Defensive Driving Courses in South Carolina

June 14, 2018

Defensive driving course

Taking points off your license. Avoiding a fine for a traffic violation. Getting a discount on your SC car insurance.

These are all excellent reasons to take a defensive driving course in South Carolina. But there’s a catch: You can’t do all three at once! We’ll walk you through the process of finding the right driving course for your situation.

Five Questions Answered About SC Defensive Driving Courses

1. How Do I Get Points Taken Off my License in SC?

In South Carolina, every traffic violation results in a certain number of points against your license. A minor oopsie, like a broken taillight, is two points. Making an illegal turn, or speeding 10 to 25 miles over the speed limit, is four points. Passing a stopped school bus, or reckless driving, is six points. Once you rack up 12 points, your license will be suspended. Check your driving record to see how many points you have.

The good news is that in South Carolina, points automatically fall off your license over time. One year after the conviction, they’re reduced by half. Two years after the conviction, they disappear. But you may want to clear your record sooner — especially if you’re uncomfortably close to that 12-point limit! To get points taken off your license, you can take an SC defensive driving course that’s certified for four-point reduction. (You can find a list of driving schools here.)

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. The four-point reduction classes must be taken in a classroom (not online) and must be eight hours long. Say goodbye to your Saturday… You can only take a four-point reduction class once every three years. Also, if you’re in danger of getting your license suspended, you have to finish driving school before the suspension begins.

2. How Do I Find a Court-Ordered Defensive Driving Class in SC?

This is a little trickier, because every county court system has its own rules. Call the number on the ticket for instructions, or contact the courthouse to find out what the requirements are. You may have to appear in court to request that your charges be dismissed or reduced in exchange for taking a driving class. The good news is that court-ordered driving school is just four hours long and, depending on the jurisdiction, may be taken online.

3. How Do I Get an Insurance Discount for Taking a Defensive Driving Course in SC?

Search for an online driving school that specifically offers classes for an insurance premium discount. Requirements vary by insurer, so it’s wise to call your insurance company before taking the class to find out if you’re eligible. Discounts vary, too, but usually are around 5 to 10 percent.

You might not get a discount if:

  • You go to traffic school as a court-ordered penalty for a traffic violation
  • The defensive driving school you attend isn’t approved or accredited
  • You’re required to carry an SR-22
  • You have a recent driving violation
  • You aren’t under 25 or over 55

4. Is Taking a Defensive Driving Class Worth It?

The cost of a four-point reduction class is around $79-$99 (costs vary by school and location).
The fee to have your South Carolina license reinstated after a suspension is at least $100 — not to mention the stress.

Driving course

The cost of a court-ordered online defensive driving course in SC is around $30-$35. The fine for a speeding ticket varies by locality, but it’s a good bet it’ll cost more than that.

The cost of an insurance-discount defensive driving course in SC is around $25-$35. If you currently pay $100 per month for car insurance, saving 5 percent on your car insurance would save you $60 a year; saving 10 percent would be $120 per year.

Saving money isn’t the only benefit of driving school, however. Learning defensive driving techniques can make you a better driver, and could even save your life.

5. What Else Can I Do to Get Cheaper Car Insurance in SC?

Try to improve your credit. Believe it or not, your credit may matter more than your driving record when insurers are setting your SC car insurance rates. Consumer Reports found that the average, annual new-customer premium for an adult single driver with a clean driving record and poor credit was $3,339, compared to $2,210 for a driver with excellent credit and a DWI conviction. There’s no class you can take to lift your credit, unfortunately, but paying off debts can help.

Re-examine your coverage. You may not need all the insurance you currently carry. Dropping towing/roadside assistance/rental car coverage, for example, can save you some money. Or, if you drive an older car, you may consider dropping collision/comprehensive coverage.

Compare quotes! If you’ve been with the same insurer for years, you probably aren’t getting the best deal. Take a few minutes to compare personalized SC insurance quotes to see what other companies offer you. It’s fast, it’s free, and it can save you hundreds of dollars. Compare your quotes now.

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