Best South Carolina Car Insurance: Everything You Need To Know 2020

Last modified: November 22, 2020

Are you looking for the best car insurance in South Carolina? While it can be hard to find and understand the intricacies of getting an insurance plan, we are here to help you out in the process. In this article, we have used helpful comparison tools along with tables to provide you a complete guide on potential pricing and recommendations. We have outlined everything you need to know about the Palmetto State’s insurance policies.

What Are State Minimum Requirements?

South Carolina auto insurance requirements include policies and coverage plans for uninsured motorists along with liability coverage. Here is what a decent coverage should include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: This statute covers any medical bills incurred by the other party if you have caused the accident. The policy plan will also cover any legal expenses should the other driver sue you. It can be up to $25k per person or $50k in total.
  • Property Damage: South Carolina car insurance requirements include coverage to pay for repair bills to the other driver’s car of up to $25k. While your car is not covered under this plan, you can buy collision insurance for extra protection for your car.
  • Uninsured Motorist: The coverage plan pays for any medical bills you incur after being hit by a driver that doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your medical expenses or is uninsured. It is the same as the bodily liability coverage of $25k per person or $50k in total but with $200 deductibles.

You can opt out of your insurance plan by paying a non-refundable $550 annual fee and registering as an uninsured motorist. When you are approved, you will not have to buy car insurance to drive your car in the state of South Carolina. However, if you are part of a car accident, you will need to pay for medical bills and property damage expenses out of your own pockets. If you cause an accident or get a ticket, you must get a liability policy, and your registration will be canceled.

To get approved to be an uninsured motorist, you need to fulfill these requirements:

  • No involvement in any traffic violations or accidents during the last three years
  • There are no SR-22 on your file at the time of the application
  • You or any driver in your household has had a license for at least three years

Average Costs

The average cost of auto insurance in South Carolina is dependent on your age, gender, and location. We have compiled comparison tables based on car insurance quotes from South Carolina to give you a better idea of the average cost.

State Average Costs by Age

It is a known fact that you can become a better driver with experience and time on the road. This is why, as you age, you will have to pay less for insurance since you are less likely to be part of an accident. However, once you cross 70 years old, the costs go up again since old age can influence how you drive. Lowered hand-eye coordination, poor eyesight, and slow reflexes in old age can increase the risk of accidents.

Age Group Average Price
20-30 $1,874.83
30-40 $1,350.30
40-50 $1,312.46
50-60 $1,245.54
60-70 $1,282.75
70-80 $1,540.68

State Average by Gender

Gender doesn’t have a huge impact on your yearly cost for car insurance. However, some small differences may be seen on average, since statistically, females are less likely to get into car accidents or violate traffic guidelines.

Gender Average Yearly Cost
Male $1,367.34
Female $1,325.27

Cost of Car Insurance by Top Cities

The city you live in can also impact the cost of car insurance for you. Auto insurance companies in South Carolina offer the following rates for auto insurance across different cities:

City Average Rate
Charleston $1,686
Columbia $1,635
North Charleston $1,833
Mount Pleasant $1,569

Cheapest Providers

Overall, the following rank as the top 7 cheap car insurances in South Carolina:

  Insurance Company Average Amount
1 Geico $853
2 USAA $926
3 State Farm $1055
4 Allstate $1120
5 Travelers $1207
6 Nationwide $1217
7 Progressive $1308

Here are some other car insurance rates in South Carolina that may help you out:

  • Best and cheapest car insurance for drivers with a DUI: State Farm ($1055)
  • Cheapest minimum coverage for drivers with a DUI: Auto Owners ($869)
  • Cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for speeding or distracted driving tickets: Geico ($853)
  • Cheapest car insurance companies in South Carolina for drivers with bad credit: Nationwide ($1645)
  • Best and cheapest car insurance for seniors in South Carolina: Geico ($943)
  • Cheapest car insurance for students: Geico ($2,525)
  • Cheapest full coverage insurance for young drivers in South Carolina: Travelers ($1,442)
  • Cheapest minimum coverage for young drivers in South Carolina: Geico ($633)
  • Best and cheap car insurance for families with teen driver: Travelers ($3,325)
  • Best for veterans: USAA
  • Cheapest car insurance for an at-fault crash in South Carolina: Travelers ($1,714)
  • Best car insurance for married couples: Travelers ($1,885)

What car insurance discounts are available in South Carolina?

While discounts can vary from company to location, there are a number of discounts you can enjoy. Some companies offer long-term customers up to 10% off. Drivers with a history of no claims and a clean record can get up to 10-30%. Older drivers who complete approved defensive driving courses are required by state to get a discount of 5-10%. Good student drivers with a rating of B or higher can get a discount of 5-20%. Veterans also get discounted prices at many insurance companies like USAA. Installing safety features like anti-lock brakes, airbags, and other add-ons can get you a discount of 2-30%.


South Carolina Auto Insurance, Traffic Rules, and Penalties

South Carolina car insurance laws require you to have insurance or register yourself as an uninsured motorist through the proper channels. Police officers can ask for coverage proof at traffic stops or after an accident. If you don’t have any proof, you receive a citation. You will have to ask the insurance company to add an SR-22 to your file so that you have proof of an active policy that adheres to the minimum requirements by the state.

The first offense of driving without car insurance or without a valid uninsured motorist registration may lead to license suspension and your vehicle registration confiscated. You can either pay the fee or provide insurance proof within 20 days to avoid greater penalties. If you miss this deadline, you will have to pay fines of $100-200, be sent to jail for 30 days, or surrender your vehicle registration and license plates. There is a $5 surcharge for each additional day without coverage. To reinstate driving privilege, you will have to pay a $200 fee.

If you are caught driving without insurance within 10 years of the first offense, you will serve 30 days in jail, pay a $200 fine and surrender your vehicle registration and license plates. You can get the driving privileges back if you pay the $200 fee for reinstatement and buy an insurance plan.

For any subsequent offenses within 10 years of the previous ones, the state will categorize you as a habitual offender. You will be required to serve 45 days to 6 months in jail, depending on the number of violations of car insurance rules in South Carolina.

All new residents of South Carolina have to either pay the uninsured motorist fee or have an auto insurance policy in place. You need to carry proof of insurance while you are driving. The minimum requirement for coverage includes:

  • Bodily Injury Per Person: $25,000
  • Bodily Injury Per Accident: $50,000
  • Property Damage: $25,000

Best Car Insurance Companies in South Carolina

Company Provisions & Coverage Ratings Discounts Car Insurance Costs for Different Use Case
GEICO

 

  • Average Yearly Price: $649
  • Cost for minimum coverage: $602
  • Is best for cheap insurance
  • Standard
  • Medical
  • Uninsured motorist coverage
  • Vehicle coverage
  • Rental reimbursement
  • Mechanical Breakdown
  • Collision and comprehensive
  • Emergency Roadside assistance
  • Property damage
  • Bodily injury liability
  • A.M Best Rating: A++ 
  • JD Power Rating: 867 (highest among all)
  • Standard & Poor’s: AA+
  • Moody’s: Stable
  • Fitch: AA-
  • Vehicle Equipment Discounts
  • Five-Year Accident-Free Good Driver Discount
  • Seat Belt Use Discount
  • Defensive Driving Discount
  • Driver’s Education Discount
  • Good Student Discount
  • Military Discount
  • Membership and Employee Discounts
  • Federal Employee Discount 
  • Emergency Deployment Discount
  • Multi-Vehicle Discount
  • Multi-Policy Discount
  • Drivers with DUI: $2,099
  • Drivers with an At-Fault Accident: $1,727 
  • Speeding Drivers: $843
  • Young Drivers: $1,563
  • Insurance cost for bad credit: $2,009
Travelers

 

  • Average Yearly Price: $1,267
  • Cost for minimum coverage: $1207
  • Is best for young drivers, families with teens, and at-fault crash
  • Standard
  • Medical
  • Uninsured motorist coverage
  • Vehicle coverage
  • Rental reimbursement
  • Mechanical Breakdown
  • Collision and comprehensive
  • Emergency Roadside assistance
  • Property damage
  • Bodily injury liability
  • Accident forgiveness
  • New car replacement
  • Ride sharing
  • Lease/loan gap
  • A.M Best Rating: A++ 
  • JD Power Rating: 865 
  • Standard & Poor’s: A+
  • Multi-Policy Discount
  • Multi Car Discount
  • Home Ownership Discount
  • Safe Driver Discount
  • Continuous Insurance Discount
  • Electric/Hybrid Vehicle Discount
  • New Car Discount
  • Paid in Full and Good Payer Discounts
  • Early Quote Discount
  • Good Student Discount
  • Student Away at School Discount
  • Driver Training Discount
  • Drivers with DUI: $1,821
  • Drivers with an At-Fault Accident: $1,714 
  • Speeding Drivers: $1,581
  • Young Drivers: $1,442
  • Insurance cost for bad credit: $2,166
Auto Owners

 

  • Average Yearly Price: $1,583
  • Is best for drivers with an at-fault accident
  • Collision
  • Bodily Injury Liability
  • Property Damage Liability
  • Comprehensive
  • Medical Payments
  • Personal Injury Protection
  • Underinsured/ Uninsured Motorist
  • Road Trouble Service
  • Additional Expense
  • Lease/loan gap
  • Diminished Value
  • Personal Automobile Plus Package
  • A.M Best Rating: A++ 
  • JD Power Rating:
  • Average
  • Standard & Poor’s: A+
  • Multi-Policy Discount
  • Payment History
  • Life Multi-Policy Discount
  • Paid-in-Full Discount
  • Green Discount
  • Advance Quote
  • Multi-Car
  • Safety Feature Discounts
  • Student Discounts
  • Favorable Loss History

 

  • Drivers with DUI: $1,605 
  • Drivers with an At-Fault Accident: $1,146 
  • Young Drivers: $1,742
  • Insurance cost for bad credit: $2,635
Allstate

 

  • Average Yearly Price: $1,772.46
  • Cost for minimum coverage: $1,120
  • Is best for easy claims
  • Bodily Injury Liability
  • Property Damage Liability
  • Underinsured Motorist Coverage
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision Coverage
  • Medical Payments Coverage
  • Personal Injury Protection
  • Ride Sharing
  • Sound System coverage
  • Labor and towing cost coverage
  • Lease/loan gap
  • New car replacement
  • Transportation expense/rental reimbursement
  • A.M Best Rating: A+ 
  • JD Power Rating: Below
  • average
  • Fitch: A+
  • Standard & Poor’s: A- 
  • Anti-lock brake discount
  • Anti-theft device discount
  • Multiple policy discount
  • New car discount
  • EZ pay plan discount
  • Early Signing Discount
  • Allstate eSmart® discount
  • Responsible payer discount
  • FullPay® discount
  • Safe driving club
  • Smart student discount
  • Drivers with DUI: $1,594 
  • Young Drivers: $1,755
  • Insurance cost for bad credit: $2,478 
State Farm

 

  • Average Yearly Price: $1,231
  • Cost for minimum coverage: $1,055
  • Is best for drivers with a DUI
  • Collision Coverage
  • Travel Expenses and Car Rental Coverage
  • Comprehensive Coverage
  • Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage
  • Liability Coverage
  • Underinsured Motor Vehicle Coverage
  • Medical Payments Coverage
  • Emergency Road Service Coverage
  • Rideshare Driver Coverage
  • A.M Best Rating: A+ 
  • JD Power Rating: 860
  • Standard & Poor’s: AA 
  • Accident-Free Discount
  • Defensive Driving Course Discount
  • Student Away at School Discount
  • Good Driving Discount
  • Driver Training Discount
  • Good Student Discount
  • Vehicle Safety Discount
  • Passive Restraint Discount
  • Anti-Theft Discount
  • Multiple Auto Discount
  • Multiple Line Discount
  • Drivers with DUI: $1,055
  • Drivers with an At-Fault Accident: $2,127
  • Speeding Drivers: $1,137

 

Alfa Insurance

 

  • Average Yearly Price: $1,795
  • Cost for minimum coverage: $670
  • Is best for people who can take advantage of occupational discounts
  • Liability coverage for property damage and personal liability
  • Underinsured/uninsured motorist protection
  • Medical payments coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Roadside assistance
  • Accident waiver
  • Rental car/ Loss of use
  • A.M Best Rating: A++ 
  • JD Power Rating: 855
  • Standard & Poor’s: AA
  • Fitch: AA-
  • Multi-Car
  • Life Insurance
  • Home Ownership
  • Defensive Driver Discount
  • Youthful Operator Discounts
  • Driver Training Discounts
  • Safety/Youth Defensive Driving Discount
  • Educators Occupational Discounts
  • Military and First Responders discount
  • State or Federal Employees discount
  • Ministers discount
  • Farmers discount
  • Air bags discount
  • Anti-theft devices discount
Progressive

 

  • Cost for minimum coverage: $736
  • Is best for people who want discounts
  • Bodily injury liability
  • Property damage liability
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Uninsured/underinsured bodily injury
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage
  • Medical payments
  • Roadside assistance
  • Loan/lease payoff
  • Rental car reimbursement
  • Custom equipment or parts value
  • Rideshare coverage
  • Deductible savings bank
  • A.M Best Rating: A+ 
  • JD Power Rating: 17th out of 25
  • Fitch: AA
  • Multi-policy
  • Multi-car
  • Continuous insurance
  • Safe driver discount
  • Teen driver discount
  • Good student discount
  • Distant student discount
  • Homeowner discount
  • Online quote
  • Pay in full discount
  • Sign online
  • Paperless
  • Automatic payment

 

  • Drivers with DUI: $1,045
  • Drivers with an At-Fault Accident: $1,256
  • Young Drivers: $1,850
  • Insurance cost for bad credit: $2,720 
Nationwide

 

  • Average Yearly Price: $1,864
  • Cost for minimum coverage: $1,217
  • Is best for drivers with bad credit
  • Bodily injury liability
  • Property damage liability
  • Uninsured motorist
  • Underinsured motorist
  • Personal injury protection
  • Medical payments
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Towing and labor coverage
  • Rental car expense
  • Gap coverage
  • Accident Forgiveness
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Vanishing Deductible
  • Total loss deductible waiver
  • A.M Best Rating: A+ 
  • JD Power Rating: Below average
  • Standard & Poor’s: A+
  • Moody’s: A1
  • Multi-policy discount
  • Nationwide Insurance family plan
  • Homeowner promise
  • Safe driver/accident-free discount
  • Good student discount
  • Student away discount
  • Farm Bureau discount
  • Defensive driving discount
  • Accident prevention discount
  • Anti-theft discount
  • New vehicle
  • Passive occupant restraint discount
  • Easy pay sign-up discount
  • Terms with prior carrier
  • Long-term policyholder discount
  • Advance quote discount
  • Affinity car insurance discount organization.
  • Smart Ride
  • Drivers with DUI: $2,228
  • Speeding Drivers: $1,389
  • Insurance cost for bad credit: $1645

Detailed Reviews

Geico – Cheap Car Insurance South Carolina

Overall, Geico offers the cheapest plans for auto insurance. Their minimum coverage plan costs just $602, which is one of the most affordable car insurance in South Carolina. If you are just looking for insurance to meet the state’s standards for driving and don’t want to pay the uninsured motorists fee every year, this is a great option for you.

Travelers – Best Car Insurance in South Carolina for Young Drivers

Travelers offers a wide range of affordable insurance plans for young drivers. A lot of families with teens and younger drivers struggle to find affordable options, and Travelers can be the cheapest auto insurance in South Carolina for them. They also offer various discounts, so you might be able to reduce the cost even more.

Auto Owners –Best Auto Insurance in South Carolina for Drivers with an At-Fault Crash

Auto Owners is one of the best car insurance companies in South Carolina for drivers with an at-fault crash. It costs, on average, $1,146 per annum for a car insurance plan, where some other companies might ask for more than $2,000 for such a plan.

All State – South Carolina auto Insurance with Easy Claim Files

All State is known to have quite a good system for filing claims. They also have plenty of great discount options that you can get to reduce the overall cost of your car insurance. All State is known for its good customer service and helpful staff.

State Farm – Top Rated Auto Insurance Companies in South Carolina for Drivers with A DUI

State Farm car insurance South Carolina is a great option for any driver with a DUI on the record. It costs, on average, $1055 to get coverage from the plan. Drivers can be reassured that they don’t have to pay too much out of their own pockets if they choose State Farm

Alfa Insurance – Occupational Discounts for Car Insurance in South Carolina

Alfa Insurance has the most variety when it comes to occupational discounts. Farmers, educators, federal employees, ministers, and military personnel can all get great discounts from Alfa Insurance. This can be a huge factor for a lot of people when choosing auto owners insurance in South Carolina.

Progressive – South Carolina auto insurance companies with average pricing

Progressive auto insurance in South Carolina has average pricing and has plenty of discount options. You are sure to qualify for a good price if you search through their discount plans. They offer great service to their customers and continue to make it easier for insured drivers to file claims.

Nationwide – Best Auto Insurance for Drivers with Bad Credit

It can be quite hard to find good South Carolina auto insurance quotes if you have bad credit. Nationwide offers plans around $1,645, even if you have bad credit, while most companies charge well into the $2000s from drivers with bad credit.

Pros & Cons

The Pros

The Cons

Final Verdict

FAQs

Why is car insurance so expensive in South Carolina?

Car insurance is expensive because it is mandatory by the state to have personal injury protection. You can choose to opt out of it by paying the uninsured motorist fee.

Who has the cheapest auto insurance in South Carolina?

Overall, Geico has the cheapest auto insurance.

Is South Carolina a No-Fault State?

South Carolina is not a no-fault state when dealing with accidents. The driver at fault can be held liable for the accident.

What Is The Minimum Car Insurance In South Carolina?

The minimum requirement for car insurance in South Carolina is:

  • Bodily Injury Per Person: $25,000
  • Bodily Injury Per Accident: $50,000
  • Property Damage: $25,000

Can you drive without insurance in South Carolina?

Yes, you can. However, you will have to pay an annual, non-refundable fee of $550 to register as an uninsured motorist.