How To Register a Car in North Carolina

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North Carolina drivers must register their vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by mail or in person. New residents will also need to present proof of title and insurance for their vehicles. 
Vehicle registration is an important safety measure and helps the NC DMV keep track of who owns a vehicle. The process for registering a vehicle varies from state to state and can be confusing—especially if you’re new to the area!
, the
car insurance
shopper and super app, has created a handy guide to registering your vehicle in NC. We’ll cover how to register your vehicle, how to renew your registration every year, and also provide some tips on how to save on your
North Carolina car insurance costs
. Let’s dig in!
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How to register a car in North Carolina

North Carolina drivers must perform the car registration and the title process at the same time. A completed
form is required, as well as an
if the car being registered is less than 10 years old. Proof of liability insurance is also required.  
NC drivers may register their vehicles in person or by mail.

If you just moved to North Carolina

Welcome to the Tar Heel State! If you just moved to NC, you will have 30 days to register and title your vehicle and get your
NC driver’s license
To register your vehicle in person, you must bring the following required documents to your local
NC DMV office
As a new resident, you may be required to provide one of the following additional documents (if applicable):
  • Military ID (for active-duty military members stationed in North Carolina)
  • Student ID (if enrolled in a North Carolina college or university)
  • Court-ordered sale of the vehicle
  • Registration for a motorhome
To register your vehicle by mail, send all of the required documents and a copy of your valid driver’s license to:
Vehicle Titles/Liens, Duplicate Registration
3148 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697
And voila! You’re on your way to registering and titling your vehicle. 

If you just bought a car

You will also need to register and title your vehicle after buying a new or used car in North Carolina. A completed
is required, as is an
if the car is less than 10 years old, and proof of liability insurance.
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How much insurance coverage do you need in North Carolina? 

In order to drive legally in the Tar Heel State, you must carry, at minimum, the following liability coverage:
If your policy meets these limits, you are all set to register your vehicle in North Carolina. However, it’s always a good idea to add more than the state-required protection. Consider adding
comprehensive coverage
to your policy to further protect yourself and your vehicle.

How to renew your North Carolina vehicle registration 

In North Carolina, your vehicle registration must be renewed every year
You will be required to pass a vehicle safety inspection in order to renew your vehicle registration. Depending on the county where you live, you may also be required to pass an
emissions test
Approximately 60 days before your vehicle registration expires, the NC DMV will mail a
renewal notice
to the address on file. The notice will show the vehicle registration fee, as well as any property tax owed. You may pay these fees and renew your registration
, in person, or by mail.
To renew online, you’ll need your vehicle’s license plate number and the last five digits of the vehicle title number. This information can be found on the renewal notice, the vehicle’s previous registration card, or on your
MyDMV account
. Keep in mind that should you choose to renew online, you’ll be charged a $3 convenience fee.

How to replace a lost registration sticker or license plate

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of dealing with a lost or stolen registration sticker or license plate—have no fear! You can request a duplicate for a lost or damaged registration sticker online on the
NC DMV website
. To apply for a duplicate license plate, you must apply in person at a DMV office.  

How to save on auto insurance in North Carolina

You won’t be able to register your car in North Carolina without purchasing the state-required minimum liability coverage—but it’s always a good idea to opt for more than bare-bones protection.
, a
licensed insurance broker
and comparison shopper rolled into one amazing super app, can help you optimize your coverage!
Here’s how it works: download the Jerry app and in less than 45 seconds, Jerry collects all of your information from your existing insurer. Choose from competitive quotes from top insurance companies and Jerry takes care of the rest—securing your new policy and helping you cancel your old one upon request. 
No long forms, no calling around, no hard work. The average Jerry user saves over $800 per year on car insurance.
“I was literally floored by the savings
found for me. I was paying close to $960 every 6 months and now I’m paying $380 every 6 months for IDENTICAL COVERAGE in North Carolina!” —Olivia Z.
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To register a vehicle in North Carolina, you will need to complete the title process at the same time. You can register in person or by mail by submitting all of the required documentation, paying all necessary fees, and providing proof of liability insurance.
To register a car in North Carolina, you will need to pay for $56 Certificate of Title fee (if moving to NC), a highway use tax, and depending on the county where you live, you may also have to pay a standard plate fee that is, on average, approximately $40.
To register a motorcycle in North Carolina, you will likely have to pay a $25.50 plate fee and a $56 title fee. You may also have to pay a vehicle inspection fee, an emissions test fee, and a highway use tax.
The state of NC can prevent drivers from completing the registration process if they owe a debt to the DMV, have unpaid county taxes, or lack the required liability auto insurance.
Reviewed by Brittni Brinn.
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