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What's the best car insurance in South Carolina? We know everybody loves saving money, so we’ll tackle this question with an eye toward staying under budget. Average insurance costs in South Carolina aren't the highest in the nation, but they're not the lowest either.

It always helps to shop around and get multiple quotes to make sure you’re getting the best deal. But you don't want to spend your time getting quotes from disappointing providers, either. That's why we ranked a number of the best car insurance companies and compared them on price, availability, technology, customer service, and more.

Use our tool below to start comparing car insurance quotes.

 
 

In this article:

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies In South Carolina

According to our rate estimates, USAA is the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina with average full coverage rates of $1,016 per year. The company isn't available to everyone, but the good news is that Geico and Progressive are also affordable options. 

Car Insurance Provider Average Annual Cost Estimate
USAA $1,016
Geico $1,085
Progressive $1,192
State Farm $1,368
Nationwide $1,380
 

How Much Does Car Insurance In South Carolina Cost?

According to the NAIC, South Carolina car insurance rates in 2018 averaged $1,094 per year, which is only slightly higher than the national average of $1,057. Here’s a breakdown of the coverage costs for car insurance in South Carolina that year according to the Insurance Information Institute:

Type Of Coverage Average Annual Expenditure in 2018
Liability coverage $702
Collision coverage $318
Comprehensive coverage $207
Total cost $1,094
 

*Most drivers carry liability coverage but not necessarily other types of auto insurance. Total average annual expenditure measures what South Carolina drivers actually spent on auto insurance in 2018.

Of course, the car insurance rates that you find will vary according to your situation. Your age, your zip code, your driving record, and more can affect auto insurance rates. Insurance is more expensive in populous areas, so if you live in a concentrated area of Charleston or Columbia, you'll pay more for South Carolina car insurance than somebody who lives further out in the suburbs or in a rural area.

Annual South Carolina Car Insurance Estimates By Age

According to our rate estimates, a 24-year-old in South Carolina may pay 47 percent more for full coverage car insurance than a 35-year-old. 

Age South Carolina Annual Car Insurance
24 $2,365
35 $1,610
 

Annual South Carolina Car Insurance Estimates By Gender

In South Carolina, men pay less than one percent more for car insurance than women.

Gender South Carolina Annual Car Insurance
Female $1,606
Male $1,615
 

Annual South Carolina Car Insurance Estimates For Drivers With Bad Credit

According to our full coverage rate estimates, someone with fair credit may pay 21 percent more for car insurance in South Carolina. Similarly, a driver with poor credit may pay 75 percent more.

Credit Rating South Carolina Annual Car Insurance
Good $1,610
Fair $1,943
Poor $2,813
 

Annual South Carolina Car Insurance Estimates For Bad Drivers

Your driving record can influence prices for car insurance in South Carolina greatly. A speeding ticket can raise your rates by 23 percent, and an accident or DUI can raise them by about 46 percent.

Driving Record South Carolina Annual Car Insurance
Clean $1,610
Speeding Ticket $1,970
At-Fault Accident $2,356
DUI $2,378
 

Best Car Insurance In South Carolina

Finding the best policy for the lowest price is on nearly everyone’s mind. We researched the best auto insurance companies in the nation and found the following to be the best choices for South Carolina based on overall customer satisfaction, the ease of the claims process, and the quality of coverage.

Best South Carolina Car Insurance

Motor1 Rating

Average Annual Cost

1. Geico Auto Insurance Review 2021

4.5

$1,085

2. Auto-Owners

4.0

$1,396

3. Allstate Auto Insurance

4.0 $1,905

4. State Farm Auto Insurance

4.5

$1,368

5. Progressive Car Insurance

4.5 $1,192
 

*You may notice that some car insurance companies are listed above those with higher star ratings. This is because our ratings take into account nationwide factors, while our ranking looks specifically at what insurance providers are best for car insurance in South Carolina.


#1 Geico

Many people find cheap car insurance in South Carolina through Geico auto insurance. The company can also be a great option for people who have an accident on record. In our provider research, we gave Geico 4.5 stars. Geico has been in business since 1936.

Geico has an A++ financial rating from AM Best, which confirms that the company is another solid choice for car insurance. While it’s a rare occurrence, car insurance companies do go bankrupt. Sometimes, you just can’t tell how strong smaller companies are. Thankfully, that’s not the case with any of our recommended companies for South Carolina auto insurance.

Geico offers the standard types of car insurance, from minimum limits to full coverage. Beyond that, you can get the following:

  • Roadside assistance
  • Mechanical breakdown insurance (similar to an extended auto warranty)
  • Classic car insurance
  • Rideshare coverage

Geico’s car insurance discounts include:

  • Safety features
  • New vehicle discount
  • Good driver
  • Defensive driving
  • Driver's educational course
  • Good student
  • Emergency deployment
  • Federal employee (Eagle)
  • Membership and employee
  • Military
  • Multi-vehicle
  • Multi-policy

Geico’s app also has high ratings. You can file claims for your South Carolina car insurance policy within the app and consult an artificial intelligence assistant named Kate if you have any questions. The app also has a vehicle care section that can let you know about recalls, remind you of scheduled maintenance, and schedule repairs.

Another nice thing is that you can get a quote from Geico online while you lounge at home. You always have the option of calling an agent to see if you’re getting all the discounts that apply to you, too.

Pros Cons
Superior financial strength rating and A+ rating from the BBB Average quotes experience
Many choices for coverage Usage-based app not available in South Carolina
High level of customer satisfaction  
Available in 50 states  
 

To learn more about the car insurance provider, check out our review of Geico car insurance.


#2 Auto-Owners

In our comparison research, we gave Auto-Owners 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. You might have noticed that some of the other companies we listed above have higher star ratings than Auto-Owners. Part of that is because our ratings take into account nationwide availability, and Auto-Owners is only available in 26 states. Auto-Owners was founded in 1916 in Lansing, Michigan.

Many drivers can expect to pay rates that are below the state average. The company has an A++ financial rating from AM Best, which means it can handle its claims obligations easily.

Beyond the standard options, you can get the following coverage with a South Carolina auto insurance policy from Auto-Owners:

  • Roadside assistance
  • Rental and travel expenses
  • Loan/lease gap coverage
  • Diminished value/new car replacement
  • Personal automobile plus package, with extras like identity theft coverage and phone replacement

Here are the discounts you can get on car insurance in South Carolina with Auto-Owners:

  • Multi-policy
  • Payment history
  • Paid-in-full
  • Green discount
  • Advance quote
  • Multi-car
  • Safety features
  • Favorable loss history
  • Good student
  • Student away at school
  • Teen driver monitoring

Auto-Owners has an A+ rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). As far as customer service goes, policyholders scored the company above the industry average on two studies by J.D. Power: the 2021 U.S. Insurance Shopping StudySM and the 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction StudySM.

Auto-Owners only operates through agents. That means you have to contact an agent to get a quote or file a claim for your South Carolina car insurance policy. That might be an inconvenience to some people, but it can also be nice to work with the same person for your insurance needs. The company has an app with high ratings that lets you check the status of a claim, view your insurance card, pay your bill, and more.

Pros Cons
Local licensed agents throughout South Carolina You have to contact an insurance agent to get/file a quote
Helpful app  
Gap insurance  
Auto Plus Package  
 

#3 Allstate Car Insurance

Now one of the largest publicly held personal property and casualty insurance companies in the United States, Allstate serves more than 16 million American households. But unlike some other national car insurance companies, Allstate car insurance works through a network of local agents to provide coverage.

Allstate has a Superior financial strength rating with AM Best and an A+ rating with the BBB. In addition to these basic types of coverage, Allstate auto insurance offers:

There are a number of ways to get discounted rates for your Allstate car insurance, including bundling with other policies like Allstate motorcycle insurance, home insurance, renters insurance, and more. Other discounts include:

  • New car discounts for the first owners of a vehicle
  • Multi-car and multiple-policy discounts for customers who bundle home and auto insurance policies
  • Student discounts for drivers under 25
  • Anti-lock brake and anti-theft discounts for equipped cars
  • Early signing discounts for policyholders who sign early
  • EZ pay plan discounts for policyholders who use Allstate’s automatic withdrawal feature
  • Allstate eSmart® discounts for policyholders who go paperless
  • FullPay® discounts for customers who pay their full premium at one time
  • Safe driving discounts for policyholders who meet safe driver requirements
Pros Cons

Works through a network of local agents

to provide coverage in all 50 states

Expensive
Superior financial strength rating and A+ rating from the BBB Mixed customer service reviews
Mileage-based discount program  
 

To learn more about the car insurance provider, check out our review of Allstate car insurance.


#4 State Farm Car Insurance

Many people can still get cheap car insurance in South Carolina through State Farm. State Farm has a financial strength rating of A++ with AM Best. The company is the largest in the nation and offers a range of coverage options for drivers. State Farm also performed very well on J.D. Power's Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, but it gave an average performance on the Insurance Shopping Study.

State Farm offers a couple of different apps that can help people save money on their South Carolina car insurance policies. Drive Safe & Save is State Farm’s usage-based program that can help drivers save up to 30 percent on their premiums. If you choose this option, your discount will be based on your driving skills, but your rates won't go up if it turns out that you are a poor driver. In other words, good drivers can save more, but bad drivers won’t be penalized.

Steer Clear is a driving education app available for people under the age of 25. After completing in-app lessons and logging driving hours, you can get a discount of up to 15 percent on your car insurance in South Carolina. In addition to these apps, State Farm also has its standard mobile app that lets you manage your account, request roadside assistance, and file claims.

With State Farm, you could qualify for the following car insurance discounts:

  • Accident-free
  • Driver training
  • Vehicle safety/passive restraint
  • Multi-car
  • Defensive driving course
  • Student away at school
  • Anti-theft
  • Drive Safe & Save
  • Good driving
  • Good student
  • Multi-policy
  • Steer Clear

State Farm’s student discount is particularly good. Above-average students can get up to 25 percent off their South Carolina car insurance premiums. Plus, the discount lasts after college until age 25.

Pros Cons
Comprehensive coverage offerings available in 48 states Reported errors with autopay
Many discounts for teens and students Not taking new customers in Massachusetts or Rhode Island
Positive customer reviews Higher rates than some competitors
Largest auto insurer in the country  
Superior financial strength rating  
 

To learn more about the auto insurance provider, check out our review of State Farm auto insurance.


#5 Progressive Car Insurance

Progressive is one of the top auto insurers in the United States and wrote over $33 billion in insurance premiums in 2020, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). As far as the company’s financials go, AM Best reaffirmed its A+ rating for Progressive, which means it has superior financial ability to meet insurance claims.

Progressive car insurance became the first insurance that people could purchase on the internet in 1997. The company was also the first to introduce a usage-based insurance option in 2008. As one of the largest insurance providers, the company offers a number of different coverage options. On top of the standards types of car insurance, Progressive also offers:

  • Roadside assistance
  • Loan/lease payoff
  • Rental car reimbursement
  • Custom parts and equipment value
  • Rideshare coverage

Progressive also offers many money-saving features, including:

  • Deductible savings banks
  • Bundling home and auto insurance
  • The Snapshot program
  • The Name Your Price® tool
Pros Cons
One of the top auto insurers in the United States Average claims process
A+ financial strength rating from the AM Best Mixed customer service reviews
Great choice for high-risk drivers  
Several money-saving features  
 

To learn more about the car insurance provider, check out our review of Progressive car insurance.


South Carolina Car Insurance Requirements

In South Carolina, you're required to have certain types of car insurance coverage. Every state except New Hampshire and Vermont requires drivers to carry auto insurance. Even in those states, you still have to certify that you are able to cover the costs of an accident.

It might seem like car insurance is just another annoying bill, but if no one had it, people would spend a lot more time in court suing one another. Anyone can get into a car accident and cause tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage, but it would be rare for a driver to have enough savings to cover the damage themselves.

South Carolina Car Insurance State Minimum

South Carolina's financial responsibility laws require drivers to carry liability auto insurance with limits of 25/50/25. That means $25,000 for bodily injury liability (BI) per person, $50,000 for bodily injury liability per accident, and $25,000 property damage coverage (PD) per accident. This insurance pays for the other party’s medical bills and car repairs in accidents you cause.

South Carolina also requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage (UM) with 25/50/25 limits. This coverage protects you when you get into an accident with an uninsured driver – and about one in ten drivers in S.C. are uninsured, according to the United States Census Bureau. Insurance carriers are required to offer you underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), but you don’t have to purchase that.

Comprehensive car insurance and collision coverage, while not required, are often smart to get. These cover repairs to your vehicle after accidents and environmental events. Medical payments (MedPay) and personal injury protection (PIP) help cover your health costs after an accident.

To recap, the minimum auto insurance in South Carolina is liability coverage and uninsured motorist with limits of 25/50/25.


What To Know About Driving In South Carolina

A car accident happens once every 3.7 minutes in South Carolina, according to the state’s Department of Public Safety. There were slightly fewer fatal accidents in 2019 than in 2018, but the total is still 29 percent higher than it was in 2013. Here are a few more statistics:

  • In 2018, there were 1.83 deaths per 100 million miles traveled according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That’s higher than the national average of 1.13 deaths per 100 million miles.
  • The average driver in S.C. travels 16,020 miles per year according to the Federal Highway Administration, which is a bit higher than the national rate of 14,425 miles.
  • The state has 64,921 miles of roadway in total.

All of these things affect the cost of car insurance in South Carolina. Remember, your insurance premium goes into a pool of money that helps to pay for everyone else’s claims. If South Carolina had an unusually bad hurricane season, you’d see premiums increase in the following months to compensate for all of the insurance claims.

Is It Illegal To Drive Without Car Insurance In South Carolina?

It is against the law to operate (or own) a vehicle without insurance. If you let your insurance lapse, your insurance company will notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and you will have 20 days to get new auto insurance in South Carolina. If you don’t, your license, plates, and registration will be suspended.

At that point, if you don’t give your license plates back to the DMV, an officer will come and take them. You could pay up to $550 to reinstate your license, plus $5 per day (max of $200) for being uninsured. You’ll also be required to file an SR-22 certification when you get insurance. The SR-22 certifies you’ll have insurance for the next three years. SR-22 car insurance in South Carolina usually costs a lot more, too.

If you’re caught driving someone else’s vehicle without insurance, your license will be suspended for 30 days, and you’ll have to pay a $100 reinstatement fee.


Final Thoughts

It's important to get auto insurance coverage that works for your budget but that also protects you in the case of an at-fault accident. We recommend checking out Geico or Auto-Owners for car insurance in South Carolina.

Whenever you shop for car insurance, we also recommend getting quotes from multiple providers so you can compare coverage and rates. In addition to the insurance company you choose, factors such as your age, vehicle make and model, and driving history can affect your premium, so what’s best for your neighbor might not be best for you.

Use our tool below to start comparing personalized car insurance quotes.

 
 

Methodology

In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.

  • Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
  • Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
  • Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
  • Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
  • Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
  • Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.

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