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Best Cheap Car Insurance in North Carolina for 2020

Jan. 2, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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Drivers looking for cheap car insurance in North Carolina can save by shopping around. Prices differ from one company to the next, and depend on personal factors such as whether you’ve caused car accidents.

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To help you compare rates in the Tar Heel State, NerdWallet analyzed quotes from the eight largest insurance companies in North Carolina and found the five cheapest options for several driver types.

Cheapest for good drivers in North Carolina

For North Carolinians with good credit and a clean driving history, the cheapest insurance companies and their average rates for full coverage are:

  1. Geico: $869 per year.
  2. Erie: $887 per year.
  3. State Farm: $898 per year.
  4. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $903 per year.
  5. Progressive: $1,002 per year.
Drivers with no recent accidents or violations can get cheaper car insurance rates for having good credit. For this calculation, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with a clean driving record and good credit. In terms of driving and credit history, a large portion of drivers are closest to this profile, which carries standard "full coverage" insurance, including comprehensive and collision, along with state-required coverage. Prices shown include a good driver discount, when available from the insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage in North Carolina

For drivers who want North Carolina’s minimum required coverage, these are the cheapest companies we found and their average rates for drivers with good credit and a clean driving record:

  1. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $331 per year.
  2. State Farm: $339 per year.
  3. Erie: $349 per year.
  4. Geico: $354 per year.
  5. Progressive: $385 per year.
We calculated these numbers by averaging rates for 40-year-old good drivers (earning them a discount if the insurer offers one) who have only the minimum mandatory insurance in their state. Such light coverage isn't typically recommended, since it might not cover all the bills resulting from a car accident, but it's better than nothing — especially if you can't afford much more. If you're looking for the cheapest possible insurance you can get, though, you'll still want to get quotes from at least three auto insurers.

Cheapest for good drivers with poor credit

For North Carolina drivers with blemished credit and a clean driving history, the cheapest companies and their average rates are:

  1. Geico: $869 per year.
  2. National General: $1,079 per year.
  3. Progressive: $1,142 per year.
  4. Erie: $1,181 per year.
  5. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $1,428 per year.
If you have a spotty credit history, it's important to shop around to find the cheapest auto insurance rates you can. Poor credit can have a bigger effect on car insurance premiums than even a DUI conviction or a recent at-fault crash, but prices vary by insurer. To calculate these figures, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-olds with a clean driving record and associated good driver discount, if the insurer offered one. They had poor credit as reported to their insurer, and standard "full coverage" car insurance.

Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash

After an at-fault crash, North Carolina drivers may want to check out these companies, which showed the lowest average rates for this group:

  1. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $1,343 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,391 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,456 per year.
  4. Geico: $1,526 per year.
  5. National General: $1,624 per year.
After a relatively minor crash, some auto insurers will charge a lot more than others for coverage. To get these figures, we averaged rates for 40-year-olds with typical "full coverage" insurance and one recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Your rates will remain high for three to five years after you cause an accident or have a moving violation. If you fall into this category, be sure to shop for new insurance rates just after the three-year and five-year anniversaries of your infraction.

Cheapest insurance after a DUI in North Carolina

The cheapest companies for North Carolina drivers with a recent DUI on their records, ranked by their average rates, are:

  1. National General: $2,653 per year.
  2. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $3,396 per year.
  3. Erie: $3,546 per year.
  4. State Farm: $3,552 per year.
  5. Geico: $4,492 per year.
A conviction for driving under the influence, or DUI, generally results in higher auto insurance premiums than before. NerdWallet analyzed rates for 40-year-old drivers and standard “full coverage” car insurance with a recent DUI conviction to see which companies were cheapest. Rates can vary by hundreds between carriers after a DUI, and some penalize for longer than others, so it’s important to shop around for the best price right after you see a price hike and each year after that.

Cheapest insurance after a ticket in North Carolina

For drivers with a recent speeding ticket on their records, the cheapest companies and their average rates in North Carolina are:

  1. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $1,233 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,276 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,336 per year.
  4. National General: $1,379 per year.
  5. Geico: $1,387 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket will result in higher car insurance rates from most companies for three to five years. To see who has the cheapest rates, we calculated average car insurance rates for 40-year-old drivers with “full coverage” insurance and a recent ticket for speeding 16 mph over the limit. Though these larger companies were the cheapest we found on average, others may be cheaper for you, so be sure to get at least three quotes before deciding on a carrier.

Cheapest for couples and families in North Carolina

The cheapest companies for couples and families in North Carolina aren’t the same as the cheapest ones for single drivers, NerdWallet’s analysis found. Insurers have different approaches to setting rates, so when a major change happens in your life, such as getting married, moving or adding a teen driver to your policy, shop around for insurance quotes to find your best price.

Cheapest for a married couple in North Carolina

These are the cheapest companies and average rates we found for a husband and wife in North Carolina, both 50 years old, buying full coverage for two vehicles:

  1. Erie: $1,137 per year.
  2. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $1,259 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,278 per year.
  4. Geico: $1,340 per year.
  5. Progressive: $1,374 per year.
Couples who live together can save on auto insurance by combining policies, whether they are married or not, because they can earn multi-car and multi-driver discounts. Once they tie the knot, rates can dip further, but not because of discounts — insurers see married people as less risky and so charge them lower rates. Our hypothetical 50-year-old couple’s clean driving record also earns them both a good driver discount.

Cheapest for families with a teen in North Carolina

For a 50-year-old married couple with an 18-year-old driver on the policy, the cheapest companies and their average rates in North Carolina are:

  1. Erie: $1,508 per year.
  2. National General: $1,972 per year.
  3. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $1,983 per year.
  4. Geico: $1,985 per year.
  5. Progressive: $1,999 per year.
Taking that same couple and adding a teen with two years’ driving experience is sure to cause a big jump in rates. Since different insurers tend to see a teen’s inexperience in different ways, we analyzed rates to see which companies had the cheapest car insurance for teens. These rates are averaged for 50-year-old couples with male and female 18-year-old drivers across the state.

Cheapest for young drivers in North Carolina

Young people typically face higher car insurance rates than drivers with more experience, but each insurer treats personal factors differently when setting prices. To see which companies are cheapest for young drivers, NerdWallet checked rates for 25-year-olds in North Carolina.

Cheapest full coverage for young good drivers

For a 25-year-old with good credit and a clean driving history, the cheapest companies and their average rates for full coverage in North Carolina are:

  1. Geico: $881 per year.
  2. Erie: $908 per year.
  3. Progressive: $1,036 per year.
  4. National General: $1,068 per year.
  5. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $1,068 per year.
Drivers in their 20s can have a hard time finding cheap car insurance, and that's even truer when they need full coverage. The rates above are averages for 25-year-old male and female drivers all over the state with comprehensive and collision coverages, which are often required for drivers with active auto loans or leases. These rates reflect a good driver discount, but no others. Young drivers, like all drivers, should check several quotes to find the cheapest for the coverage levels they need.

Cheapest minimum coverage for young good drivers

For bare-bones coverage, a young driver with good credit and a clean driving record may want to check out these companies, which had the cheapest average rates for North Carolina’s minimum required car insurance:

  1. Erie: $357 per year.
  2. Geico: $358 per year.
  3. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $387 per year.
  4. Progressive: $395 per year.
  5. National General: $436 per year.
Since young people often have fewer assets to protect with liability insurance, they can usually get away with lower coverage limits. For an age group with relatively high insurance rates on average, that's good news, keeping rates as low as possible. For this price set, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers living across the state who have clean driving records, good credit and bare-bones insurance coverage.

Poor credit and minimum coverage

These are the cheapest companies and average rates for a 25-year-old North Carolina driver with poor credit, buying the state’s minimum required coverage:

  1. Geico: $358 per year.
  2. Progressive: $439 per year.
  3. National General: $453 per year.
  4. Erie: $468 per year.
  5. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $514 per year.
Poor credit is common for younger folks just starting out, who may still be building their credit files. That can increase rates further, so it's extra important to shop around and compare as many insurance quotes as possible to find the cheapest you can get. For these prices, we averaged rates across the state for 25-year-old male and female drivers with no recent accidents or violations (earning them a good driver discount), minimum coverage car insurance, and credit in the "poor" tier as reported to an insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a crash

For 25-year-olds in North Carolina with an at-fault crash on their driving record, the cheapest companies and their average rates for minimum coverage are:

  1. Erie: $557 per year.
  2. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $577 per year.
  3. Geico: $612 per year.
  4. Progressive: $667 per year.
  5. National General: $682 per year.
To get prices for this group, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers across the state with good credit and a recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Since car insurance is often pricier after a crash, and especially so for young drivers, we assumed minimum required insurance in the state to contain costs for our hypothetical driver. If you've caused a crash, no matter your age, be sure to check auto insurance quotes just after the third and fifth anniversaries of your incident, when insurers often adjust rates downward.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a DUI

For young drivers in North Carolina with a DUI on their record, the cheapest companies and average rates for minimum required coverage are:

  1. National General: $611 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,417 per year.
  3. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $1,467 per year.
  4. Geico: $1,680 per year.
  5. Progressive: $1,736 per year.
Young drivers with a recent DUI on their records will need to be diligent to find the lowest car insurance rates they can get — it's likely that many companies' rates will be quite expensive. But spending the time to shop around for quotes can help you find the lowest. For this analysis, we averaged rates for male and female 25-year-old drivers with a recent on-record DUI. They had good credit and minimum required car insurance, which helps keep rates down.

Cheapest for minimum coverage and a ticket

After a speeding ticket, these are the cheapest companies for a 25-year-old driver in North Carolina, ranked by their average rates for minimum required coverage:

  1. Erie: $511 per year.
  2. North Carolina Farm Bureau: $530 per year.
  3. Geico: $555 per year.
  4. Progressive: $597 per year.
  5. National General: $608 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket is never fun, and neither is the higher car insurance bill you may receive months later. At that point it's time to shop around for better rates, and it wouldn't hurt to repeat on your third and fifth ticket anniversaries, when insurers may adjust rates downward. We analyzed rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with a recent speeding violation for going 16 mph over the speed limit to see prices for this group.

Recap: Cheapest car insurance in North Carolina

  • Good drivers: Geico.
  • Minimum coverage: North Carolina Farm Bureau.
  • Poor credit: Geico.
  • After an at-fault crash: North Carolina Farm Bureau.
  • After a DUI: National General.
  • After a speeding ticket: North Carolina Farm Bureau.
  • Married couples: Erie.
  • Families with a teen: Erie.
  • Young good drivers: Geico.
  • Minimum coverage for young good drivers: Erie.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers with poor credit: Geico.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a crash: Erie.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a DUI: National General.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a ticket: Erie.

» MORE: Compare car insurance

Minimum auto insurance limits required in North Carolina

North Carolina requires drivers to carry liability insurance, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI) and uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD) in the following amounts:

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $30,000 UMBI per person.
  • $60,000 UMBI per accident.
  • $25,000 UMPD per accident.

While this will satisfy legal requirements, the bare minimum may not provide the soundest financial protection. If you cause a severe crash with someone driving a luxury car, for instance, you could easily owe more than $25,000 in vehicle repairs. And if you carry only the minimum limits, you’d pay any extra costs.

Check out NerdWallet’s guide to state car insurance requirements for more details on what each coverage type pays for.

Alternative car insurance for high-risk drivers

Drivers who are denied car insurance on the voluntary market — because of poor credit, DUIs or other factors — can seek coverage through the North Carolina Reinsurance Facility.

Budget-conscious shoppers can also use NerdWallet to find cheap car insurance in North Carolina. Try our tool for a side-by-side auto insurance quotes comparison from the state’s largest insurers

Methodology

For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers in the state for 40-year-old men and women in all ZIP codes with 12,000 annual miles driven. The policy includes:

  • $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 coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
If required, minimum additional coverages were added. Our “young driver” had all the same characteristics, but average rates were for 25-year-old men and women. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state.
  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for drivers with poor credit.
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.
  • For drivers with a ticket, we added a single speeding violation for driving 16 mph over the speed limit.
  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation.
We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE for all single drivers. Couples in our analyses were 50-year-old men and women with good credit and clean driving histories, averaged across all ZIP codes with the same policy outlined above. To see rates for families with a teen, we added an 18-year-old licensed two years ago, averaging rates for male and female teens. For couples and families we added a 2016 Nissan Rogue S to create a two-car household. These are rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.