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If you’re looking for car insurance in the Palmetto State, some of the best car insurance companies in South Carolina are Geico, State Farm, Travelers, Auto-Owners and Progressive, based on Bankrate’s objective analysis. The average cost of car insurance in South Carolina is $1,512 per year for full coverage insurance, about $150 less than the 2021 national average cost of car insurance.
What’s more is that each of the companies on our list has an average full coverage premium that’s lower than the South Carolina state average. Plus, these companies provide a range of options for coverage, whether you are looking for state minimum coverage or want to personalize your policy with optional endorsements. Remember, though, that each driver is different, so the best car insurance will vary for everyone. By researching these companies, it could help you find the best car insurance for your unique needs.

Best car insurance companies in South Carolina

Bankrate’s insurance editorial team researched the major insurance providers in South Carolina by market share to determine that Geico, State Farm, Travelers, Auto-Owners and Progressive are among the best. In our review, each company was assigned a Bankrate Score that takes into account 2021 quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services, third-party customer satisfaction, and financial strength ratings from sources like the J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P and Moody’s, along with available coverage types and discounts. The scores are on a 5.0 scale. The higher the rating, the higher a company ranked in the individual rating categories.

Each of the car insurance companies on our list earns a Bankrate Score of above 4.0, making them highly competitive in the market with key aspects that impact policyholders’ experience. Additionally, although price is only one factor of choosing a company, each company offers full coverage policies at premiums below the state average. If you are shopping for the best auto insurance in South Carolina, the following companies may be a good place to start:

Provider Bankrate Score Average annual full coverage premium J.D. Power auto claims satisfaction score (Southeast region)
Geico 4.7 $1,203 843/1,000
State Farm 4.7 $1,457 859/1,000
Travelers 4.7 $1,141 831/1,000
Auto-Owners 4.5 $1,342 849/1,000
Progressive 4.4 $1,404 828/1,000

Geico

Geico may be a good choice for South Carolina drivers on a budget. You can estimate your payments and how much car insurance you can afford using the insurer’s coverage calculator. Geico’s average premiums are already the second lowest on our list, and the company offers a long list of discounts, including savings for insuring multiple vehicles, customer loyalty, good students and federal employees. However, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) records an overall complaint index of 1.26 for Geico compared to the industry average of 1.0 (meaning Geico receives more complaints than average).

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

State Farm

In addition to excellent online and mobile tools, State Farm has local agents in South Carolina who can help you through one-on-one service for your personalized policy. Although the company’s average premium is the highest on our list, the benefit of having agents across the state may make State Farm’s insurance policies a standout option for those who prefer developing trust with their insurance agent face-to-face. There are also several opportunities to save with generous discounts, including up to 25% off for good students.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

Travelers

Travelers offers the cheapest average full coverage premium on our list of companies. The insurer’s high performance in financial strength, shown by its A++ (Superior) AM Best rating, speaks to its historic ability to pay out claims. Travelers did receive a below-average score from J.D. Power in overall customer satisfaction, suggesting that existing policyholders may have complaints. Still, the carrier may be appealing to customers looking for numerous optional endorsements and an extensive list of discounts. If budget or custom coverage are your primary concern, you may want to request a quote from Travelers. You can add coverage options like gap insurance, rental car coverage and ridesharing coverage to personalize your policy to your needs.

Learn more: Travelers Insurance review

Auto-Owners

Auto-Owners is a regional insurance carrier available in South Carolina. It is the second-highest ranking insurer for customer satisfaction on our list. While the company is not available nationwide, it does rank highly across all the regions it serves, as shown through its consistent above-average placement in the 2021 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study. Along with high-quality localized coverage, the company offers unique endorsements such as purchase price guarantee to cover your vehicle at its value before depreciation and Auto-Owners’ optional coverage package, which includes more than 10 add-ons, including cell phone replacement.

Learn more: Auto-Owners Insurance review

Progressive

Progressive is unique in that it is often willing to take on drivers that other companies may consider high-risk. Policyholders may be able to sign up for the Snapshot program to practice safer driving habits and save on their insurance. For South Carolina drivers making a carrier switch, Progressive may be particularly appealing as it allows you to see just how much of a discount you could earn with safe driving — without having to commit to a policy — through its Snapshot Road Test. While the company ranks below-average for customer satisfaction, it may still be a competitive choice for those with a budget. You could use its Name Your Price to determine which coverage types fit your finances to ensure Progressive is the right choice for you.

Learn more: Progressive Insurance review

Average car insurance cost in South Carolina

When it comes to car insurance, South Carolina drivers tend to pay less than drivers nationally. While South Carolina drivers pay, on average, $1,512 annually for full coverage, the average cost of full coverage car insurance in the U.S. is $1,674 per year, according to Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums. However, minimum coverage in South Carolina is roughly the same cost as the rest of the country. The national annual average for minimum coverage is $565, compared to $558 a year in South Carolina. South Carolina has several rural counties, which may experience a lower rate of incidents from congested traffic. This may account for the state’s lower than average full coverage premium.

Average annual premium for minimum coverage in South Carolina Average annual premium for full coverage in South Carolina
$558 $1,512

These rates are 2021 data from Quadrant Information Services and may be a helpful point of comparison during your car insurance search. However, your exact rates may vary based on the provider you choose and your personal characteristics.

How to find the best car insurance in South Carolina

Every driver is different depending on their record, road experience and financial situation, meaning the process for finding the best car insurance in South Carolina may look different for each person. The following steps could be used as guidance along your insurance buying journey.

Consider minimum insurance requirements in South Carolina

Because South Carolina’s car insurance laws follow that of an at-fault state, there are a few minimum requirements for liability insurance. These limits make inclusions for bodily injury and property damage. Additionally, drivers must carry uninsured motorist coverage, which kicks in for accidents that involve an at-fault driver who lacks coverage. While underinsured motorist coverage must also be offered, it is not mandatory and can be declined in writing.

Consider lender requirements

In addition to the state requirements of liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage, your lender may require you to have certain coverage types. Full coverage insurance consists of collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. Full coverage insurance is not required by law in South Carolina, although many motorists in the state may want to purchase it to protect their finances in case of an accident. . Vehicles that are leased or financed typically require collision coverage and comprehensive coverage to avoid a loss on the loan should the car be damaged or deemed a total loss. Similarly, drivers may choose or be required to purchase gap insurance to cover the difference between the amount they owe and what their vehicle is worth, in the event that it is totaled or stolen.

Consider your individual needs

Any aspects or behaviors that can be considered “risky” have the potential to affect insurance premiums. Some common high-risk insurance factors include adding a teen driver to your policy or insuring someone with driving violations, such as a ticket or DUI. Each factor is weighed differently depending on the provider, but if any high-risk scenarios impact you, it is generally a good idea to scope out insurers that are known to provide coverage for these driving profiles.

For example, some insurers excel in their student discount offerings, while others may raise premiums for violations at a lower rate or have options like accident forgiveness. It helps to be aware of your driving record when comparing car insurance quotes.

Car insurance discounts in South Carolina

Auto insurance rates in South Carolina are generally lower than they are in the country as a whole, and you may be able to save additional money by utilizing discounts. Although every company offers different discounts, some common ones in South Carolina relate to driving habits and policy management. You may want to see if you qualify for the following discounts:

  • Young driver discounts: Drivers under 25 may qualify for several discounts, including good student discounts and distant student discounts.
  • Safe driver discounts: If you have never had an accident, received a ticket or filed a claim, you may get a discount. Other safe driving discounts may be offered for programs that track your driving habits, even if you don’t have a spotless driving record.
  • Other discounts: If you buy more than one type of policy from the same company, you might get a discount on both. Oftentimes, auto and home insurance policy bundles offer the most significant savings. You might also save if you opt to pay in full instead of monthly, or if you sign up for automatic withdrawals or paperless statements.

Auto insurance discounts are common, but each company has its own regulations and qualifications. Talking to a representative from your insurance company or reviewing discounts online could help you find which opportunities apply to you.

Frequently asked questions

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2022 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.

Bankrate Scores

Bankrate Scores primarily reflect a weighted rank of industry-standard ratings for financial strength and customer experience in addition to analysis of quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services, spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C. We know it is important for drivers to be confident their financial protection covers the likeliest risks, is priced competitively and is provided by a financially-sound company with a history of positive customer support.

To determine how well the best car insurance companies satisfy these priorities, third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, NAIC, and Moodys had the most impact on the companies’ Bankrate Scores. As price is a common consideration for drivers, we analyzed quoted premiums based on 40-year-old male and female drivers with a 2019 Toyota Camry. This profile, assessed across more than 35,000 ZIP codes in the U.S., provided a basis on which drivers may compare each provider.

While coverage options, insurer availability, affordability and customer experience are often the top priorities, Bankrate also analyzed each insurer’s online and mobile resources for policy management and claims handling. Insurance is rapidly evolving to keep pace with our digital world, so these aspects also carried weight in determining Bankrate Scores.