In this article, Jackie Houser of Flexner Houser Injury Law has good news and not-so-good news regarding upcoming changes to every North Carolina Insurance policy.
Since 1999, the minimum limits for automobile insurance coverage in North Carolina has remained at a stagnant $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 property damage. What this means is that the minimum coverage allowed one person to recover was up to $30,000 per accident; and the most that could be paid per accident for bodily injury was $60,000—regardless of the number of persons injured; and $25,000 would be the statutory minimum for property damage claims—regardless of how many vehicles were involved.
The good news is that beginning January 1, 2025, these minimum limits will be increased. Beginning in 2025, the new statutory minimum policy limits in North Carolina will be $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident, and $50,000 property damage.
These increases are long overdue. It’s more expensive than ever to get medical care after being injured in an automobile accident, and it is disheartening to have clients with serious injuries who are concerned about the cost of their care rather than just getting the care they need.
Now, for the not-so-good news: North Carolina automobile insurance premiums are going up. Every North Carolina automobile policy renewed after December 1, 2023, will likely see an increase of 4.5% (on average) for the coming year and another 4.5% increase next year. In total, the average increase will be 9% over two years, which is much less than the 28% requested by the insurance industry, but it will still have a notable impact.
Hearing this might tempt you to slim down your insurance coverage or look elsewhere to “name your own price” so that your insurance payments stay the same, but I would like to discourage you from doing this. It is still very important to have underinsured motorist coverage and medical payments coverage. We discussed those topics in detail in our last blog post: I Don’t Sell Insurance But…
If that isn’t convincing enough, then learn from my personal example: I cut my auto insurance costs by a few hundred dollars one year by naming my own price online, but when I had a claim, I quickly found out that I did not have a person (i.e., an agent) who knew me and could personally help me; and it wasn’t too much longer after that claim that I dropped the “name your price” company and went back to my insurance agent. Did my insurance go up? Oh, yes. Did I learn a valuable lesson? Yes, again. While your experience may be different, I encourage you to refrain from cutting your coverage to save a few dollars.
Clients ask me all the time, “Will this make my insurance go up?” And my answer is usually, “Everything makes your insurance go up.” It’s sad but true. The most important thing you can do is be responsible enough to protect yourself and your family from catastrophe so that when an accident happens you can know you have good news rather than not-so-good news about your automobile insurance coverage.