Can you have a Driver’s License without Insurance in NC | Expert Guide

Can you have a driver’s license without insurance in NC? It’s because the state of North Carolina wants to make sure that if you cause an accident and damage other people’s property or medical bills, you have insurance to cover those costs.

You need good car insurance coverage to obtain a fundamental driver’s license. If you don’t intend to use a loaned vehicle while you’re in the state, you have an alternative option: a current state ID card.

Purchase of non-owner car insurance is one alternative. You can get a standard driver’s license in North Carolina if you have a non-owner’s policy that meets the state’s minimal liability insurance requirements.

To drive in NC, you must have minimum auto insurance. You will need auto insurance for all North Carolinians who hold a driver’s license. Many North Carolina motorists do not have any form of motor vehicle insurance. 

You should receive compensation from the other driver’s insurance company if their negligence caused your car accident. Injured in an accident? Arnold & Smith PLLC has a team of experienced Charlotte personal injury lawyers that can help you understand your options.

North Carolina’s Requirements for Liability-Only Car Insurance

Can You Have A Driver's License Without Insurance In NC

Drivers in North Carolina need by law to maintain a policy of bodily injury liability insurance at all times. A North Carolina insurance firm must provide the insurance policy. There are no North Carolina requirements for out-of-state policies.

To ensure the safety of motorists, passengers, and property, North Carolina mandates the purchase of third-party liability insurance. Residents of North Carolina require liability insurance to guard against personal harm and property loss due to careless driving. There is a minimum amount of insurance coverage that all drivers must-have.

Motorists must also have insurance for uninsured or underinsured drivers and collision coverage. An accident by an invalid or underweight driver may be held against an uninsured motorist. In this circumstance, the driver who is not at fault must file a claim with their insurance provider. If the driver is uninsured, they should file a claim for damages.

What North Carolina specifically demands as a bare minimum in insurance coverage is

  • A minimum of $30,000 in personal injury protection insurance
  • At least $60,000 worth of bodily harm to two or more people
  • A minimum of $25,000 in property damage insurance

North Carolina drivers who cancel their auto insurance policies face various consequences.

To ensure that the NCDMV knows when a policyholder drops their auto insurance, North Carolina insurance companies must notify the NCDMV. NCDMV will declare to the vehicle owner that the liability insurance has been terminated once reported. The motorist will have a ten-day grace period to react to the notice. 

If a driver does not respond, the following may occur:

  • You will revoke license plates on a driver’s vehicle.
  • Penalties under the law
  • Fees for missing a deadline
  • Interest \collections

Those who have their insurance lapse for the first time will be penalized $50 by the NCDMV. After three infractions, the fine rises to $150. Once a driver regains the necessary minimum insurance coverage, they must pay $50 to relicense their vehicle.

NCDMV requires the driver to file a Form FS-1 or Certificate of Insurance to the NCDMV before their car can be relicensed.

How much Insurance is in North Carolina?

Under the Motor Vehicle Safety and Financial Responsibility Act, all drivers in North Carolina are required to maintain auto insurance with the following minimum policy limits:

  • $30,000 per person for bodily harm
  • A bodily harm cap of $60,000 per incident
  • Damage to property costs $25,000 in this case.
  • Driving without insurance is punishable by a fine.

A civil penalty of $50 to $150 is due if your coverage has expired. The price varies according to the number of lapses that have been documented. In addition, in North Carolina, driving without insurance is a Class 1 misdemeanor. As a result, you could be sentenced to up to 45 days in jail or probation.

You may check your insurance status in various ways through the state. Your insurance company informed the DMV. Insurance companies are required to notify the DMV if you cancel your policy.

You didn’t have any proof of insurance. During traffic stops or at the site of an accident, law enforcement officers may ask you to show evidence of insurance. In that case, the police may issue a citation and report you to the DMV.

It doesn’t matter which way you go. The DMV will send you an FS 5-7, a notice terminating your liability insurance. To reply, you have ten days to show proof of insurance or proof of purchase of a policy. The state may suspend your registration for 30 days without a response and take away your license plates.

Disciplinary Measures for First-time Offenders

Disciplinary Measures for First-time Offenders

Punishment for first-time offenders is the lightest. If a law enforcement officer requests evidence of insurance, you will be fined $50 and placed on probation for up to 45 days if you fail to present it. Without proof of insurance and a $50 reinstatement fee, the state will revoke your registration and license plates for 30 days.

It’s essential to shop around for the best price when buying new insurance following a lapse in coverage. High-risk drivers may need a search for an insurance company that accepts them.

Second-time offenders face harsher penalties.

The civil penalty rises to $100 if you commit two infractions within three years. Unless you purchase insurance, the state will confiscate your registration and license plates for 30 days. Getting your driver’s license restored after it was suspended costs $50. 

You could be sentenced to 45 days in jail or probation if convicted. However, you can avoid jail time and a license suspension by paying the civil penalty and producing evidence of insurance within ten days of receiving the FS 5-7 Notice.

Retribution in the event of a third or subsequent violation

The civil penalty fine rises to $150 after the third offense within three years. For 30 days, your registration and license plates are also forfeited unless you obtain insurance and pay a reinstatement cost of $50. You may go to jail and then leave them on the probation-pending process.

An uninsured motorist caused my injuries. What am I supposed to do?

An uninsured motorist caused my injuries. What am I supposed to do

In North Carolina, it is believed that between nine and twenty-five percent of drivers do not have any form of insurance for their cars. Drivers without car insurance in North Carolina are breaking the law.

The only penalty for driving without insurance is a fine from the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). A personal injury case against the uninsured driver may be successful if the injured party can prove that the uninsured driver has assets.

A legal lawsuit against an uninsured driver may be moot if the uninsured driver has no assets. Even if a third entity, such as an employer, is to blame for the problem, a lawsuit may still be possible. Accident victims may sue their employer if the driver (without a license) had the job by the company at the time of the accident:

When the incident occurred, the worker was functioning within the scope of their job. In this case, it’s clear who was at fault: the driver, who was working for the company.

North Carolina Driver’s Licenses

North Carolina Driver's Licenses

Regulated Category C

You can drive personal vehicles and small trucks with a learner’s permit, which is the most frequent type of driver’s license. If you’re towing another car, you’ll need to have a combined GVWR of fewer than 26,001 pounds for both the towing vehicle and the vehicle itself.

Type Regular, Class A/B

You can obtain these licenses to operate larger vehicles exempt from CDL requirements. Class A is for towing a vehicle with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of at least 10,000 pounds. A vehicle with a GVWR greater than or equal to 26,001 pounds and towing a vehicle with a GVWR not exceeding 10,000 pounds is classified as Class B.

Commercial Classes A, B, and C

To operate any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 26,001 pounds, you will need a Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license. If the GVRW of the vehicle being towed is more significant than 10,000 pounds, then all of this is possible (Class C).

Vehicles carrying 16 or more passengers (including the driver) or placards indicate conveying that many people (Class D). Towing a car with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds (Class E) is prohibited (Class C).

Class M.

It’s a license that allows you to drive a motorcycle on public roads, and it comes with an endorsement. To be eligible for a North Carolina motorcycle endorsement, you must hold a current North Carolina driver’s license in any class.

How to apply for a full provisional license in North Carolina

How to apply for a full provisional license in North Carolina

The third and final step of the NC Graduated Licensing Program for teenagers between the ages of 16 and 17 is the NC Level 3 Provisional Driver License. Even if the limitations on driving time and passengers have been eased, using a cell phone while driving remains prohibited unless in emergencies.

Take advantage of the six-month grace period on your temporary restricted license. No moving offenses or seat belt/mobile phone violations can occur during this six-month time frame.

Revise your vehicle’s logbook.

You need a minimum of 12 hours of driving. You must do six of these at night. Your log must be valid and signed by your supervisor (your parent or guardian, a grandparent, or someone else your parent or guardian has allowed). The log is available at the DMV.

Apply at a DMV office in person.

Bring proof that you have a REAL ID with you (OPTIONAL)

To fly or visit a government institution after October 2020, you’ll need a REAL ID license (with a yellow star in the upper right corner). However, you don’t have to get one now.

There are several things you’ll need to show proof of:

  • Your real name and birth date, social security number, or other proof of legal residency in the United States.
  • Your residence in North Carolina (2 documents)

Insurance for liability

It costs five dollars each year, and you can pay with a credit or debit card, a cashier’s check, or a money order.

  • Obtain a 60-day driving certificate from the DMV.
  • Within 20 days, you will receive your provisional license.
  • Dropping out of school will revoke your driving privileges. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Get Car Insurance for a Car You Don’t Own?

You may require auto insurance even if you don’t drive. Non-owner car insurance is the term for this type of coverage. A credit card and a driver’s license are all you need.

How much insurance do I need in North Carolina?

Under the Motor Vehicle Safety and Financial Responsibility Act, all drivers in North Carolina need to maintain auto insurance with the following minimum policy limits:

  • $30,000 per person for bodily harm
  • A bodily harm cap of $60,000 per incident
  • Damage to property costs $25,000 in this case.

How to Apply for Limited Learner Permit in North Carolina?

The first step in the North Carolina Graduated Licensing Program for teens age 15 and up is obtaining a limited learner’s permit. To practice driving, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver who has been on the road for at least five years. You can only practice from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. for the first six months.

How to Apply for Your Adult Unrestricted Driver License in North Carolina?

You can obtain adult driver’s licenses at the age of 18 if you have never held a driver’s license in the United States. Eyesight, road sign recognition, knowledge, and driving test will require you. If you don’t already have one, you can apply for a learner’s permit.

How to Renew Your Driver License in North Carolina?

By Mail or in-person, Around 60 days before your license expiration date, the DMV will mail you a reminder card. During the 180 days before your license expiration date or within two years of your license expiration, you may renew your license in person.

It would help if you had an in-person renewal together with vision and sign tests. 

Any DMV location or contact (919) 715-7000 to make an appointment in advance.

Will I get a ticket if I am caught driving without car insurance in North Carolina?

As a state, North Carolina takes automotive insurance very seriously and enforces it rigorously. A minor traffic ticket will not come out if you don’t have it while driving. You will file a Class 3 misdemeanor against you, and if you are guilty, that will appear on your permanent record.

What Are the Minimum Requirements for Auto Insurance in North Carolina?

Each driver must carry a minimum of $30,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person, $60,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per accident, and $25,000 in property damage liability insurance per accident in North Carolina. In an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, drivers must also carry the exact minimum amounts of uninsured bodily injury coverage.

A motorist’s insurance carrier must notify the Department of Motor Vehicles if they allow their coverage to lapse. When making a traffic stop, an officer has the authority to ask for proof of insurance from the driver.

What non-owner car insurance covers in North Carolina?

Insurance for an automobile that the policyholder does not own often only covers the legal responsibility of third parties. Liability insurance requirements in North Carolina usually are 30/60/25.

Non-owner car insurance policies do not include additional coverage such as collision, comprehensive, roadside assistance, towing, and rental reimbursement because there is no specific vehicle to insure.

Non-owner automobile insurance does not cover the cost of repairing a loaned vehicle in the event of an accident. For example, a non-policy owner may allow you to add uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection to your policy. When getting quotes, be sure to bring up the possibility of additional insurance coverage.

Bottom line

Insurance prices for automobiles can vary widely. The year, make, and model of your automobile, where you live; how often you drive; and your driving record in the United States all affect your car insurance premiums. As a general rule of thumb, comparison shopping is the best strategy.

  • Liability protection.
  • Compensation for the harm you cause to others by operating a vehicle. In most cases, you will find minimums by state financial responsibility legislation. Insurance of this kind is typically the bare minimum.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments Insurance
  • Motorists’ Compensation for Uninsured Drivers.
  • Reimbursement for damages you can suffer and your passengers due to an accident with an underinsured, uninsured, or fleeing motorist.
  • Coverage for accidents involving vehicles.

Even if you’re at fault in a car accident, you’ll still receive compensation for the repair of your vehicle.

According to the North Carolina Auto Insurance Rate Bureau, you will be an Inexperienced Driver even if you have prior driving experience in your own country. For six months of liability insurance, you may have to pay between $800 and $1,200. Calling a few different insurance companies may help you get a better deal.


Adam Grabois is an expert in all aspects of Insurance and Property with 20 years of experience. He is a licensed broker of all lines including property, casualty, life, and health. As a licensed adjuster, he is well-versed in all aspects of insurance, and he owns All Needs Insurance agency in Florida.

He attended Tufts University where he earned his undergraduate degree, followed by a Master's degree from Columbia University.

Adam shares his breadth of experience by helping many businesses and individuals manage risk and protect themselves financially. He now shares this with the audience of the "Pro Insurance Info" website.

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