Driving off the lot with your new car, a world of opportunities will appear before your eyes. Perhaps you should explore Ace Basin National Wildlife Refuge or treat the family to a summer vacation on Hilton Head Island. Maybe you just want to decorate your ride for a tailgate party at the next Gamecocks game. But before you hit the road, you need to think about South Carolina insurance.
According to 2017 Federal Highway Administration statistics, South Carolina has more than 4.4 million vehicles on the road. In 2017, more than 100,000 car accidents occurred in The Palmetto State, resulting in 925 fatalities and nearly 40,000 injuries. It makes sense to protect yourself with car insurance, and South Carolina law requires you to carry minimum amounts of coverage.
Before shopping for South Carolina insurance, seek guidance from experts such as the Insurance Information Institute, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the South Carolina Department of Insurance.
- Compare insurance costs between makes and models when you buy a new car.
- Find out what insurance South Carolina requires. For financed vehicles, check with the lender about insurance requirements.
- Get lots of quotes from as many insurance companies as possible.
- Consider dropping some coverages on older vehicles, like collision and comprehensive insurance to save money.
- Ask your agent if you can bundle your home or renters insurance with car insurance to get lower rates on both coverages.
- Check your credit score and ask an agent how your credit might affect your premium.
- Ask a lot of questions about deductibles, limits and what each policy covers when you talk to agents.
- Ask agents about discounts to reduce your insurance premium.
- Search the National Association of Insurance Commissioners database to see if the company holds a valid license before you buy a policy.
These tips can help you find an auto insurance policy that works for you.
Best car insurance companies in South Carolina
Every year, J.D. Power & Associates studies the car insurance market to find the best companies. Using a 1,000-point system, J.D. Power rates companies based on six categories and compiles a list of top companies in each U.S. region. In its 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study the top five South Carolina auto insurance companies included:
Although USAA received all 5- and 4-star ratings, it does not qualify for the J.D. Power rankings, because it only offers insurance to military members and their families. Nonetheless, if you or a family member are in the military, you might want to look at what USAA has to offer.
|Insurance Company||Score by J.D. Powers (out of 1,000)||AM Best|
Alfa Insurance is not as large as some of the other national providers on this list, but you will receive personal attention from the regional insurer. Alfa Insurance may be smaller, but it provides many of the same coverages in discounts you’d expect from a larger insurer, including collision and comprehensive coverage and homeowners insurance.
Like the other insurance companies on our shortlist, Allstate offers some of the best car insurance policies in South Carolina. Its variety of coverages can be bundled for additional discounts. Allstate’s website is a great resource for younger drivers in South Carolina because of the company’s user-friendly website providing articles, tutorials and videos on how insurance works. In addition, policyholders can manage their policies and file claims through an Allstate agent or by using the website or mobile app.
Auto Owners is another regional insurance carrier servicing the state. As the name suggests, it’s one of the top car insurance companies in South Carolina for auto owners in search of good coverage. You’re not limited to vehicle policies — Auto Owners Insurance also offers renters and homeowners insurance. When you bundle more than one policy with Auto Owners, you can maximize the savings on all policies.
Geico may be the best car insurance in South Carolina for drivers on a budget. You can estimate your monthly payments and how much car insurance you can afford using Geico’s coverage calculator. Geico’s discounts include multi-vehicle coverage, customer loyalty, good student and 10 percent off for switching to Geico.
Progressive is another option for low-cost auto insurance in South Carolina. What makes Progressive unique is its broad reach — the statewide insurance carrier is willing to take on drivers other companies may consider high-risk. Policyholders can sign up for the Snapshot program to improve their standing with Progressive and save on their insurance. By downloading and installing the mobile app, you can let Progressive can monitor driving habits and adjust premiums for good driving habits.
Average car insurance costs in South Carolina
The average cost of car insurance in South Carolina is $1,568 per year for full coverage and $537 for the state minimum liability insurance. Compared to other states, South Carolina is in the middle when ranked according to auto insurance costs. To compare, Florida is the most expensive state for car insurance. We found that Florida drivers pay $2,587 per year for full coverage.
State minimum insurance requirements in South Carolina
According to the South Carolina Department of Insurance, state law requires drivers to carry bodily injury and property damage liability policies, and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Bodily injury coverage pays for the medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering of another driver, or another driver’s passengers, when you are at fault in an accident. Under South Carolina law, you must have at least $25,000 in bodily injury insurance to cover one person and at least $50,000 in insurance to cover all persons injured in a single accident.
Property damage liability pays to replace or repair another driver’s car or other types of property, when you are at fault in an accident. South Carolina law requires you to purchase at least $25,000 worth of property damage insurance to cover damages in a single accident.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance pays for yours and your passengers’ medical bills and damage to your car if an underinsured or uninsured motorist is at fault involving your vehicle. This could include a common accident or a hit-and-run accident. South Carolina requires you to carry uninsured-underinsured insurance that matches the minimum limits established for liability coverage: $25,000 for bodily injury of one person, up to $50,000 to cover all passengers, and $25,000 in property damage coverage.
Car Insurance Discounts in South Carolina
Our top five South Carolina auto insurance companies all offer solid discounts. Among the easiest to qualify for include:
- Good driver discounts: You can get this discount when every driver in your household has no at-fault accidents or traffic violations in a three-year period
- Passive restraint discounts: This discount is for vehicles manufactured in 1993 or prior that have seatbelts and/or factory-installed air bags that meet federal standards
- Good student discounts: South Carolina insurers reward high school and college students with a discount on their premiums if they’re enrolled in school and earning good grades.
- Multi-car discounts: This discount applies to policyholders who insure more than one passenger car.
- Combo discounts: This discount is for policyholders who take out a South Carolina home or renters insurance policy.
What car insurance do I need in South Carolina?
The state of South Carolina requires that all drivers have at least liability insurance of 25/50/25. This means you have enough insurance for $25,000 per person injured in an accident, $50,000 maximum per accident and $25,000 for property damage if you’re at fault in an accident.
What’s the difference between liability and full car insurance?
South Carolina only required liability, which pays for damages and injuries to others. Full coverage is optional. It includes coverage for your vehicle, yourself and your passengers, regardless of whether you cause an accident or your car is damaged other ways, such as from a fire or flooding.