Best Car Insurance in Charlotte, NC

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Contributor, Benzinga
May 25, 2021

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Automobile insurance is more important than ever. It incentivizes you to exercise good driving habits and helps you drive with more confidence. In the case of accidents, insurance is there to save you from slipping into debt or legal difficulties.

If you’re caught without car insurance while driving in Charlotte, NC, you will have to pay a fine. It’s $50 for your first offense, $100 for the second one, and $150 for the third and every one after that. But it’s not just fines you have to worry about.

Charlotte, NC Auto Insurance Overview

  • Number of vehicles - 1.71 per household (according to the 2016 census)
  • Minimum state insurance requirements - In NC, all policies need to cover at least $30,000 for bodily injuries for each person, $60,000 for total bodily injuries, and $25,000 for property damage.
  • Average annual insurance rate -$656

What You Need to Know Before You Get Coverage in North Carolina

Being in a car accident while uninsured will also likely lead to a one-year suspension and three points added to your driving record. You would also have to provide proof of insurance before being reissued your license after the suspension is lifted.

But choosing the right car insurance isn’t always a straightforward process. Find out how to navigate the different options available and choose the one that works best for you.

North Carolina's Minimum Insurance Requirements

Like many other states, North Carolina made it automobile liability coverage mandatory. Liability coverage extends to both bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

The state set the following minimum coverage:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury when two or more persons are involved (total amount)
  • $25,000 for property damage

North Carolina Driving Laws

North Carolina enforces some strict driving laws in order to promote safe driving.

Speeding. You can lose your driver’s license if you have two speeding convictions in the same year.

Driving under the influence. Driving while under the influence can relieve you of your license for one year at your first offense. Three strikes will result in a permanent suspension.

Safety belts. Unsurprisingly, all passengers have to wear seat belts. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is $25 for front-seat passengers and $10 for back-seat passengers.

Texting and driving. Texting is prohibited while driving, regardless of the reason why you’re texting. Interestingly enough, talking on the phone is only illegal if you’re under 18 years of age. Even then, leniency is shown if you can prove that you were talking to a spouse or parent.

Rates Per Vehicle

The type of car you drive will definitely have some impact on the insurance rate. For instance, sports cars are known to have higher premiums than family cars.

At the same time, highly popular cars will have lower premiums. This is because repair costs and replacement parts are easier to find and they cost less.

Which factors can you expect to have the biggest impact on your premium? When it comes to strictly car-related areas of interest, the following factors are of major importance:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Safety features
  • Year
  • Sticker Price
  • Country of origin

The production year is in a grey area too. Some may think that it’s always more expensive to insure an old car but that’s not always the case.

Admittedly, it’s difficult to find parts for older vehicles and they’re also at a higher risk of breaking down and causing accidents. At the same time, full coverage on an older vehicle - even if it was made before airbags became mandatory in 1991 - still costs far less than full coverage on a luxury vehicle. Luxury cars could hold an insurance company accountable for tens of thousands or more in repairs.

Rates by Credit Score

Insurance companies determine their own insurance credit score rating system when calculating premiums. The main reason for this is so that companies can estimate insurance losses. These three factors are known to influence the credit score the most:

  • Payment history
  • Type of credit
  • Credit history

Everything is considered, from late payments to whether you took out loans or credit card debt. Most providers claim that they don’t consider income or address when determining the credit score.

However, your address is still important for calculating the insurance premium since there’s a big difference between driving a car in mostly rural areas as opposed to urban areas.

While having less than stellar credit affects your car insurance rate, there are many ways to improve your credit score. Your insurer will typically check your credit when you are up for renewal so it helps to monitor your credit and work on improving it (or maintaining it).

Credit ScoreCheapest ProviderRate For State Minimum Coverage
Poor 300-579Progressive$1,098
Fair 580-669GEICO$995
Good 670-739All State$665
Excellent 740+All State$660

Rates for Drivers with a Clean Record

Automobile insurance is a multi-billion dollar business. Insurance companies make money by essentially pooling enough money in premiums from good drivers so that they can cover drivers when they have claims.

It makes sense that companies put higher premiums on car insurance for drivers with poor driving records. So, if you exercise good driving habits, you can bring your insurance rate down a great deal, compared to a careless driver.

Ever think about trading your vehicle in for a more expensive model? Do you dream of a car big enough to comfortably fit the entire family and some friends? If you have a clean driving record, you can balance out some of the extra cost associated with a luxury vehicle.

There are also many insurance providers that offer bonuses in the form of discounts to drivers who stick with them while maintaining a clean driving record. Remember that avoiding big and small infractions is not just about staying safe on the road but also about spending less on insurance.

Insurance AgencyState Minimum InsuranceStandard CoverageFull Coverage
NC Farm Bureau$748$867$1,009
Auto Owners$520$705$917

Rates for Driver with Infractions

North Carolina, just like any other state, has its own way of classifying certain traffic violations. For example, talking on a phone while driving is not illegal unless you’re under 18, which certainly doesn’t apply all across the country. Teenager drivers in NC who were caught with their phone in hand also get off lucky - they only have to pay a fine and won’t lose driver’s license points.

However, other driving infractions carry serious weight. Speeding, racing (even betting on racing), not strapping a child in a seatbelt, DUIs, and other infractions can even double the insurance premium. Not to mention that they can lead to your license being suspended.

Insurance Agency At Fault Accident Speed Violation DUI
Auto Owners$1,560$997$3,337
North Carolina Farm Bureau$1,258$865$3,224
State Farm$1,288$1,113$2,689

Best Auto Insurance Providers in Charlotte

There are many excellent car insurance providers to choose from in Charlotte, NC. While every company has its pros and cons, there are a few that stand out.

As you can see from the tables, providers such as GEICO, Progressive, and State Farm have some very appealing rates. Of course, what’s best for you will depend on your record, credit score, and driving habits.

Remember that looking at rates is just part of the process when it comes to picking an insurance provider. These three companies are also known for their many discounts, extra perks, premium customer service, and overall good business practices.

Drive Safely in Charlotte, NC

Although Charlotte, NC doesn’t have the highest fines in the country for minor offenses, it still has strict regulations when it comes to safe driving.

In a way, good drivers are rewarded because of this. Charlotte has some of the lowest insurance rates in the country for clean record drivers and those with good credit scores.

Even excellent drivers need to have good insurance, as there is no way to tell what will happen on the road. Opting for comprehensive insurance means your vehicle is protected from acts of vandalism or car theft, as well as floods or animal damage. After Hurricane Florence, it is clear why many drivers decide to pay extra for better coverage.If you’re not sure how much you may have to pay for your car insurance, you can always get a quote to see what the most popular providers in Charlotte, NC have to offer.

Want to learn more about finding affordable insurance? Check out Benzinga's guides to the best home insurance in North Carolina, the best renters insurance companies and the best health insurance companies.

*Quotes were obtained using the following profile: base 2015 Toyota Camry, male, 40-years-old. Policies reflect state minimum coverage options. We make every effort to provide the most accurate quotes based on the profile above. Due to the many combined variables involved in insurance quotes, the only way to get an accurate quote is to enter your own information through our partners' secure websites.

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