Best car insurance in North Carolina in 2021

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Geico and State Farm sell some of the best car insurance in North Carolina, per Bankrate’s research. Nationwide, North Carolina Farm Bureau and Allstate also ranked highly in our analysis. 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. 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

Based on our research, the best car insurance companies in North Carolina include Geico, State Farm, Nationwide, North Carolina Farm Bureau and Allstate. 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 Bankrate Score Average annual full coverage premium J.D. Power customer satisfaction score
Geico 4.6 $835 871/1,000
State Farm 4.4 $958 881/1,000
Nationwide 4.3 $1,374 876/1,000
North Carolina Farm Bureau 3.8 $1,107 Not rated
Allstate 3.6 $1,633 876/1,000

Geico

Geico offers car insurance coverage nationwide and is best known for its signature catchphrase, “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” That statement may hold 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

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. The company’s mobile tools give you easy access to your policy, allowing you to file claims, make payments and call for roadside assistance. However, despite its above-average J.D. Power ranking, State Farm did receive a higher-than-average overall complaint index score from the National Association of Insurance Commissions (NAIC).

Learn more: State Farm 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. But if you are looking for an auto insurance company with strong digital tools, Nationwide might not be the best fit. The company’s technology rated below average in both the Shopping and Service categories in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Insurance Digital Experience Study.

Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review

North Carolina Farm Bureau

Farm Bureau insurance received the highest average score in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Insurance Study, although it was not rated in the claims study. There are several discounts you can take advantage of that might lower your rate, although North Carolina Farm Bureau’s average premium is lower than the state average. Farm Bureau works exclusively through independent agents, which you might find appealing if you like handling your coverage in person. However, the company’s coverages tend to be basic with relatively few options for personalization.

Learn more: Farm Bureau Insurance review

Allstate

Allstate has below-average customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power in the Southeast region, but the carrier did receive an above-average score for claims satisfaction. Allstate 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. However, Allstate’s average rate is higher than North Carolina’s average.

Learn more: Allstate Insurance review

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Average cost of car insurance in North Carolina

North Carolina car insurance rates are some 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, per 2021 rate data gathered from Quadrant Information Services. Minimum coverage is also cheaper, on average, in North Carolina, with a policy costing $413 per year. The average minimum coverage premium in the U.S. is $565 per year.

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

How to find 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, you can take a few steps to help you decide what is right for you.

Consider minimum insurance requirements in North Carolina

Like most states, North Carolina requires drivers to carry at least minimum levels of some car insurance coverage to drive legally. You must carry the state-required levels of liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. Understanding North Carolina’s car insurance laws can help you decide if you need higher levels of coverage, but you do not need to commit them to memory. You won’t be able to buy a policy that does not adhere to the state’s laws.

Consider lender requirements

If you have a loan or lease on your car, you should be aware of your financial institution’s car insurance guidelines. 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, which is often required by lenders. You may also want to consider gap insurance. If your vehicle is totaled and the payoff is less than the balance of your loan, gap coverage is designed to help pay the difference.

Consider your individual 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? Do you have accidents and tickets on your record that could affect your premium and eligibility? Understanding your personal insurance needs might help you decide what companies could be a good fit.

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:

  • Young driver 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.
  • Safe driver discounts: Safe drivers could qualify for several discounts. For example, telematics programs 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. And if you work from home or drive only a short distance each day, be sure to tell your agent. You might qualify for a low mileage discount and earn a lower premium.
  • Other discounts: 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. Additionally, opting to receive your policy documents, billing statements or both via email or an online portal might save you some money.

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 the cheapest car insurance company in North Carolina?

Erie, Geico and Nationwide offer some of the cheapest auto insurance rates in the Tar Heel state. Finding a cheap car insurance company can go a long way toward lowering your rates. However, car insurance premiums are tailored to your individual rating factors. Your premium may be different from the averages for these companies based on your unique situation.

What is considered full coverage in North Carolina?

Full coverage is not an industry-standard term. Technically, full coverage just means that you have added coverage for your vehicle by including comprehensive and collision. However, some companies or agencies might also 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 North Carolina?

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.

Bankrate Scores

Bankrate Scores primarily reflect a weighted rank of industry-standard ratings for financial strength and customer experience in addition to analysis of quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services, spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C. We know it is important for drivers to be confident their financial protection covers the likeliest risks, is priced competitively and is provided by a financially-sound company with a history of positive customer support.

To determine how well the best car insurance companies satisfy these priorities, third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, NAIC, and Moodys had the most impact on the companies’ Bankrate Scores. As price is a common consideration for drivers, we analyzed quoted premiums based on 40-year-old male and female drivers with a 2019 Toyota Camry. This profile, assessed across more than 35,000 ZIP codes in the U.S., provided a basis on which drivers may compare each provider.

While coverage options, insurer availability, affordability and customer experience are often the top priorities, Bankrate also analyzed each insurer’s online and mobile resources for policy management and claims handling. Insurance is rapidly evolving to keep pace with our digital world, so these aspects also carried weight in determining Bankrate Scores.

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
Reviewed by
Assistant Vice President & Claims Field Manager