Penalties for Driving without Insurance in North Carolina

Penalties for Driving without Insurance in North Carolina

North Carolina is serious about car insurance. Driving without it is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, which means you could be on the hook for a number of penalties.

If you're caught driving without car insurance in North Carolina, the state may choose to suspend your driver's license, charge fines ranging from $50–$150, or require jail time. The penalties are more severe for frequent offenders.

How much insurance do I need in North Carolina?

According to the North Carolina Motor Vehicle Safety and Financial Responsibility Act, all drivers must carry car insurance with at least these coverage limits:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage

Penalties for driving without insurance

If your policy has lapsed, you must pay a civil penalty fee that ranges from $50 to $150. The amount depends on how many lapses you have on record. More importantly, driving without insurance is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina. That means you could either face imprisonment or be placed on probation for up to 45 days.

The state has a few ways to check your insurance status.

  • Your insurance company informed the DMV. Insurers are required to notify the department of motor vehicles if you've canceled coverage.
  • You couldn't provide proof of coverage. Law enforcement officers can ask you for proof of insurance during traffic stops or at the scene of an accident. If you don't have it, the officer may fine you and notify the DMV.

In either case, the DMV will send you a form FS 5-7, which is a liability insurance termination notice. You have 10 days to respond and prove you either have insurance or you've purchased a policy. If you don't respond by the deadline, the state may take your license plates for 30 days and suspend your registration.

In the table below, we've listed the penalties you could face for first, second and subsequent offenses. These penalties are in addition to court fees.

Fines
Driving privilege
Other

First offense

Civil penalty: $50/License reinstatement fee: $50Registration suspended for 30 daysProbation for 1–45 days

Second offense

Civil penalty: $100/License reinstatement fee: $50Registration suspended for 30 daysJail time or probation for 1–45 days

Third and subsequent offenses

Civil Penalty: $150/License reinstatement fee: $50Registration suspended for 30 daysJail time or probation for 1–45 days
{"alignsHorizontal":[],"alignsVertical":[],"columnWidths":[],"data":[["","Fines","Driving privilege","Other"],["\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EFirst offense\u003C\/strong\u003E","Civil penalty: $50\/License reinstatement fee: $50","Registration suspended for 30 days","Probation for 1\u201345 days"],["\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ESecond offense\u003C\/strong\u003E","Civil penalty: $100\/License reinstatement fee: $50","Registration suspended for 30 days","Jail time or probation for 1\u201345 days"],["\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EThird and subsequent offenses\u003C\/strong\u003E","Civil Penalty: $150\/License reinstatement fee: $50","Registration suspended for 30 days","Jail time or probation for 1\u201345 days"]],"footnote":"","hasMarginBottom":true,"isExpandable":true,"isSortable":false,"maxWidth":"1215","minWidth":"100%","showSearch":false,"sortColumnIndex":0,"sortDirection":"asc"}

If you can't find an insurer willing you sell you a policy, then contact the North Carolina Reinsurance Facility. This company provides coverage for high-risk drivers.

Penalties for first offense

First-time offenders get the lowest penalties. If you can't provide proof of insurance when a law enforcement officer asks for it, then you'll pay a $50 civil penalty fine and may be put on probation for up to 45 days. The state will suspend your registration and license plates for 30 days unless you submit proof of insurance and pay an additional $50 for reinstatement.

If you need to buy a new policy after a lapse, then compare quotes from multiple insurers to make sure you find the best rate. You may need to find an insurer that works with high-risk drivers.

{"zip":"28269","sr_22":true,"endpoint":"https:\/\/mediaalpha.valuepenguin.com\/api\/mediaalpha\/ads","onCurrent":"true"}

Penalties for second offense

If you have two offenses within three years, the civil penalty increases to $100. The state takes your registration and license plates for 30 days until you buy insurance. If your license was suspended, you'll need to pay the $50 fee to get it back. You also might face jail time or probation for up to 45 days. But you can avoid jail time and suspension by submitting proof of insurance within 10 days of receiving the FS 5-7 Notice, along with paying the civil penalty.

Penalties for third and subsequent offenses

When you hit your third offense within three years, the civil penalty fine increases to $150. You also lose your registration and license plates for 30 days until you get insurance and pay the $50 reinstatement fee. You may face jail time with a chance of probation.

Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

SR-22 Insurance

An SR-22 form is a certificate of financial responsibility that proves a driver has the minimum required auto insurance. You only need an SR-22 if your state or court orders you to get one — typically after a major driving violation.

Cost of Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance

Compare SR-22 Quotes and Find Cheap Coverage

{"backgroundColor":"ice","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ESR-22 Insurance\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EAn SR-22 form is a certificate of financial responsibility that proves a driver has the minimum required auto insurance. You only need an SR-22 if your state or court orders you to get one \u2014 typically after a major driving violation.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca data-eventcategory=\"Penalties Sidebar\" data-eventlabel=\"non-owner\" class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black js-event-click\" title=\"Cost of Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/non-owner-sr22-car-insurance\"\u003ECost of Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u003Ca data-eventcategory=\"Penalties Sidebar\" data-eventlabel=\"compare sr-22 quotes\" class=\"ShortcodeLink--root ShortcodeLink--black js-event-click\" title=\"Compare SR-22 Quotes and Find Cheap Coverage\" href=\"https:\/\/www.valuepenguin.com\/sr-22-auto-insurance\"\u003ECompare SR-22 Quotes and Find Cheap Coverage\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E","padding":"normal"}