South Carolina Minimum Car Insurance Requirements, Penalties and Other Auto Insurance Laws

The minimum car insurance requirement in South Carolina is 25/50/25. Drivers also need to carry uninsured motorist coverage as part of their policy. South Carolina’s car insurance laws require that your policy should have a $25,000 bodily injury limit per person to a maximum of $50,000 per accident plus $25,000 in property damage compensation. Failure to meet the requirements may result in penalties and costly administrative fees where license suspension is involved.

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What Is the Minimum Car Insurance Requirement in South Carolina?

How much car insurance do you need in South Carolina? The minimum car insurance requirements in the United States differ from one state to the other.

In South Carolina, your policy should include the following requirements:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 for everyone injured in the accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident
  • 25/50/25 uninsured motorists coverage (equal to liability coverage) plus a deductible of $200

It is also compulsory for insurers in South Carolina to provide underinsured motorist coverage, similar to uninsured motorists coverage. Drivers may also buy additional coverage depending on the desired level of protection. In addition, you can purchase additional coverage if you wish to get more protection for yourself and your car.

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What Does This Minimum Coverage Mean?

The minimum coverage refers to the standard car insurance requirements that your policy must meet when it comes to car insurance. In most cases, the minimum coverage only meets third-party injury and property damage costs. That means you may need to purchase additional coverage if you wish to protect yourself and your vehicle.

In South Carolina, the minimum liability coverage is 25/50/25. Thus, your policy must have $25,000 per person for bodily injury to a maximum of $50,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage.

Bodily injury liability covers you from the claims made by third parties injured in an accident where you are at fault. At the same time, property damage coverage protects you from the cost of damage you cause to other people’s property during an accident.

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you get injured or your property gets damaged by an uninsured driver. South Carolina car insurance requirements include UM coverage equal to the minimum liability insurance coverage plus a deductible of $200.

Underinsured motorists coverage covers your injuries and property damage if you get involved in an accident with a driver whose insurance coverage is insufficient to cater to the damages and medical costs. South Carolina requires insurance companies to provide underinsured motorists coverage, although it’s not compulsory for you to purchase UM coverage.

How Much Does the Minimum Car Insurance Cost in South Carolina?

South Carolina’s minimum car insurance costs vary from one insurance company to another based on factors like ZIP code, age, driving history and credit score. The average cost of car insurance within the state is $1,139 per year, but your rates may differ according to these factors.

From MoneyGeek’s research, the cheapest minimum liability insurance coverage in South Carolina comes from GEICO, costing an average of $470 per annum.

Cheapest Minimum Liability Car Insurance in South Carolina

Cheapest Minimum Car Insurance in South Carolina
  • Company
    Annually
    Monthly
  • 1.
    $470
    $39
  • 2.
    $500
    $42
  • 3.
    $574
    $48
  • 4.
    $604
    $50
  • 5.
    $743
    $62

These prices are only estimates based on rates for an average South Carolina driver and should not be used to compare insurance prices.

MoneyGeek calculated the cost for each insurer in South Carolina using a state minimum coverage of 25/50/25 and equivalent uninsured motorist coverage. The policyholder is a 40-year-old male with a good driving history and credit score, residing in South Carolina and driving a 2010 Toyota Camry.

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What Is the Minimum Car Insurance Requirement in South Carolina While Leasing a Car?

The minimum car insurance guidelines are standard throughout the state. However, South Carolina’s car leasing insurance requirements may vary from one company to the other. The majority of the companies require a 100/300/50 full coverage policy at a minimum. Be sure to go through the minimum requirements for your leasing company before signing any paperwork.

According to MoneyGeek, the best car insurance coverage in South Carolina should have at least 50/100/50 full coverage limits. If you do not have the right amount of coverage, you may fail to be compensated if you get involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. 10.9% of the drivers in the state are uninsured or underinsured.

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in South Carolina

Having car insurance in South Carolina protects you from various penalties and costs which apply to anyone caught driving without insurance. You may decide to purchase car insurance or pay $550 per year for uninsured motorist coverage. Always keep proof of insurance with you in your vehicle because you must prove insurance if a law enforcement officer requests it. You can provide proof either electronically or in printouts.

If you cannot provide proof, you might be jailed, pay a fine of $200 or have your license and car registration revoked. You might also be asked to file an SR-22 form which may impact your car insurance rates negatively in the future.

In summary, these are some of the penalties you will deal with if you are caught without auto insurance in the state:

First Offense:

  • $550 (uninsured motorist fee)
  • $100 to $200 fine or imprisonment
  • Assessment of $5 per day for the lapse in the required insurance coverage
  • 30 days imprisonment if the fine is not paid
  • Suspension of license and car registration
  • $200 reinstatement fee and SR-22

Second Offense:

  • $200 fine and $5 daily without insurance
  • 30 days imprisonment with fine
  • Suspension of license and car registration
  • $200 reinstatement fee

Subsequent Offenses:

  • $5 daily without insurance
  • Assessment of $5 per day for the lapse in the required insurance coverage
  • 45 days to 6 months imprisonment
  • Suspension of license and car registration
  • $200 reinstatement fee

Note that insurance companies may consider you a high-risk driver if you have an SR-22. As a result, you may end up paying more than a driver with a clean record.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Insurance in South Carolina

Some of the frequently asked questions about South Carolina’s car insurance requirements are as follows:

Learn More About Car Insurance

About the Author


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Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.


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