Our Guide to Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina in 2022

Just looking to get auto insurance quotes?

by Nick Versaw Updated February 22, 2022

Here’s the good news: Car insurance isn’t that expensive in South Carolina – now’s time for the bad news: It’s not that cheap, either. The Palmetto State’s insurance rates rank in the middle of all 50 states, according to the latest numbers from the South Carolina Department of Insurance. On average, rates have gone up 20 percent since 2013.

This means you’ll need to shop around to find the cheapest South Carolina car insurance rates. The information below can give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for South Carolina car insurance. Keep in mind that these rates are simply estimates based on averages. Your own insurance costs can vary depending upon the type of car you drive, your driving record, and the specific type of coverage you have. 

Car Insurance Requirements for South Carolina Drivers

south carolina skyline where you can get cheap car insurance

There’s an easy way to remember South Carolina’s minimum car insurance requirements: 25/50/25 plus 25/50/25. What does that mean?

  • $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person and $50,000 per accident: If you’re at fault in a car accident that hurts other people, your bodily injury liability coverage can pay for their medical care and lost wages. It also covers your legal fees if they sue you.
  • $25,000 in property damage liability: If you damage someone’s car or other property in an accident, property damage liability pays for it.
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage per person and $50,000 per accident: Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your passengers if you’re hurt in a collision caused by an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run.
  • $25,000 in uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD): This pays to fix your car if it’s damaged by a driver who has no insurance or damages your vehicle in a hit-and-run.

Car Insurance Penalties for SC Drivers

South Carolina does allow people with a good driving record to drive without insurance if they pay a $600 uninsured motorist fee. It’s not a great idea, however, because that fee doesn’t offer you any protection, so if you get in an accident, you’re on your own. If you hit another car and damage their vehicle, a family or a building, you’re 100% responsible for expenses. Ouch!

What if you try to get away with driving uninsured and not paying the fee? First of all, you will get caught. South Carolina insurance companies will notify the SCDMV if you cancel your insurance policy and you still own your vehicle. If you don’t verify that you have insurance within 20 days, your driving privileges, license plate, and vehicle registration will be suspended. You would also have to pay up to $400 to reinstate them.

Filing an SR-22

If you get a ticket for driving without insurance, you’ll have to pay the $600 uninsured motorist fee — and then, obtain SR-22 insurance. That’s no fun. Why? Because filing an SR-22 will likely cost you additional money since your insurance rates will increase. Some insurance companies may even decline to cover you if you have to file an SR-22 because you are considered a high risk driver and, therefore, could hurt their bottom line. 

If you’re required to file an SR-22 because of driving without insurance in South Carolina, you may have to switch insurance companies. Even if your current company continues to insure you, the rate increases are likely to be significant because of your risky driving profile.

Instead of driving without insurance, here’s a better idea: Get cheap South Carolina car insurance on Compare.com! Even if you can’t afford the most comprehensive insurance coverage, see what liability plan you can secure and drive legally on the roads. 

Compare your personalized quotes now.

Cheapest Car Insurance for Young South Carolina Drivers

Your age will play a major role in how much you pay for auto insurance in South Carolina and throughout the United States. Teen drivers typically have the highest insurance premiums because they have little to no driving experience which puts them in a high risk category. 

These 4 auto insurance companies offer the most affordable insurance rates for teen drivers. 

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Liberty Mutual $241
Gainsco $242
Esurance $300
Direct Auto $315

Liberty Mutual and Gainsco offer similar premiums at $241/mo and $241/mo respectively. Then you see a jump to the $300 range with Esurance at $300/mo and Direct Auto at $315/mo. 

Keep in mind that the monthly premiums listed above are just averages for teen drivers. Those who are eligible for savings, such as good student discounts, may pay less. On the other hand, teen drivers who have racked up tickets or other violations may receive higher rates, even with the companies listed above. The best way to secure the lowest premium is to compare auto insurance rates of different companies. 

We help drivers save an average of $720/year using our auto insurance comparison tool. You can get started with ease – just enter your zip code below. 

Affordable Car Insurance for Young Drivers in SC

Young drivers don’t pay quite as much for auto insurance as teens, but their rates are still higher than the majority of the population. Typically once you hit your 25th birthday, you’ll see rates begin to decline exponentially. 

These 7 auto insurance companies offer the cheapest rates for young drivers in South Carolina. 

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Gainsco $191
Liberty Mutual $200
Direct Auto $209
Esurance $215
Safeco $234
Dairyland $275
SafeAuto $277

As seen above, there are slight decreases in insurance premiums from the teenage years through young adulthood. For example, Liberty Mutual, which offers some of the cheapest premiums for both teens and young adults, decreases rates by an average of $41 per month for young adults compared to teens. Direct Auto’s premiums drop by just over $100 per month from the teen years to young adulthood. 

Cheap Car Insurance Retired Drivers in South Carolina

retired couple enjoying a ride in convertible

 

As noted above, insurance premiums change with age. Drivers 65+ have enjoyed relatively low premiums for a few decades due to experience, but once they hit this stage in life, insurance companies often begin to creep rates up again. That’s because drivers in this age group are seen as a risk again due to the impact age has on the body and driving skills.

Retired drivers seeking insurance in South Carolina should consider Liberty Mutual, which offers the cheapest car insurance for retired drivers at an average of $96 per month for liability coverage. 

Most Affordable Insurance for Married Drivers in South Carolina

Married drivers in South Carolina often pay less for auto insurance than when they were single. That’s because auto insurance companies often see them as a reduced risk and they usually take advantage of multi-car policy discounts. 

These 6 auto insurance companies offer the lowest average insurance rates for married drivers in South Carolina. 

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Gainsco $90
Liberty Mutual $98
Safeco $98
SafeAuto $130
Esurance $144
The General $153

Gainsco ($90/mo), Liberty Mutual ($98/mo) and Safeco ($98/mo) offer auto insurance rates for under $100/mo for married drivers in South Carolina. Then rates jump to well over $100/mo with SafeAuto ($130/mo), Esurance ($144/mo) and The General ($153/mo). 

Cheapest Insurance Coverage for Single Drivers in South Carolina

Single drivers will pay more than married drivers, statistically. But, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for paying way more than you need to. 

Here’s a list of 10 auto insurance companies offering cheap car insurance for single drivers in South Carolina. 

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Safeco $121
Liberty Mutual $123
Direct Auto $124
Gainsco $124
AssuranceAmerica $134
Travelers $138
Nationwide $161
Dairyland $170
SafeAuto $171
Esurance $189

Starting off, you can see that the most affordable insurance rates for single drivers – Safeco at $121/mo- is over $20/mo more than for married drivers – Gainsco at $90/mo. Then when you compare specific companies, that trend continues. Liberty Mutual is $98/mo for married drivers and $123/mo for single drivers. You see an ever bigger gap with SafeAuto, charging married drivers $130/mo and married drivers $171/mo. 

It’s clear that single drivers pay more for auto insurance than married drivers – so to keep your rates low, be sure to compare auto insurance rates to find the best policy for you. Then see what discount options are available. Depending on the discounts you qualify for you can save 40% or more on your insurance policy. 

Cheapest Car Insurance for Men vs. Women in South Carolina

Just as auto insurance premiums can vary by age, they can also be different for men versus women. Men typically pay more for auto insurance than women and that trend holds true in South Carolina. Why? Because men are statistically more likely to be involved in dangerous driving behaviors like speeding and following too closely.

Men pay a bit more for car insurance in South Carolina at $140 for men per month while women pay an average of $138/mo.  The difference is not large, but it’s certainly something to consider when shopping around for auto insurance. 

Top 5 Cheapest Companies for Men in South Carolina

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Liberty Mutual $117
Safeco $121
Gainsco $122
AssuranceAmerica $124
Direct Auto $129

5 Cheapest Companies for Women in South Carolina

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Safeco $117
Gainsco $118
Direct Auto $121
Liberty Mutual $122
Travelers $139

In comparing auto insurance rates between men and women in South Carolina, you can see the trends we mentioned above. 

Safeco actually charges men and women about the same for auto insurance at $117/mo respectively. For Gainsco you see that men pay $3 more per month at $121/mo vs. women who pay $118/mo. Men pay about $8 more per month for auto insurance at $129/mo, while women pay an average of $121/mo. 

As you can see the rates don’t vary much, but there is a slight increase in rates for men vs. women. 

Ultimately, everyone should compare auto insurance rates to ensure they’re getting the best rate possible – man or women. 

Cheapest Car Insurance for South Carolina Drivers with Spotty Records

Cheap Car Insurance for Drivers with a Ticket on their Record

Having a ticket on your driving record can drive up auto insurance rates in South Carolina. Thankfully these 5 companies offer more affordable premiums for drivers who don’t have the best driving record. 

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Direct Auto $138
Gainsco $138
Safeco $141
Liberty Mutual $158
Travelers $163

Direct Auto and Gainsco offer the most affordable rates at $138/mo. Then premiums increase slightly to $141/mo with Safeco. You continue to see more sizable rate increases with Liberty Mutual ($158/mo) and Travelers ($163/mo). 

5 Cheapest Companies for Drivers With Multiple Tickets

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Gainsco $148
Direct Auto $161
Liberty Mutual $173
Esurance $217
Dairyland $226

In looking at the most affordable company for drivers with multiple tickets, you see a difference of $10/mo with Gainsco at $148/mo, compared to Direct Auto and Gainsco charging $138/mo for drivers with one ticket. If you look at Liberty Mutual, you can see the rate difference again. Liberty Mutual charges drivers with one ticket $158/mo and drivers with multiple tickets $173/mo. 

Cheap Car Insurance for Drivers with an Accident on their Record

Having an accident on your record will cause auto insurance rates to creep up just as they do with a ticket. 

These 5 auto insurance companies offer the cheapest car insurance rates if you’ve been involved in an accident. 

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Safeco $143
Gainsco $157
Direct Auto $161
Travelers $168
Liberty Mutual $172

5 Cheapest Companies for Drivers With Multiple Accidents

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Gainsco $185
Dairyland $200
Direct Auto $207
Liberty Mutual $209
Esurance $239

When comparing rates between drivers with one accident vs. multiple accidents, it’s clear that drivers with multiple accidents pay far more for auto insurance. 

Comparing Gainsco insurance, drivers with one accident pay an average of $157/mo, while those with multiple accidents pay almost $30/mo more at $185/mo. This trend is also seen with Direct Auto where drivers with one accident pay $161/mo on average and those with multiple accidents on their record pay $207/mo. 

While you’re waiting for an accident to drop off your record, one of the best things you can do to keep insurance rates low is compare rates between different companies to find an affordable premium. Just enter your zip code below to get started and we’ll help you through the process. 

Cheapest South Carolina State Minimum Coverage

If you just want enough coverage to be able to drive legally in South Carolina, then state minimum coverage is an affordable insurance option. 

These 10 auto insurance companies offer the most affordable premiums in the state. 

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Safeco $81
Gainsco $99
Liberty Mutual $99
Direct Auto $103
AssuranceAmerica $118
SafeAuto $139
Dairyland $140
The General $152
Esurance $157
Acceptance $175

You can score state minimum coverage for under $100/mo with Safeco ($81/mo), Gainsco ($99/mo) and Liberty Mutual ($99/mo.) Rates then average slightly over $100/mo with Direct Auto at $103/mo and Assurance America at $118/mo. 

Then you see rates begin to climb closer to the $200/mo mark. SafeAuto averages $139/mo followed by Dairyland ($140/mo), The General ($152/mo), Esurance ($157/mo) and Acceptance ($175/mo). 

Cheapest Full Coverage Car Insurance in South Carolina

If you would rather have more comprehensive coverage then you’ll want to consider securing full coverage car insurance. It’ll cost more, but the protection is worth it. 

These 10 auto insurance companies offer the most affordable premiums in South Carolina. 

Insurance Company Monthly Premium
Travelers $135
Safeco $154
Direct Auto $159
Gainsco $162
AssuranceAmerica $190
Liberty Mutual $196
Esurance $209
SafeAuto $210
Dairyland $248

When comparing rates between state minimum and full coverage insurance in South Carolina you can see a major difference. Safeco charges $81/mo for state minimum insurance and $154/mo for full coverage insurance. That’s a difference of over $60/mo. 

There’s a $50/mo difference in average premiums for Direct Auto customers who pay $109/mo for state minimum coverage and $159/mo for full coverage.

The moral of the story? Prepare to pay more for full coverage auto insurance, but we want to make sure you don’t pay too much. 

Drivers who use our auto insurance comparison tool save an average of $720/year. Enter your zip code below and we’ll help you do the same. 

The Best Rated Car Insurance Companies in South Carolina

According to the reviews, studies, and trends we’ve analyzed, the top-rated car insurance companies are:

  1. Travelers
  2. Geico
  3. State Farm
  4. Nationwide

These companies each offer exceptional coverage options, supportive agents, and a claims processing experience that satisfies policyholders.

South Carolina Car Insurance Discounts

South Carolina is as good as any state when getting discounts on your car insurance. With state-approved courses, you can even prepare to expunge or manage negative aspects of your driving record that are increasing rates. To see all the discounts that might be available to you in South Carolina, take a look at our car insurance discounts page.

Recent South Carolina Car Insurance Rate Trends

Over the past few years, the trend for the cost of car insurance in South Carolina has been pretty stable. You shouldn’t have a problem getting a low rate with this market.

2017 $137
2018 $144
2019 $141
2020 $141
2021 $137

Compare Car Insurance Rates by South Carolina Cities

map of south carolina

City Average Monthly Car Insurance Premium
Aiken $90
Anderson $84
Beaufort $109
Belton $83
Bishopville $106
Blacksburg $84
Bluffton $99
Blythewood $110
Boiling Springs $89
Camden $93
Central $85
Charleston $105
Chesnee $90
Chester $101
Clinton $89
Clover $95
Columbia $109
Conway $104
Cowpens $143
Darlington $110
Dillon $115
Easley $89
Elgin $97
Florence $112
Ft. Mill $97
Fountain Inn $88
Gaffney $87
Gaston $117
Georgetown $111
Goose Creek $127
Gray Court $88
Greenville $101
Greenwood $88
Greer $98
Hanahan $107
Hardeeville $108
Hartsville $104
Hilton Head Island $81
Hopkins $109
Inman $88
Irmo $93
Johns Island $108
Kingstree $103
Ladson $125
Lancaster $105
Laurens $79
Lexington $104
Liberty $97
Little River $97
Loris $98
Manning $95
Marion $88
Mauldin $94
Moncks Corner $123
Mount Pleasant $82
Murrells Inlet $85
Myrtle Beach $92
Newberry $97
North Augusta $94
North Charleston $116
North Myrtle Beach $88
Orangeburg $100
Pickens $76
Piedmont $96
Ridgeland $120
Rock Hill $98
Seneca $80
Simpsonville $96
Spartanburg $92
Summerville $120
Sumter $105
Taylors $93
Travelers Rest $81
Union $76
Walterboro $99
West Columbia $105
Woodruff $86
York $88

Click on the name of each city in the table above to find detailed breakdowns of all the factors that go into calculating your monthly premium. Here, you’ll find all the information you need on how things like driving record, age, gender, vehicle make and model, and more will affect how much you pay for car insurance in each locality.

And if you want to jump right in and see how much you’ll pay, simply enter your ZIP code below and find your best rate in minutes!

South Carolina Vehicle Registration Fees and Other Costs

If you’re in the market for a new or used car, you’ll need to budget for more than just the vehicle’s sticker price. You’ll be on the hook for basic DMV fees like title, license plate, and registration fees no matter where and how you purchase your new car, truck, or SUV, as well as buying a new car insurance policy for your vehicle. But some buyers will find themselves with additional fees such as sales tax, documentation fees, personal property tax, emissions and inspection fees, hybrid and electric vehicle fees, lien recording fees, and a slew of other costs.

Check out Compare.com’s comprehensive vehicle costs breakdown to make sure you account for all the added fees you might be on the hook for when buying a car in South Carolina.

South Carolina Auto Insurance FAQs

What car insurance is required in South Carolina?

South Carolina, like other states, requires its drivers to be insured to cover damages and injuries in the case of an automobile accident. The minimum requirement for South Carolina car insurance is a liability policy that provides $25,000 in coverage for bodily injury to one person in an accident and $50,000 in coverage for bodily injury to all involved in an accident. If you are at fault for an accident, liability coverage protects you if others make injury claims. These claims can include costs associated with medical care, pain, and lost wages from time away from work. Finally, South Carolina drivers must have insurance that provides a minimum of $25,000 in coverage for property damage during an accident. 

How much is car insurance in South Carolina?

As with any state, the average auto insurance cost in South Carolina will vary depending upon the type of policy you carry, your driving record, and the company you choose as your insurance provider. We’ve 

What happens if you drive without car insurance in South Carolina?

If you drive without insurance in a vehicle that doesn’t belong to you, the state of South Carolina will automatically suspend your license for 30 days and require you to pay a $100 fee to reinstate it. On the other hand, if you own the vehicle that you are found guilty of driving without insurance, your license will be suspended until you pay a $600 fee for being an uninsured motorist. You must also file an SR-22, which typically results in higher insurance premiums.

Does South Carolina require full coverage insurance?

The state of South Carolina does not require full coverage auto insurance

Can you get car insurance without a license in South Carolina?

You may be surprised to learn that you can buy car insurance without a license in the state of South Carolina. If you own a vehicle but do not have a license, you should still cover the vehicle on an insurance policy.