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Car insurance is relatively affordable in South Carolina, with residents paying less than the national average for their policies, but it’s not just about what you pay, it's what you get.
This page will show you which types of coverage are legally required in South Carolina, provide information about the cost of driving including average rates, and share some insights about insurance risk to help you protect yourself and your family.
Average car insurance rates in South Carolina are nearly identical to the national average. Prices may vary depending on your limits, urban conditions, coverage, and zip code.
On average, the cost of auto insurance in South Carolina is $824.59 a year. The national average annual price is $866.31.
|Total Annual Cost||$824.59|
|Price Per Month||$68.71|
If you want car insurance in South Carolina that offers reliable coverage at an affordable price, you have to shop around. To do this, you have to compare quotes from multiple insurance companies. But that can be a hassle if you do it on your own. Thankfully, QuoteWizard makes it a lot easier.
We’ll help you by introducing you to a number of top insurance companies. Then you can compare rates and decide which coverage options are the best for your situation. That means less legwork and, better yet, lower costs.
Last year, 49,949 people used QuoteWizard to compare car insurance quotes in South Carolina from top companies and find the cheapest rates
These are the 10 most common vehicles owned by South Carolina drivers requesting car insurance quotes through QuoteWizard in the past year.
Last year, these were the 10 most common car insurance companies reported by QuoteWizard users living in the state of South Carolina. Out of the 49,949 South Carolina drivers that used QuoteWizard to request insurance quotes last year, 4,234 had no car insurance.
Legally all US drivers are required to carry a minimum level of insurance, but those levels vary from state to state. In South Carolina, drivers need to follow what is known as the 25/50/25 rule when it comes to their insurance policy.
This means that any policy must include the following:
Remember, you can purchase more inclusive plans that cover more, but if you want the bare minimum required to keep you legal on the road, make sure your policy has the above protection.
Any time you drive in South Carolina, you must be prepared to show your car insurance identification card to law enforcement upon request. You will get this identification card from your car insurance company when you buy a policy.
The card must include all of the following:
Failing to maintain proof of insurance is punishable by a fine or jail time, unless a driver has paid the $550 Uninsured Motorist Fee. This fee allows a driver to legally operate a vehicle without insurance in South Carolina. However, you will have no protection of any kind, and QuoteWizard strongly recommends that drivers purchase at least South Carolina’s legal minimum insurance coverage.
South Carolina residents that have had their driver’s license suspended due to drunk driving convictions or other violations must provide proof of financial responsibility by filing an SR-22 form. “SR” stands for safety responsibility and it 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.
South Carolina has no restrictions on using a cell phone while driving, except that all drivers are forbidden to send or receive text messages while driving.
South Carolina’s Implied Consent law requires that any driver submit to testing to determine the alcohol or drug content of their blood, breath, or urine when arrested by law enforcement for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). Refuse the test and you’ll face the following penalties in addition to the penalties for a DUI:
If you operate a motor vehicle in the state of South Carolina with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, you are guilty of Driving While Under the Influence (DUI).
The penalties for a first offense DUI conviction are:
The penalties for a second offense DUI conviction are:
The penalties for a third offense DUI conviction are:
The penalties for a fourth offense DUI conviction are:
When riding in a vehicle, all children under the age of 6 need to be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat. Children under the age of one, or who weigh less than 20 pounds must be in a rear-facing child safety seat. Children between the ages of one and five, who weigh between 20 and 40 pounds, must be in a forward-facing child safety seat. Children who are between the ages of one and five, and weigh between 40 and 80 pounds, must be restrained in a belt-positioning booster seat. Children weighing over 80 pounds, regardless of age, are not required to sit in a booster seat.
South Carolina has implemented a 3-tier graduated driver’s license system beginning with a learner’s permit and ending with full driver privileges once all conditions are met. Drivers must be at least 15 years old to get a learner’s permit. New drivers are required to drive 40 hours under supervision, with 10 of those hours being at night. Once these conditions are satisfied, and the driver has reached at least the age of 15 1/2, they can take the driver’s test. If they pass the test, a provisional license is issued.
Drivers with a provisional license are not allowed to drive unsupervised between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am (8 pm and 6 am during Daylight Saving Time). From 6 pm to midnight, they may drive when supervised by a licensed driver 21 years of age or older. A driver with a provisional license may only drive between midnight and 6 am if they have a parent or legal guardian supervising them. They are also not allowed to have more than 2 passengers under the age of 21 in their vehicle unless they are going to or from school.
For young drivers for whom these restrictions would be problematic, South Carolina offers a special restricted license in lieu of a provisional license. The only difference between the two is that drivers with an unrestricted license can waive the driving time restrictions if they can prove that it interferes with work or school.
Drivers who are 16 years old, and who have had their provisional license or special restricted license for at least a year, are eligible for an unrestricted driver's license with full driving privileges.
All drivers are required to renew their driver’s license every 10 years, except for drivers age 65 and older, who must renew their license, and get a vision test, every five years.
South Carolina requires that everyone age 6 or older in a vehicle must wear a seat belt. Children are required to use approved child seats as mentioned above. The maximum penalty for failing to wear a seat belt is $25 for a first offense.
When you drive a vehicle in South Carolina that is required to be registered in another state, you must have the type of insurance required by that state. You must be able to provide proof of this insurance to law enforcement upon request.
The average cost of car insurance in South Carolina in 2014, the most recent year for which data was available, was $824.59 compared to a national average of $866.31. South Carolina ranks 20th for insurance expense, slightly below the national average.
The state of South Carolina taxes gasoline and diesel fuel at 16.75 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the Federal fuel tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline, and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel. The total tax on a gallon of gasoline works out to 35.15 cents per gallon; for diesel fuel, the total tax is 41.45 cents per gallon.
In 2014, there were 824 traffic fatalities in South Carolina, a 7% increase from the state’s 768 traffic fatalities in 2013. Safety on the road goes a long way, so be sure to buckle up.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety maintains a website with vehicle crash reports here: http://www.scdps.gov/ohs/stat_services.asp
South Carolina had 12,902 vehicle thefts reported in 2014, a 2.4% increase compared to 2013. In 2014, the vehicle theft rate was 267 per 100,000, a 1% increase from 2013.
The vehicle theft rate in the State of South Carolina is slightly higher than the overall US vehicle theft rate, which was 216.2 per 100,000 in 2014.
Some cars are more prone to theft than others, so be sure to check the list below to see if your car is a target on the streets.
Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau - Hot Wheels Report 2014
The percentage of South Carolina residents estimated to be driving without insurance is 7.7%. That ranks South Carolina as #43 among US states and the District of Columbia, much better than average.
|7||3.6%||SC Farm Bureau|
|9||1.7%||Auto-Owners Insurance Co.|
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