Here’s the good news: Car insurance isn’t that expensive in South Carolina. Here’s 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 SC car insurance. Get free, personalized quotes now on Compare.com — it’s the quickest way to compare rates.
What Are the SC Auto Insurance Requirements?
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 can cover 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.
- Uninsured motorist coverage: that matches those limits. There’s typically a $200 deductible for uninsured motorist coverage in SC
- $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 in a hit-and-run.
Cheap Liability Coverage in South Carolina
Because South Carolina has car insurance rates that are just about average, it can be a challenge to find really cheap liability car insurance coverage. The best way to find your best rates? Enter your info on Compare.com, and select “state minimum” as your desired coverage. You’ll see personalized quotes for 25/50/25 liability coverage: that means $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability, plus $25,000 in property damage liability. (South Carolina also requires some uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in state-minimum plans.)
Once you have all your quotes for cheap liability insurance, just pick the lowest one and click or call to buy. When we ran the numbers for a 27-year-old Columbia woman with a clean driving record, her quotes for state minimum coverage ranged from $67 to $160 per month, paid in full. With a range that wide, you can see why it pays to compare.
Which Company Offers the Cheapest Auto Insurance in SC?
No single company offers the flat-out cheapest car insurance in South Carolina. That’s because car insurance is a personalized product. Insurers calculate premiums for each driver based on factors like their age, marital status, address, and even their credit history.
So there’s only one way to find out which company will offer you the cheapest car insurance: comparing customized quotes, side by side. To get it done fast, try our new and improved insurance quoting tool. Just enter some basic information, then select one of four levels of coverage: State Minimum, Basic, Plus or Premium. To see the absolute cheapest SC car insurance quotes, you’ll want to choose state minimum. In just a few minutes, you’ll get free and impartial quotes from multiple insurance companies.
Do I Need More Than the SC State Minimum Insurance?
That depends on two things: your assets and your risk tolerance. If you don’t have a lot of money or property to protect, and if you drive a beater that doesn’t need collision/comprehensive coverage, you might be fine with the SC state minimum.
However, it’s always a good idea to carry more insurance, if you can afford it. If you cause an accident that results in serious injuries, the other driver can sue you for their unpaid medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering. If your 25/50/25 insurance isn’t enough to cover everything, you could be personally liable for the rest.
How Do I Find a Cheap SC Car Insurance Policy that's Reliable?
Do you Feel like it’s tough to find an affordable policy that gives you peace of mind? We get it. We’ll walk you through how to find the cheapest SC auto insurance that fits your life — and your budget.
In short, you’ll want to compare SC auto insurance quotes for state minimum coverage. That’s your baseline. Then, gradually increase your coverage to see how much you’ll pay for extra protection.
As an example, we ran the numbers for a 27-year-old single woman who lives in Columbia and has a clean driving record. Her quotes for state minimum coverage ranged from $67 to $160 per month when she paid upfront (paying as you go can reduce your monthly bill, but the extra down payment increases the overall costs.)
She could just buy the $67 per month policy and be done. But that would leave her car without comprehensive and collision coverage — and she can’t risk anything happening to her two-year-old Mini Cooper. She loves that car! So she goes back and selects the next level of coverage: Basic, which adds collision/comprehensive with a $1,000 deductible. Now she gets quotes ranging from $154 to $291 per month, paid up front.
If she has some significant assets to protect, like a house or a savings account, she may want to go for Plus coverage. Plus includes higher coverage limits: 50/100/50 for bodily injury and property damage, 50/100 for UMBI, $2,000 in medical payments and $50,000 in uninsured motorist property damage. Also, her deductible for collision/comprehensive drops to $500, and she gets a rental car/towing coverage too. Her best SC auto insurance quote at the Plus level is $268 per month.
She could raise her coverage limits even more, to the Premium level, but that will increase her monthly payments. If she wants to trim the cost of her Plus or Premium-level plan, she can click “Customize coverage” to do things like increasing the collision deductible to $1,000 and getting rid of rental car/towing coverage.
Should I Get Medical Payments Coverage?
Medical payments (MedPay) coverage pays medical expenses for you, your family, and your passengers if they’re injured in accident, regardless of who is at fault. MedPay can cover co-pays and deductibles your health insurance won’t pay for. It’s not essential or required coverage, but it’s good to have. On Compare.com, MedPay is included with the Plus and Premium coverage levels for South Carolina auto insurance.
What Happens if I Can’t Afford Coverage and I Drive Without Insurance in South Carolina?
South Carolina does allow people with a good driving record to drive without insurance if they pay a $550 uninsured motorist fee. It’s not a great idea, however — that fee gives you no protection, so if you get in an accident, you’re on your own. If you hit another car and damage their car, a family and a building you have to pay 100% of everything. 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 provide verification that you have insurance within 20 days, your driving privileges, license plate, and vehicle registration will be suspended. You could have to pay up to $400 to reinstate them.
If you get a ticket for driving without insurance, you’ll have to pay the $550 uninsured motorist fee — and then, you’ll have to obtain SR-22 insurance. That’s no fun. Here’s a better idea: Get cheap SC car insurance on Compare.com! Compare your personalized quotes now.
What Fees Will I Have to Pay When Buying a Car in South Carolina?
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 car. 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.