What are the Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in North Carolina?

Suffering an injury in a car accident can be extremely distressing. Sometimes, the at-fault driver does not have car insurance, and injured parties are left wondering how they will afford their medical costs. North Carolina law requires drivers to purchase minimum amounts of regular car insurance, uninsured motorist insurance, and underinsured motorist insurance.

Motor Vehicle Insurance Requirements in North Carolina

North Carolina law requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of driving insurance. Drivers must purchase the following minimum amounts of coverage in North Carolina:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: Minimum legal requirement $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: Minimum legal requirement $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist property damage: Minimum legal requirement $25,000
  • Property damage liability coverage: Minimum legal requirement $25,000

North Carolina drivers are legally obligated to carry their insurance ID card with them while driving at all times. If a law enforcement officer asks to see their ID card, they are required to present it. The following specific documents are required:

  • DL-123 certification from an insurance agent
  • A copy of your policy declaration page
  • An insurance binder copy
Underinsured or Uninsured Driver Insurance in North Carolina

North Carolina drivers must carry minimum general car insurance. They must also carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage gives a driver legal protection if an uninsured driver causes an accident resulting in his or her injuries. Underinsured driver insurance protects a driver when the at-fault driver who creates his or her injuries does have motor vehicle insurance but not enough coverage to pay for all of the injured party's costs. North Carolina drivers must take out policies with the following insurance limits:

  • Property damage insurance of at least $25,000
  • Bodily injury for two or more people of at least $60,000
  • Bodily injury insurance of at least $30,000 for one person

When a driver purchases an uninsured motorist policy, his or her own insurance company assumes the place of the at-fault driver’s insurance company and pays for costs related to the injury.

Alternatives to Minimum Car Insurance in North Carolina

North Carolina law permits a few different options that satisfy the requirement that all drivers carry motor vehicle insurance. If a North Carolina driver does not have a policy, he or she can present one of the following to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles who will then issue a certificate of insurance:

  • Surety Bond: drivers have the option to submit a surety bond for at least $85,000 as proof of financial responsibility. A surety bond is essentially a guarantee that the driver can make payments to the injured party after he or she caused an accident. If the at-fault driver cannot pay up to $85,000 in injuries, the company who issued the bond will pay the bills in the driver’s place, then collect from the driver.

  • Self-insurance: those who own or lease 26 or more cars under their name may apply to become a self-insurer under the Commissioner. When applying for a self-insurance license, the Commissioner will ask for documents proving your financial standing - such as financial or income statements. Only applicants who demonstrate their financial ability to satisfy payments for injuries caused by accidents may be self-insured. The Commissioner may choose to issue a Certificate that will meet North Carolina’s insurance requirements.

  • Security Deposit/Cash: a North Carolina driver can choose to make an $85,000 deposit to the State Treasurer in exchange for a certificate from the Commissioner. The certificate will satisfy the legal requirement for carrying minimum amounts of driver’s insurance.

  • Real Estate Bond: Drivers who can provide the Commissioner with a real estate bond that guarantees payment of up to $85,000 per accident. If the driver causes an accident and fails to make payments to the injured party, the Commissioner can appropriate and sell the real estate assets to make the necessary payments.

The Charlotte Car Accident Attorneys Can Help

If you or a family member have suffered injuries as the result of a North Carolina car accident, we can help. Our experienced car accident attorneys have helped many North Carolinians receive compensation for their injuries. Contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation, now with convenient locations in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.

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