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FAQs About North Carolina Car Insurance

Is vehicle insurance required under North Carolina law?

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), every driver must have auto insurance to operate a vehicle. The state requires a minimum bodily injury liability coverage of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. A minimum legal requirement of $25,000 for property damage liability is also required.

Does North Carolina require vehicle owners to purchase uninsured motorist coverage?

Yes, uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is required in North Carolina. UM coverage protects the driver if they are involved in a crash with another driver who does not have auto insurance. It also covers a policyholder if they are injured and/or have property damage in a hit and run accident. The minimum legal requirement for uninsured motorist bodily injury is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. For property damage, the minimum legal requirement is $25,000.

The state also requires underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Many drivers in North Carolina choose to go with the lowest requirements of coverage the state requires - $30,000 per person bodily injury, $60,000 per accident, but medical expenses alone can quickly exceed those amounts, never mind all the other losses a car accident victim should be financially compensated for. UIM coverage can cover these other expenses once the at-fault driver’s liability limits have been reached.

How does North Carolina handle “fault” in car accident claims?

Some states require vehicle owners to carry no-fault auto insurance, but North Carolina is not one of them. The state allows insurance companies to use fault as a reason to deny a driver’s accident claim. Under what is known as “contributory negligence,” an injured victim can be prohibited from collecting any damages if it can be shown that they had any percentage of fault at all for the accident. An insurance company may try to assign partial blame to the victim in order to get out of paying the compensation the victim is entitled to. This is why many accident victims turn to a North Carolina car accident attorney in order to protect their right to damages.  

How long does it take for an insurance company to process a car accident claim?

North Carolina has a Prompt Pay Law that requires insurance companies to respond to in a timely manner to any insurance claim that is filed. Once a claim is filed, the insurance company has 30 days from the day the claims processor receives the claim to respond. The company must advise you in writing that your claim is being processed, pay the claim as submitted, offer a settlement amount, or deny the claim within that 30-day window. Once a claim is settled, the funds should be delivered to the victim within 10 business days.

If the claim is denied, North Carolina law requires the insurance company to provide the victim with a written explanation as to why, including the citing of any applicable laws and/or language in their client’s policy.

For more information regarding North Carolina car insurance laws, or if you have been injured in a crash, contact Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to speak with one of our skilled North Carolina car accident attorneys.

Randall E. Appleton
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia