s total Bankrate Score — out of 5 points. This year, our 2023 scoring model provides a more comprehensive view, indicating when companies excel across several key areas and better highlighting where they fall short.
      • Tier 1 (Cost & ratings): To determine how well auto and home insurance companies satisfy these priorities, 2023 quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services (if available), as well as any of the latest third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best and the NAIC, were analyzed.
      • Tier 2 (Coverage & savings): We assessed companies’ coverage options and availability to help policyholders find a provider that balances cost with coverage. Additionally, we evaluated each company’s discount options listed on its website.
      • Tier 3 (Support): To encompass the many ways an auto insurance company can support policyholders, we analyzed avenues of customer accessibility along with community support. This analysis incorporated additional financial strength ratings from S&P and Moody’s and factored a company’s corporate sustainability efforts.