Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers in South Carolina (2024)

USAA, Auto-Owners, and State Farm provide the cheapest average quotes for high-risk drivers in South Carolina.

Aly J. Yale
Written byAly J. Yale
Aly J. Yale
Aly J. Yale
  • National Association of Real Estate Editors member

  • Bylines include Forbes, Bankrate, and CBS News

Aly is a reporter specializing in real estate, mortgages, and personal finance. You can find her work in Hearst newspapers and numerous financial publications.

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Katie Powers
Edited byKatie Powers
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Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

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Updated May 10, 2023 at 12:00 PM PDT

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Like most states, South Carolina requires a minimum amount of auto insurance for its drivers.[1] If you’re a high-risk driver — because of a past DUI, for example — you may face challenges in securing affordable insurance.

Shopping around for coverage options from different insurers can help you find the best deal for your coverage needs and financial situation. Your premiums will vary depending on your high-risk status, driving history, age, credit history, and more. Here’s what you need to know about finding car insurance for high-risk drivers in the Palmetto State.

Quick Facts
  • The cost of car insurance varies widely by insurer and your driving record in South Carolina.

  • Improving your credit score, increasing your deductible, and leveraging discounts can help you get a lower rate.

  • South Carolina uses a point-based system to track driving violations and assess a driver’s risk.

Factors that determine high-risk status in South Carolina

Though South Carolina doesn’t have an exact definition for who qualifies as a “high-risk” driver, the state uses a point system that indicates a driver’s relative risk. If you commit a traffic violation, you’ll have points assigned to your driving record.

The points you receive correlate to how auto insurers assess and view your risk levels. If you get too many points, you can even face license suspension. DUIs don’t count toward the point system and require an automatic license suspension.[2]

In addition to your traffic violations and points, insurers may also look at your:[3]

  • Credit score: Auto insurers view drivers with higher credit scores as less likely to file a claim than drivers with poor credit.

  • Age and driving experience: Younger, less experienced drivers are generally considered riskier than those who have driven for longer. Teenagers and drivers younger than 25 pay the highest rates by age group.

  • Vehicle type and usage: You may pose a higher risk for insurers if you use your car often or regularly commute very long distances. Car insurance companies may also associate certain types of vehicles — like sports cars — with riskier driving behavior.

  • Past insurance claims: Drivers that have filed many claims against their past insurance policies are more likely to do it again.

  • Location: If you’re in a place with high rates of vandalism or theft, it can make you a higher risk for insurers and usually equates to higher premiums.

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Best South Carolina auto insurance companies for high-risk drivers by violation

The cost of car insurance varies widely, and the exact premium you pay depends on your driving record and the specific violations you’ve committed, as well as how much coverage you choose to purchase.

“The minimum required liability coverage limits are the same [for high-risk drivers] as for all South Carolina drivers, but there are some unique filing requirements for certain situations,” says Michael Wise, acting director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance.

While there are no extra requirements for higher-risk drivers, you may be required to file an SR-22 form with the state to prove you hold the proper amount of insurance if your license was suspended following a DUI conviction. Beyond that requirement and any criminal penalties, most high-risk drivers will face increased car insurance costs.

Best car insurance for South Carolina high-risk drivers with an at-fault accident

If you have an at-fault accident on your record, you’ll likely see an increase to your insurance premiums. Car insurance companies see past accidents and the subsequent claims payout as an indicator of potential accidents in the future.

Average quotes start as low as $79 per month for liability coverage and $121 for full coverage from USAA. You can also find quality, affordable coverage from State Farm, GEICO, and Travelers.

Insurance CompanyAverage Quote: Liability OnlyAverage Quote: Full CoverageInsurify Quality (IQ) Score
USAA$79$1214.5
State Farm$85$1294.4
GEICO$95$1444.3
Travelers$155$1654.3
Auto-Owners.$81$1234.1
Allstate$140$2144.1
Progressive$164$2764.1
Safeco$159$2053.8
State AutoN/A$2753.8
Liberty Mutual$225$3283.8
The General$350$5013.4
Direct Auto$296$3443.2
Midvale Home & Auto$264$3643.2
Bristol West$331$5102.2
Dairyland$279$425N/A
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.
  • Insurify uses an in-house, proprietary method to rate and review the best car insurance companies. The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 crucial criteria, including average premiums, customer satisfaction, discounts, third-party ratings, and more, to calculate a final score for a company.

    Criteria are weighted by importance to the consumer — factors such as customer reviews and affordability influence the score more than availability and third-party ratings. With the IQ Score, Insurify is able to provide quantitative ratings for drivers to better compare car insurance companies and make informed decisions to meet their coverage needs.

Best car insurance rates for high-risk drivers in South Carolina with a DUI

DUIs can increase your premiums significantly. If you have a DUI on your record, you can expect to pay increased premiums for liability-only and full-coverage policies in South Carolina. Liability coverage ranges from $128 to $545 per month, while full coverage ranges between $187 and $878 per month.

Insurance CompanyAverage Quote: Liability OnlyAverage Quote: Full CoverageInsurify Quality (IQ) Score
USAA$128$1874.5
State Farm$145$2124.4
GEICO$157$2294.3
Travelers$263$3224.3
Auto-Owners$143$2094.1
Allstate$232$3384.1
Nationwide$398$3584.1
Progressive$257$4064.1
State Auto$211$3703.8
Safeco$239$3723.8
Liberty Mutual$362$6053.8
National General$251$4103.5
The General$442$7323.4
Midvale Home & Auto$336$4843.2
Direct Auto$402$4993.2
SafeAuto$424$6183.0
Kemper$161$2792.8
AssuranceAmerica$571$6712.2
Bristol West$525$7922.2
Dairyland$545$828N/A
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Best auto insurance for South Carolina high-risk drivers with speeding tickets

Speeding tickets can also increase your risk and premiums as a driver — especially if you have multiple — but this violation tends to affect your premiums less than an accident or DUI.

You can find the cheapest average monthly rates from USAA, Auto-Owners, and State Farm.

Insurance CompanyAverage Quote: Liability OnlyAverage Quote: Full CoverageInsurify Quality (IQ) Score
USAA$82$1164.5
State Farm$88$1254.4
GEICO$98$1394.3
TravelersN/A$1874.3
Auto-Owners$84$1194.1
Allstate$146$2064.1
NationwideN/A$2134.1
Progressive$157$2414.1
SafecoN/A$2193.8
State AutoN/A$2533.8
Liberty Mutual$242$3233.8
The General$343$4873.4
Direct Auto$303$3183.2
Midvale Home & Auto$268$3283.2
SafeAuto$290$4103.0
Bristol West$357$5022.2
Dairyland$323$483N/A
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Cheapest South Carolina car insurance companies for high-risk drivers with poor credit

Insurers often use your credit score to determine your likelihood of filing a claim. Lower scores typically indicate a greater risk, resulting in auto insurers charging a higher premium.

If you have a poor credit score, you can find monthly average car insurance rates between $66 and $287 in South Carolina.

Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote: Liability Only
USAA$66
State Farm$109
Allstate$121
GEICO$125
Progressive$134
Auto-Owners$142
National General$143
Safeco$145
Travelers$153
SafeAuto$185
Liberty Mutual$191
Midvale Home & Auto$192
Direct Auto$206
The General$235
Dairyland$275
Bristol West$287
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

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How to find affordable car insurance for high-risk drivers in South Carolina

Comparing insurance companies is one of the best ways to find affordable insurance as a higher-risk driver, as insurance premiums vary widely among insurers.

You can also consider doing the following to earn savings:

  • Take advantage of discounts. Many insurance companies offer discounts for having low mileage, taking a defensive driving course, bundling your policies, and more.

  • Consider a higher deductible. In the event of a claim, higher-deductible policies require less money from the insurer. For this reason, setting an increased deductible typically comes with a lower premium.

  • Reduce your coverage. If you have an older car, you might consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverage to lower your premium quite a bit.

  • Increase your credit score. Better credit scores usually qualify drivers for better insurance rates. Reducing your debts and paying your bills on time can help.

How to improve your driving record and lower your car insurance rates in South Carolina

Improving your driving record can lower your perceived risk of having an accident and reduce your insurance premiums. To do this, you might consider seeking legal help. Sometimes, an attorney can help you get a charge dismissed or removed from your record.

You should also commit to driving cautiously and, if possible, minimally. You could even take public transit more often to help reduce your chances of having an accident and adding points to your record. Finally, you can also take a defensive driving course to reduce the points on your record. However, these courses don’t actually remove any violations you’ve committed.

“Point reduction alone does not automatically reduce a consumer’s insurance premium since the violation, itself, is still a part of the consumer’s driving record,” Wise says. “Some carriers will offer a discount upon completion of approved defensive driving classes, but the violations are still counted for insurance rating purposes for a specified number of years, depending on the carrier and the type of violation.”

South Carolina high-risk drivers insurance FAQs

Finding insurance as a high-risk driver can present difficulties. Here’s some additional information to help you navigate finding auto coverage.

  • What drivers are considered high risk in South Carolina?

    South Carolina doesn’t have an exact definition of a high-risk driver, but the state operates on a point-based system. Drivers earn points for certain traffic violations. The more points a driver has on their record, the greater risk they pose to potential insurers.

  • How do auto insurance companies calculate risk in South Carolina?

    Insurance companies assess risk using a number of factors, including your credit score, driving record, location, type of car, how often you use your vehicle, and more. If you have a history of multiple accidents or DUIs, for example, auto insurers may not want to issue you a policy.

  • What’s the cheapest insurance company for South Carolina high-risk drivers?

    The cheapest insurer for a high-risk driver in South Carolina depends on the specific driver and their violations, but USAA, Auto-Owners, and State Farm offer the cheapest average rates for drivers with an at-fault accident, DUI, or speeding ticket.

  • How much does high-risk auto insurance cost in South Carolina?

    The cost of high-risk auto insurance in South Carolina depends on the traffic violation you’ve committed. Average quotes range from $82 to $502 per month for a driver with a speeding ticket, $79 to $510 per month for someone with an at-fault accident, and $128 to $828 per month for someone with a DUI, according to Insurify data.

  • How long does reckless driving affect insurance in South Carolina?

    Reckless driving could potentially affect your insurance premiums for years, though it depends on the car insurance company and the circumstances of the violation.

Methodology

Insurify data scientists analyzed more than 90 million quotes served to car insurance applicants in Insurify’s proprietary database to calculate the premium averages displayed on this page. These premiums are real quotes that come directly from Insurify’s 50+ partner insurance companies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quote averages represent the median price for a quote across the given coverage level, driver subset, and geographic area.

Unless otherwise specified, quoted rates reflect the average cost for drivers between 20 and 70 years old with a clean driving record and average or better credit (a credit score of 600 or higher).

Liability-only premium averages correspond to policies with the following coverage limits:

  • Bodily injury limits between state-minimum rates and $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
  • Property damage limits between $10,000 and $50,000
  • No additional coverage
Full-coverage premium averages correspond to the same bodily injury and property damage limits in addition to:
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible

Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Services’ database of auto insurance rates.

Sources

  1. South Carolina Department of Insurance. "Automobile Insurance." Accessed May 9, 2023
  2. South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. "How the Point System Works." Accessed May 9, 2023
  3. Insurance Information Institute. "What determines the price of an auto insurance policy?." Accessed May 9, 2023
Aly J. Yale
Aly J. Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer and reporter covering real estate, mortgages, and personal finance. Her work has been published in Forbes, Business Insider, Money, CBS News, US News & World Report, and The Miami Herald. She has a bachelor’s degree in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism from the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at TCU and is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

Katie Powers
Edited byKatie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
Photo of an Insurify author
Katie PowersAuto and Life Insurance Editor
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

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