General Information

Got an insurance lapse? No problem. Use our online liability insurance service to pay your civil penalty. Our system will guide you through the process and let you know if any additional information is required to clear your lapse.

To pay the penalty, you will need the control number of the notice (form FS 5-7) you receive from NCDMV (located on the right side) and the license plate number of the vehicle associated with the insurance lapse. Ask your insurance provider to send form FS-1 (certificate of insurance) to prove liability coverage. Call (919) 715-7000 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday to confirm we have received this form.

NOTE: To avoid a lapse in coverage, make sure that you purchase your new liability coverage before you cancel your old policy.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage Requirement

NOTE: Liability insurance is required by law in North Carolina (G.S. 20-279.21). Policies with limits greater than the minimum must provide combined Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists coverage. Call the Department of Insurance’s Consumer Services at 1-855-408-1212 (select option 3) for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to common questions about liability insurance requirements. Contact us for more information.

Does North Carolina have mandatory insurance requirements for licensing a vehicle? 

Yes. North Carolina law requires the registered owner of a motor vehicle to maintain continuous liability insurance coverage as long as there is a valid license plate for that vehicle.

What are the minimum liability requirements for passenger vehicles? 
  • $30,000 – bodily injury, one person
  • $60,000 – bodily injury, two or more people
  • $25,000 – property damage

North Carolina law (G.S. 20-279.21) requires insurance coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists, as well as minimum bodily injury and property damage limits. This is required for all policies, even if they exceed the minimum requirements. Call the Department of Insurance’s Consumer Services at 1-855-408-1212 (select option 3) for more information.

Are all insurance companies accepted in North Carolina? 

Liability coverage must be continuously maintained with a company that is licensed and authorized to do business in North Carolina. All policies issued must be North Carolina-rated.

NOTE: We do not accept out of state policies.

Is there a penalty if my liability insurance coverage lapses? 

Yes, because North Carolina law requires that you, as the vehicle's registered owner, maintain continuous liability insurance coverage as long as there is a valid license plate on the vehicle.

If liability insurance coverage lapses for any reason, the insurance company is required to notify NCDMV, which will send you a liability insurance termination notice (Form FS 5-7). You will then have 10 days from the date printed on the notice to respond.

Civil penalties assessed for a lapse in liability insurance are based on the number of prior lapses a registered owner has had on his or her vehicle within three years of the current lapse:

  • $50 – first lapse
  • $100 – second lapse
  • $150 – subsequent lapses

If your liability insurance coverage has not actually lapsed, you should contact your insurance company to submit a certificate of insurance (Form FS-1) to NCDMV by sending electronically or faxing to (919) 733-6949. Contact NCDMV at (919) 715-7000 to confirm that the insurance lapse has been cleared.

Failure to pay penalties could result in the vehicle’s license plate being revoked and seized by law enforcement. You may also incur additional penalties.

Should I surrender my vehicle’s license plate when its insurance is canceled? 

Yes. North Carolina law requires you to surrender your North Carolina license plate once you cancel your liability insurance coverage.

Return the plate to any license plate agency or mail it to:

    NCDMV Vehicle Registration Section
    Renewal Title and Plate Unit
    3148 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC 27699-3148

If the plate has been lost or stolen, you are required to complete a MVR-18A Form.

If I feel the termination of insurance is unjustified, do I have any recourse?  

Yes, you may request an administrative hearing if you feel the lapse in coverage is not your fault.

Call NCDMV's Customer Contact Center at (919) 715-7000.

You can also complete and sign the FS 5-7 notice that was mailed to you and send it to the address on the top of the form. Be sure to respond to all required questions, date the form and provide your daytime phone number. Your insurance company must also submit a certificate of insurance (Form FS-1) before you can request a hearing.

Can I transfer my vehicle’s license plate to another vehicle? 

You may transfer the license plate to another vehicle if the insurance on the new vehicle was current at the same time the insurance was canceled on the old vehicle. There must not be a break in coverage.