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Cheapest Car Insurance Companies and Quotes in South Carolina

MoneyGeek ranked the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina using annual rates for the average driver with a comprehensive and collision coverage policy. However, these numbers are only averages and may change depending on your circumstances. To find affordable car insurance in South Carolina with the coverage you need, compare quotes from different insurance carriers.

Average Comprehensive and Collision Rates in South Carolina

These prices are typical rates for drivers in South Carolina. Depending on your personal situation and driving history, these numbers may differ from the quotes you receive. Many factors can affect your auto insurance quote: your age and driving history, your car’s make and model, where you live, how many miles you drive and your credit score.

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Cheapest Liability Car Insurance in South Carolina

Some drivers might consider liability-only car insurance, which provides coverage for third-party medical expenses and property damages for any accident where you are at fault. Since this does not cover your expenses for medical treatments and damages, it can be a good idea to choose comprehensive and collision coverage. In most states, there is a mandatory minimum liability requirement for car insurance. In South Carolina, most drivers will find GEICO to be the most affordable option, whether they choose the state minimum 25/50/25 coverage or a higher coverage level of 50/100/50.

Average Cost for Liability Coverage

The Best Car Insurance Companies in South Carolina for 2021

MoneyGeek used a unique rating system based on studies from J.D. Power and AM Best, as well as pricing data and industry standards for insurance company rating and review. MoneyGeek weighed each criterion equally to formulate the final score out of 100.

Aside from affordability, MoneyGeek considered claims experience and customer satisfaction to find the best car insurance in South Carolina.

Expand All Rankings +

1

USAAScore: 95
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

5/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

Affordability

A++

Financial Stability

2

ErieScore: 92.5
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

5/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

Affordability

A+

Financial Stability

3

Auto-Owners Insurance CoScore: 90
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

Affordability

A++

Financial Stability

4

ALFAScore: 87.5
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

4/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

Affordability

A

Financial Stability

5

North Carolina Farm BureauScore: 87.5
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

4/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

Affordability

A

Financial Stability

6

GEICOScore: 85
+

3/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

3/5

Affordability

A++

Financial Stability

7

State FarmScore: 82.5
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

3/5

Affordability

A

Financial Stability

8

NationwideScore: 80
+

3/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

2/5

Affordability

A+

Financial Stability

9

TravelersScore: 80
+

2/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

2/5

Affordability

A++

Financial Stability

10

MetLifeScore: 80
+

2/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

3/5

Affordability

A+

Financial Stability

While USAA scores highly in many areas, this provider is only available to military members, veterans and their families.

Market Share by Company

In South Carolina, State Farm ranks as the largest insurer of car policies in the state, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. In the state alone, State Farm writes 22% of direct auto premiums every year. If you’re curious about additional large insurance groups in the state, you can find that information below.

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What Is the Average Cost of Car Insurance in South Carolina?

MoneyGeek calculated the average cost of annual premiums for car insurance in South Carolina for a typical driver with comprehensive and collision coverage. The average driver is a 40-year-old man with a Toyota Camry with a clean driving record. To get the best car insurance in South Carolina, shop around for accurate quotes based on individualized factors like age, credit score, driving history and coverage level.

  • Average Driver: $1,139
  • DUI: $1,772
  • Speeding Ticket: $1,363
  • Poor Credit Score: $1,900
  • Seniors: $1,192
  • Students: $2,779

Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With a DUI in South Carolina

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.

Average Car Insurance Rates With a DUI

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 With Tickets in South Carolina

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.

Average Car Insurance Rates With a Ticket

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

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 following table shows estimates of what people with bad credit can expect to pay for auto insurance in South Carolina.

Average Car Insurance Rates for Drivers With Bad Credit

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 Companies in South Carolina 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.

Average Car Insurance Rates for Seniors

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 for Students in South Carolina

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 following chart provides estimates of what you can expect to pay for auto insurance for younger drivers.

Average Car Insurance Rates for Students

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 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

male
25 years$1,392
50 years$1,053
female
25 years$1,360
50 years$1,057

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.

Car insurance companies use your location to calculate your rate.
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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.

  1. What are the key factors drivers in South Carolina should look for when searching for the best auto insurance coverage?

    Drivers everywhere will want to buy insurance with a reputation for great customer service and expeditious settlement of claims. Price is also important but selected a high-quality insurer is key to minimizing potential problems down the road.

  2. What steps can drivers in South Carolina take to find affordable car insurance?

    Today insurance buyers have more options than ever when it comes to finding affordable car insurance. Drivers can call one or more local insurance agents. Some agents represent a single insurer; others represent multiple insurers. Virtually all insurers will provide you with a quote on their website or refer you to one of their agents who will. Drivers can also shop on one of a growing number of online portals, getting comparative quotes from various insurers.

  3. How do regulations and rules in South Carolina impact insurance pricing and how consumers might shop for coverage?

    Insurance is a heavily regulated business. In South Carolina, as in all states, you’ll be required to purchase a certain minimum amount of liability insurance in case you injure someone or damage their property with your vehicle. State regulators have the authority to limit rate changes in the state. Because car insurance is so competitive in South Carolina with dozens of insurers competing for your business, there’s little reason for regulators to do so.


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

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About the Author


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Sara East is a freelance writer and content marketing professional based in Reno, NV. She has more than 10 years marketing experience in public relations, content and digital marketing. Sara has been a published writer for more than 10 years having written articles about finance, business, entrepreneurship, education, travel, real estate, insurance, healthy living, social media, travel and study abroad.

Sara's writing has been published in national news sites including Mashable, The Muse and The Next Web as well as on a variety of blogs. When she's not writing, Sara enjoys spending time with her fur kids exploring the mountains of Reno/Tahoe and enjoying the outdoors.


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