What is a FS-1 document for auto insurance?

An FS-1 document for auto insurance is only necessary if you live and drive in North Carolina. The FS-1 document acts as proof of insurance, and North Carolina requires an FS-1 document for car insurance for every driver.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Apr 26, 2022

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The FS-1 is a document required for certain drivers in North Carolina. If you have allowed your car insurance coverage to lapse, then you may be required to provide an FS-1 document to prove you have car insurance.

The FS-1 demonstrates proof of financial responsibility. It works in a similar way to the SR-22 document, which is required in certain states for drivers convicted of a DUI or DWI. The FS-1 proves you have car insurance and are thus financially responsible when driving a vehicle.

No other state but North Carolina uses the FS-1 document. It’s specifically required for drivers in North Carolina. Other states have documents that are similar to the FS-1, but other states typically call these documents a certificate of insurance. North Carolina is the only state that calls the document an FS-1 form.

How Does the FS-1 Work?

The FS-1 functions as a certificate of insurance. You can obtain the FS-1 from your car insurance company to prove that you have legal car insurance.

When titling or registering a vehicle in North Carolina, you must show proof of insurance. Acceptable proofs of insurance can include:

  • The name of your insurance company and your policy number (self certification)
  • A certificate of insurance document, or FS-1 form, obtained from an insurance company that is licensed to do business in North Carolina

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What Are the North Carolina Car Insurance Requirements?

North Carolina law requires all drivers to meet certain minimum liability requirements in order to drive on public roads in the state – just like every other state. In North Carolina, the minimum liability insurance limits are $30,000 for bodily injury liability coverage per person, $60,000 of bodily injury liability coverage for accident, and $25,000 of property damage liability coverage. Typically, a policy like this is written as 30/60/25.

Additionally, North Carolina is one of a handful of states that requires uninsured motorist coverage. Drivers are required to have $30,000 of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person, $60,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 of uninsured motorist property damage liability coverage.

When you obtain the FS-1 form, it proves that you meet the minimum liability insurance requirements listed above.

How to Get the FS-1 Form

Car insurance companies in North Carolina are required to alert the DMV when policyholders cancel their coverage. This allows law enforcement to hand out penalties to drivers without insurance. If you continue to drive after canceling your policy, then you may face stiff penalties.

To prove you have insurance, contact your car insurance company to obtain the FS-1 form. The FS-1 form proves that you have a legal car insurance policy that meets the minimum requirements of North Carolina.

Why Do I Need the FS-1 Form?

If your car insurance lapses, or if you fail to renew your policy, then your North Carolina car insurance company is required to alert the DMV. The insurance company tells the DMV that they are no longer providing car insurance coverage to you.

In this situation, the DMV will mail you a letter asking you to prove that you have car insurance. Some letters may ask you to prove that you had car insurance on specific dates.

The DMV might notice that you let your car insurance expire or lapse, for example, but that your vehicle is still registered. The DMV will ask you to prove that you had car insurance after this lapse. Or, you may be required to prove the date on which your car insurance was reinstated.

If you had a lapse in coverage and were not insured on the dates in question, then you may be required to pay a $50 fine to the state of North Carolina. If this is your second or third lapse in coverage, then fines may be higher. Some drivers may have their license suspended for 30 to 60 days.

If the DMV is preparing to fine you for a lapse in car insurance coverage, then you may be able to argue your case over the phone. Explain to the DMV why you allowed your car insurance to lapse. If there was a legitimate reason, then you may be able to avoid a license suspension.

Meanwhile, if you can prove you had insurance during the dates in question and can provide an FS-1 form, then you will face no further penalties.

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What’s the Bottom Line?

The FS-1 form is a proof of insurance document for drivers in North Carolina. The document, which needs to come from an insurer licensed to do business in North Carolina, proves that you had car insurance on specific days. You may be required to provide an FS-1 proof of insurance document after letting your car insurance lapse.

To obtain an FS-1 form in North Carolina, contact your car insurance company. They can send an FS-1 document proving you had legitimate car insurance coverage.

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