The Best Car Insurance in Charleston, SC, for 2022

The best car insurance companies in Charleston balance affordability, financial stability and customer service. GEICO emerged at the top, with a MoneyGeek score of 96 out of 100 — but the right company for you will depend on your age and coverage levels.

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Last Updated: 8/12/2022
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While GEICO is the best car insurance company in Charleston, South Carolina, overall, remember that the best one for you depends on your level of coverage, age and background. MoneyGeek also analyzed the top-rated car insurance options for full and minimum coverage, for young and older drivers, those with violations and those with a military background.

For those wishing to save money, MoneyGeek also provided information on the cheapest car insurance in Charleston.

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The Best Car Insurance in Charleston

Best Car Insurance Companies in Charleston: Overall

MoneyGeek analyzed average premiums, user satisfaction and claims ratings to determine the best car insurance companies in Charleston. Based on our distinct ranking system, the following are the best overall auto insurance providers in the city:

  • GEICO: 96 out of 100
  • State Farm: 86 out of 100

The second-best overall insurer in Charleston is USAA, which achieved a MoneyGeek score of 91 out of 100. However, because USAA only serves current and former military personnel, it is not a widely available choice.

The Top Car Insurance Companies in Charleston

1
GEICOOverall
Score:96

5/5

Affordability

4/5

Claims

4/5

User Satisfaction

5/5

Financial Stability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

GEICO received great marks for affordability, customer satisfaction and claims. A full coverage policy costs $853 per year on average. In addition, GEICO offers unique add-on coverages, such as mechanical breakdown insurance and accident forgiveness.

More About GEICO

GEICO provides mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) at a lower cost than the standard dealer extended warranty. MBI protects all parts and systems on your new or leased car. GEICO's accident forgiveness feature ensures your insurance rate will not rise after your first at-fault accident. You can purchase or earn accident forgiveness insurance once you are accident-free for at least five years and are 21 or older.

Read MoneyGeek's GEICO auto Insurance Review
2
State Farm
Score:86

4.3/5

Affordability

4/5

Claims

4.5/5

User Satisfaction

4/5

Financial Stability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

A full coverage policy with State Farm costs $1,055 per year on average. Customer satisfaction, claims and stability are all strong points for State Farm, with affordability being its best feature. State Farm also offers specialized rideshare insurance.

More About State Farm

State Farm has an above-average complaint rate and an average customer satisfaction rating. It is affordable for most drivers, including teens and those with traffic violations. Drivers who work for a ridesharing company like Uber may benefit from State Farm's rideshare insurance. It includes emergency roadside assistance, medical expenditure protection and rental car reimbursement.

Read MoneyGeek's State Farm auto Insurance Review
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RESOURCES ON CAR INSURANCE IN CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

To assist drivers trying to cut costs, MoneyGeek looked into the cheapest car insurance companies in Charleston. MoneyGeek gathered the following resources for those who want to learn more about car insurance in South Carolina:

Best Cheap Car Insurance for Minimum Coverage in Charleston

All drivers in Charleston must have insurance that meets the state's minimum requirements. The best car insurance companies in Charleston for minimum coverage, based on MoneyGeek's data, are:

  • GEICO: 96 out of 100
  • State Farm: 82 out of 100

MoneyGeek arrived at this conclusion after examining policies for drivers with various backgrounds, including those with traffic offenses, young drivers and senior drivers.

MoneyGeek’s Pick: GEICO

GEICO

pros

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A minimum coverage policy costs $470 per year

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Includes discounts such as bundling, anti-theft and anti-lock brakes

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MoneyGeek user satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5

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MoneyGeek claims rating of 4 out of 5

cons

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Pay-in-full or paperless discounts not offered

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

GEICO offers bundling, safe driving and multiple-car discounts. Homeowners and renters with GEICO insurance policies can save money by bundling their auto insurance. A discount is also available to drivers who have been accident-free for five years. In addition, if you insure more than one vehicle, you may be eligible for a multiple-car discount.

GEICO offers two additional discounts other insurers don’t: new car discount on newly purchased or leased cars, and discounts for always wearing your seatbelt.

Read MoneyGeek's GEICO Auto Insurance Review

Best Car Insurance for Young Drivers in Charleston

MoneyGeek identified the following as the best insurers in Charleston for teens and young adults:

  • GEICO: 96 out of 100
  • State Farm: 87 out of 100

MoneyGeek arrived at these ratings by blending different coverage levels and histories of 18-year-old Charleston drivers. Car insurance policies for teens, young drivers and students are usually more expensive than an average car insurance policy because inexperienced drivers are considered high risk.

MoneyGeek’s Pick: GEICO

GEICO

pros

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An affordable full coverage policy for a safe driver costs $2,530 per year

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Discounts for young drivers: good student, driver’s education and defensive driving courses

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MoneyGeek user satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5

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MoneyGeek claims rating of 4 out of 5

cons

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Average complaint resolution scores

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No new car replacement or better car replacement coverages

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

Adding a young driver to your policy can be costly, but GEICO offers some of the most affordable rates in Charleston, as well as excellent service. For younger drivers and their parents, choosing a company with dependable service is very reassuring.

GEICO offers discounts to young drivers, including good student, driver's education and defensive driving courses. You may be eligible for a discount if you are a full-time student with a solid academic record and have completed a defensive driving or driver's education course. The company also has accident forgiveness and roadside assistance coverages which are good protection against the risk of young drivers.

Read MoneyGeek's GEICO Auto Insurance Review

Best Car Insurance for Senior Drivers in Charleston

MoneyGeek found that the best insurance companies in Charleston for the needs of senior citizens are:

  • GEICO: 94 out of 100
  • State Farm: 90 out of 100

MoneyGeek analyzed different policy coverages and driving histories of 70-year-old drivers to arrive at these findings. Senior driver auto insurance policies are generally more expensive than policies for middle-aged drivers.

MoneyGeek’s Pick: GEICO

GEICO

pros

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An affordable full coverage policy for a safe driver costs $943 per year

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Offers a defensive driving discount

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MoneyGeek user satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5

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MoneyGeek claims rating of 4 out of 5

cons

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No senior driver discount

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

While senior driver auto insurance policies provide similar coverage to those for other age groups, some insurers charge higher prices. For senior drivers in Charleston, GEICO has the best prices and additional benefits. For example, completing a defensive driving course can result in a discount for seniors.

GEICO's mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) may also be helpful to seniors. It provides more coverage for less money than a conventional dealer extended warranty. MBI covers all parts and systems, not just those included in most dealer warranties.

Read MoneyGeek's GEICO Auto Insurance Review

Best Car Insurance With a Driving Violation in Charleston

Finding auto insurance after getting a traffic violation might be difficult. MoneyGeek analyzed the following as the best car insurance providers in Charleston for drivers with an at-fault accident:

  • GEICO: 94 out of 100
  • State Farm: 91 out of 100

MoneyGeek compiled these rankings using various driver ages and coverage levels. Individuals with a bad driving record pay more for vehicle insurance since they are deemed high risk.

MoneyGeek’s Pick: GEICO

GEICO

pros

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An affordable full coverage policy for a 40-year-old driver with an at-fault accident costs $1,253 per year

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Common discounts are available

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Offers new car/vehicle discount

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MoneyGeek user satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5

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MoneyGeek claims rating of 4 out of 5

cons

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Has only one unique coverage

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

GEICO offers reasonably priced policies with certain coverage types that might help drivers who have an accident or infraction on their record. However, GEICO does not provide better car replacement coverage, which may be an attractive feature for the accident-prone.

Bundling, anti-theft system, defensive driving, military discount, multiple car and safe driving are among the many discounts GEICO provides to help drivers save money.

Read MoneyGeek's GEICO Auto Insurance Review

Best Car Insurance With a Military Background in Charleston

USAA is the best insurer for qualifying military members in Charleston. It achieved a MoneyGeek score of 91 out of 100, largely based on affordability and customer satisfaction.

MoneyGeek weighed various coverage levels and driver characteristics, including policies for younger and older drivers, as well as those with traffic offenses.

It's worth noting that USAA only provides auto insurance to military personnel and their families.

MoneyGeek’s Pick: USAA

USAA

pros

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An affordable full coverage policy costs $926 per year for a 40-year-old driver

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Offers most common discounts, including bundling, defensive driving and driver’s education

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MoneyGeek user satisfaction rating of 4.50 out of 5

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MoneyGeek claims rating of 5 out of 5

cons

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Exclusive for military members, veterans and their families

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Only offers three of the seven common coverages: roadside assistance, rental car and/or travel reimbursement and accident forgiveness

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

USAA is a dependable insurance company with highly affordable premiums for military-affiliated persons. The company has excellent MoneyGeek scores in claims and financial stability and offers roadside assistance, rental car and/or travel reimbursement and accident forgiveness coverages. However, it does not provide additional coverage options.

USAA also provides five of the nine most common insurance discounts. In addition, USAA offers exclusive military savings. When drivers park their vehicles on base, for example, they can save on comprehensive insurance.

Read MoneyGeek's USAA Auto Insurance Review

Methodology

For this study, MoneyGeek examined quotes from companies throughout Charleston. We assessed ranks based on customer service quality, claims satisfaction and financial stability to determine Charleston’s best car insurance providers, using expert assessments from J.D. Power, AM Best and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

To calculate our MoneyGeek composite score, we scale each category to five points and the overall score to 100 points. We adjusted weightings for each category below:

  • Affordability (70%): MoneyGeek evaluated quotes from insurers in Charleston to rank providers based on the cost of their policies. The supplier with the lowest rate in the city received a perfect five out of five.
  • Customer and claims satisfaction (20%): MoneyGeek used J.D. Power survey results to determine customer satisfaction in terms of service and claims. Each category was given a 10% weighting.
  • Financial stability (10%): MoneyGeek used AM Best ratings, which measure an insurance company's capacity to meet financial obligations.

MoneyGeek studied several driver profiles, taking into account characteristics such as age, driving record and coverage levels to determine each insurance company's overall affordability score. We sorted the results by driver profile and matched the insurance firms that best met their needs. For example, we used a sample profile of an 18-year-old male with a clean driving record to identify the best insurance for young drivers.

Auto insurance premiums indicate costs for a full coverage policy with the following limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $100,000 property damage liability
  • Comprehensive and collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible

MoneyGeek's auto insurance methodology explains how and where we get our data for comparisons and scores.

About the Author


expert-profile

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.