As we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, state insurance commissions and insurance providers are constantly changing regulations and practices surrounding monthly payments, claim payouts, and more. To stay up to date with the latest on auto insurance reimbursements in your area, be sure to check with your state’s insurance commission and your current auto insurance provider.

If your driving habits have changed due to COVID-19, find a new, cheaper, ready-to-buy auto insurance policy on Insurify by comparing dozens of quotes at once.

Are you overpaying for your car insurance in South Carolina?

There’s so much to explore in the Palmetto State: historic cities, pristine shoreline, subtropical climate, and marshlike beaches. A wonderful road trip awaits. 

With over 40,000 miles of roadways throughout the state, it’s essential that every driver in South Carolina has the right policy that best fits their own lifestyle and habits. But, where does one begin when it comes to shopping for the right car insurance? It seems as though every company claim to have the lowest rates, best customer service, or most comprehensive coverage, but what’s the right choice for you?

It all starts with knowing your options, finding all car insurance discounts you’re eligible for, and selecting the best policy for you—compare the cheapest and best quotes in South Carolina here.

For city-specific car insurance details, see our in-depth overviews of Charleston.

Cheapest Car Insurance in South Carolina

Here are the cheapest insurance companies in South Carolina for the following user profile: a single, 30-year-old male with a clean driving record who drives a 2012 Honda Accord and pays a $1,000 deductible for the state’s minimum liability insurance. We averaged rates from the twenty most populous cities in South Carolina to calculate the cheapest rates in South Carolina.

Insurance CompanyQuote
Direct Auto$64/month
State Farm$73/month

Best Car Insurance in South Carolina

With dozens of options to choose from and every company claiming to be better than the next, how can you really know which insurance company is best in South Carolina?

The Insurify Composite Score is calculated by analyzing multiple factors that indicate the quality, reliability, and health of an insurance company. Inputs to the score include financial strength ratings from A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch; J.D. Power ratings; Consumer Reports customer satisfaction surveys; mobile app reviews; and user-generated company reviews. The following are the top-rated companies that offer car insurance in South Carolina. For the complete list, see Insurify’s best car insurance companies.

Insurance CompanyScoreQuotes
American Family88$147/month
State Farm83$73/month
Liberty Mutual80$196/month

Most Popular Car Insurance Companies in South Carolina

The American car insurance market is lead by a few key players. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), these are the most popular car insurance companies in South Carolina by market share:

  1. State Farm
  2. GEICO
  3. Allstate
  4. Progressive
  5. USAA

Cheapest Car Insurance Quotes in South Carolina by City

Many factors contribute to the price insurance companies quote for customers for their monthly premiums. Auto insurance costs may vary greatly depending on locations and insurance companies. Just because one company offers the best rates in Columbia doesn’t mean they’ll do the same in Charleston.

Insurify analyzed the latest data for five of the most populous cities in South Carolina to find you the cheapest quotes in each of these metropolitan areas.

CityInsurance CompanyQuote
ColumbiaDirect Auto$93/month
CharlestonDirect Auto$85/month
North CharlestonDirect Auto$92/month
Mount PleasantDirect Auto$80/month
Rock HillDirect Auto$78/month

Cheapest Car Insurance Quotes in South Carolina by Profile

Here are the cheapest insurance companies in South Carolina based on averaged sample rates for four driver profiles that included varied gender, age, driving history, credit, marital status, prior insurance, higher education, employment, and military service.

USAA will almost always offer South Carolina residents the cheapest auto insurance options but is only available to retired or current personnel of the U.S. military and their family members. 

Cheap Car Insurance for Good Drivers

For South Carolina drivers with a clean record free of any moving violations, auto insurance rates may be significantly lower. Direct offers the best options for good drivers in South Carolina, at $64 per month. With both cheaper premiums and safe driving discounts, it can really pay to have a record free of accidents or traffic tickets.

Insurance CompanyQuote
Direct Auto$64/month
State Farm$73/month

Cheap Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

High-risk drivers in South Carolina, including those with one or more traffic violations, may have to pay more for their car insurance premiums. High-risk drivers tend to have higher monthly premiums than the national average. American National offers the best deal for drivers with a DUI at $49/month. For drivers with at-fault accidents on their driving record, GEICO provides the best option at $38. For car owners with a history of speeding, USAA offers the lowest premiums at about $45/month. Average rates for high-risk drivers tend to be higher than other drivers. 

Cheap Car Insurance for Drivers with DUI in South Carolina

If you’re convicted of a DUI in South Carolina, you may be paying the price for years to come. For a decade after a DUI offense, drivers can be penalized on their insurance premiums. First time DUI offenses in South Carolina can lead to jail time, court and reinstatement fees, SR-22 filings and license suspensions. It’s no secret that DUIs have major repercussions. Here are the best rates we could find for South Carolina drivers with a DUI: 

Insurance CompanyQuote
American National$49/month
Auto Owners$50/month

Finding affordable rates on car insurance with a DUI can be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. You should consider using an insurance quote comparison website like Insurify to help you find the lowest quote from the best company!

Cheap Car Insurance for Drivers with an At-Fault Accident in South Carolina

When even a small fender-bender causes a spike in your car insurance costs, its best to choose the right policy before it’s too late. If you’ve opted into accident forgiveness, you may have caught a break. But if you haven’t, finding the right discounts may save your budget. 

If you have an at-fault accident on your driving record, it’s important to shop for a new policy every chance you get to renew. Insurance companies look at different time windows for driving history. For example, one company might look at the last five years while another looks at the last three.

Here are the best rates we could find for drivers with one at-fault accident:

Insurance CompanyQuotes
American National $39/month

Cheap Car Insurance for Speeding Drivers in South Carolina

Getting to your destination a few minutes ahead of schedule may not be worth the years of increased insurance premiums that result from a speeding ticket. The more demerits a driver has on their driving record, the more demerits they may get on their driver’s license. More demerits means higher premiums.

To recover from the effect of speeding tickets on your driving record, search for discount programs you may be eligible for, or a defensive driving course.

Insurance CompanyQuotes
American National$39/month

Cheap Car Insurance for Young Drivers

If you’re under 40 years old in the state of South Carolina, you will likely pay more for auto insurance coverage than the average driver. Inexperienced drivers often pose a higher risk for insurance providers, so their rates are often increased accordingly. USAA Insurance offers the cheapest car insurance rates for young drivers, averaging $28 a month. New drivers must abide by special driving restrictions, including curfews, electronic device limitations, and passenger age restrictions. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these rules before hitting the road.

Insurance CompanyQuote
American Family$29/month
State Farm$36/month
Auto Owners$28/month

Insurance policies for 21-year-olds generally run higher than the national average by a significant margin. Even though they’re no longer considered teen-drivers, 21-year-olds are still regarded as high-risk to insurers. To find the cheapest car insurance for 21-year-olds, use a car insurance quotes comparison site like Insurify.

Cheap Car Insurance for Foreign Drivers

To legally drive in South Carolina as a non-U.S. citizen, you’ll need to make sure you have a few necessary items.

First and foremost, foreign drivers must hold a valid driver’s license from their home country. You’ll also need an International Driving Permit or IDP. An IDP is not a driver’s license, but simply a translation of your permission to drive in your home country. Both forms of documentation must be present to prove your permission to drive in the United States. IDPs must be obtained in your home country.

In addition to a driver’s license, foreign drivers must purchase car insurance before driving in South Carolina. For long-term driving in the United States, it will be necessary to purchase traditional car insurance. For the cheapest car insurance options that are personalized to you, use Insurify to compare quotes.

Car Insurance for Drivers with Poor Credit

Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find cheap car insurance in South Carolina if you have a poor credit score. 

South Carolina car insurers are permitted to use credit score as a factor when calculating the risk of any given policyholder, meaning they can increase your insurance rates if you have bad credit. 

Insurers have found that drivers with poor credit histories are more likely to file auto insurance claims. To account for the increased risk, insurers raise insurance premiums for bad drivers. Car insurance premiums fluctuate based on many factors, not just credit score, depending on where you live in South Carolina. Good credit can save you a whole lot of cash in the long run.

South Carolina Auto Insurance Laws

State Minimum Coverage Requirements in South Carolina

All motor vehicles operated or parked on South Carolina roadways are required to be insured. Proof of insurance must be carried in your car at all times and must available when:

  • Requested by law enforcement
  • Renewing vehicle registration
  • The vehicle is involved in a car accident

The minimum liability car insurance requirements for private passenger vehicles in South Carolina are as follows:

  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for Bodily Injury (BI)

Bodily injury liability coverage protects drivers if their car is involved in an accident that harms another individual. The minimum limits required by South Carolina state law are $25,000 for the death or injury of a single victim as a result of a car accident and $50,000 for the deaths or injuries of multiple victims. Insurance companies list this type of coverage as 25/50, referring to the dollar limitations of each minimum. If you’re in an accident, liability coverage will cover the cost of a legal proceeding as a result of a crash. Bodily injury coverage is part of the minimum coverage required by South Carolina law.

  • $25,000 per accident for Property Damage (PD)

The state minimum amount of property damage liability coverage required in the state of South Carolina is $25,000. If an insured driver is determined to be at fault and held liable in a motor vehicle accident, this coverage pays for damage repair to another individual’s property. Property damage coverage will also pay for legal costs if an insured driver is involved in a lawsuit following an accident.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are required in South Carolina. This coverage protects drivers who might incur damages from an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. If involved in an accident with an individual without sufficient coverage, insured drivers will still be covered. In South Carolina, the legally required level of Uninsured Motorist coverage is:

  • $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for Bodily Injury
  • $25,000 per accident for Property Damage

Optional Supplemental Coverage

Comprehensive coverage and collision coverage pay for repairs to your car when it’s involved in an accident or stolen. Comprehensive coverage and collision coverage are two of the three basics that make up what’s commonly called a “full coverage” auto policy (liability, collision, and comprehensive). Coverage limits will differ from policy to policy.

Comprehensive insurance coverage covers “Acts of God” and things out of a person’s control, like fire or flood, but does not cover medical expenses/auto damage due to a collision.

Collision insurance coverage covers damage to objects (not animals or people) and vehicles as a result of a collision regardless of fault, including hit-and-run accidents, but doesn’t cover damage due to “Acts of God.”

Work Loss Coverage provides individuals and families funding if they are unable to work after an accident due to injury. Work Loss Coverage may be used in conjunction with Short Term Disability coverage.

Accidental Death Benefits provide monetary compensation to the family of a deceased driver n or passenger due to a car accident, up to $25,000.

Medical Payments, or simply Med Pay, covers reasonable medical costs for you or your passengers in the case of injury from an accident. If a car accident results in serious bodily injury, Med Pay can help ease the stress of high medical bills after a hospital visit.

Am I liable if I cause a car accident in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, if you break it, you buy it. 

As an at-fault tort liability state, if involved in an accident, the drover found to be at fault would be liable for damages caused. Each driver involved in an accident files a claim, and insurance coverage contributes towards damages according to the degree of fault of each party. As an “at-fault state,” South Carolina drivers’ insurance policies cover damage done in a car accident after fault is assigned to one or more parties. There is a scale by which fault may be assigned; e.g., Driver A may be found 60 percent at fault while Driver B is determined to be 40 percent at fault. If the total damages in the case come to $10,000, Driver A would take home $6,000, and Driver B $4,000.

An involved party’s “level” of fault will determine whether or not they will be eligible for financial compensation and how much they may receive after involvement in a car accident. So, for a driver’s policy to pay for the damage they may have caused in a car accident, they must be found at fault.

AAA Car Insurance and Roadside Assistance In South Carolina

Locked your keys in the car? Battery dead? Flat tire? If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, you’ve probably relied on the American Automobile Association (AAA) for roadside assistance. But did you know that AAA also offers automobile insurance for South Carolina drivers?

Divided into regional clubs, AAA insurance and roadside assistance operates throughout South Carolina. To find out which independent agents operate AAA insurance in your region, visit AAA’s website and search using your ZIP code.

Distracted Driving in South Carolina

Drivers are banned from texting while operating motor vehicles throughout South Carolina, even at a red light or stop sign. 

SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina

If your license has been suspended or revoked, these car insurance companies will file an SR-22 with the state of South Carolina on your behalf. South Carolina’s state licensing authority will inform drivers if they require SR-22 insurance. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, DWI, moving violation, or other serious offense, you may be required to file for an SR-22.

In South Carolina, many insurance companies offer to file an SR-22 on your behalf, including Acceptance, Ameriprise, AssuranceAmerica, Dairyland, Direct General, Esurance, Everest National, Farm Bureau Financial Services, Farmers, Foremost, Gainsco, GEICO, Good2Go, Grange, National General, Progressive, SafeAuto, Safeco, The General, Titan, United Auto, and Victoria.

South Carolina Auto Insurance FAQs

Do I need a driver’s license to insure a car in South Carolina?

If for some reason you own a car without holding a driver’s license in South Carolina, that shouldn’t prevent you from insuring your vehicle. Without a driver’s license, though, insurers will likely price insurance premiums much higher than average.

Can I stay on my parents’ car insurance policy as a young adult?

As long as you reside at the same address as your parents and drive a vehicle listed on their auto insurance policy, there is no age limit to stay on their policy. Bundling with your parents may save you a lot on your monthly premiums. 

Who has the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina?

The best way to get the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina and save on your auto insurance premium is to compare quotes from all companies in your area. Use a car insurance quotes comparison site like Insurify to compare up to 10+ real quotes for your specific driver profile and unlock savings and discounts. Rates can fluctuate greatly based on whether you're a safe driver or a high risk one, but you should never overpay. Insurify provides the cheapest car insurance quotes and companies in your area in just a few seconds.

It Pays to Go Green in South Carolina

The state of South Carolina offers many green driver incentives including emissions test exemptions, tax breaks, and insurance discounts.

Federal income tax credits, South Carolina excise tax credits, equipment repair rebates, and special electricity rates may be granted to buyers of eco-friendly vehicles including electric cars, hybrids, plug-ins, diesel-powered, or alternative fuel vehicles. 

If you’re thinking about your next big car purchase, consider a fuel-efficient vehicle—it’s good for both your wallet and the planet in the long run.

South Carolina Driver Services Information

The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has over twenty outposts around the state, operating from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, with some special early morning, evening, and Saturday hours. 

At the Driver and Vehicle Services Centers, South Carolina residents can access services like driver’s license and ID card registration and renewal, vehicle registration, and license plate pick-up, as well as insurance information and services. For the shortest wait times, avoid planning your visit on Mondays and Fridays, or during lunch hours.

Regardless of where you live in the Palmetto State, a DMV shouldn’t be too far. South Carolina residents may be able to skip their visit altogether and get what they need through their online portal. Visitors may also utilize the services provided by the South Carolina Department of Insurance while visiting their local Driver Services location.


South Carolina drivers can save big on their car insurance policies. 

To find the best rates, companies, and coverage based on your personal metrics, get a free quote by using an auto insurance quotes comparison site like Insurify. From Greenville to  Myrtle Beach, South Carolina drivers deserve to find the cheapest car insurance available.

Compare South Carolina car insurance companies today on Insurify.

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Updated June 4, 2020

Jackie Cohen received her B.A. in Global Media and Public Relations from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Currently based in Boston, MA, she works as a content writer for Insurify. An avid globe-trotter and foodie, Jackie spends her spare time adventuring far and near.