Auto insurance for high-risk drivers in South Carolina

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In South Carolina, distracted driving is responsible for an average of two car crashes each hour. South Carolina also has the #1 fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2019, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Drivers with speeding tickets, a DUI conviction, a lapse in coverage or an at-fault accident on their records may be considered high-risk drivers, which comes with higher auto insurance premiums. Finding affordable car insurance as a high-risk driver in South Carolina can be challenging, but getting insurance coverage that meets your needs is still possible and necessary.

Rates for high-risk car insurance in South Carolina

When determining your auto insurance rates, companies consider your driving history as one of the factors. If you have any of these infractions on your driving record, you may be considered a high-risk driver in South Carolina.

Rates after a speeding ticket

In South Carolina, a driver with a speeding ticket will likely see an increase in their auto insurance premium. Based on available data, Nationwide car insurance has the smallest percentage increase for a speeding ticket at 8% higher rates on average, while Auto-Owners has the highest average increase at 52%. Drivers with subsequent speeding tickets or more severe tickets may receive even higher premium increases.

Getting a speeding ticket in South Carolina may also come with points assessed to your driver’s license, court fees, fines and possible license suspension. Drivers may be able to reduce points and the increase in their car insurance rates by completing a state-certified defensive driving course.

Car insurance company South Carolina average annual premium for full coverage before a speeding ticket South Carolina average annual premium for full coverage after a speeding ticket % increase
Allstate $1,379 $1,885 37%
American Independent $4,292 $4,871 13%
American National $505 $673 33%
Auto-Owners $1,342 $2,034 52%
Farmers $2,781 $3,797 37%
Geico $1,203 $1,358 13%
Nationwide $1,326 $1,429 8%
Progressive $1,404 $1,817 29%
Southern Farm Bureau $1,391 $1,517 9%
Travelers $1,141 $1,334 17%
USAA $1,447 $1,817 26%

Rates after an accident

As an at-fault state, South Carolina assigns fault to the responsible party who will typically see an auto insurance rate increase from the at-fault accident. According to collected data, State Farm insureds may see an increase of just 11% on average from an at-fault accident, whereas drivers insured with Allstate may see as much as a 79% average increase.

Depending on the severity of the accident, not-at-fault drivers can sue the at-fault driver in South Carolina for expenses from the accident. From an insurance standpoint, drivers involved in subsequent auto accidents could see even higher insurance premiums or risk having their current insurer not allow them to renew their insurance.

Car insurance company South Carolina average annual premium for full coverage before an accident South Carolina average annual premium for full coverage after an accident % increase
Allstate $1,379 $2,465 79%
American Independent $4,292 $5,502 28%
American National $505 $594 17%
Auto-Owners $1,342 $2,013 50%
Farmers $2,781 $3,734 34%
Geico $1,203 $1,776 48%
Nationwide $1,326 $1,621 22%
Progressive $1,404 $2,345 67%
Southern Farm Bureau $1,391 $1,790 29%
State Farm $1,457 $1,614 11%
Travelers $1,141 $1,309 15%
USAA $1,447 $2,221 53%

Rates after a DUI

Getting a DUI in South Carolina can lead to much higher auto insurance premiums, fines, jail time and license suspension. Drivers with American Independent car insurance may see only a 14% premium increase on average while Allstate insureds face an average of 142% higher insurance premiums after a DUI. Subsequent DUIs or more severe infractions could face even higher premiums or risk cancellation or non-renewal of their auto insurance policy. As a South Carolina driver, you may also be required to carry an SR-22 if convicted of a DUI.

Car insurance company South Carolina average annual premium for full coverage before a DUI South Carolina average annual premium for full coverage after a DUI % increase
Allstate $1,379 $2,360 142%
American Independent $4,292 $3,343 14%
American National $505 $4,900 52%
Auto-Owners $1,342 $766 118%
Farmers $2,781 $2,923 22%
Geico $1,203 $3,388 115%
Nationwide $1,326 $6,955 66%
Progressive $1,404 $2,201 30%
Southern Farm Bureau $1,391 $1,826 18%
State Farm $1,457 $1,640 28%
Travelers $1,141 $1,860 54%
USAA $1,447 $1,753 93%

Rate for teen drivers

South Carolina has over 140,000 teen drivers on the roads. Young, inexperienced drivers can be considered high-risk drivers due to their higher prevalence of getting into accidents, driving distracted and speeding. As young drivers get older and gain more experience behind the wheel, auto insurance rates may get cheaper. A few of the top car insurance carriers in South Carolina are listed below with average annual rates for teen drivers added to their parents’ policies with full coverage.

Car insurance company Average annual premium for full coverage*
Allstate $2,097
American Independent $4,072
American National $2,218
Auto-Owners $2,273
Farmers $3,336
Geico $1,897
Main Street America Group $2,223
Nationwide $789
Progressive $2,302
Southern Farm Bureau $869
State Farm $2,230
Travelers $2,081
USAA $2,676

*16-year-old on their parent’s policy

Who is a high-risk driver?

Bankrate defines a high-risk driver as one with any of the following infractions on their driving record:

  • At-fault accident
  • DUI conviction
  • Speeding ticket

A teen driver is also considered a high-risk driver because of their inexperience behind the wheel and higher risk of one of the above infractions.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the definition of a high-risk driver is broader, including all of the above plus:

  • No prior insurance record or a bad insurance record
  • Poor credit score
  • Owning a high-performance or special vehicle
  • Living in a location with high instances of theft and vandalism

These things can indicate higher claims rates.

How to lower your rate if you are a high-risk driver

If you have any of the above-listed scenarios, you may be labeled as a high-risk driver and have a hard time finding car insurance or getting affordable auto rates. Luckily, there are ways you may be able to lower your rates, although these will depend on your driving history and your insurer:

  • Do not drink and drive: You will not get a DUI if you avoid drinking and driving. Practice this rule and never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking to prevent a DUI conviction.
  • Be a safe driver: When you are behind the wheel, pay attention to the roads to avoid any hazards and obey all traffic laws. By avoiding tickets and at-fault accidents, you can work your way to a clean driving record over time.
  • Improve your credit: In states that use credit as a factor for car insurance, improving your credit score by paying your bills on time can indirectly reduce how much you pay for auto insurance.
  • Safeguard your vehicle: Reduce the risk of carjacking and theft with safe behaviors like parking in well-lit areas and always locking your car. Having anti-theft features is also a deterrent and may get you a discount on your auto insurance.
  • Take a driver training course: In South Carolina, you may be able to reduce the impact on your auto insurance by taking and completing a state-approved defensive driving course.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to not be a high-risk driver?

It depends on why you are labeled as a high-risk driver. If you are a teen driver, getting older and gaining more experience behind the wheel will lower your high-risk driving status. Avoiding tickets, at-fault accidents and DUIs will also help you work towards a clean driving record once your previous infractions are no longer chargeable.

What is the best insurance company for high-risk drivers?

It depends on where you live, the type of coverage you have and vehicle you own and any other negative records on your driving history. Getting several quotes from different car insurance companies will help you find the best auto rates.

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 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.

High-risk drivers
Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

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.
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