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Cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for 2022

Updated Sep 30, 2022
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American National offers the cheapest full coverage car insurance in South Carolina, at an average rate of $505 per year. American National also offers the cheapest minimum coverage car insurance in the state, at $227 per year, on average. These rates are based on Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums.

The cheapest car insurance companies in South Carolina

The average cost of car insurance in South Carolina is about $100 less than the national average, and if you pick a cheap car insurance company, you may be able to save even more. To help you find the cheapest car insurance for your needs in South Carolina, Bankrate reviewed quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services and analyzed third-party financial strength and customer satisfaction rankings from AM Best, J.D. Power and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

The cheapest companies for minimum coverage in South Carolina

Minimum coverage car insurance is cheaper than full coverage car insurance for the same person. However, the rates are low because you are opting for the lowest amount of coverage that you can drive with legally. If you want to buy a minimum coverage policy from one of the cheapest car insurance companies, Bankrate’s study found these five providers have the cheapest average rates in South Carolina:

Car insurance company Average annual minimum coverage premium Average monthly minimum coverage premium
American National $227 $19
Geico $396 $33
Auto-Owners $424 $35
Allstate $433 $36
Travelers $460 $38

The cheapest companies for full coverage in South Carolina

In South Carolina, full coverage car insurance policies – which include comprehensive and collision coverage – are typically more expensive than minimum coverage policies because of the greater degree of financial protection they provide. However, drivers can likely still find full coverage insurance at an affordable price by comparing insurer quotes to find the best deal. In our study, we found the companies below are the cheapest companies for full coverage car insurance in South Carolina. Keep in mind that your individual premiums will vary based on your personal characteristics such as driving record and claims history. However, the rates below may be helpful for comparison.

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage premium Average monthly full coverage premium
American National $505 $42
Travelers $1,141 $95
Geico $1,203 $100
Nationwide $1,326 $111
Auto-Owners $1,342 $112

Events that can impact your cheap rates in South Carolina

Most drivers will find that their car insurance rates fluctuate as life circumstances change. Certain events can cause your rate to increase temporarily, but time or precautionary measures may help you obtain lower rates. Here are some situations that can lead to a more expensive car insurance premium:

  • Adding a teen driver to your policy: Due to a lack of driving experience, having a teen driver on your policy can cause your rate to increase significantly. Teens are more likely to get into accidents, leading insurers to charge higher rates to compensate for claim payouts. However, your rate will eventually start to drop as the driver gets older and builds a track record of safe driving. In addition, discounts for good students or safe driving can help provide savings.
  • Getting a speeding ticket: A speeding ticket typically stays on your driving record for three to five years and can lead to rate increases for the duration of that period. After that period ends, the violation will be removed from your record, and your rate may decrease at your next renewal period. Practicing safe driving can keep rates low or qualify you for additional discounts from some insurers.
  • Causing an accident: Getting into an accident can have an impact on car insurance premiums, especially if you are at fault for the collision. Most collisions stay on your record for about five years, during which time your insurance premium will be higher.
  • Being a high-risk driver: High-risk drivers often pay the highest car insurance rates, as they are the most likely to lead to a claim and payout from the insurer. You might be considered a high risk driver if you have been convicted of a DUI, were caught driving uninsured or even if you have bad credit (in many states). If you find yourself in the high risk category, it will likely affect the way you shop for cheap car insurance due to carrier eligibility restrictions for coverage or competitive rates.

Cheapest cities in South Carolina for minimum coverage

Your location is one of the most impactful factors when it comes to the cost of your car insurance. Some cities in South Carolina have much cheaper rates than other areas. If you move to a new city, it can be an effective strategy to shop around for insurance to see if you can qualify for a lower rate in a specific ZIP code.

In the table below, you can compare average annual rates from some of the cheapest cities in South Carolina for minimum coverage insurance. A more comprehensive list of cities is included in our study of the average cost of car insurance in South Carolina.

City Average annual minimum coverage premium Average monthly minimum coverage premium
Salem $420 $35
Walhalla $423 $35
Mountain Rest $423 $35
West Union $430 $36

Cheapest cities in South Carolina for full coverage

Full coverage car insurance rates are also impacted by ZIP code. You may find that full coverage premiums are more expensive in areas that have higher rates of car theft, more expensive costs of living or higher vehicle repair costs. Based on our study, these cities have the cheapest full coverage policies, on average, in South Carolina:

City Average annual full coverage premium Average monthly full coverage premium
Walhalla $1,209 $101
Seneca $1,209 $101
West Union $1,217 $101
Salem $1,217 $101

Minimum coverage requirements for South Carolina drivers

Driving without insurance in South Carolina is illegal. Before purchasing car insurance, you may want to brush up on South Carolina’s car insurance laws. Failure to carry insurance that meets minimum requirements can lead to steep fines or penalties. South Carolina’s minimum auto insurance requirements include:

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

Underinsured motorist coverage must be offered but can be declined in writing. The cheapest auto insurance in South Carolina is associated with a minimum coverage policy. However, most drivers are encouraged to purchase full coverage insurance because it provides a greater degree of financial protection from a costly loss. Robust policies include financial protection for your vehicle, such as collision and comprehensive, as well as medical payments coverage. If you lease or finance your vehicle, most lenders require a full coverage policy.

Here is how to find (and keep) cheap car insurance in South Carolina

Finding cheap car insurance in South Carolina is most effective when you do your research and compare quotes from at least three insurers. However, maintaining a low rate is just as important for those with budgetary concerns. Here are several tips for getting and keeping an affordable annual premium in South Carolina:

  • Look for discounts. Most car insurance providers in South Carolina offer discounts that can help drivers get a lower rate. Availability can vary by provider, but common car insurance discounts include savings for safe drivers, bundling policies, insuring multiple vehicles and paying your premium in full. Car insurance for teens can be expensive, so if you have a young driver on your policy, you may want to look for a company that offers student discounts. If you’ve gotten a speeding ticket in South Carolina, you may be able to lower your annual premium by completing an approved driving course or enrolling in a telematics program.
  • Shop around with carriers. Car insurance companies use your personal characteristics to determine insurance rates. These companies use different underwriting systems to determine your premium, which means one carrier may weigh your vehicle make and model more heavily, and another might weigh your driving record more heavily. For that reason, you may want to get quotes from multiple companies so that you can see which carrier offers you the lowest rate.

Frequently asked questions

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 coverage that meets 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.

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor

Elizabeth Rivelli is a contributing insurance writer for Bankrate and has years of experience writing for insurance domains such as The Simple Dollar, Coverage.com and NextAdvisor, among others

Edited by Insurance Editor