MoneyGeek compiled quotes from South Carolina's insurance companies to identify the state's cheapest providers. GEICO offers the state’s cheapest insurance policy. The average driver can save $528 per year by comparing insurance rates.
The Cheapest Car Insurance in South Carolina for 2022
On average, GEICO offers the most affordable auto insurance policies in South Carolina. Coverage level can significantly affect premiums, along with your driving history, age and credit score.
State Farm, for example, offers the lowest rates, on average, for a driver with a DUI on their record. USAA’s quotes for liability-only and comprehensive insurance policies are the cheapest in the state, but they are only available for current and retired military personnel.
The Cheapest Car Insurance in South Carolina
Cheapest Minimum Liability Car Insurance in South Carolina
For drivers looking for cheap car insurance in South Carolina, the most affordable option 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: $470 per year
- State Farm: $574 per year
If you or a family member are in the military, USAA offers another affordable option at an average of $500 per year. The most expensive car insurance company in South Carolina for minimum coverage is Nationwide, with an average cost of $761 per year.
Cheapest Minimum Car Insurance in South Carolina
These prices are only estimates based on rates for an average South Carolina driver and should not be used to compare insurance prices.
Cheapest Full Coverage Car Insurance in South Carolina
South Carolina drivers who want protection against most road 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 the minimum coverage, it covers damages to the policyholder's car. Compare quotes from multiple insurers to find the best auto insurance.
The cheapest car insurance companies for South Carolina drivers who want a full coverage policy are:
- GEICO: $853 per year
- State Farm: $1,055 per year
For military members and their families, USAA's average rate of $926 is also quite competitive. Progressive has an average annual rate of $1,380, making it the most expensive car insurance for full coverage in South Carolina.
Cheapest Full Coverage Car Insurance in South Carolina
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.
Auto Insurance Calculator
Comprehensive and Collision Insurance
Click the section of the wheel in your price range to see options.
Click your preferred price range to see company options.
Click an insurer below to visit their review page or continue to your personalized quote.
Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With a DUI in South Carolina
South Carolina drivers with a serious violation, such as a DUI, have higher rates than those with clean driving records. The average cost of auto insurance for South Carolina drivers with DUI is $1,722 per year. Average drivers with a clean record only pay an average of $1,139 per year.
South Carolina drivers with a DUI and full coverage can find the most affordable rates from:
- State Farm: $1,137 per year
- Allstate: $1,594 per year
In comparison, GEICO is the cheapest auto insurance carrier for South Carolina drivers with a clean record.
Average Car Insurance Rates With a DUI
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 3,299 people died in alcohol-related car accidents in South Carolina from 2009-2018. 1.5% of South Carolina drivers admitted to driving after drinking too much in the last 30 days.
It’s no secret that a DUI can negatively impact everything from your license to your auto insurance policy. Every state has its own set of laws when it comes to a DUI. In South Carolina, drivers can expect a minimum of 48 hours of jail time accompanied by a $400 to $1,000 fine and a minimum six-month license suspension. Additionally, South Carolina drivers are required to purchase an SR22 insurance certificate with the DMV in order to get their license reinstated. SR22 insurance is high-risk insurance that shows the DMV that you’re properly insured.
Before you purchase your SR22 certificate, you’ll want to assure you’ve shopped around for cheap car insurance quotes. While it can be difficult to find a good rate with a DUI, it’s not impossible. Being a first-time offender will work in your favor as well as working with an insurance professional to compare car insurance options. An SR22 certificate lasts three years and a DUI in South Carolina will stay with your insurance policy for the same amount of time.
Cheapest Car Insurance 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 almost certainly increase. A driver with an at-fault accident on their record pays an average of $1,653 in insurance premiums each year in South Carolina.
The following insurance companies in South Carolina offer the most affordable rates for drivers with a history of at-fault accidents:
- GEICO: $1,253 per year
- State Farm: $1,260 per year
These two providers offer similar prices, on average. Make sure to compare personalized quotes for a better sense of your premiums.
Cheapest Car Insurance With an At-Fault Accident
Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With Tickets in South Carolina
Insurers in South Carolina charge drivers with minor driving violations like speeding tickets more than those with clean records. Drivers with a speeding ticket pay an average of $1,363 per year, which is $224 more than the drivers with a clean record.
The cheapest auto insurance carriers in South Carolina for a driver with a speeding ticket and full coverage are:
- GEICO: $853 per year
- State Farm: $1,137 per year
Meanwhile, the most expensive company for South Carolina drivers with tickets is Progressive, charging an annual average of $1,722.
Average Car Insurance Rates With a Ticket
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 Companies 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 $1,139 per year. Having a poor credit score increases the average rate to $1,900 annually.
The cheapest insurers in South Carolina for drivers with poor credit scores and full coverage are:
- Nationwide: $1,654 per year
- GEICO: $1,837 per year
Although GEICO has lower rates for the average driver with good credit scores, Nationwide offers lower rates for those with poor credit scores.
Average Car Insurance Rates for Drivers With Bad Credit
Yet another factor that plays a big role in insurance rates is your credit score. Fortunately, credit scores are peaking across the nation, with the average FICO score in the United States being 703 in 2019. In South Carolina, the average credit score is 641. But even without a stellar credit score, you can still find affordable car insurance in South Carolina. The above table shows estimates of what people with bad credit can expect to pay for auto insurance in South Carolina.
Some states will put more weight on a credit score than others. Assuring you keep a healthy credit score can help lower your insurance premiums throughout your lifetime.
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 $1,192, which is $53 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: $943 per year
- State Farm: $1,024 per year
If you qualify for USAA coverage through military affiliation, this company presents another reasonably priced option, averaging $991 for seniors in South Carolina.
Average Car Insurance Rates for Seniors
According to the NHTSA, in South Carolina, 13.8% of fatal accidents affect drivers age 65 and older. Senior drivers are considered high risk because of the potential for slower reaction times and lapsed judgment on the road. All drivers in South Carolina are required to renew their licenses every eight years, regardless of age.
Other factors that can affect car insurance for seniors include health, driving frequency, driving history and the type of vehicle being driven.
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 $2,855 per year when purchasing their own policy, while a 25-year-old driver pays an average annual rate of $1,410 in the state.
Nationwide offers the most affordable car insurance policies in South Carolina for drivers aged 16–25. Regardless, GEICO offers the most affordable quotes to the majority of age groups in that range, on average.
Annual Car Insurance In South Carolina for Young Drivers
Scroll for more
- AgeAverage CostCheapest CompanyCompany Cost
Finding cheap car insurance for young drivers in South Carolina falls on parents adding their child to their insurance policy. South Carolina offers a graduated driver’s license program for teens, which requires teens to obtain a permit for 180 days and be 17 years old before they’re eligible for a full license. Shopping around for the best options can keep your rates affordable. Don’t forget to look into what happens if your child moves out of state and takes their vehicle with them, or if your child is moving to South Carolina for college. The state does not require that out-of-state students get a local license, but your insurance will want to know where your student’s car is being housed.
Seeing as parents are typically the ones covering the costs of teen drivers, knowing what can positively and negatively impact your teen’s insurance policy can help you find affordable insurance. Of course, the safer a driver your teen is, the better the chance that your rates can drop over the years. The above chart provides estimates of what you can expect to pay for auto insurance for younger drivers.
Insurance Rate Information for Military Drivers and Veterans
Many insurance companies in South Carolina will offer a discount to those involved in the military and individuals who are veterans. The state is home to more than 400,000 veterans and over 55,000 active-duty service members. For active military members, an insurance company will work with you to store your vehicle while deployed, if necessary, and can suspend your coverage while your vehicle is not in use.
There are a variety of resources that the state provides to help military families find cheap auto insurance. You can read more about becoming licensed in South Carolina and find the necessary documents to receive a military license with the South Carolina DMV.
Average Rates for South Carolina service members
Car Insurance in South Carolina: What You Need to Know
If you own any type of vehicle in South Carolina, you need auto insurance unless you apply for an uninsured motorist registration. This exception means you’ll be able to register your car without insurance, but you’ll have to pay an annual fee of $550.
While it might be legal to drive in South Carolina without insurance, we don’t recommend it. If you’re in an accident, you’ll be 100% responsible for injuries and damages, which can get expensive.
Proof of Insurance in South Carolina
To drive legally, you must carry proof of insurance or an alternative at all times. According to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, you may need to show this proof:
- When registering or renewing a vehicle
- When applying for or renewing a driver's license
- If asked by a police officer
- If involved in a car accident
The state also allows drivers to use their smartphones to show proof of insurance.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements in South Carolina
South Carolina has several liability insurance requirements for drivers related to bodily injury, property damage and uninsured motorist coverage. Every driver in South Carolina must carry auto liability insurance. The minimum policy is 25/50/25 coverage, as follows:
- $25,000 for each injured person per accident
- $50,000 for two or more injured persons per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
All auto insurance policies in South Carolina must also include this minimum 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 in some other states, insurance companies in South Carolina can reduce the amount of your claim in proportion to your fault in an accident. For example, if the insurer determines that you are 50% responsible, they may reduce your claim by up to 50%.
High-Risk Auto Insurance Program in South Carolina
If auto insurance companies turn you down because of your driving record, you can still apply through the Associated Auto Insurers Plan of South Carolina. To be eligible, you have to prove you've failed to obtain a liability policy in the state in the previous two months.
Alternatives to Insurance in South Carolina
If you don't have insurance, you can still legally drive if you present proof of financial responsibility. There are two acceptable alternatives:
- Surety Bond: You may acquire a surety bond or a real estate bond with two individual real estate owners with combined property equity of at least $150,000.
- Certificate of Deposit: You can deposit $35,000 in cash or securities with the treasurer's office. The treasurer will issue a certificate you can show the DMV.
How Much Coverage Do You Need in South Carolina?
Sometimes the minimum insurance required by a state is not enough to cover what it will cost should you get in an accident. If it fits in your budget, consumer and insurance experts recommend a liability policy covering $100,000 for one person and $300,000 for the entire accident. You may also want to consider collision and comprehensive insurance to cover your car and medical costs.
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
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 reliable and accurate insight on car insurance in South Carolina, MoneyGeek received expert advice from proven professionals. The perspectives and sentiments conveyed are those of the individual contributor.
- What are the key factors drivers in South Carolina should look for when searching for the best auto insurance coverage?
- What steps can drivers in South Carolina take to find affordable car insurance?
- How do regulations and rules in South Carolina impact insurance pricing and how consumers might shop for coverage?
Clinical Associate Professor, Finance Department and Director, Center for Risk and Uncertainty Management; Darla Moore School of Business; University of South Carolina
Assistant Professor of Business and Entrepreneurship at Newberry College
John M. Olin Palmetto Chair Professor in Business and Professor of Marketing at The University of South Carolina, Aiken
About the Author
- American Auto Association. "Licensing & State Laws - South Carolina." Accessed March 6, 2020.
- American Auto Association. "South Carolina." Accessed March 7, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Sobering Facts: Alcohol-Impaired Driving State Fact Sheets." Accessed March 7, 2020.
- Experian. "2019 Consumer Credit Report." Accessed March 6, 2020.
- Governing: The Future of States and Localities. "Military Active-Duty Personnel, Civilians by State." Accessed March 7, 2020.
- National Association of Insurance Companies. "2018 Market Share Reports." Accessed March 7, 2020.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Traffic Safety Facts." Accessed March 6, 2020.
- South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. "Veterans' Health in South Carolina." Accessed March 7, 2020.
- South Carolina DMV. "Military - License/ID." Accessed March 7, 2020.
- South Carolina SR22 Insurance. "SR22 Insurance in South Carolina." Accessed January 28, 2021.