Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Settlement - Find Out Here if You Qualify.
Free Injury Consultation Call for family law consultation rates
Español Tap to Call(800) 811-9495

Increases in Required Auto Liability Coverage Limits Will Help Injured People in North Carolina

Increases in Required Auto Liability Coverage Limits Will Help Injured People in North Carolina, Personal Injury Attorney Robert C. Younce Says

Changes to Underinsured Motorist Coverage Also Benefit Seriously Injured People

Increases in the required minimum auto insurance liability limits are good news for people seriously injured in a car accident in North Carolina, says attorney Robert C. “Chip” Younce, founder of Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, in Raleigh, N.C.

Senate Bill 452, which the N.C. General Assembly passed in October 2023, made various changes to state insurance laws contained in N.C.G.S. 20-279.1(11) and N.C.G.S. 20-309(a2). The most significant changes for people injured in car collisions pertain to the minimum coverage requirements for auto liability insurance. The increases take effect in January 2025.

Since 1999, the lowest amount of auto liability insurance you could have to legally drive a motor vehicle registered in North Carolina was $30,000 in liability coverage per injured person and $60,000 in coverage for all persons injured in a crash. No matter how many people were injured or how serious their injuries were, $60,000 is all the insurance that would be available to pay the accident victims’ medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

“It was heartbreaking to inform a seriously injured person that the most money they could get from the negligent driver’s insurance company was $30,000,” says Younce, whose law firm represents accident victims harmed by at-fault drivers. When multiple people were injured by a negligent driver, the entire group of victims had to divide and share the $60,000 in coverage.

Higher Minimum Liability Coverage Limits

The new law raises the minimum coverage limits to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for bodily injury claims. It also raises the coverage requirements for property damage from $25,000 to $50,000 to repair or replace damaged vehicles and other property.

The changes in required auto insurance coverage limits will take effect January 1, 2025. After that date, all new policies written in North Carolina reflect the higher amounts.

“While these increased mandatory minimums have not kept up with inflation, they are still higher than most other states,” Younce says.

Changes to Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Another important change in the law applies to underinsured motorist insurance coverage (UIM). UIM is optionable coverage in North Carolina. To understand how it works, consider a hypothetical example:

A victim is injured in an accident caused by an at-fault driver. The at-fault driver carries $50,000 in per-person bodily injury liability coverage. The victim has a UIM policy with $100,000 of coverage per person. Under present law, the UIM policy pays only the difference between the liability coverage limit and the UIM coverage limit. Thus, the at-fault driver’s liability policy would pay $50,000, and the victim’s UIM policy would pay an additional $50,000—bringing the total available benefits to $100,000.

Senate Bill 452 changes the law so that those who have UIM coverage can now collect the full face value of their underinsured motorist policy. An insurance company will no longer be able to reduce the amount of UIM coverage available by subtracting the liability payment. The victims who could previously only collect a total of $100,000 in benefits can now collect $150,000.

“This is a huge benefit for North Carolina crash victims who suffer significant injuries,” Younce says.

“While Senate Bill 452 made many other changes, these are the most important to our clients,” Younce says. “As always, we advise all of our clients to buy as much underinsured motorist coverage as they can.”

“Over the years, we have criticized our North Carolina General Assembly much more than we have praised them,” he says. “But fair is fair. When they do something good for our clients, we need to publicly recognize it.”

About The Law Firm

The law firm of Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. provides experienced, compassionate, and effective legal representation to victims of car accidents, personal injury accidents, injured workers seeking workers’ compensation benefits, and people dealing with the family law issues surrounding separation and divorce. Robert “Chip” Younce and David E. Vtipil are board-certified specialists in North Carolina workers’ compensation law and are listed in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of workers’ compensation —claimants. The firm’s attorneys have an AV Preeminent rating from the highly regarded Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. serves clients throughout the Triangle region and across North Carolina from its offices located at 3701 Lake Boone Trail, # 300, Raleigh, NC 27607.

About the Author

Robert C. Younce, JR
Robert C. Younce is an attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. and concentrates his law practice on personal injury and workers’ compensation law. He has tried over 100 workers’ comp cases to Opinion and Award and about a dozen personal injury jury trials to verdict. He has been board-certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a specialist in workers’ compensation law since 2001.

Awards & Memberships