Best car insurance in North Carolina for 2021

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Car accidents are on the rise in North Carolina, so having proper car insurance coverage may be more important than ever. The average cost of full coverage car insurance in North Carolina is $1,325 per year, according to Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums. But while price is important, it is not the only factor to consider when you are looking for the best car insurance in North Carolina.

Like most states, North Carolina requires that drivers carry at least a minimum amount of car insurance to drive legally. When choosing a car insurance company, it can be helpful to get quotes from several providers to compare premiums, coverages, discounts and customer satisfaction rankings.

Best car insurance companies in North Carolina

Bankrate’s insurance editorial team has reviewed the largest auto companies by market share in the Tar Heel State. We analyzed average premiums and reviewed coverages, discounts, policy features and customer satisfaction scores. If you are shopping for the best auto insurance in North Carolina, our research might help you find a carrier that fits your needs.

When shopping for car insurance, North Carolina drivers might want to get quotes from the following companies:

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage premium J.D. Power customer satisfaction score
Allstate $1,633 876 / 1,000
Geico $835 871 / 1,000
Nationwide $1,374 876 / 1,000
North Carolina Farm Bureau $1,107 Not rated
State Farm $958 881 / 1,000

Allstate

Allstate has below-average customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power in the Southeast region and its average rate is higher than North Carolina’s average, but be sure to check out the many available auto insurance discounts. The company also offers excellent coverage options, including sound system coverage, roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement coverage. There are also local agents available to help you find the right policy or file a claim.

Learn more: Allstate Insurance review

Geico

Geico offers car insurance coverage nationwide and is best known for its signature catchphrase, “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.” That statement holds true for North Carolina drivers. Based on our carrier list, Geico could be a good fit if budget is your primary concern. However, Geico does not offer many unique coverages, and the company did receive a below-average score from J.D. Power for claims service.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

Nationwide

Nationwide offers an average premium in North Carolina that is in line with the state’s average. The company might be a good fit if you want one company that can handle several of your financial products. Nationwide offers numerous types of insurance, plus banking services and financial planning. There are several discounts that might help you lower your premium, including savings for being accident-free, being a defensive driver, having certain safety features on your vehicle and signing up for one of the company’s two telematics programs.

Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review

North Carolina Farm Bureau

Farm Bureau Insurance received an above-industry average score in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Insurance Study, although it was not rated in the claims study. The company’s coverages tend to be basic, but there are some discounts you can take advantage of that might lower your rate. Farm Bureau works exclusively through independent agents, which you might find appealing if you like handling your coverage in person.

Learn more: Farm Bureau Insurance review

State Farm

State Farm is the largest auto insurance company in the nation, with over 16% of the market share. If you are looking for an established company that does its business through local agents, State Farm might be a good fit. One of the best things about State Farm is the number of resources it offers you. The mobile tools give you easy access to your policy, allowing you to file claims, make payments and call for roadside assistance. The company also offers banking services.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

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Looking to save money on auto insurance?

Looking to save money on auto insurance?

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Average cost of car insurance in North Carolina

North Carolina car insurance rates are one of the cheapest in the country. While the average cost of car insurance in the U.S. is $1,674 annually, the average annual cost for North Carolina car insurance is $1,325 for a full coverage policy.

North Carolina’s premiums may be lower than average for a number of reasons. Although accidents are increasing in frequency, the state may still see fewer accidents than other states, and the accidents that occur could be less severe.

Average annual premium for minimum coverage in North Carolina Average annual premium for full coverage in North Carolina
$413 $1,325

State minimum insurance requirements in North Carolina

To drive legally in North Carolina, you must carry at least the state’s minimum coverage amounts, which are:

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

North Carolina’s uninsured motorist property damage comes with a minimum $100 deductible.

Although minimum coverage is often the cheapest option, it could leave you with hefty out-of-pocket expenses if you cause an accident. Additionally, minimum coverage does not include comprehensive or collision, which provides you with coverage for damage to your vehicle. If you purchase those options, you will have a “full coverage” policy.

How to get the best car insurance in North Carolina

The best car insurance in North Carolina is different for everyone. When you are searching for car insurance, there are a few steps you can take to help you decide what is right for you:

  • Evaluate your needs: Do you have a teenage driver you need to insure? Are you looking for a company that has a highly-rated digital app? Are you more concerned with customer service than you are with price, or is your budget your primary concern? Understanding your personal insurance needs might help you decide what companies could be a good fit.
  • Consider state factors: In addition to buying at least state minimum coverages, your location may have other specific factors to think about. Do you live in an area where vehicle theft or vandalism is common? You might want to add comprehensive coverage. And if your area is known for traffic and fender benders, having collision insurance might be a good idea.

If you are not sure what coverages to purchase, a licensed agent may be able to help.

Car insurance discounts in North Carolina

Most insurance companies in North Carolina offer auto insurance discounts to help you save money. In addition to finding a cheap car insurance company, discounts can help you get the coverage you need for a price that fits your budget. Although discounts will vary by company, here are some common ways to save:

  • Multi-policy discount: If you have a home, condo or renters insurance policy, getting your auto insurance with the same company might earn you a significant discount on both policies.
  • Student discounts: If you insure a teen driver who is a full-time student, there may be several discounts available. Good student discounts, distance student discounts and driver training discounts could all help lower your premium.
  • Telematics discounts: These programs often involve using a mobile app or plug-in device to track your driving habits. Based on how safely you drive, you could earn a discount.
  • Paperless discount: Opting to receive your policy documents, billing statements or both via email or an online portal might save you some money.
  • Low mileage discounts: If you work from home or drive only a short distance each day, be sure to tell your agent. You could qualify for a low mileage discount and earn a lower premium.

Most insurance companies list their discounts online, but you can also talk to a representative to find ways to save.

Frequently asked questions

What is considered full coverage in North Carolina?

Full coverage car insurance in North Carolina usually includes bodily injury liability, property damage liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury, uninsured motorist property damage, comprehensive and collision coverage. The definition of full coverage may vary between different companies and agencies. Some companies may consider optional coverages like roadside assistance and car rental coverage to be part of a full coverage policy.

What do you need to get car insurance in NC?

To get a car insurance policy, you will first need to get a quote. You can often do this online, but you could also call the insurance companies you are interested in or visit a local agency. You will usually need the name, date of birth and drivers’ license numbers for all the drivers you need to insure, as well as your address, the vehicle identification number (VIN) for each of your vehicles and an idea of the coverages you want to purchase, although you can get quotes for several coverage levels to find what works for you. Once you decide on a company, a representative will let you know how to purchase your policy. You will likely have to make a payment for at least one month of coverage and you may have to sign an application.

What happens if I drive without insurance in North Carolina?

Car insurance is required in North Carolina, so driving uninsured is illegal. If you are caught driving without insurance, even if you do not cause an accident, you could be facing fines, license suspension and even jail time. If you cause an accident, you are still responsible for paying for the damages and injuries you cause, which could lead to financial stress and could result in a lawsuit and seizure of assets.

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 Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in professional and technical writing from Indiana University East. She began writing for Bankrate in January 2021 and has nearly a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent. Cate has worked with over a dozen insurance companies and is experienced with auto, home, flood, umbrella and life insurance.
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Insurance Editor