Whether you drive in Raleigh or downtown Charlotte, you may be wasting up to 40 hours sitting in traffic delays each year, according to a study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. But driving in the Tar Heel State also has a big advantage: car insurance in North Carolina costs about $186 less annually than the national average.
Car insurance is a cost all drivers have to deal with, but the amount you pay is based on a number of factors. Insurance companies determine rates by looking at your driving history, mileage and driving experience. In addition, other factors, such as your location, can also have a big impact on what you pay. Drivers living in areas with lots of traffic, accidents and high rates of vehicle theft will likely be stuck with higher car insurance bills.
By law, companies cannot use age or gender when setting prices for North Carolina residents. But the state does allow for a surcharge for customers with less than three years as licensed drivers.
NerdWallet crunched the numbers to find how much North Carolina drivers pay for car insurance in each county.
Where you live can affect your car insurance bill. Folks in Scotland County shell out the most in the state at an average annual rate of $1,087. In contrast, residents in Buncombe enjoy the cheapest average costs at $828 a year.
Insurance rates are below the national average. North Carolina drivers each year spend an average of $914 on car insurance, which is lower than the national average of $1,100.
Drivers in some areas pay more for insurance. NerdWallet found that the two counties with the most expensive car insurance in North Carolina — Scotland and Robeson — also are home to families with some of the lowest average annual household incomes and property values.
Average car insurance costs in North Carolina
The data for each county are ranked from most to least expensive average premiums.
How you can save on car insurance
No matter where you live or your driving record, here are some ways you can save on car insurance:
Adjust your coverage: Even though the state sets the minimum required amount of liability coverage, many drivers carry more. However, as your car gets older, it makes less financial sense to pay for collision and comprehensive coverage. That’s because the maximum insurance payout you’ll receive if your car is totaled or stolen is the actual cash value of the car.
Find discounts: Insurance companies offer a variety of discounts based on driving history, car safety features, military service and more. Contact your carrier to see which discounts you might qualify for.
Compare car insurance quotes: Insurance companies charge different rates for the same coverage. Online tools, such a NerdWallet’s insurance comparison tool, will help you find companies that offer the lowest rates.
To determine average insurance premiums, we retrieved quotes for North Carolina ZIP codes for a Toyota Camry and a Ford Escape.
Two coverage packages were used for rates: Liability coverage limits of 30/60/25 and uninsured motorist coverage for the same amount; and liability coverage limits of 100/300/100 and uninsured motorist coverage for the same amount. All profiles have comprehensive and collision coverage with $500 a deductible.
Estimated costs are for illustrative purposes only. Your rates will be different.
Jeffrey Chu is an analyst covering insurance for NerdWallet.
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