Best Car Insurance in South Carolina

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Contributor, Benzinga
June 7, 2021

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Drivers with clean driving records can expect to pay between $707 and $1,017 for state minimum coverage, depending on the insurance provider. Check out our recommendations below to score the best rate on car insurance in South Carolina.

South Carolina Car Insurance Overview

Need car insurance in the Palmetto State? Here’s an overview of the fast facts you’ll need to know if you live in South Carolina: 

  • There is an average of 2 vehicles per household.
  • Minimum state insurance requirements include: 
    • Property damage liability coverage: $25,000 per accident.
    • Bodily injury liability coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
    • Uninsured motorist bodily liability coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
    • Uninsured motorist property damage liability coverage: $25,000 per accident with a $200 deductible.

South Carolina Car Insurance Law Explained

Every driver in South Carolina must have car insurance. The minimum car insurance protection you need to have to legally drive in South Carolina include:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: Provides compensation for any drivers you injure in a collision with your vehicle. Drivers in South Carolina must have at least $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person and $50,000 per accident.
  • Property damage liability coverage: Provides compensation for anyone whose property you damage during a collision. Drivers in South Carolina must have at least $25,000 of property damage liability coverage.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage: Provides compensation for you if you have medical bills after being hit by a driver without car insurance. You must have at least $25,000 in uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage to drive in South Carolina.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: Provides compensation for you if your property is damaged by a driver without insurance. You must have at least $25,000 per accident with a $200 deductible in uninsured motorist property damage coverage.

Switching car insurance companies? You’ll receive a letter from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) which requires your new insurance provider to verify that you have a new policy. The SCDMV must receive a verification letter within 20 days, otherwise, the SCDMV will suspend your driver’s license and registration until you produce proof of a new policy and pay a fee of up to $400. 

Also, if you’re caught on the road without insurance, your license and registration will be suspended and you’ll need to pay a $550 uninsured motorist fee.

South Carolina Car Insurance Rates per Vehicle

The type of vehicle you drive can affect your insurance rates. One of the first things that insurance companies look at when they decide on your premium is your vehicle’s safety ratings. If the car you drive scores well, you’ll get a discount on your insurance.

Insurance providers also look at theft rates and repair costs when they consider what you’ll pay for insurance. If you drive a very expensive car, you’ll pay more for insurance. You’ll also pay more if you drive a car that’s statistically stolen more often.

For example, let’s take a look at one of South Carolina’s favorite vehicles, the BMW 3 series. An IIHS top safety pick, the BMW 3 Series is a luxury vehicle that also has lower-than-average insurance rates when you compare it to other luxury cars.

However, due to the vehicle’s price point, you’ll pay more for your insurance than you would if you drove one of South Carolina’s other favorite vehicles — a Chevrolet Volt or Honda Accord. Both of these models rank high in sales data in South Carolina and score well on safety tests.

Car Insurance Rates by Insurance Credit Score

Your insurance credit score can affect your car insurance rates. If your score is high, you’ll enjoy lower rates because you’re statistically less likely to file a claim. On the other hand, if you have a low score, you’re more likely to be involved in an accident or to file a claim.

This makes you a riskier bet for insurance companies, so you’ll pay more for your policy. Paying down debt, limiting your spending and making your payments on time every month can help you raise your insurance credit score and unlock a better rate.

Let’s take a closer look at how your credit score can affect your auto insurance cost. 

Credit ScoreCheapest ProviderRate for State Minimum Coverage
Poor 300-579Direct Auto$2,011
Fair 580-669Esurance$1,963
Good 670-739Travelers$1,369
Excellent 740+AAA$1,254

Insurance for Drivers with a Clean Record

Drivers who have a clean driving record will enjoy the most affordable car insurance rates in South Carolina. You’re less likely to be involved in an incident in the future if you’ve never been involved in an accident or broken any traffic laws.

This makes you a more appealing candidate for car insurance companies, who will then extend you more benefits and lower insurance rates. Focus on building a solid history of infraction-free driving if you want to know how to lower your car insurance.

Let’s compare 3 options for car insurance policies for drivers with a clean driving history:

  • State minimum insurance: The state minimum insurance is the bare minimum of coverage you need to operate a vehicle in South Carolina.
  • Standard coverage: Standard coverage is a policy that includes South Carolina’s minimum liability and uninsured motorist coverage, plus collision coverage.
  • Full coverage: Full coverage includes property and bodily injury liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. 
Insurance CompanyState Minimum InsuranceStandard CoverageFull Coverage
Progressive $757$1,700$2,299
Direct Auto$797$1,472$2,493

Insurance Rates with Driving Infractions

You’ll pay more for insurance if you have infractions on your driving record. The type of infraction you have on your record will affect how much your insurance increases. After you sign up for a policy, do everything you can to maintain great driving habits — this can lower your rate over time.

Let’s look at what you can expect to pay for insurance with 3 different infraction types:

  • At-fault accident: An accident that you partially or fully caused.
  • Speed violation: Speed violations involve driving too far above or below the posted speed limit. The severity of the surcharge will be determined by how much over or under you were going from the posted speed limit. 
  • DUI: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DUI is one of the most serious driving infractions and will significantly raise your insurance rates.
Insurance CompanyAt-Fault Accident Speed Violation DUI
Safe Auto$2,895$1,634$4,911
Selective Insurance$2,033$1,760$6,224

Best Car Insurance Providers in South Carolina

Now that you understand how car insurance in South Carolina works, it’s time to take a look at some of the state’s best providers. 

1. Best Overall: Farm Bureau Auto Insurance

Farm Bureau Auto Insurance took home J.D. Power’s number 1 auto insurance company in its 2019 customer satisfaction survey. Great customer service isn’t the only feature that makes Farm Bureau a top choice for drivers in South Carolina.

The company also offers a wide range of car insurance coverages, including policies for everything from state minimums to full comprehensive protection. You can even get a special policy for young drivers under the age of 25 who might need a little more coverage.

Farm Bureau Auto Insurance is our top pick for car insurance in South Carolina, with plenty of policy choices and top-quality customer service.  

2. Cheapest Car Insurance in South Carolina: State Auto

Are you on the hunt for cheap car insurance? Consider getting a quote from State Auto. State Auto offers some of the lowest rates for major cities in South Carolina, including Columbia and Charleston.

State Auto
securely through State Auto's website

The company offers basic plans with state minimum insurance and you also have the option to include add-on coverages like roadside assistance to even the most affordable policies.

You can also save even more by bundling your home or business insurance with your State Auto Policy. 

3. Best Coverage for Multiple Cars: State Farm

Do you have more than one vehicle you need to insure? If so, you might be able to save more when you choose a multi-vehicle policy through State Farm. Specifically, you can save up to 20% on your policy when you insure two or more vehicles through State Farm, and discounts  also include:

State Farm
Best For
  • Rideshare drivers
  • Good student discounts
  • Driver training discounts
  • Accident-free discounts
  • Discounts for bundling with other types of insurance

Other types of discounts are available as well. No matter how far you drive or who’s on your policy, there’s a State Farm discount for you. 

4. Best for Military Personnel: USAA

You may be able to get a special car insurance policy through USAA if you’ve served in the military or you have a close family member who’s served.

Best For
  • Active military members

USAA policies are affordable, comprehensive and only available to members of the armed forces, veterans and their family members.

Though not everyone qualifies for a policy, rates are low and you can get a free quote after you enter some of your basic information.

Like other auto insurance providers, USAA also offers a range of discounts that you can take advantage of to lower your rate even more. 

Driving Off with Great Coverage

Are you looking for a new auto insurance policy? Don’t be afraid to shop around for coverage to make sure that you’re getting the best rate. Collect at least 5 quotes from competing companies before you make your choice. This will help ensure that you’re getting the most affordable coverage possible. 

*Quotes were obtained using the following profile: base 2015 Toyota Camry, male, 40-years-old. Policies reflect state minimum coverage options. We make every effort to provide the most accurate quotes based on the profile above. Due to the many combined variables involved in insurance quotes, the only way to get an accurate quote is to enter your own information through our partners' secure websites.

About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.