Understanding Auto Insurance And Accident Compensation In North Carolina
Insurance plays a major role in the aftermath of car accidents and in personal injury litigation. But most people know little about even their own insurance policy. Below, we’ve provided some basic information about auto insurance in North Carolina. If you have questions or want to discuss your legal options following an accident, contact Hardee, Massey & Blodgett, LLP, for a free consultation.
Legally Required Coverage And Minimum Policy Limits
Like other states, North Carolina requires all vehicle owners to have auto insurance, with minimum coverage requirements set by state law. If you’re insured in North Carolina, your policy must include at least these provisions:
Bodily injury liability: If you or another driver on your policy were to cause a car accident, this coverage would pay for injuries suffered by other drivers and their passengers. The legal minimum coverage on your policy is up to $30,000 for one person and up to $60,000 for two or more people per accident.
Property damage liability: This covers damage to other people’s vehicles in accidents caused by you or another driver on your policy. Legal minimum coverage is $25,000.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage: This provision provides you with coverage for injuries stemming from an accident caused by another driver who is uninsured. Minimum requirements are up to $30,000 for one injured person and up to $60,000 for two or more people per accident.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage: If an uninsured or underinsured driver causes an accident that results in damage to your vehicle, this provision ensures that you can collect compensation up to coverage limits. Minimum coverage in North Carolina is $25,000.
In many states, coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists is an optional supplement. North Carolina has included it in the minimum requirements. For more information, visit our uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance page.
Optional Available Insurance Coverage
The four provisions listed above are required to be on your policy and to meet the minimum coverage amounts. If you can afford to do so, it is a good idea to increase coverage limits on all four of those provisions, because the costs of a car accident can quickly exceed coverage limits, and you don’t want to be held personally liable for any additional expenses.
There are also numerous optional policy add-ons that provide even more coverage, including (but not limited to):
- Collision coverage for your own vehicle
- Comprehensive vehicle damage coverage (covering damage to your vehicle from numerous sources other than car accidents)
- Medical payments coverage for those covered under your policy and anyone else who was riding in your insured vehicle at the time of an accident
- Rental vehicle coverage
- Coverage for “miscellaneous type” vehicles (such as travel trailers and golf carts)
- Coverage for vehicle towing and labor costs
Costs of these additional coverages will be determined by numerous factors, and details would need to be discussed with your insurer or insurance agent.
The Role Of Insurance In Accident Litigation
North Carolina is a “fault” state, meaning that the driver who caused the accident (and their insurance company by extension) is responsible for covering the costs of expenses like bodily injury, vehicle damage and lost wages. Most of us couldn’t come close to covering these costs on our own, which is why insurance is mandatory for all vehicle owners.
Insurers will do all they can to deny claims or settle them for as little as possible because they want to protect their bottom line. Our attorneys are not scared of or fooled by insurance company tactics, and we will not hesitate to take your case to trial if the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement or pay its financial obligations.