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South Carolina Car Insurance Laws and Requirements (Updated September 2022)

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Anna Baluch

By: Anna Baluch

Edited by Jackie Cohen

Updated June 17, 2022

South Carolina law dictates the minimum requirements for insurance coverage that all drivers must carry. All drivers in South Carolina must hold 25/50/25 in bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage per accident. Additionally, drivers can pick from a long list of additional coverages for added protection.

Quick Facts

  • Car insurance is required by law in South Carolina.
  • Drivers in South Carolina must carry 25/50/25 in bodily injury and property damage.
  • If caught driving uninsured, drivers face $550 in fines and potential jail time.

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in South Carolina

The minimum car insurance requirements in South Carolina[1] are:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage liability per accident
  • $25,000 for uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 for uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 for uninsured motorist property damage per accident

South Carolina is an at-fault or tort state. This means that after an accident, victims may seek compensation from the at-fault driver. They can file a claim with their car insurance company or pursue a personal injury lawsuit. To prove fault, victims may use a combination of police reports, witness testimony, and videos or photos.

Why is car insurance required in South Carolina?

Auto insurance protects drivers from financial liability in the event of an accident. Depending on a policy’s specific coverage limitations, car insurance may cover everything from vehicle damage to medical bills.

Bodily Injury Liability

Bodily injury liability is part of your liability car insurance coverage. If you cause an accident, this coverage will help cover the other party’s medical expenses. This type of coverage will not cover your own medical expenses for injuries sustained in a car accident you caused. Bodily injury liability coverage is required in South Carolina.

Property Damage Liability

Property damage liability is the other half of your liability car insurance. It covers repair costs and damage expenses to the other cars involved in an accident you caused. This coverage does not cover damage to your own car in an accident you were at fault for. Property damage liability coverage is required in South Carolina.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If an uninsured (or underinsured) driver causes an accident and you suffer bodily injury, uninsured motorist coverage will cover your medical expenses. If the at-fault driver surpasses their bodily injury liability coverage limits, your underinsured motorist coverage will cover the rest of your medical expenses. Uninsured motorist coverage is required in South Carolina.

See More: Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina

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Is state minimum car insurance enough in South Carolina?

The minimum required car insurance coverage in South Carolina provides drivers with a solid foundation of auto insurance coverage, but it may not be enough for everyone. Since a catastrophic accident may exceed $25,000 in property damage, for example, it may be worth it to invest in additional coverage. Doing so can help you avoid high out-of-pocket costs.

Optional Car Insurance Coverage for South Carolina

South Carolina drivers who want to be protected in any situation should consider bolstering the minimum car insurance coverage with the following supplemental car insurance coverages:

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage covers damages to your car after a collision with another vehicle or object. If your vehicle is a total loss, collision coverage will reimburse you for the actual cash value of your vehicle. This is a great addition to the required property damage liability coverage in South Carolina, which applies only to the damages to the other driver’s vehicle.

Comprehensive Coverage

Complementing your collision coverage, comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle that occurs during an event that is not a collision with another vehicle or object. This may apply in situations of vandalism, theft, weather damage, or a run-in with an animal. Adding comprehensive and collision coverage together creates a full-coverage car insurance policy.

Other Supplemental Coverage

MedPay, or medical payments coverage, covers medical expenses that come from a car accident, no matter who is at fault. These may include doctor’s visits, medical treatments, ambulance fees, prosthetic limbs, dental treatments, and more.

Rental car reimbursement can pay for a rental car while your car is being repaired after a covered accident. You may also consider roadside assistance, which can be a real lifesaver when you experience car trouble. If you’re stranded, this coverage can provide services like jump-starting a dead battery, changing a flat tire, or towing your car to a repair shop.

See More: Average Cost of Car Insurance in South Carolina

Penalties for Driving Uninsured in South Carolina

It is illegal to drive in South Carolina without the minimum car insurance coverage.

  • Fines: You may pay a fine of $550.
  • Daily fines: You might be on the hook for $5 for every day you have a coverage lapse.
  • Jail time: Depending on the situation, you might spend 30 days to six months in jail.
  • Driving privileges: Your registration and license may be suspended.
  • SR-22 requirement: You’ll need to file an SR-22 and cover the reinstatement fee.

See More: High-Risk Car Insurance in South Carolina

Minimum Requirements for High-Risk Drivers in South Carolina

If you’re convicted of a serious driving violation like a DUI, reckless driving, or a hit-and-run, you’ll need to file an SR-22 form with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This will confirm you meet the minimum car insurance requirements in the state. Your insurance company can file this form on your behalf after you pay a fee and accept your higher rate.

More Information for High-Risk Drivers in South Carolina

DUI Insurance in South Carolina

SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina

Cheapest Minimum Car Insurance in South Carolina

Car insurance companies weigh different factors to determine what to quote drivers on their car insurance policies. Minimum coverage generally means lower car insurance rates. It also means low coverage limits, which may cost you if you’re ever involved in an accident. Here are the cheapest car insurance quotes for minimum coverage in South Carolina.

Insurance CompanyMonthly Quote for Minimum Coverage
Progressive$111
Travelers$116
Liberty Mutual$169
Bristol West$190
Nationwide$229
Dairyland$240
Disclaimer: actual quotes may vary based on the policyholder's unique driver profile.

How to Find Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina

If you’re looking for cheap car insurance in South Carolina, check out Insurify. With this tool, you can compare car insurance quotes from a number of car insurance companies in the Palmetto State. Just fill out a short form with some basic information about yourself and your vehicle. It’s free to use, and there is no sign-up required.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes. South Carolina requires drivers to meet minimum car insurance requirements in order to drive legally. These include 25/50/25 in bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage per accident. Additional coverage is optional but may be a good idea if you drive frequently or would like maximum protection in the event of an accident.

  • No. South Carolina is an at-fault state. This means that the at-fault driver is responsible for the bodily injury and property damage costs that result from an accident. If the damage exceeds the driver’s car insurance limits, the victim may sue them to recover remaining expenses like medical payments and loss of income.

  • Uninsured motorist protection is required in South Carolina. You must purchase $25,000 for uninsured motorist bodily injury per person, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 for uninsured motorist property damage per accident. This coverage can come in handy if an uninsured driver causes an accident that injures you or your property.

  • Car insurance is required to register a car with the South Carolina DMV. In addition to the name of your insurance company, you’ll need to provide a completed Certificate of Title and Registration for Motor Vehicle application, a vehicle tax receipt, and paid vehicle registration fees. The DMV will confirm your insurance coverage electronically.

  • Insurify can help you explore cheap car insurance plans in South Carolina. Once you fill out a short form, you’ll be able to compare car insurance quotes in minutes without having to visit the websites of multiple insurance companies. You’ll find the right coverage for your particular budget, driving habits, and preferences.

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  • Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.

Anna Baluch
Anna Baluch
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Insurance Writer

Anna Baluch is a Cleveland-based personal finance and insurance expert. With an MBA from Roosevelt University, she enjoys writing educational content that helps people make smart financial decisions. Her work can be seen across the internet on many publications, including Freedom Debt Relief, Credit Karma, RateGenius, and the Balance. Connect with Anna on LinkedIn.

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Sources

  1. South Carolina Department of Insurance. "State Minimum Car Insurance Requirements." Accessed June 15, 2022