Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in North Carolina

Man driving car being pulled over by police for driving without insurance.
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Each state, including North Carolina, has its own set of rules and penalties for drivers who are caught behind the wheel without car insurance. Take note: It's not the state fees that you should fear—it's being in a car accident without proper insurance in place to cover the costs of any fallout. The financial burden of covering the costs of a car accident while uninsured would be crippling for most people.

Learn more about why you need car insurance in the Tarheel State.

What Happens if You're Caught Driving Without Car Insurance?

If your insurance company fails to renew your policy, or if you have a lapse in coverage, your North Carolina insurer is required by law to notify the DMV. You will then be sent a notice to which you must respond within ten days. If there was no break in coverage, you must let the DMV know.

If there has been a lapse in coverage, you will be required to show proof of new insurance and pay an assessed fee within ten days. If you fail to pay on time, you will be subject to loss of your license plate.

What Are the Fees for Driving Without Car Insurance?

The dollar amount of your penalty is based on the number of lapses in coverage on your vehicle within the last three years. The current fees are:

  • $50 for the first lapse plus
  • $100 for the second lapse
  • $150 for the third lapse (or more)

Each of these also comes with a $50 license-restoration fee.

What Will Happen to Your Driver's License?

Depending on past traffic infractions, a driver who is involved in an accident, and does not posses at least liability insurance coverage at the time, may have their license suspended. Driving without proper insurance can result in three points being added to your record. A driver in North Carolina can have their license suspended if they accumulate 12 points in a three-year period. If it is the first time the license has been suspended, the suspension will last for 60 days. The second suspension will last for six months, and if it is the third time being suspended, it will last for one year.

Article Sources

  1. North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. "Insurance Requirements."

  2. North Carolina Legislature. "§ 20-16. Authority of Division to Suspend License."