The Cheapest Car Insurance in South Carolina for 2022

GEICO offers the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina, with a minimum coverage policy costing $492 per year on average.

MoneyGeek collected and evaluated auto insurance quotes from multiple South Carolina providers in order to help you get the most affordable policy for your unique profile. Although GEICO is the most cost-effective option for the majority of drivers, State Farm is the cheapest option if you have a DUI and Nationwide is an affordable option for those with a poor credit score. Overall, MoneyGeek discovered that comparing auto insurance prices from multiple companies might save South Carolina drivers approximately $528 annually.

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Last Updated: 12/1/2022
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MoneyGeek broke down the most affordable providers in South Carolina by city. We also compared the best auto insurance carriers in South Carolina based on affordability and service quality.

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Methodology

Why Trust MoneyGeek? South Carolina car insurance rates in this study are based on our analysis of data and information from the South Carolina Department of Insurance and Quadrant Information Services.

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These rates were updated in August 2022 to reflect how car insurance rates in South Carolina have changed up to this month.

3,312

Quotes Analyzed

 
9

Companies Compared

 
23

ZIP Codes

Cheapest Minimum Liability Car Insurance in South Carolina

The most affordable option for drivers looking for cheap car insurance in South Carolina is a liability-only policy. This type of insurance only meets the state minimum requirements.

Based on average rates for minimum coverage, the cheapest auto insurance companies in South Carolina are:

  • GEICO: $492 per year
  • State Farm: $601 per year

If you or a family member are in the military, USAA offers another affordable option at an average of $524 per year. The most expensive car insurance company in South Carolina for minimum coverage is Nationwide, with an average cost of $797 per year.

CHEAPEST MINIMUM CAR INSURANCE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

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

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Cheapest Full Coverage Car Insurance in South Carolina

South Carolina drivers who want protection against most on- and off-road accidents should consider a full coverage policy with higher liability limits and comprehensive and collision insurance. While a policy with full coverage costs more than one with minimum coverage, it will cover damages to the policyholder's car. Compare quotes from multiple insurers to find the best auto insurance.

The cheapest car insurance companies for full coverage in South Carolina are:

  • GEICO: $893 per year
  • State Farm: $1,105 per year

For military members and their families, USAA's average rate of $970 is also quite competitive. Progressive has an average annual rate of $1,446, making it the most expensive car insurance for full coverage in South Carolina.

CHEAPEST FULL COVERAGE CAR INSURANCE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

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Top auto insurance carriers evaluate individual circumstances to determine premiums, so your rate will not be the same as the examples provided. These are average rates based on a comprehensive and collision policy that allows claims up to $100,000 for bodily injury per person, $300,000 for bodily injury per accident and $100,000 for property damage per accident.

How to Compare Cheap South Carolina Car Insurance Quotes Online

Most carriers in South Carolina have online tools where you can get reasonably accurate quotes.

  • When comparing quotes, make sure that they have similar coverage levels. If you get a quote from one company for a policy with $300,000 in bodily liability insurance per accident, then use the same limits with other providers.
  • Most insurance companies in South Carolina can provide quotes online. MoneyGeek's auto insurance calculator evaluates rates for an average driver. To obtain a more personalized quotation, you'll need to supply information related to your specific needs and characteristics. You can also use MoneyGeek’s price data as a guide when choosing which companies’ websites to view,
  • GEICO and State Farm have the most affordable rates for the average driver in South Carolina. You can begin your search for the best car insurance by asking for quotes from these companies.

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Cheapest Car Insurance in South Carolina for Young Drivers

Young drivers typically pay higher car insurance premiums due to their lack of experience on the road. A 16-year-old driver in South Carolina pays an average of $2,991 per year, while a 25-year-old driver pays an average annual rate of $1,477 in the state.

In general, Nationwide offers the most affordable car insurance policies in South Carolina to drivers aged 16–25. GEICO, however, is the most affordable for several specific ages within this span.

ANNUAL CAR INSURANCE IN SOUTH CAROLINA FOR YOUNG DRIVERS

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  • Age
    Average Cost
    Cheapest Company
    Company Cost
  • $2,991
    Nationwide
    $2,775
  • $2,904
    Nationwide
    $2,775
  • $2,753
    GEICO
    $2,369
  • $2,722
    Allstate
    $2,153
  • $2,515
    GEICO
    $1,896
  • $1,899
    Allstate
    $1,609
  • $1,839
    GEICO
    $1,545
  • $1,645
    GEICO
    $1,401
  • $1,543
    GEICO
    $1,281
  • $1,477
    State Farm
    $1,224

Parents should add children to their policies to obtain the most affordable auto insurance rates for young drivers in South Carolina. South Carolina offers teen drivers a graduated driver’s license program that allows them to get a permit for about six months. They should also be 17 years or older to get a full license.

Rates do go down as teens age. On average, a 16-year-old pays $2,775 per year for a policy from Nationwide, $1,551 more than what a 25-year-old pays.

Understanding what can positively impact your young driver’s car insurance rates, like safe driving, can also help you keep the costs at a minimum.

Cheapest Car Insurance in South Carolina for Seniors

Seniors pay slightly higher rates than young adults and middle-aged drivers in South Carolina. The average cost of auto insurance in the state for senior drivers is $1,249, which is $110 more than the average rate for a 40-year-old driver.

Based on MoneyGeek’s study, the cheapest car insurance companies for seniors with full coverage in South Carolina are:

  • GEICO: $987 per year
  • State Farm: $1,073 per year

If you qualify through military affiliation, USAA offers another reasonably priced option, averaging $1,038 for seniors in South Carolina.

CHEAPEST CAR INSURANCE RATES FOR SENIORS

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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data indicate that drivers aged 65 and above cause approximately 13.8% of severe accidents in South Carolina. Consequently, insurers treat senior drivers as high-risk. Insurers also consider driving frequency, health, type of vehicle and driving history when setting insurance rates for seniors.

In South Carolina, however, seniors can save as much as $563 per year by comparing rates between insurers.

Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With Tickets in South Carolina

Insurers in South Carolina charge drivers who have minor driving violations like speeding tickets higher premiums. Drivers with a speeding ticket pay an average of $1,428 per year, which is $224 more than drivers with a clean record.

The cheapest auto insurance carriers in South Carolina for a driver with a speeding ticket who wants full coverage are:

  • GEICO: $893 per year
  • State Farm: $1,191 per year

Meanwhile, Progressive is the most expensive company for South Carolina drivers with tickets, charging an annual average of $1,803.

AVERAGE CAR INSURANCE RATES WITH A TICKET

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Other driving habits that can negatively affect your insurance rates are speeding tickets and distracted driving. Being responsible for an accident can increase your insurance policy by several hundred or thousands of dollars.

Distracted driving could lead to a reckless driving ticket, which could add up to six demerit points to your record and an increase to your policy for up to three years. If you find yourself needing insurance after a distracted driving ticket, the easiest way to save money is to shop insurance policies, as each insurance company will penalize getting a ticket differently.

Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With a DUI in South Carolina

South Carolina drivers with a serious violation, such as a DUI, pay higher rates than those with clean driving records and are often required to file an SR-22. The average cost of auto insurance for South Carolina drivers with a DUI is $1,856 per year. Average drivers with a clean record only pay around $1,193 per year.

South Carolina drivers with a DUI and full coverage can find the most affordable rates from:

  • State Farm: $1,191 per year
  • Allstate: $1,670 per year

In comparison, Nationwide offers the most expensive insurance for drivers with a DUI, at $2,334 per year.

AVERAGE CAR INSURANCE RATES WITH A DUI

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To find the best rates, drivers should compare quotes from multiple providers before purchasing SR-22 car insurance. In South Carolina, an SR22 certificate remains valid for three years, the same duration that a DUI stays on your driving record.

A DUI may also result in the suspension of your license, jail time and other penalties. In South Carolina, you may face at least 48 hours of jail time, six months of license suspension and a fine ranging from $400 to $1,000.

Cheapest in South Carolina for Drivers With an At-Fault Accident

If you cause an accident in South Carolina and the insurance provider finds you at fault, your insurance rates will increase. South Carolina drivers with an at-fault accident on their record pay an average of $1,781 in yearly insurance premiums.

The following insurance companies offer the most affordable rates for drivers with a history of at-fault accidents:

  • GEICO: $1,312 per year
  • State Farm: $1,320 per year

At $2,385, Progressive offers the most expensive car insurance in South Carolina for those with at-fault accidents.

CHEAPEST CAR INSURANCE WITH AN AT-FAULT ACCIDENT

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Cheapest Car Insurance in South Carolina for Drivers With Bad Credit

A poor credit score can lead to higher auto insurance rates in South Carolina. The average cost of car insurance in the state for drivers with healthy credit scores is $1,193 per year. Having a poor credit score increases the average rate to $1,946 annually.

The cheapest insurers in South Carolina for drivers with poor credit scores who want full coverage are:

  • Nationwide: $1,723 per year
  • GEICO: $1,924 per year

Progressive offers the most expensive car insurance for drivers with bad credit, at $2,264 per year.

CHEAPEST CAR INSURANCE RATES FOR DRIVERS WITH BAD CREDIT

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Your credit score is an important factor impacting car insurance rates in South Carolina. State residents have an average credit score of 641, while the average FICO score in the United States in 2019 was 703. However, by shopping around you can still find affordable car insurance in South Carolina if your credit is less than excellent.

Typically, you can save a maximum of $541 annually by comparing quotes across insurers. The table above estimates what drivers with bad credit are likely to pay for car insurance in South Carolina.

Cheapest Car Insurance in South Carolina for Military Drivers

GEICO provides the most affordable auto insurance in South Carolina, followed by USAA. Although USAA offers the second-lowest average rate in the state, it tailors its policies to the needs of active and retired military members and their families.

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MoneyGeek Top Pick
USAA
  • Average rate: $524 per year
  • The second cheapest out of seven insurers

USAA provides the second-cheapest auto insurance policies in South Carolina, at an average of $524 per year. Policyholders who stick with the insurer for a designated duration can save on their premiums by getting a loyalty discount. Other available discounts include low mileage, good student, multiple car and safe driving, among others.

Cheapest Car Insurance in South Carolina by City

The cost of car insurance varies widely across the state of South Carolina. Charleston, South Carolina's largest city by population, has an average annual car insurance premium of $1,139. Columbia, the state's capital, features an average annual premium of $1,144. Although this is a minor difference, your rates may significantly vary if you're living in other parts of the state.

Click on your city’s name to find the insurance rates in your area.

AVERAGE INSURANCE RATE BY CITY IN SOUTH CAROLINA

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Car Insurance in South Carolina: What You Need to Know

South Carolina car owners need car insurance coverage unless they have uninsured motorist coverage, which costs about $550 per year. The following guide provides vital information about car insurance in the state.

South Carolina Insurance Requirements

Proof Of Insurance in South Carolina

Before driving in South Carolina, you will need proof of insurance or uninsured motorist registration in the following instances:

  • During registration or renewal of your car
  • While applying or renewing your license
  • When requested by a police officer
  • After being in an accident

Drivers can show paper proof of insurance or electronic evidence on a smartphone.

Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements in South Carolina

Typically, the minimum liability policy, which is the cheapest in South Carolina, should have a 25/50/25 limit, as follows:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person per accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

Car insurance policies in South Carolina should also have the following limits for uninsured motorist coverage:

  • $25,000 for injury or death per person
  • $50,000 for injury or death per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage

Unlike other states, South Carolina insurers often reduce your claim amount if an accident is your fault. For instance, if you are 50% responsible, your claim will get reduced by 50%.

High-Risk Auto Insurance Program in South Carolina

If insurers deny you coverage due to a bad driving record, you may still get a policy via the Associated Auto Insurers Plan of South Carolina. However, you will need proof that you have been unable to get coverage within the past two months.

Alternatives to Insurance in South Carolina

Individuals who don’t have insurance can drive legally in South Carolina if they provide proof of financial responsibility as follows:

  • Surety bond or real estate bond with two real estate owners if the combined equity is a minimum of $150,000.
  • Certificate of Deposit from the treasurer’s office of cash or securities worth $35,000.

How Much Coverage Do You Need in South Carolina?

While the minimum policy is the cheapest, it may not cover the total cost of injury and damage after an accident. Insurance experts recommend getting at least $100,000 liability coverage per person and $300,000 per accident. You may also need comprehensive and collision insurance to cover you and your vehicle.

FAQs About Car Insurance in South Carolina

When choosing auto insurance in South Carolina, drivers should consider various factors. The most common concerns related to car insurance in the state usually center around the price and which companies are the best.

Expert Advice on Finding Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina

To help you find credible and accurate insight on car insurance in South Carolina, MoneyGeek received expert advice from trusted professionals. The perspectives and opinions expressed are those of the individual contributor.

  1. What are the key factors drivers in South Carolina should look for when searching for the best auto insurance coverage?
  2. What steps can drivers in South Carolina take to find affordable car insurance?
  3. How do regulations and rules in South Carolina impact insurance pricing and how consumers might shop for coverage?
Robert Hartwig
Robert Hartwig

Clinical Associate Professor, Finance Department and Director, Center for Risk and Uncertainty Management; Darla Moore School of Business; University of South Carolina

Paul D. Smith
Paul D. Smith

Assistant Professor of Business and Entrepreneurship at Newberry College

Frank Tian Xie
Frank Tian Xie

John M. Olin Palmetto Chair Professor in Business and Professor of Marketing at The University of South Carolina, Aiken

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.


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