Car Insurance in South Carolina

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Looking for Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina?

South Carolina is one of only two states that doesn't require drivers to purchase car insurance. So it may come as a surprise that it could be a good idea for you, too. After all, this state doesn't require you to buy insurance, but there's something far riskier than the law lurking in the Palmetto State: getting sued and then potentially having to pay a ton of money because you weren't protected by car insurance. So consider purchasing insurance even in South Carolina.

If you live in either Islandton or Greenville—or even further downstate—you're probably used to paying more than most other states for car insurance, since there are a lot of drivers on the road. If you don't have insurance, South Carolina drivers can opt to pay a $550 uninsured motorist fee (which can lead to steep insurance premiums).

When it's time to renew your car insurance, you may feel like it takes forever to find the best rates again. At Carlay, we want to make that process easier for you with smart insurance shopping app. Carlay helps you compare and save on auto insurance quotes from highly rated companies in your area.

Carlay customers in South Carolina tell us they are saving money every month.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in South Carolina?

Cost of basic liability car insurance in South Carolina is $2,398 per year. Opting for full coverage car insurance in South Carolina will cost you an average of $2,780 per year.

However, the average American can expect to pay $1,783 for basic liability coverage and $2,485 for full-coverage insurance.

What contributes to the insurance rates in South Carolina?

Here are a few things that affect the price of car insurance:

  • Uninsured drivers

If you are from South Carolina, you are 6 times more likely than other states to have an accident with an uninsured driver.

  • Auto thefts

Car insurance rates in South Carolina may be rising across the board. This can be directly related to a high rate of car theft, particularly in urban areas where most vehicles are not parked in homes, but rather stranded on city streets within reach of car-jackers.

  • Natural disasters

A hurricane can strike anywhere in the state of South Carolina and you can't predict where a tornado is going to hit. The same goes for severe thunderstorms.

These are the savings South Carolina's residents have seen on their insurance bills compared to the national average:

All Coverage BeforeCarlay All Coverage AfterCarlay Minimum Coverage BeforeCarlay Minimum Coverage AfterCarlay Full Coverage BeforeCarlay Full Coverage AfterCarlay
SC $2,567 $1,659 $2,363 $1,370 $3,263 $2,115
National Average $2,489 $1,671 $2,360 $1,390 $2,761 $1,963
SC National Average
All Coverage BeforeCarlay $2,567 $2,489
All Coverage AfterCarlay $1,659 $1,671
Minimum Coverage BeforeCarlay $2,363 $2,360
Minimum Coverage AfterCarlay $1,370 $1,390
Full Coverage BeforeCarlay $3,263 $2,761
Full Coverage AfterCarlay $2,115 $1,963

Top auto insurance providers in South Carolina

In South Carolina, there are many car insurance companies to choose from, including local companies and national favorites like Nationwide and State Auto. Choosing an insurance provider can be tough, especially since each company looks at your policy differently. The same plan could yield different quotes from five different companies.

Insurance companies look at factors such as age, driving record, location, and the car you drive to determine your rate. As the BMW 230Xi is a more expensive car than the Mazda 3 S, it will be more expensive to insure.

Carlay has helped customers in South Carolina find competitive rates from top insurance companies.

Insurance Company Average Cost Annual Savings withCarlay
Nationwide $3,781 $1,693 Compare Prices
Safeco $4,015 $1,392 Compare Prices
National General $3,820 $1,185 Compare Prices
Travelers $3,263 $1,157 Compare Prices
Allstate $3,046 $932 Compare Prices
Dairyland $2,004 $912 Compare Prices
State Auto $3,045 $912 Compare Prices

What Car Insurance Do You Need in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, you must have the following kinds of insurance before you are allowed to drive:

Coverage Amount Description
Bodily injury liability $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident Covers the costs associated with injuries you cause to others.
Property damage liability $25,000 per accident Covers the costs associated with damage you cause to other people's vehicles or property.
Uninsured motorist coverage Equal to minimum amounts of liability coverage Reimburses you for your expenses stemming from an accident caused by an uninsured driver.

If you are stopped by the police and do not have the mandatory minimum insurance required for your state, you may incur penalties such as a fine or a suspended driver's license.

  • Fines of up to $200
  • Suspension of your driver's license
  • A possible jail sentence of up to 30 days
  • A reinstatement fee of $200

The minimum amount of insurance required in South Carolina may not protect you during all eventualities, so be sure to purchase more coverage if you can afford it.

Coverage Description
Collision insurance Covers damages that are the result of a collision with a vehicle or stationary object
Comprehensive insurance Covers damages that aren't the result of a collision, such as vandalism, theft, or a natural disaster
Rental reimbursement Reimburses you for your rental car expenses while your car is being repaired after a claimable accident

Carlay guarantees the most affordable rates you can find when you're ready to get insurance. For most of us, changing insurance providers or health plans can be tedious and time-consuming.

Carlay finds you the best insurance prices — without having to scale a mountain of questions. Carlay contacts your insurance company and compares prices, coverage and even calculates savings so you don't have to.

Since you know what insurance is required in South Carolina, it's time to look at how premiums can vary depending on what factors affect the cost of insurance.

How is Your Cost of Car Insurance Determined in South Carolina?

Different insurance companies use different factors to calculate your rate, but the most common factors are age, driving record, location, and type of vehicle you drive.

  • Cost to insure your car in South Carolina by age

On average, in South Carolina, a teen driver is involved in a collision that kills or injures someone every 1.4 hours. Three of the most common contributing factors to crashes involving teen drivers include distracted driving, speeding, and not using seat belts. So, insurance companies charge higher premiums to young drivers because they're a bigger liability.

What young drivers in South Carolina need to know

  • In South Carolina, you can go from being a mere driver to a full-fledged driver once you turn 17, or if you've kept your Conditional license clean for one year.
  • You can take an approved defensive driving course and get a discount on your insurance.
  • If you maintain a good grade average, young drivers may qualify for a good student discoun on their insurance.

It's wise for young drivers to quote more than one auto insurance company and be sure to shop around and keep a clean driving record if you want to avoid sky-high premiums.

Carlay offers a range of affordable insurance rates to young drivers, with the following price ranges as examples:

Age Group Average Cost Annual Savings withCarlay
18-20 $3,097 $938
21-24 $2,905 $988
25-34 $2,730 $955
35-44 $2,653 $985
45-54 $2,659 $1,046
55-64 $2,369 $905
65+ $2,604 $1,093
  • Cost to insure your car in South Carolina with a poor driving record

Poor driving habits can raise the price of your car insurance premiums. If you've had a recent accident, been caught speeding, or received any other major driving offenses, your premium will probably be higher.

Most people are considered high-risk drivers for at least five years after committing driving violations, during which time insurance companies raise rates to compensate for the increased risk.

Carlay can help you find a competitive and cheap car insurance policy even if you have a poor driving record. Here are some of the cheap rates Carlay has gotten for drivers with bad records:

Driving Violation Average Cost Annual Savings withCarlay
Clean Record $3,259 $1,188
DUI $5,001 $2,308
Speeding over 15 $3,949 $1,620
Defective Equipment $3,131 $1,537
Driving on Sus. License $4,115 $1,489
Leaving scene of an Accident/Hit and Run $3,257 $1,435
Careless Driving $3,821 $1,330
Speeding under 15 $3,996 $1,323
Failure to Obey Traffic Sign $4,075 $1,310
Improper Passing $3,774 $988
  • Cost to insure your car in South Carolina based on where you live

Like other states, rates for insurance in South Carolina tend to hover around the national average, but rates vary from one town to another, depending on local conditions.

Columbia residents will have to pay more for auto insurance due to a high rate of accidents and drunk driving. But Rock Hill residents tend to have insurance rates below the state average.

If a driver doesn't want to purchase insurance, he or she can pay the state a $550 uninsured motorist fee. Unfortunately, there are two key things preventing this policy from being lower: high minimum insurance requirements and a high percentage of uninsured drivers.

Thanks to Carlay, you can save money in any city in South Carolina.

City Average Cost Annual Savings withCarlay
Charleston $2,651 $1,000
Columbia $2,800 $910
Conway $2,846 $1,102
Greenville $2,658 $859
Myrtle Beach $2,370 $810
North Charleston $2,794 $1,083
Rock Hill $2,574 $952
Spartanburg $3,057 $1,129
Summerville $2,858 $958
Sumter $2,674 $972
  • Cost to insure your car in South Carolina based on the type of car you drive

If you drive an expensive car, your insurance premium will be higher because these vehicles cost more to repair after accidents than cheaper cars.

Southern peeps love their pickups, so it's no surprise the Ford F-150 is one of the most popular vehicles in the Palmetto State. The F-150 also happens to be one of the most inexpensive vehicles to insure. You'll also pay more to insure a Ford 350 Super Duty, but you will be purchasing a vehicle with a bigger engine—and that size matters when it comes to insurance premiums.

Here's how much it costs to insure some popular models of cars with and without Carlay:

How to Save Money On Car Insurance in South Carolina?

There are many ways to save money on car insurance rates in South Carolina:

  • Shop around for quotes

If you have ever filled out car insurance forms, then you'll know that it's time-consuming and complicated. You don't want to waste your time shopping around for an insurance policy. Download the Carlay app or go to Within 45 seconds, your information is sent to 50+ top insurance carriers and you can choose from affordable quotes. Cancel your existing policy with the tap of a button—and you don't even have to talk to anyone.

And best of all, Carlay users can save $879 per year on their car insurance—and you can too!

  • Look for discounts

Be sure to look over your insurance contract for any discounts to which you might be entitled. Many providers offer them, so don't hesitate to ask about any that seem relevant.

Below are a few examples:

Discount type Who is eligible?
Multi-vehicle discount If you insure more than one vehicle on the same policy, many insurance companies offer a discount of up to 20%.
Good student discount Full-time students ages 16–24 who maintain an average of at least a B may be eligible for savings on their car insurance premium.
Safe driver discount Maintaining an accident-free record for a certain period of time (often 5 years) can help you secure discounted premiums from your insurer.
Payment discounts Signing up for automatic payments may qualify you for a one-time discount from your insurance company. Discounts may also be available for paperless billing.

Insurance providers in South Carolina may offer discounts for being married, homeownership, and membership with certain organizations.

  • Increase your deductible

By raising your deductible, you could save money on your monthly premiums. This is the amount you pay in case of a claim when collision and comprehensive are covered by your insurance. Your insurance company will not cover this cost and will require you to pay the amount beforehand. Depending on how much you increase it, you may end up saving more money in the end.

Registering Your Car in South Carolina

To register a car in S.C., you need the following:

  • A driver's license or ID card
  • A car title or signed lease agreement
  • Vehicle application
  • Odometer reading
  • Smog check
  • Proof of insurance
  • Payment and fees

You'll need to head to the DMV to register your vehicle. It's a good idea to make an appointment beforehand so that you won't have to wait in line. Once there, you will need to fill out the paperwork with your vehicle and personal information.

In South Carolina, drivers are required to renew their licenses every two years.