Here's what you need to know when driving in South Carolina
In South Carolina, drivers pay on average $1,572 a year for auto insurance — compared to the national average rate, it's slightly more expensive by $43.
There are myriad factors that go into how much you pay for car insurance, like age, location and driving history, and every insurance company weighs these factors differently when generating premiums.
In our guide to South Carolina car insurance, we analyzed average car insurance rates to help you find an affordable policy that meets your needs. Continue reading to find out how much auto insurance costs in South Carolina so you know what a fair rate looks like. If you're ready to see how much you can save by shopping around, submit your ZIP code above to get personalized insurance quotes from top companies.
The best car insurance companies in South Carolina
Here are the top three car insurance companies in South Carolina, according to third-party ratings from J.D. Power.
USAA received a score of 890 (out of 1,000) in J.D. Powers' 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study and also won top marks in The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey.
State Farm is one of the nation's most popular insurance companies and was given a score of 859 in J.D. Power's 2021 auto study.
Coming in third place with a score of 849 in J.D. Power's 2021 customer satisfaction survey, Auto-Owners won above-average ratings.
The cheapest car insurance companies in South Carolina
These companies offer the cheapest rates in the following scenarios.
The cheapest rates are from Auto-Owners at $1,304 annually or $109 per month.
Auto-Owners is the most affordable company in South Carolina after an at-fault accident.
Travelers' average rate for young drivers is lower than the statewide average for drivers between ages 16 and 19.
Dynamic auto insurance data methodology
Methodology: The auto insurance rates displayed above and throughout this page are dynamic, meaning the data will refresh when the most recent information is made available. Rates are based on a sample driver profile — a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord and full coverage. This profile was adjusted based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies, like age, coverage level, driving record and others.
South Carolina auto insurance laws
Like almost all states, South Carolina requires every driver to have a certain minimum amount of insurance coverage, along with proof of insurance.
Opting for the legal minimum coverage level is cheaper than full coverage. In South Carolina, expect to pay $591 every year for the state minimum level of coverage. This rate is less expensive than the nationwide average by 61%.
In South Carolina, expect to pay $591 every year for the state minimum level of coverage.
State minimum coverage
In order to drive legally in the state of South Carolina, you must carry at least the minimum liability limits listed below:
- Bodily injury: $25,000 per person
- Bodily injury: $50,000 per accident
- Property damage: $25,000 per accident
Uninsured motorist coverage is also required at these levels:
- Bodily injury: $25,000 per person
- Bodily injury: $50,000 per accident
- Property damage: $25,000 per accident
Optional coverage in South Carolina (varies by carrier):
- Gap coverage
- Medical payments
- Roadside assistance
- Rental car reimbursement
If you want more protection beyond the minimum, you can choose a full coverage policy that includes comprehensive and collision. This provides physical coverage against car accidents, theft, vandalism or weather incidents.
Better coverage in the form of a comprehensive policy, however, comes at a cost. A full coverage policy with a $1,000 deductible costs $1,418 in South Carolina — that's 140% more than liability-only insurance. If you choose a full coverage policy with a $500 deductible, expect to pay 168% more than you would for basic coverage.
A full coverage policy with a $1,000 deductible costs $1,418 in South Carolina — that's 140% more than liability-only insurance.
Compare car insurance rates from the best companies in South Carolina.
South Carolina car insurance premiums by rating factor
What you pay for car insurance is determined by a number of rating factors, such as your age, level of coverage, credit and driving record. Insurance companies use statistics and other data to determine how much risk a client poses, and charge accordingly.
To get a better understanding of how much you can expect to pay in South Carolina, consult average rates by rating factor below.
Cheap auto insurance in South Carolina for minimum coverage
Forgoing full coverage for liability-only at the state minimum level will make your car insurance significantly cheaper. In South Carolina, the average cost for minimum coverage is $49 per month, or $591 yearly — a savings of $995 compared to full coverage.
Cheap auto insurance in South Carolina with bad credit
In nearly every state, your credit score can be used as a factor in how much you pay for car insurance. Statistically, drivers with poor credit are more likely to file claims. This is why drivers with bad credit are generally charged much higher rates. If suboptimal credit is making your insurance too expensive, working towards improving your credit is a great way to lower your premium.
In South Carolina, we found that people with bad credit pay an additional $2,136 yearly compared to drivers with great credit. Consult sample rates from different insurance companies below and use this information as a jumping-off point in your search for affordable insurance with bad credit.
Cheap auto insurance in South Carolina with an at-fault accident
If you have a recent at-fault accident on your driving record, you can expect your premium to increase. Like bad credit, a checkered driving record is another indicator of risk to insurance companies.
In South Carolina, an at-fault accident can raise your rate by as much as $647 annually.
Safe driver discounts
In addition to having a cheaper premium, some companies offer a safe driving discount. While the amount varies based on your company, it can range between 5 and 10%.
Cheap auto insurance for young drivers in South Carolina
Nationally, teens and drivers in their 20s pay the highest rates for car insurance. This is because young drivers are relatively inexperienced compared to older drivers, so insurers designate younger drivers as riskier to insure. Teen drivers pay more than three times the national average rate. In South Carolina, teens pay $4,832 per year, which is $3,303 more than the national average and 207% more than a 30-year-old South Carolina driver.
South Carolina auto insurance rate by violation
Receiving a ticket or citation will make your premium go up — sometimes, to unaffordable levels depending on the seriousness of the violation. It's difficult to say how much exactly you can expect your rate to increase because every company's pricing standards are different. However, we can provide general estimates.
See below for average auto insurance rates in South Carolina after a few common citations.
|Accident/Violation||Avg. Annual Premium||% Rate Increase||$ Rate Increase|
|One Med/PIP claim||$2,025||0%||$1|
|One comp claim||$2,122||5%||$98|
|Two Med/PIP claims||$2,148||6%||$123|
|Two comp claims||$2,185||8%||$161|
|Failure to wear a seat belt||$2,300||14%||$276|
|Child safety restraint||$2,316||14%||$291|
|Driving without lights||$2,318||14%||$293|
|Failure to show documents||$2,342||16%||$318|
|Driving with expired registration||$2,412||19%||$388|
|Failure to yield||$2,456||21%||$431|
|Failure to stop at a red light||$2,465||22%||$440|
|Speeding 6 - 10 MPH over limit||$2,471||22%||$447|
|Speeding in school zone||$2,474||22%||$449|
|Driving too slowly||$2,474||22%||$449|
|Wrong way/wrong lane||$2,480||22%||$455|
|Speeding 11 - 15 MPH over limit||$2,483||23%||$459|
|Cell phone violation||$2,487||23%||$463|
|Texting while driving||$2,491||23%||$467|
|Speeding 21 - 25 MPH over limit||$2,499||23%||$474|
|Following too closely||$2,500||24%||$476|
|Speeding 16 - 20 MPH over limit||$2,508||24%||$483|
|Operating a vehicle without permission||$2,524||25%||$499|
|At-fault accident - less than $1000||$2,529||25%||$505|
|Passing school bus||$2,539||25%||$514|
|In 65 MPH zone||$2,564||27%||$539|
|At-fault accident - $1000-$2000||$2,872||42%||$847|
|At-fault accident - greater than $2000||$2,872||42%||$847|
|Refusal to submit to a chemical test||$3,225||59%||$1,200|
|Driving with a suspended license||$3,322||64%||$1,298|
|Leaving scene of an accident/hit and run||$3,474||72%||$1,449|
South Carolina DUI laws
According to our data, getting a DUI in South Carolina can increase your car insurance rate by 62%. Finding affordable coverage with a DUI on your record can pose a challenge as it often causes your insurance cost to surge higher than many other violations.
Low-cost car insurance after a DUI in South Carolina
If you're convicted of a DUI or DWI violation in South Carolina, it's important to compare your insurance choices carefully. Car insurance premiums following a DUI can vary substantially by insurance company. For example, the least expensive car insurance company with a DUI in South Carolina, Travelers, advertises annual rates 40% less than the statewide average insurance rate with a DUI. The second-cheapest insurer for auto insurance after a DUI in South Carolina is State Farm, while the most expensive is GEICO, with prices 2% above average.
There is no company in particular that offers a rate for drivers with a DUI that's comparable to a rate without a DUI on your record. The best way to save after a DUI citation is to shop around with as many companies as possible.
South Carolina SR-22 insurance
An SR-22 is a routine legal requirement triggered by a violation such as a DUI conviction, a ticket for driving without insurance, an at-fault collision, driving with a suspended license or accumulating too many points on your license. It is not a type of insurance policy, but a form issued by your insurance company with the state of South Carolina to ensure that you remain insured.
Finding cheap auto insurance with an SR-22 in South Carolina might require some research, but it could pay off in the end.
How to acquire an SR-22 in South Carolina
For currently insured drivers
If you currently have auto insurance, obtaining an SR-22 certificate is straightforward. Contact your insurance company and ask them to file an SR-22 request on your behalf. If your insurer isn’t willing to request a certificate, you'll need to look for a new car insurance company.
For uninsured drivers
When filing for a new policy, you might face an additional fee for the prospective insurer to file an SR-22 request form on your behalf and cover your more riskier driving profile. Needing an SR-22 could keep you from being insured by some carriers, while others would be happy to cover you.
For drivers without a vehicle
Not owning a vehicle makes it more difficult to obtain an SR-22, as you will need to furnish proof of insurance to receive the certificate. If you don't own a vehicle, you should apply for a non-owners car insurance policy before filing for an SR-22. Non-owners auto coverage is typically cheaper than traditional coverage since it doesn't cover physical damage to your vehicle.
Find an affordable policy in South Carolina in minutes!
Rates by city
Car insurance companies calculate your rate based on many factors, and an important one is the location of the vehicle. The cheapest car insurance is found in Salem and the most expensive in Crocketville.
Have a look at the table below to see average car insurance costs in some of South Carolina's biggest cities.
Car insurance price trends in South Carolina
In South Carolina, average annual auto insurance costs increase by $106 in the past year. A typical South Carolina driver pays an average of $1,572 per year or $131 per month.
Year over year pricing trends in South Carolina tends to be more volatile compared to national averages. The steepest decrease occurred from 2012 to 2013, while the highest uptick took place from 2016 to 2017. Since 2019, the average rate has continued creeping up.
|Year||Avg. Annual Premium — South Carolina||Yearly Change — South Carolina||Avg. Annual Premium — US||Yearly Change — US|
If your rates are rising faster than the average in your state, compare quotes and find a better deal. The Zebra's car insurance comparison engine furnishes quotes based on your specific profile — enter your ZIP below to get started.
South Carolina car insurance FAQs
Below you'll find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding South Carolina auto insurance.
Who has the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina?
According to our data, Auto-Owners ($652 per six-month policy) and Travelers ($712) are the cheapest providers in South Carolina.
How much is car insurance in SC?
Car insurance in South Carolina is slightly more costly than the national average. A liability-only policy will set you back $591 per year, and a full coverage policy costs $1,572.
Is it illegal to drive without insurance in SC?
Yes, it is illegal to drive without insurance in South Carolina. If you're struggling to pay for auto insurance, use our comparison tool to see how much you could be saving for full or liability coverage.
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About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
- The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
- The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.