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Cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for 2024

Updated May 13, 2024

According to Bankrate’s expert analysis, American National and Encompass are the cheapest car insurance companies in South Carolina.

The cheapest car insurance companies in South Carolina

The average cost of car insurance in South Carolina is 18 percent less than the national average, and if you are able to get a favorable rate from a cheap car insurance company, you may be able to save even more. On average, the cost of full coverage auto insurance in South Carolina is $1,893 annually. For minimum coverage, the average annual cost is $606. To help you find the cheapest car insurance for your needs in South Carolina, Bankrate reviewed quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services to help find the cheapest average rates available in the state as you start your search for car insurance.

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Cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for minimum coverage

South Carolina drivers are required by law to maintain a minimum coverage policy for their auto insurance, which includes liability and uninsured motorist coverage. Because of the lower amount of coverage these policies provide, they are typically the cheapest option available for auto insurance. The cheapest carrier for minimum coverage auto insurance in South Carolina among the companies we examined is American National, costing drivers an average of $198 per year for coverage.

Insurance Company Average monthly premium Average annual premium Savings vs state avg. for min coverage
American National
$16
$198
- $408
$35
$419
- $187
$37
$449
- $157
$41
$491
- $115
$42
$509
- $97

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 generally associated with a minimum coverage policy. However, most experts encourage drivers to purchase more than the minimum coverage for greater financial protection. Full coverage car insurance includes financial protection for your vehicle in the form of collision and comprehensive coverage. If you lease or finance your vehicle, most lenders require a full coverage policy to protect their investment in your vehicle.

Cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for full coverage

Drivers with full coverage auto policies in South Carolina typically enjoy better financial protection in the case of a collision, though they tend to pay higher rates as a result. According to our research, the cheapest average  full coverage premium in the state is offered by American National, at an average annual cost of $596.

Insurance Company Average monthly premium Average annual premium Savings vs state avg. for full coverage
American National
$50
$596
- $1,297
$120
$1,440
- $453
$123
$1,473
- $420
$127
$1,518
- $375
$127
$1,522
- $371

Cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for drivers with prior incidents

Being convicted of a traffic violation in South Carolina may cause your insurance premiums to increase when you renew your policy. Insurance companies may view you as more likely to make a claim or be involved in an accident, and will typically raise your premiums to offset the increased amount of risk you present as a policyholder. But, with a little research, you can probably still find carriers that offer cheap policies for your situation. These are the cheapest carriers in the state for drivers with prior incidents based on average rates.

Cheapest insurance companies for drivers in South Carolina with a speeding ticket: American National

Although we all might do our best to avoid them, getting a speeding ticket is something that many of us experience at some point during our driving careers. Generally, a speeding ticket will cause your premium to increase, and this increase could last for three to five years.

However, the companies below might be a good place to start if you need cheap South Carolina car insurance after receiving a speeding ticket conviction, based on our analysis of proprietary premium data from Quadrant Information Services:

Insurance Company Avg. annual min coverage premium Avg. annual full coverage premium
American National
$271
$787
$455
$1,620
$557
$2,394
$576
$1,644
$628
$2,098

Cheapest car insurance for drivers in South Carolina with an at-fault accident: American National

Unless you have accident forgiveness, getting into an accident can impact your car insurance premium, 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 likely be higher.

It may be possible, however, to find cheap car insurance in South Carolina (even after an at-fault accident) by contacting multiple companies for quotes.

Insurance Company Avg. annual min coverage premium Avg. annual full coverage premium
American National
$236
$696
$536
$1,841
$683
$1,921
$720
$1,961
$736
$2,427

Cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for high-risk drivers: American National

High-risk drivers often pay the highest car insurance rates, as they are the most likely to file a claim. 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, including South Carolina). 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.

The companies in the table below may have the lowest premiums for drivers who’ve been convicted of a DUI. Please note that not all companies will offer a policy to those with this type of conviction on their record, so for detailed information, please reach out to the company directly.

Insurance Company Avg. annual min coverage premium Avg. annual full coverage premium
American National
$312
$896
$629
$1,929
$802
$2,161
$1,034
$3,489
$1,124
$3,046
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Bankrate’s take: In South Carolina, drivers who are considered high-risk are sometimes required to have their insurance provider file an SR-22 form, or a certificate of financial responsibility, which states that they have met the legal insurance requirements to drive in the state. There may be a fee for your insurance company to file the form with the state, and it must be maintained with the state’s agency for three years if required after certain driving incident convictions. If your policy lapses, the carrier is obligated to inform the state and you will have to restart your SR-22 obligations again.

Cheapest car insurance for young drivers in South Carolina

Young drivers in South Carolina tend to have higher car insurance premiums, because carriers view them as inexperienced and more likely to be involved in an at-fault accident, receive speeding tickets, and file a claim. These drivers can expect their rates to gradually lower as they age as long as they maintain a clean driving record, but even during the highest-risk years, there are still cheap car insurance providers for young adults available, as shown below.

Cheapest South Carolina car insurance for insuring a teen driver: Encompass

Insurance companies evaluate a driver’s likelihood of being involved in an accident when determining rates, and statistics show that teens get into more crashes compared to older drivers. This increased accident risk can lead to some hefty premiums for teen drivers. Shopping around and targeting companies known to offer lower rates for younger adults, as well as seeking out teen discounts or student discounts, may ease some of the pressure parents might feel after their child passes their driving exam.

If you’re looking for low-cost car insurance in South Carolina after adding a teen driver to your policy, you might consider contacting the companies below:

Insurance Company Avg. annual min coverage premium Avg. annual full coverage premium
$742
$2,639
American National
$866
$2,293
$927
$4,137
$1,166
$3,266
$1,209
$3,078
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Bankrate’s take: Since teen drivers have less experience on the road, insurance carriers may expect to make more payouts for accidents and damage when providing them with coverage. As a result, providers may charge them higher premiums to make up for the greater likelihood of filing a claim than older drivers. As they get older and keep a clean record, drivers can expect their rates to continue lowering each time they renew their policies. All other things being equal, car insurance rates don’t typically start to rise again until around age 70.

Cheapest South Carolina car insurance for teens with a ticket: American National

Teen drivers are typically already more expensive to insure, and their rates will likely increase if they receive a speeding ticket. The higher rates may persist for a few years, though American National offers the cheapest average premiums for such drivers.

Insurance Company Avg. annual min coverage premium Avg. annual full coverage premium
American National
$811
$2,181
$1,430
$6,424
$1,683
$4,339
$1,722
$4,788
$1,802
$4,883

Cheapest South Carolina car insurance for teens with an at-fault accident: American National

Teen drivers in South Carolina who are in an at-fault accident will likely see their insurance rates rise for a few years. Teen rates are already significantly higher on average, so adding an accident can greatly increase the perceived risk to insurers. American National offers the cheapest rate for this driver type on average in the state.

Insurance Company Avg. annual min coverage premium Avg. annual full coverage premium
American National
$811
$2,181
$1,911
$5,100
$1,939
$5,402
$2,002
$8,514
$2,009
$5,126
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Bankrate’s take: In South Carolina, fault in car accidents is determined by the presence of negligence. This includes drivers who were acting carelessly or recklessly. This makes South Carolina an “at-fault” or “tort” state, so the person found to be at fault must pay for the other party’s injuries and property damage that occur as a result of the accident.

Cheapest South Carolina car insurance for young drivers with a DUI: American National

Young drivers who get convicted of a DUI will likely see their rates increase by the most of any other driving incident. When it comes time to renew their policy, they may find it more difficult to find insurers that will cover them, though American National offers the cheapest coverage on average for drivers in these situations.

Insurance Company Avg. annual min coverage premium Avg. annual full coverage premium
American National
$540
$1,559
$1,003
$3,183
$1,148
$3,254
$1,389
$5,173
$1,517
$4,603

Cheapest car insurance rates by city in South Carolina

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 on average than other areas. For example, drivers in big cities may see higher premiums due to congested roadways which lead to an increased instance of accidents. If you move to a new city, it could 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 and full coverage insurance. It’s interesting to note that our data shows that across all of these cities, American National offers some of the lowest premiums.

Cheapest cities in South Carolina for car insurance

Blair
City average annual min coverage premium
$582
Cheapest car insurance carrier
American National
Company average annual premium
$192
Jenkinsville
City average annual min coverage premium
$588
Cheapest car insurance carrier
American National
Company average annual premium
$192
Norway
City average annual min coverage premium
$587
Cheapest car insurance carrier
American National
Company average annual premium
$186
Blackstock
City average annual min coverage premium
$588
Cheapest car insurance carrier
American National
Company average annual premium
$192
Bowman
City average annual min coverage premium
$589
Cheapest car insurance carrier
American National
Company average annual premium
$195

Cheapest car insurance in larger cities in South Carolina

Charleston
City average annual min coverage premium
$675
Cheapest car insurance carrier
American National
Company average annual premium
$214
Columbia
City average annual min coverage premium
$641
Cheapest car insurance carrier
American National
Company average annual premium
$213
Mount Pleasant
City average annual min coverage premium
$624
Cheapest car insurance carrier
American National
Company average annual premium
$211
North Charleston
City average annual min coverage premium
$739
Cheapest car insurance carrier
American National
Company average annual premium
$243
Rock Hill
City average annual min coverage premium
$616
Cheapest car insurance carrier
American National
Company average annual premium
$195

Car insurance discounts in South Carolina

Knowing what discounts could be available to you is essential when learning how to save on car insurance in South Carolina. Although car insurance companies dictate their own array of discounts, you might find some savings opportunities across a few different carriers, including:

  • Young driver discounts: Because young drivers pay some of the highest premiums, car insurance companies usually offer teen driver discounts to help make their policies more affordable. One such discount is the good student, which could help full-time students with a 3.0 GPA or higher save on their premiums. Some companies also provide a driver’s training discount for young drivers who complete a driver’s training course.
  • Safe driver discounts: Auto insurers generally award safe drivers with a lower base rate because those who practice safe driving habits are at a lower risk of being involved in an accident. In addition to more favorable underwriting, drivers with a clean record may also earn a safe driving discount which can provide some pretty hefty South Carolina car insurance savings.
  • Pay-in-full discount: If you can afford it, you may want to consider paying your policy premium in a lump sum rather than in installments. Some companies will give you a discount for doing so, and you might avoid installment charges, too.
  • Bundling discount: Bundling multiple types of insurance with one company may be one of the easiest ways to save on car insurance in South Carolina. The most common bundle includes your home and auto insurance, but some carriers will give you this discount for multiple combinations of products, such as carrying your auto and renters insurance.
  • Defensive driving discount: Some insurance companies offer a defensive driving discount, which rewards policyholders who complete an approved defensive driving course by offering reduced premiums.
  • Telematics discounts: If you are a safe driver, enrolling in your insurer’s telematics program to allow them to track your driving could net you some significant savings. Most programs track things like braking and acceleration habits and speed. Keep in mind, though, that some insurers may also raise your rate if you display unsafe driving behaviors.

Frequently asked questions

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Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze the latest rates in May 2024 for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates include the most recent approved rate increases filed by insurance companies and are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region so that policyholders can see the impact rates have in their areas. 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 2022 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.

Incidents: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket and single DUI conviction.

Teens: Rates were determined by adding a 16-year-old teen to a 40-year-old married parent’s policy. The rates displayed reflect the total cost of a driver this age added to their parents’ policy. 

Age: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the ages 18 and 21 applied. Drivers are renters on their own policy. Age is not a contributing rating factor in Hawaii and Massachusetts due to state regulations.

Written by
Grace Kim
Insurance Contributor

Grace Kim has two years of experience in writing for finance and insurance domains such as Bankrate and Reviews.com. She has written about auto, homeowners, renters and life insurance. She has spent most of her professional experience writing about finance and tech topics.

Edited by Senior Editor, Insurance