Car Insurance Requirements in South Carolina (2024)

South Carolina drivers must carry $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person and $50,000 per accident, $10,000 in property damage liability, and uninsured motorist coverage.

Kim Porter
Written byKim Porter
Kim Porter
Kim Porter
  • Co-authored the book “Future Millionaires’ Guidebook”

  • 13 years writing personal finance content

A former chief copy editor at Bankrate and past managing editor at Macmillan, Kim specializes in writing easy-to-understand, actionable personal finance content.

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Danny Smith
Edited byDanny Smith
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Danny Smith
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

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Updated June 12, 2024

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Cheapest recent rates in South Carolina

Drivers using Insurify have found quotes as cheap as $42/mo for liability only and $86/mo for full coverage in South Carolina.

*Quotes generated for Insurify users from South Carolina within the last 10 days. Last updated on June 12, 2024

Rates shown are real-time Insurify user quotes from 100+ insurance companies and Quadrant Information Services data. Insurify’s algorithm excludes anomalous quotes and anonymizes personal details, then displays refined quotes by price, date, and insurer popularity up to 10 days ago from June 12, 2024. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer’s unique driver profile.

*Quotes generated for Insurify users from South Carolina within the last 10 days. Last updated on June 12, 2024

Rates shown are real-time Insurify user quotes from 100+ insurance companies and Quadrant Information Services data. Insurify’s algorithm excludes anomalous quotes and anonymizes personal details, then displays refined quotes by price, date, and insurer popularity up to 10 days ago from June 12, 2024. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer’s unique driver profile.

Drivers in South Carolina must purchase bodily injury liability, property damage liability, and uninsured motorist coverage to drive legally in the state.

You may also buy additional insurance, like collision and comprehensive coverages, which can extend your protection to more incidents. No matter what kind of coverage you need, you should compare car insurance quotes from multiple insurers before buying a policy.

Find Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina

Rates start as low as $50 per month for liability coverage

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South Carolina car insurance requirements

Auto insurance policies in South Carolina must include this coverage with the following minimum limits:

  • Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident

  • Property damage liability: $10,000 per accident

  • Uninsured motorist coverage bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident

  • Uninsured motorist coverage property damage: $50,000 per accident[1]

Bodily injury liability

Bodily injury liability insurance pays for the other driver’s expenses when you cause a car accident. The other driver and any passengers can file a claim to cover their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Your insurance company will also pay a lawyer to represent you, with no policy limits.

South Carolina drivers must have a car insurance policy with at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and $50,000 per accident.[1]

Property damage liability

Property damage liability insurance pays for any damage you cause to someone else’s property in an accident. This includes damage to another vehicle as well as property, such as buildings and fences.

In South Carolina, drivers must carry at least $25,000 of property damage liability insurance per accident.[1]

Uninsured motorist

Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your own medical bills and property damage expenses when an uninsured driver hits you or you’re the victim of a hit-and-run.

Each insurance policy must include uninsured motorist coverage of at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person and $50,000 per accident, plus $25,000 in property damage coverage. There’s usually a $200 deductible, but it may be refunded if the insurance company receives payment from the uninsured motorist.[1]

Underinsured motorist

Underinsured motorist coverage kicks in when another driver causes an accident but doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your property damage and medical bills. Insurance companies in South Carolina are required to offer underinsured motorist coverage, but drivers don’t have to buy it.[1]

South Carolina High-Risk Insurance Plan

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/475a36c4fb/states_south-carolina.svg

    You’ll typically be able to find coverage through a traditional car insurance company. However, if you’re a high-risk driver with multiple blemishes on your driving record, you may have a harder time getting an insurance policy than drivers with clean records.

    Since car insurance is mandatory in South Carolina, the state offers an insurance program for high-risk drivers who can’t find coverage. These rates are higher than standard rates, but it’s necessary if you want to drive in South Carolina.[2]

Do you need more than the state-minimum coverage in South Carolina?

Most drivers don’t need more than the state-minimum coverage in South Carolina. However, high-risk drivers may need to carry an SR-22 certificate, and if you have a loan on your vehicle, your lender will likely require you to carry full-coverage car insurance.

A full-coverage policy has the state’s required coverage and usually includes collision coverage, which pays for your car repairs following an accident, and comprehensive coverage, which pays for any damage that arises from non-collision incidents, like vandalism or severe weather.

Even if you’ve paid off your car, you might decide to get full coverage if you think you’d struggle to pay for repairs after an incident. You might also want to increase your policy limits for the state’s required liability coverages.

Keep in Mind

Full-coverage car insurance provides more protection, but your cheapest option is liability-only coverage. South Carolina residents pay $164 per month for a policy meeting the state’s minimum requirements. For an average of $277 per month, drivers can get a full-coverage policy.

The cost of liability-only car insurance in South Carolina

South Carolina requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, including bodily injury liability and property damage liability. These coverages pay for the other driver’s medical costs and property damage from a car accident you cause, but liability insurance won’t cover these costs for you or your passengers.

Because of its limitations, liability insurance is generally less expensive than full coverage. In South Carolina, drivers pay an average of $164 per month for liability-only car insurance. Here are average monthly quotes from several top insurers in the state.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Saturday, June 1 at 12:00 PM PDT
Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
USAA50
Auto-Owners54
State Farm56
GEICO60
Safeco80
Nationwide82
Allstate87
Travelers93
Midvale Home & Auto108
Progressive109
State Auto113
Direct Auto133
Liberty Mutual149
Dairyland156
The General177
National General181
AssuranceAmerica209
Bristol West212
GAINSCO240
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.

The cost of full-coverage car insurance in South Carolina

After a covered incident, full-coverage car insurance can help pay for liability costs, repairs to your own property, and medical costs for you and your passengers. In South Carolina, drivers pay an average of $277 per month for full-coverage car insurance. 

Here are average monthly quotes from several top insurance companies in the state.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Saturday, June 1 at 12:00 PM PDT
Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
USAA85
Auto-Owners92
State Farm94
GEICO101
Safeco134
Nationwide139
Allstate147
Travelers158
Progressive175
State Auto176
Midvale Home & Auto189
Direct Auto223
AssuranceAmerica247
National General264
Liberty Mutual269
The General318
Dairyland341
Bristol West370
GAINSCO416
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.

Shop for Car Insurance in South Carolina

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Penalties for driving without proof of insurance in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the penalties for driving without car insurance depend on how many offenses you have on your record.

First offense

The first time police catch you driving without car insurance, you’ll have 20 business days to purchase a policy. If you fail to do so, the state may ask you to:

  • Pay a $600 uninsured motorist fee

  • Spend up to 30 days in jail or pay a fine between $100 and $200

  • Pay $5 per day for each day you go without insurance[3]

The state may also suspend your driver’s license and car registration until you can provide proof of insurance, and you’ll pay a fee to reinstate your license and registration.

Second offense

The second time you drive without insurance within 10 years of the first offense, you’ll pay a fine of $200 and also face up to 30 days in jail. You’ll also pay $5 for each day you go without insurance. The state may also suspend your license and registration until you provide proof of coverage.[3]

Third and subsequent offenses

If you drive without insurance a third time within 10 years of your previous offense, you’ll see the same fines and penalties as above, but your jail time will increase. You’ll spend at least 45 days in jail but no more than six months.[3]

Optional car insurance coverages to consider

The following coverages are optional in South Carolina, but you might want to consider purchasing them:

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/169fdfde11/liability-coverage.svg

    Collision coverage

    Collision insurance pays for physical damage to your car when you hit another object, such as a car, tree, or wall. In South Carolina, insurance companies declare a car a total loss if the repair costs exceed 75% of the car’s actual cash value after a collision.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/665da91bf7/comprehensive-coverage.svg

    Comprehensive coverage

    Comprehensive insurance pays for damage to your car from non-collision incidents, like fire, theft, flooding, and run-ins with animals. It also covers broken glass, and insurance companies in South Carolina can’t charge a deductible for safety glass repairs or replacements.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/24f1697280/car-key.svg

    Rental car reimbursement coverage

    Rental car reimbursement pays for a rental car while the mechanic fixes your car after a covered incident.

South Carolina car insurance requirements FAQs

Maintaining the minimum amount of car insurance in South Carolina is important because failure to do so can result in fines and jail time. Plus, the DMV will revoke your driving privileges until you show proof of coverage. Here’s an overview of what you need to know.

  • Does South Carolina require car insurance?

    In almost all cases, yes — South Carolina requires drivers to have car insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements. However, certain eligible drivers may be able to register as an uninsured motorist in South Carolina. It costs $600 a year for the privilege to drive an uninsured vehicle.

  • How long can you go without car insurance before being penalized in SC?

    The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles finds out immediately when you aren’t insured, and you’ll be penalized if you don’t buy coverage within 20 business days. Insurance companies notify the DMV electronically whenever a driver cancels a car insurance policy. If you don’t have another policy, the DMV will contact you and ask for coverage verification.[4]

    You’ll have 20 business days to send that proof of coverage — otherwise, the DMV will suspend your driving privileges, license plate, and vehicle registration. And if you drive without insurance, you’ll also face fines and jail time.

  • Do you need car insurance to register a car in South Carolina?

    Yes. You’ll need to provide the name of your car insurance company when registering your car for the first time in South Carolina and every time you renew the registration. If you’re moving to the state with an existing insurance policy, be sure to update your address with the insurance company before registering your car in South Carolina. The state may suspend your driver’s license and registration if the DMV can’t verify your policy.[5]

  • Do you have to have insurance to get a driver’s license in SC?

    Yes. You’ll provide the name of your car insurance company when getting a driver’s license and each time you renew it. You’ll fill out a form to certify that you have insurance and will indicate whether you own a vehicle.[5]

  • Does insurance follow the car or the driver in South Carolina?

    Car insurance follows the car and not the driver in South Carolina. If you give your friend permission to drive your car and they get into an accident, your insurance coverage will still kick in.[4]

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. Department of Insurance, SC - Official Website. "Automobile Insurance."
  2. South Carolina Department of Insurance. "Auto Insurance."
  3. South Carolina Legislature. "South Carolina Code of Laws."
  4. South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. "Facts About Driving Uninsured."
  5. South Carolina Department of Motor Vehilces. "Insurance Requirements."
Kim Porter
Kim Porter

Kim Porter is a writer and editor who's been creating personal finance content since 2010. Before transitioning to full-time freelance writing in 2018, Kim was the chief copy editor at Bankrate, a managing editor at Macmillan, and co-author of the personal finance book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook." Her work has appeared in AARP's print magazine and on sites such as U.S. News & World Report, Fortune, NextAdvisor, Credit Karma, and more. Kim loves to bake and exercise in her free time, and she plans to run a half marathon on each continent.

Danny Smith
Edited byDanny Smith
Photo of an Insurify author
Danny Smith
  • Licensed auto and home insurance agent

  • 4+ years in content creation and marketing

As Insurify’s home and pet insurance editor, Danny also specializes in auto insurance. His goal is to help consumers navigate the complex world of insurance buying.

Featured in

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