Best Auto Insurance Rates in South Carolina

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Finding Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina (2020)

In South Carolina, car insurance rates are generally cheaper than the rest of the country. According to our research, American National, GEICO and USAA are the cheapest car insurance providers in South Carolina. We analyzed rates for good drivers, young and new drivers, high-risk drivers and drivers with a single at-fault accident.

We also researched rates from the 10 most populous cities in South Carolina. The rates we found vary significantly, so the best provider for you may differ from the driver profile for which we collected data.

There are also ways to save on car insurance premiums, no matter which of these categories you fall into. Find out more about cheap car insurance in this article, which includes:

Cheapest car insurance in South Carolina

Finding the cheapest car insurance depends on several personal factors that insurers consider while pricing your policy. Your insurance rates are determined based on your age, driving record and where you live in the state. The best way to find cheap car insurance is to compare insurance quotes online.

Based on our rate data for our base driver, these car insurance companies offer the cheapest policies for South Carolina drivers:

Insurance company Annual premium
American National $599
USAA $1,303
GEICO $1,303
Progressive $1,447
Allstate $1,456
Note: Average rates are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services.1

Our data shows that, on average, South Carolina drivers pay $1,573 per year for car insurance, or $131 per month. That rate is based on our base driver profile. Our base driver is a single, 35-year-old male with an average credit score and no accidents on his driving record. He holds 100/300/50 coverage limits and a $1,000 deductible.

Cheapest car insurance for good drivers

Drivers who have a clear driving record, an average or better credit score and several years of driving experience will likely have more affordable insurance rates. According to our research, these insurance companies offer some of the cheapest insurance rates in South Carolina for good drivers:

Insurance company Annual premium
American National $401
Travelers $873
USAA $944
GEICO $957
American National $599
Note: Average rates are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services.1

Based on this driving profile, a good driver pays an average $100 per month on car insurance in South Carolina.

This is the annual premium for a good driver versus our base driver in the state:

average premiums for good drivers in south carolina

Good driver rates are, on average, $370 cheaper per year than our base driver's rates. Drivers with a solid credit score, no accidents or citations on their record and years of experience will likely save money on car insurance.

When you file fewer claims, you save your insurance company money. That's why they give good drivers cheaper rates. For your insurer to consider you a good driver, you should drive safely to avoid crashes and traffic violations.

Cheapest car insurance for new and young drivers

New and young drivers are prone to filing more claims and therefore have higher insurance premiums. Based on our data, a young and new driver pays $359 per month on average for car insurance. Nevertheless, these are some of the cheapest car insurance companies for new and young drivers in South Carolina:

Insurance company Annual premium
American National $1,564
GEICO $2,539
Allstate $2,762
SC Farm Bureau $3,028
USAA $3,811
State Farm $3,917
Note: Average rates are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services.1

We compared our new and young driver's rates to our base driver's rates. This is what we found:

average premiums for new and young drivers in south carolina

Our data shows that an inexperienced driver pays $2,736 more annually for car insurance than our base driver. Why do young and new drivers pay so much more for car insurance? It's because they have a reputation for submitting more insurance claims, which costs providers more money. Young drivers also have a higher rate of accidents due to inexperience. For those reasons, you should expect to have higher rates for the first few years on the road.

To save money, young drivers may opt to be added to their parents' policy instead of buying their own. Providers usually offer multi-car discounts to people with several drivers in the home.

If inexperienced drivers must buy their own separate policy, they may want to consider increasing their deductible to get cheaper monthly rates. Or, search for car insurance discounts, like those for defensive driving courses and good grades.

Cheapest car insurance for high-risk drivers

If you're considered a high-risk driver by insurers, you'll likely find yourself being charged more for coverage. These are some of the cheapest insurance companies in South Carolina for high-risk drivers:

Insurance company Annual premium
Travelers $2,231
Auto-Owners $2,842
NGM Insurance Co $2,849
GEICO $2,924
NICOA $2,999
Note: Average rates are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services.1

According to our data, high-risk drivers pay an average $305 per month for car insurance in South Carolina.

This is how much high-risk drivers pay for car insurance compared to our base driver:

average premiums for high-risk drivers in south carolina

Our high-risk driver pays $2,082 more per year than our base driver. Drivers with traffic citations, crashes and a poor credit score pay more for insurance because they tend to file more claims. Because it costs more for insurers to cover high-risk drivers, they're typically charged expensive rates.

If you're considered a high-risk driver, the best way to avoid pricey premiums is to drive safely to avoid any more crashes or violations on your record. After a few years, your driving record should clear and your insurance rates may drop.

SR-22 requirements

South Carolina residents with a suspended driver's license due to drunk driving convictions or other violations must provide proof of financial responsibility by filing an SR-22 form. An SR-22 form certifies that a driver has the minimum amount of insurance required by state law.

South Carolina state law requires that an SR-22 be carried for 36 consecutive months. If a driver fails to renew their policy 15 days before expiration, a letter is sent to the state resulting in suspension of their license. Once renewed, the license will be reinstated, but this can be a time-consuming process.

Cheapest car insurance for drivers with one at-fault accident

Even being involved in a single accident for which you're at fault can raise your premiums. Based on our research, these are some of the cheapest car insurance companies for drivers with one at-fault accident in South Carolina:

Insurance company Annual premium
Travelers $1,377
Auto-Owners $1,595
GEICO $1,831
SC Farm Bureau $1,913
USAA $1,937
Note: Average rates are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services.1

South Carolina state-mandated car insurance coverage

No matter which of the above categories you fall under, if you reside and drive in South Carolina, you must carry the state's minimum insurance requirements. South Carolina, like most states, follows a fault system, also known as a tort system. That means drivers at fault for causing an accident are responsible for all property damage and bodily injury resulting from the crash. You should hold enough coverage to help with these costs, which likely means purchasing more coverage than the minimum.

These are the minimum required auto insurance liability coverages for drivers in South Carolina:

Type of coverage Minimum policy requirements
Bodily injury liability $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident
Property damage liability $25,000 per accident
Uninsured motorists coverage Equal to minimum liability coverage (25/50/25), typically with a $200 deductible
Underinsured motorists coverage Insurers are required to offer this coverage, but drivers are not required to purchase it
Collision and comprehensive coverage Not required
Source: South Carolina Department of Insurance

Average South Carolina car insurance costs by city

Drivers who live in highly populated cities in South Carolina are prone to higher auto insurance premiums. That's because more populous cities tend to have higher accident and crime rates, which impacts how your rates are calculated. According to our data, drivers in the 10 most populous cities pay an average $124 more per year than the South Carolina state driver average.

Average premiums for the most populous cities in South Carolina
City Average yearly rate
Charleston $1,783
Columbia $1,678
Goose Creek $1,758
Greenville $1,537
Hilton Head Island $1,576
Mount Pleasant $1,653
North Charleston $1,804
Rock Hill $1,633
Summerville $1,798
Sumter $1,753
Note: Average rates are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services.1

Recommended car insurance coverage levels

South Carolina has a higher than average rate of auto theft. While you might think this only affects drivers whose cars are stolen, areas with high car theft rates have higher insurance premiums for all drivers. And if you only have minimum coverage, you won't be covered in the event of theft. Comprehensive coverage protects your car in case of theft or vandalism.

Minimum liability insurance covers the other driver's damages should you have an accident, but it doesn't defray your expenses after a crash. Plus, as mentioned earlier, it's not hard for the price tag of a serious accident to exceed the minimum liability. Because of this, we recommend getting more than the state's minimum coverage.

Getting affordable car insurance in South Carolina

There are no state-mandated affordable car insurance programs in South Carolina, but there are several ways to lower your car insurance rates. Some ways to get affordable car insurance in South Carolina include:

  • Bundling your insurance policies, for example, homeowners and auto insurance.
  • Asking about discounts such as good student, multi-car and anti-theft device discounts.
  • If your car is old or not worth much money, consider carrying only liability insurance.
  • Shop around and compare prices from different insurers.
  • Review your policy every six months or so and adjust your coverage if necessary.

It's important to follow local laws to avoid any violations on your record that may increase your insurance rates. For example, driving without insurance in South Carolina can lead to a suspension of your license and registration, plus fines up to $200. A lapse in insurance may also bump up your insurance rates.

Additionally, South Carolina teens can get their driver's license at 17 years old. If they still live with their parents, they can save money by being added to an existing insurance policy.

Methodology

1These driver profiles were used to conduct research for different categories and gather data from a variety of major insurance companies across several ZIP codes in South Carolina:

Good drivers

  • A 35-year-old female driver in South Carolina with an excellent credit score and no accidents. She holds 100/300/50 coverage limits and a $1,000 deductible.

Young and new drivers

  • An 18-year-old female driver in South Carolina. The driver is single, has an average credit score and no accidents. The driver holds 100/300/50 coverage limits with a $1,000 deductible.

High-risk drivers

  • A 35-year-old male in South Carolina. He is single, has poor credit and has one at-fault accident on his record that resulted in $3,000 of property damage. His coverage limits are 100/300/50 with $1,000 deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage.

Drivers with one at-fault accident

  • A single, 35-year-old woman with an average credit score and one at-fault accident that resulted in $3,000 in property damage. The driver has 100/300/50 coverage limits with a $1,000 deductible.

Cost by South Carolina city

  • We used our base driver profile to compare rates in the 10 most populous cities in South Carolina. As a reminder, our base driver profile was a single, 35-year-old man with no accidents on his driving record and an average credit score. The driver has 100/300/50 coverage limits with a $1,000 deductible.

South Carolina Division of Insurance

Website:
South Carolina DoI
Director of Insurance:
Ray Farmer
Insurance Hotline:
(800) 768-3467
Hours (Mon - Thurs):
8 am - 6:00 pm
Friday:
8 am - 5:00 pm

File a Consumer Insurance Complaint

Website:
Complaint Form

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