Best cheap car insurance in Charleston for 2021

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In Charleston, South Carolina, drivers pay on average $666 for state minimum and $1,626 for full coverage per year for car insurance. The amount you pay for car insurance in Charleston will vary by your age, zip code, driving, claims history and the type of car you drive.

Because South Carolina is in the top 10 states with the worst drivers, drivers likely want to find the best car insurance in Charleston with affordable rates and comprehensive coverage. Bankrate uses data to compare coverage, discounts, financial stability and third-party rankings to select top options.

Best car insurance companies in Charleston

In Charleston, the best car insurance companies offer affordable premiums, customizable coverage and a variety of discount opportunities while also having excellent financial strength to pay claims. The table below highlights some of the best car insurance companies in Charleston based on these criteria and third-party rankings for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power.

Insurance company J.D. Power score
(Southeast region)
Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Geico 843/1,000 $428 $1,169
Auto-Owners 849/1,000 $486 $1,406
Allstate 838/1,000 $490 $1,427
USAA 890/1,000 $575 $1,510
State Farm 859/1,000 $713 $1,557

Geico

With the cheapest rates for state minimum and full coverage car insurance, Geico is a viable option for drivers in Charleston. Geico has a wide range of discounts to keep car insurance costs affordable, with discounts offered for seniors, military, federal employees, student drivers and member discounts from over 500 groups and organizations. Drivers who insure multiple vehicles can save up to 25% on their car insurance by also insuring another car, motorcycle, boat or RV.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

Auto-Owners

Though Auto-Owners is only offered in 26 states across the country, it competes well with the larger insurers. In the Southeast region, Auto-Owners is ranked in fifth place for customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. The company offers multiple ways to customize car insurance, including its Personal Automobile Plus Package, which offers 10 optional coverages for one price. Going green, paying in full and getting an advanced quote are just a few of the ways you can save on car insurance with Auto-Owners.

Learn more: Auto-Owners Insurance review

Allstate

Only offered in select states, Allstate’s Claim Satisfaction Guarantee is in place for anyone insured with Allstate who is not completely satisfied with its claims process. Luckily for Charleston drivers, South Carolina is one of the states offering this incentive. It comes standard on all Allstate car insurance policies in Charleston without compromising on costs, as Allstate has lower-than-average rates based on Bankrate data. Whether you are planning a trip to Mexico or side hustling as a rideshare driver, Allstate has you covered.

Learn more: Allstate Insurance review

USAA

Past and present military members, their spouses and children can take advantage of lower-than-average rates in Charleston with USAA car insurance. The military insurer ranks first in the Southeast region for customer satisfaction but does not meet the criteria for ranking because of its limitations on membership. USAA offers flexible payment options with no extra fees, which is a rarity for car insurance companies. On average, members save $725 per year when switching to USAA for car insurance from other carriers.

Learn more: USAA Insurance review

State Farm

State Farm’s good neighbor philosophy is well received in Charleston as the fourth highest-ranking insurer for customer satisfaction in the region. Though State Farm’s minimum coverage rates are slightly higher than average, its full coverage average rates are lower overall than Charleston’s. At State Farm, you have several opportunities for savings, including up to 15% for teen drivers participating in Steer Clear, up to 17% for bundling home and auto and up to 40% for safe driving habits in the Drive Safe & Save program.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

Cheapest car insurance in Charleston

In the U.S., the average cost of car insurance is $1,674 for full coverage per year. Drivers in South Carolina pay lower-than-average rates for the same coverage at $1,512 annually. The average cost for car insurance in Charleston is slightly higher at $1,676 per year. If you are looking for the cheapest car insurance in Charleston, consider Geico, Auto-Owners, Allstate, Travelers or USAA. Of the most popular insurance companies in the state based on market share, these carriers offer the cheapest average rates for car insurance in Charleston.

Though USAA’s rates are the most expensive, the company boasts the highest rankings for customer service in the state. Travelers offers accident forgiveness for qualifying drivers, which helps protect your rates from increases if you cause an accident. The company also offers gap insurance and new car replacement for drivers with newer cars.

With the cheapest car insurance in Charleston, Geico’s award-winning mobile app puts it above some of the others for digital-savvy drivers. However, each of the cheapest car insurance companies has its own app version to help you track claims and view ID cards and policy details.

Insurance company Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Geico $428 $1,169
Auto-Owners $486 $1,406
Allstate $490 $1,427
Travelers $525 $1,273
USAA $575 $1,510

Charleston insurance requirements

Drivers in Charleston are required to carry certain amounts of insurance to legally drive in South Carolina. The minimum coverage required is:

  • $25,000 per person, bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident, bodily injury
  • $25,000 per accident, property damage

According to South Carolina law, you are required to carry at least those limits for uninsured motorists as well, though underinsured motorist coverage is optional. Though it may be cheaper to carry just the state minimum requirements, purchasing as much liability insurance as you can afford will provide greater financial protection if you are involved in an accident. You may also be required to carry full coverage insurance by a lender if you lease or finance your car.

Car insurance discounts in Charleston

These discounts are just a few offered in Charleston to help you get cheap car insurance rates:

  • Anti-theft discount
  • Defensive driving discount
  • Good student discount
  • Multi-policy discount
  • Safe driver

If you have a teen driver, the good student discount is a great way to combat the high cost of insuring a young driver. Often, the multi-policy discount provides the greatest discount, and bundling your home and auto can help streamline your insurance with both policies insured by the same carrier. Safe drivers can also take advantage of exclusive discounts like safe driver, accident forgiveness, claims free and more.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

The best car insurance company offers the coverage you need at a price you can afford. The cheapest car insurance company may not be the best, but just because a company is the most expensive does not mean it is the best, either. To find the best car insurance company for your needs, get multiple quotes for the same coverage from different carriers to compare.

How much does car insurance in Charleston cost?

Based on data analyzed by the Bankrate insurance editorial team, the average cost of car insurance in Charleston is $666 for state minimum liability and $1,626 for full coverage annually. Your rate will differ because it is based on multiple criteria, including personal factors like your age, driving record, claims history and marital status.

How much car insurance do I need in Charleston?

The amount of car insurance you need in Charleston varies and can change over time. For example, if you have an older car and can afford to replace it if it were totaled in an accident, you may not need full coverage protection. However, if you have a newer car with a loan or lease, it may make sense–and even be required by the lender–to purchase full coverage insurance.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our sample drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.

Written by
Mandy Sleight
Insurance Contributor
Mandy Sleight has been a licensed insurance agent since 2005. She has three years of experience writing for insurance websites such as Bankrate.com, MoneyGeek and The Simple Dollar. Mandy writes about auto, homeowners, renters, life insurance, disability and supplemental insurance products.
Edited by
Loans Editor