No matter where you live in the U.S., you need proof of liability insurance to drive your car. However, if you borrow cars occasionally or rent them but don’t currently own one, you might be able to get non-owners liability insurance. Also called non-owner car insurance, this is an alternative to standard liability coverage for a car owner. North Carolina is one of the most affordable states for car insurance in general, so finding an affordable non-owner insurance policy shouldn’t be difficult. Here’s the full guide to non-owners liability insurance in North Carolina.
What Is Non-Owner Car Insurance?
Every state requires you to have minimum liability coverage in case of a car accident, even if you don’t have a car. Non-owner car insurance is an option to get coverage if you don’t have a registered vehicle in your name. Liability means who was at fault, and North Carolina non-owner insurance is for any car accident damages for which you are liable. Unlike regular liability insurance for a car owner, you cannot combine additional coverage types like comprehensive or collision with non-owner coverage, as these require you to own a car.
Besides not owning a car, there are a couple of other limitations to non-owner liability coverage. You cannot get this insurance if you are listed as a driver on a registered vehicle’s title or someone’s car insurance policy. If you are living with your parents or guardians and using their vehicles, you must be listed on their insurance, meaning you cannot get non-owner car insurance until you move out.
North Carolina Liability Insurance Requirements
In North Carolina, you can never drive an automobile without a sufficient license, registration if you own it, and proof of liability insurance. The minimum standard liability car insurance coverage for drivers in The Tar Heel State is a 30/60/25 plan. That means you get:
- $30,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $60,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident
- $25,000 of property damage coverage
Across the state, North Carolina car insurance costs an average of $865 per year, nearly 40% below the national average. Their coverage minimums are above average compared to other states, particularly in bodily injury liability. Non-owner policies cost less in general, so you can count on even better rates. A North Carolina non-owner coverage policy even includes property damage liability, which is relatively uncommon. All in all, you have a better chance of getting a great deal on non-owner liability insurance in North Carolina than in many other states.
Which Non-Owner Insurance Provider Should You Get?
Every provider will charge rates based on your driving record, where you live, your age, and many other factors. Since they calculate everything differently, some North Carolina car insurance providers will offer you better or higher quotes than expected. Across the country, some of the most affordable car insurance providers are:
- Geico: $492 per year
- NC Farm Bureau: $528 per year
- Erie: $540 per year
- State Farm: $564 per year
- Auto-Owners: $588 per month
Each company has a different favored customer, like how Navy Federal focuses on military service members and their families. Geico is the only company that bundles a non-owner liability car insurance policy with renters or homeowners insurance at a discount. Some companies offer non-owner policies to only a limited group, like how Progressive only offers non-owner policies to existing customers.
The average cost of non-owner car insurance in North Carolina is $406 per year, about three-quarters the average price for standard car owner’s liability coverage in North Carolina, which is $542 per year. Available insurance rates will depend largely on why you don’t have access to a car, your driving record, and your overall risk as a driver.
For instance, if your car was totaled in an at-fault accident as a result of a DUI, your driving record will carry that conviction for seven to 10 years. You won’t have to file an SR-22 form like most states, but your insurance cost will rise by an average of 278% until your record is clean. That said, if you have a clean record and just don’t own a car, non-owner insurance will probably cost you somewhere around $450 per year in North Carolina.
Does North Carolina Non-Owners Coverage Require Uninsured Coverage?
When you get in an accident that wasn’t your fault but the at-fault driver can’t fully cover the damages, uninsured motorist car insurance helps pay for any remaining expenses. When getting liability insurance as a car owner, uninsured motorist coverage is usually required as well, but different states require more or less, and not all of them include property damage protection.
North Carolina is very thorough about minimum insurance coverage. Just like how non-owner liability has the same minimum as car owner coverage, so does uninsured motorist insurance — $30,000 for bodily injury per person, $60,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. Since this type of coverage is required, it’s bundled in with the price of North Carolina liability coverage.
If you’re having trouble remembering how much and what kinds of insurance you are legally required to get, keep the following in mind. In North Carolina, you need uninsured motorist coverage, plus either owners liability car insurance if you have a car or non-owner liability if you don’t. For all of them, you must carry the minimum coverage of 30/60/25 or more at all times. Be sure not to go into a lapse because a lack of proper insurance can lead to higher and higher fees and a potential license suspension.
If you live a lifestyle where you can borrow cars, rent vehicles, or share rides to get by, non-owner liability coverage gives you proper legal proof of insurance. You won’t have to pay for regular liability coverage, likely saving you a few hundred dollars per year. You’ll also have to get uninsured motorist coverage, which is usually included in the fee for your liability policy. Just remember that you can’t get a non-owner policy if you’re listed as a driver on any North Carolina vehicle title or if you live in the same household as someone whose car you borrow.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.