Best cheap car insurance in Durham for 2021

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If you are one of the 7,025,333 licensed drivers in North Carolina, you are legally required to carry car insurance. The cost of car insurance depends on a variety of factors, including your city. The average cost of car insurance in Durham is $423 for a minimum coverage policy and $1,263 for a full coverage policy according to Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums.

Drivers in Durham have a number of choices when it comes to car insurance, but not all providers are created equal. We looked into some of the top car insurance companies in North Carolina, and compared them based on average price, coverage options and discounts to find the best cheap car insurance companies in Durham.

Best car insurance companies in Durham

If you are looking for the best car insurance in Durham, our top recommendations are State Farm, Geico, North Carolina Farm Bureau, Erie and Progressive. These companies offer affordable rates, good discounts and reliable coverage options. Many of them are also rated above average for overall customer satisfaction by J.D. Power.

Insurance company J.D. Power score Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Geico 857/1,000 $258 $786
State Farm 835/1,000 $293 $872
North Carolina Farm Bureau 854/1,000 $381 $1,055
Erie 871/1,000 $394 $1,116
Progressive 848/1,000 $540 $1,558

Geico

Geico is highly rated for overall customer satisfaction by J.D. Power in the Southeast region (which includes North Carolina). Geico is a good option for drivers in Durham who want to get the most affordable rate possible, and only need basic coverage. Geico offers lots of discounts, including savings for military personnel, emergency deployment and federal employees, but the coverage options are pretty limited.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

State Farm

State Farm insures more drivers than any other company. We recommend State Farm to drivers in Durham because the premiums are extremely affordable and the company offers excellent discounts, including two safe driver discount programs. Young drivers under 25 can save up to 15% by enrolling in the Steer Clear program, and drivers over 25 can save up to 30% by enrolling in the Drive Safe & Save program.

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 premiums. In order to get coverage through North Carolina Farm Bureau, 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.

Learn more: Farm Bureau Insurance review

Erie

Erie was the second highest rated insurance company for overall customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study for the Southeast region. With Erie, Durham drivers can 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.

Learn more: Erie Insurance review

Progressive

Progressive does not have the best overall customer satisfaction score, and its average rates are higher than average. However, Progressive is a great option for drivers in Durham who are buying car insurance for the first time. You can use Progressive’s Name Your Price Tool to find policies within your budget, and you can even compare Progressive’s rates to competitors on its website. The company also offers some of the best discounts in the industry.

Learn more: Progressive Insurance review

Cheapest car insurance in Durham

The average cost of car insurance in Durham is $1,263 per year for a full coverage policy and $423 for a minimum coverage policy. Car insurance in Durham is slightly less expensive than the average rate in North Carolina, which is $1,325 per year for a full coverage policy. The average rate in North Carolina is 2% higher than the United States national average rate of $1,674 per year.

If you value affordable coverage, it is important to compare rates from multiple providers before choosing one. The companies in the table below offer the cheapest car insurance in Durham.

Insurance company Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Geico $258 $786
State Farm $293 $872
Nationwide $377 $1,313
Erie $394 $1,116
Allstate $481 $1,560

Every car insurance company in Durham has pros and cons. For instance, Geico and State Farm offer the lowest premiums, but the coverage options are very limited. Erie’s policies are among the most robust, but it does not offer as many discounts as some of its competitors. Additionally, Erie is the only company on this list that does not offer a telematics-based safe driver reward program.

Another thing to consider is the third-party ratings for these companies. In terms of financial strength, every company is considered stable, which means they are not at risk of going bankrupt. However, the customer satisfaction ratings are mixed. Geico and Erie are rated above average by J.D. Power, but State Farm, Nationwide and Allstate are rated below average.

Durham insurance requirements

Every driver in Durham who owns a licensed vehicle is required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. North Carolina’s car insurance laws state that drivers must have at least 30/60/25 liability insurance, which includes the following coverage:

  • $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $60,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident

Drivers who are looking for the cheapest car insurance in North Carolina can get the lowest rate by purchasing a minimum coverage policy. However, that is not necessarily recommended.

The minimum amount of car insurance in Durham may not fully cover the cost of an at-fault accident. If the damages exceed your policy limit, you have to pay the difference out of pocket. Additionally, drivers who lease or finance their vehicle are typically required to carry a full coverage policy to reduce the lender’s risk.

Car insurance discounts in Durham

Most insurance companies in Durham offer discounts that can help drivers save money on their coverage. Here are some of the common discounts you can take advantage of:

  • Claim-free discount: Drivers who have no recent claims on their record usually qualify for a lower rate.
  • Good student discount: High school and college students who maintain a minimum GPA can often get a lower rate.
  • Pay in full discount: If you can afford to pay your annual premium in full, most car insurance companies will give you a slightly cheaper rate.
  • AutoPay discount: Enrolling in automatic payments can sometimes help you save some money on your policy.

In addition to these discounts, North Carolina drivers can save money on their premium by improving their credit score, which has one of the biggest impacts on your premium. You also have the option to raise your deductible to get a lower monthly rate.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

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.

How much car insurance do I need in Durham?

Durham drivers must carry at least 30/60/25 liability insurance. 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.

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
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth has two years of experience writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate.com, The Simple Dollar, Coverage.com and NextAdvisor, among others. In addition to auto insurance, Elizabeth regularly writes about home insurance, renters insurance and life insurance. She also covers industry trends and general insurance education.
Edited by
Insurance Editor