Selecting the right auto insurance can seem like an overwhelming task. Insurance is an essential part of vehicle ownership, but there are so many things to take into consideration when purchasing it.
One thing is for sure; not having auto insurance is a big risk.
There were over 281,000 traffic crashes in North Carolina alone in 2018, and the number of crashes per year is steadily climbing. With numbers like that, purchasing auto insurance is a no-brainer.
If this is your first time buying auto insurance in North Carolina then you’re in the right place. Let’s go over some frequently asked questions about NC auto insurance.
1. Is Auto Insurance Required in NC?
Having a properly insured vehicle protects you and other drivers from the extremely high costs of vehicle repairs and/or medical treatment in the event of an accident.
In the state of North Carolina, auto insurance is a requirement under the law. There are no exceptions to that requirement and not carrying auto insurance can lead to some serious consequences.
2. What Are the Minimum Requirements for NC Auto Insurance?
North Carolina requires that you have certain minimum coverages included in your insurance policy. To meet these requirements, you must have:
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident
- Property Damage Liability Coverage: $25,000
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage: $30,000 per person and $60,00 per accident
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage: $25,000
Liability coverage is what covers you in the event that you’re in an at-fault accident. It will pay for damages caused by you to the driver’s car and any injuries they may sustain from the accident that requires medical treatment.
The uninsured motorist bodily damage coverage will protect you and your passengers if you get into a not-at-fault accident with a driver who isn’t carrying any liability insurance. It will cover any injuries that result in medical expenses.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage will protect your property if it is damaged in a not-at-fault accident and the driver is either not insured or their liability coverage is too low to cover the costs of the damage to your property. Your insurance company will cover the remaining cost of repairs/replacement.
3. What Kind of Coverage Do I Need?
The amount of coverage you need could vary based on many different things. You’ll need to assess your situation individually to find your exact needs.
Some things to consider when determining how much coverage to purchase would be:
- Type(s) of vehicle(s) you have
- Driving history of all drivers on your policy
- Number of drivers going on your policy
- How much you drive
4. What Affects My Insurance Rates?
There are many factors that go into determining your car insurance premium. Some of the factors are things you can control, but there are some things that will sway your rates one way or the other that cannot be controlled.
The things you have some leverage over would be the car you drive, your driving history and where you live.
Expensive cars tend to be more costly to insure. The safety features of your car are also a key factor in determining your premium.
Having a clean or low-incident history will go a long way in getting you the best rates. Accidents, tickets, and previous insurance claims, on the other hand, can severely increase your premiums.
Insurance companies will assess the area you live in the determine the population size, number of uninsured drivers in your area, risk of accidents, and risk of theft.
You can’t, however, control your age, gender, or years of driving experience, which also can affect your rates.
5. What Can I Do to Lower My Insurance Rates?
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to bring your NC auto insurance rates down.
If you are buying a new car, you can get a quote from your insurance company to see if there will be an increase or decrease in your premium. Look for cars with high safety ratings and avoid anything too “sporty” or expensive.
Taking a defensive driving course can also lower your rates for years to come. Typically, a certificate from one course will benefit you over approximately 1-3 years. You can take classes in person or online and there are many different options and price ranges to choose from.
The number one thing you can do to lower your NC auto insurance rates is to be a safe driver. Your driving history plays one of the biggest parts in determining your premium, so do your best to drive defensively.
6. What Is NC SDIP?
In North Carolina, being a safe driver can really pay off.
The North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan is a program designed to encourage drivers to practice safe driving habits. It is a point system, and drivers are charged different point amounts based on convictions and at-fault accidents.
The goal is to have as little points as possible to keep your insurance rates low. For every point you receive on the plan, your insurance rates will rise a predetermined amount.
7. What Happens If I Lose My Insurance or Have a Lapse in Coverage?
To stay compliant with the law, you must carry NC auto insurance on your vehicle at all times while it is registered with the state of North Carolina. Failure to maintain your insurance can lead to some pretty hefty fines.
The liability insurance law is important to the safety and well-being of all drivers on the road, and so it is very strictly enforced. Your insurance company is required to send a notice to the NC DMV to inform them that your insurance coverage has ended or if you’ve had a lapse in your coverage.
If you don’t rectify the situation quickly, you could have your car’s license plate revoked and be required to pay a lapse penalty fee ranging from $50 to $150 and an additional $50 to restore your registration.
How Do You Make Sure You Are Getting the Best Auto Insurance Policy?
Building the best NC auto insurance policy can be tricky, but our highly experienced insurance agents will know exactly how to tailor a policy to fit all your needs. We offer affordable rates and exceptional service in the Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham, and Cary, North Carolina regions.
If you’re in need of an auto insurance policy in North Carolina, feel free to come by our office, give us a call or fill out our online form to request a quote.