South Carolina is home to many young adults aged 19 and under, and while the cost of car insurance in the state is just under national annual averages at $558 for minimum coverage and $1,512 for full coverage, road safety is often a topic for concern. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) found that South Carolina teen drivers were responsible for a collision-related injury or death taking place every 1.4 hours. Furthermore, distracted driving made up a significant portion of car crashes, causing two accidents per hour on average.
Regardless of which population you represent in the state — distracted drivers, teen drivers or the general 3.8 million licensed drivers on roads — you will likely want the most affordable car insurance company South Carolina has to offer to keep yourself protected. You never know when a car accident may occur, or if all parties involved will have sufficient coverage. Bankrate has gathered the companies offering the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for 2021 to help drivers find insurance within their budgetary needs.
The cheapest car insurance in South Carolina
Finding the cheapest car insurance companies in South Carolina often boils down to which company offers the best discounts. Smaller companies are sometimes able to be competitive, but more often than not, they are not able to offer the prices of a national provider nor the savings they offer via discounts. This is often the case with South Carolina.
On average, the following five companies offer South Carolinians the lowest annual premiums:
|Car insurance company||Average annual premium for minimum coverage||Average annual premium for full coverage|
Because of its size, Geico is able to offer some of the cheapest auto insurance in South Carolina for basic liability, even aside from its extensive list of discounts. With discounts, many people will see the above numbers go down even further, since Geico’s discounts offer significant savings. For example, if you insure multiple vehicles through Geico, you may save up to 25% on your premium. Have a full-front seat air bag system in your car? You could save up to an additional 23%. These savings can give you a good idea of what to expect based on your eligibility.
Learn more: Geico Insurance review
Though based in Michigan, Auto-Owners also has an office in Greenwood, South Carolina and a host of agents across several South Carolina ZIP codes. The company even has a convenient package offering 10 additional coverages including re-keying, phone replacement and more for a single rate. Drivers may save with a multitude of easy available discounts, including requesting a quote before your current policy expires and opting for electronic payments.
Learn more: Auto-Owners Insurance review
Allstate is a national company that consistently receives positive ratings from trusted third-party sources like J.D. Power, an independent company that measures customer satisfaction. Of the companies surveyed in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study, Allstate ranked within the top 10 for customer satisfaction in the Southeast region, where South Carolina is located. You can lower your premium with Allstate’s Drivewise program, which allows policyholders to receive a discount for signing up for the app and additional discounts every six months for continued safe driving. Through the Drivewise program, you may even receive Allstate Rewards points to redeem for things like travel and merchandise.
Learn more: Allstate Insurance review
When considering coverage, drivers account for several factors. Travelers helps make this decision process easier by offering sample coverage options for South Carolina drivers, as well as drivers in other states. For example, Travelers policyholders in the state may receive up to $900 in rental coverage and 15 miles of roadside assistance. There are options for new car replacement, accident forgiveness and more than 10 other ways to include savings. Drivers with a hybrid vehicle may qualify for special discounts and those who maintain a clean driving record and claims history could earn up to 23% off their premiums.
Learn more: Travelers Insurance review
USAA is an exclusive provider for active duty military and veteran drivers, but it is also known for exceptional customer service and efficient claims processing. Coverage is comprehensive, including options for personal injury protection (PIP), roadside assistance, rental reimbursement and accident forgiveness. It is already one of the cheapest car insurance companies, but there are many discounts that allow you to save. Some of the best car insurance discounts in South Carolina come from USAA, including savings for safe drivers, taking a defensive driving course, driving a new car and being a good student in school. Military members can also save with annual mileage, vehicle storage and military installation discounts.
Learn more: USAA Insurance review
Minimum coverage for South Carolina drivers
The minimum amount of liability South Carolina drivers need is 25/50/25. This represents the following:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury/death
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury/death
- $25,000 per accident for property damage
As a South Carolina driver, you might be questioning what level of coverage is enough. Unfortunately, it is quite easy to end up in a situation where minimum coverage is inadequate. For example, a new Ford 350 XLT costs around $45,000, brand new. If you were to total such a truck, that would leave you responsible for the remaining $20,000. Your insurance company would pay $25,000 (minus your deductible) and you would be expected to pay for the remaining amount out-of-pocket.
For that reason, many insurance agents recommend more than minimum coverage.
How to get cheap car insurance in South Carolina
One of the best ways to find cheap car insurance in South Carolina is to first shop around. Insurance companies can utilize different pricing algorithms, which is why it is recommended to find and compare quotes from different companies.
After you receive multiple quotes, compare the discounts that each offers. Take note of the ones that are applicable to you, and calculate how much of an impact they would have on your premium. If the provider does not advertise how much you would save with a particular discount, contact an agent to find out.
Another option to lower your premium is to opt for a higher deductible. The key drawback to this is that you would receive less of a payout if and when you get into an accident, plus you may have to cover more costs up front out of your own pocket. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have some money set aside in savings if you choose a high deductible.
Lastly, keep in mind that your credit score often plays a role in the pricing of your premium. This is because there is a historical correlation between people with lower credit scores having more accidents and receiving more speeding tickets. In most states that factor in credit, if you raise your credit score, the cost of your auto insurance can be reduced.
Talking to an insurance agent can help you go through this process and make the right choices for your needs.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance in South Carolina?
The best car insurance in South Carolina depends on the priorities of each driver. Researching options, comparing quotes and discovering discounts are all ways to find the best provider for you.
What is the average cost of car insurance in the U.S.?
The average cost of car insurance in the U.S. is $1,674 per year for full coverage and $565 per year for minimum coverage. Compared to national averages, South Carolina is just a bit below at $1,512 per year for full coverage and $558 per year for minimum coverage. However, the cost of your car insurance may vary, based on rate factors like your driving record, age or ZIP code.
Is South Carolina a no-fault state?
No, South Carolina is not a no-fault state, which is why purchasing more than basic liability is recommended by insurance experts and agents. Getting into an accident without proper coverage could leave you personally responsible for another person’s injuries and medical bills and without coverage for your own damages.
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 base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.