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Kristine Lee

Insurance Analyst

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Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a…

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Ross Martin

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Here's what you need to know when driving in South Carolina

In South Carolina, drivers pay on average $1,572 a year for auto insurance — compared to the national average rate, it's slightly more expensive by $43.

There are myriad factors that go into how much you pay for car insurance, like age, location and driving history, and every insurance company weighs these factors differently when generating premiums.

In our guide to South Carolina car insurance, we analyzed average car insurance rates to help you find an affordable policy that meets your needs. Continue reading to find out how much auto insurance costs in South Carolina so you know what a fair rate looks like. If you're ready to see how much you can save by shopping around, submit your ZIP code above to get personalized insurance quotes from top companies.

The best car insurance companies in South Carolina

Here are the top three car insurance companies in South Carolina, according to third-party ratings from J.D. Power.

1st place medal

USAA received a score of 890 (out of 1,000) in J.D. Powers' 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study and also won top marks in The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey.

2nd place medal
State Farm

State Farm is one of the nation's most popular insurance companies and was given a score of 859 in J.D. Power's 2021 auto study.

3rd place medal

Coming in third place with a score of 849 in J.D. Power's 2021 customer satisfaction survey, Auto-Owners won above-average ratings.

Key takeaways
  • South Carolinians pay about 3% more for car insurance on average
  • The cheapest major car insurance company in South Carolina is Auto-Owners

The cheapest car insurance companies in South Carolina

These companies offer the cheapest rates in the following scenarios.

Cheapest for full coverage — Auto-Owners

The cheapest rates are from Auto-Owners at $1,304 annually or $109 per month.

Cheapest after at-fault accident — Auto-Owners

Auto-Owners is the most affordable company in South Carolina after an at-fault accident.

Cheapest for teen drivers — Travelers

Travelers' average rate for young drivers is lower than the statewide average for drivers between ages 16 and 19.

Company Avg. Annual Premium
Travelers $1,423
USAA $1,506
State Farm $1,638
Allstate $1,642
Progressive $2,067
GEICO $2,073

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool data methodology

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool for home and auto insurance rates utilizes the latest ZIP code-level rate filings from across the U.S., sourced from Quadrant Information Services and S&P Global. These filings, typically updated annually or biennially by insurers, are verified through Quadrant’s QA process and then integrated into The Zebra’s estimator.

The displayed rates are based on a dynamic home and auto profile designed to reflect the content of the page. This profile is tailored to match specific factors such as age, location, and coverage level, which are adjusted based on the page content to show how these variables can impact premiums.

For a comprehensive understanding, see our detailed methodology.

South Carolina auto insurance laws

Like almost all states, South Carolina requires every driver to have a certain minimum amount of insurance coverage, along with proof of insurance.

Opting for the legal minimum coverage level is cheaper than full coverage. In South Carolina, expect to pay $591 every year for the state minimum level of coverage. This rate is less expensive than the nationwide average by 61%.

State minimum coverage

In order to drive legally in the state of South Carolina, you must carry at least the minimum liability limits listed below:

  • Bodily injury: $25,000 per person
  • Bodily injury: $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage: $25,000 per accident

Uninsured motorist coverage is also required at these levels:

  • Bodily injury: $25,000 per person
  • Bodily injury: $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage: $25,000 per accident

Optional coverage in South Carolina (varies by carrier):

  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Gap coverage
  • Medical payments
  • Roadside assistance
  • Rental car reimbursement
car with blue windshield

If you want more protection beyond the minimum, you can choose a full coverage policy that includes comprehensive and collision. This provides physical coverage against car accidents, theft, vandalism or weather incidents.

Better coverage in the form of a comprehensive policy, however, comes at a cost. A full coverage policy with a $1,000 deductible costs $1,418 in South Carolina — that's 140% more than liability-only insurance. If you choose a full coverage policy with a $500 deductible, expect to pay 168% more than you would for basic coverage.

The Zebra's guide to South Carolina car insurance laws

Learn more about car insurance requirements in the state of South Carolina with our helpful guide.

Compare car insurance rates from the best companies in South Carolina.

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South Carolina car insurance premiums by rating factor

What you pay for car insurance is determined by a number of rating factors, such as your age, level of coverage, credit and driving record. Insurance companies use statistics and other data to determine how much risk a client poses, and charge accordingly.

To get a better understanding of how much you can expect to pay in South Carolina, consult average rates by rating factor below.

Cheap auto insurance in South Carolina for minimum coverage

Forgoing full coverage for liability-only at the state minimum level will make your car insurance significantly cheaper. In South Carolina, the average cost for minimum coverage is $49 per month, or $591 yearly — a savings of $995 compared to full coverage.

Company Avg. Annual Premium
USAA $494
Allstate $517
GEICO $563
State Farm $641
Travelers $643
Progressive $843

Cheap auto insurance in South Carolina with bad credit

In nearly every state, your credit score can be used as a factor in how much you pay for car insurance. Statistically, drivers with poor credit are more likely to file claims. This is why drivers with bad credit are generally charged much higher rates. If suboptimal credit is making your insurance too expensive, working towards improving your credit is a great way to lower your premium.

In South Carolina, we found that people with bad credit pay an additional $2,136 yearly compared to drivers with great credit. Consult sample rates from different insurance companies below and use this information as a jumping-off point in your search for affordable insurance with bad credit.

Company Avg. Annual Premium
Travelers $2,342
Allstate $2,398
State Farm $3,257
GEICO $3,407
Progressive $3,410
USAA $4,481

Cheap auto insurance in South Carolina with an at-fault accident

If you have a recent at-fault accident on your driving record, you can expect your premium to increase. Like bad credit, a checkered driving record is another indicator of risk to insurance companies.

In South Carolina, an at-fault accident can raise your rate by as much as $647 annually.

Safe driver discounts

In addition to having a cheaper premium, some companies offer a safe driving discount. While the amount varies based on your company, it can range between 5 and 10%.

Company Avg. Annual Premium
Travelers $1,805
State Farm $2,106
USAA $2,159
GEICO $2,681
Allstate $3,028
Progressive $3,290

Cheap auto insurance for young drivers in South Carolina

Nationally, teens and drivers in their 20s pay the highest rates for car insurance. This is because young drivers are relatively inexperienced compared to older drivers, so insurers designate younger drivers as riskier to insure. Teen drivers pay more than three times the national average rate. In South Carolina, teens pay $4,832 per year, which is $3,303 more than the national average and 207% more than a 30-year-old South Carolina driver.

Company Avg. Annual Premium
Travelers $3,603
GEICO $4,689
USAA $4,809
Allstate $4,990
State Farm $5,490
Progressive $10,216

South Carolina auto insurance rate by violation

Receiving a ticket or citation will make your premium go up — sometimes, to unaffordable levels depending on the seriousness of the violation. It's difficult to say how much exactly you can expect your rate to increase because every company's pricing standards are different. However, we can provide general estimates.

See below for average auto insurance rates in South Carolina after a few common citations.

Accident/Violation Avg. Annual Premium % Rate Increase $ Rate Increase
None $2,025 0% $0
One Med/PIP claim $2,025 0% $1
One comp claim $2,122 5% $98
Two Med/PIP claims $2,148 6% $123
Not-at-fault accident $2,155 6% $130
Two comp claims $2,185 8% $161
Failure to wear a seat belt $2,300 14% $276
Child safety restraint $2,316 14% $291
Driving without lights $2,318 14% $293
Failure to show documents $2,342 16% $318
Driving with expired registration $2,412 19% $388
Failure to yield $2,456 21% $431
Failure to stop at a red light $2,465 22% $440
Speeding 6 - 10 MPH over limit $2,471 22% $447
Speeding in school zone $2,474 22% $449
Driving too slowly $2,474 22% $449
Wrong way/wrong lane $2,480 22% $455
Speeding 11 - 15 MPH over limit $2,483 23% $459
Cell phone violation $2,487 23% $463
Texting while driving $2,491 23% $467
Speeding 21 - 25 MPH over limit $2,499 23% $474
Illegal turn $2,500 23% $475
Following too closely $2,500 24% $476
Speeding 16 - 20 MPH over limit $2,508 24% $483
Improper passing $2,512 24% $488
Operating a vehicle without permission $2,524 25% $499
At-fault accident - less than $1000 $2,529 25% $505
Passing school bus $2,539 25% $514
In 65 MPH zone $2,564 27% $539
Open container $2,655 31% $630
At-fault accident - $1000-$2000 $2,872 42% $847
At-fault accident - greater than $2000 $2,872 42% $847
Refusal to submit to a chemical test $3,225 59% $1,200
DUI $3,285 62% $1,260
Reckless driving $3,312 64% $1,288
Driving with a suspended license $3,322 64% $1,298
Racing $3,357 66% $1,333
Leaving scene of an accident/hit and run $3,474 72% $1,449

South Carolina DUI laws

According to our data, getting a DUI in South Carolina can increase your car insurance rate by 62%. Finding affordable coverage with a DUI on your record can pose a challenge as it often causes your insurance cost to surge higher than many other violations.

Low-cost car insurance after a DUI in South Carolina

If you're convicted of a DUI or DWI violation in South Carolina, it's important to compare your insurance choices carefully. Car insurance premiums following a DUI can vary substantially by insurance company. For example, the least expensive car insurance company with a DUI in South Carolina, Travelers, advertises annual rates 40% less than the statewide average insurance rate with a DUI. The second-cheapest insurer for auto insurance after a DUI in South Carolina is State Farm, while the most expensive is GEICO, with prices 2% above average.

Company Avg. Annual Premium
Travelers $1,964
State Farm $2,413
Progressive $2,611
USAA $2,799
Allstate $2,972
GEICO $3,346

There is no company in particular that offers a rate for drivers with a DUI that's comparable to a rate without a DUI on your record. The best way to save after a DUI citation is to shop around with as many companies as possible.


South Carolina SR-22 insurance

An SR-22 is a routine legal requirement triggered by a violation such as a DUI conviction, a ticket for driving without insurance, an at-fault collision, driving with a suspended license or accumulating too many points on your license. It is not a type of insurance policy, but a form issued by your insurance company with the state of South Carolina to ensure that you remain insured.

Finding cheap auto insurance with an SR-22 in South Carolina might require some research, but it could pay off in the end.


How to acquire an SR-22 in South Carolina

For currently insured drivers

If you currently have auto insurance, obtaining an SR-22 certificate is straightforward. Contact your insurance company and ask them to file an SR-22 request on your behalf. If your insurer isn’t willing to request a certificate, you'll need to look for a new car insurance company.


For uninsured drivers

When filing for a new policy, you might face an additional fee for the prospective insurer to file an SR-22 request form on your behalf and cover your more riskier driving profile. Needing an SR-22 could keep you from being insured by some carriers, while others would be happy to cover you.


For drivers without a vehicle

Not owning a vehicle makes it more difficult to obtain an SR-22, as you will need to furnish proof of insurance to receive the certificate. If you don't own a vehicle, you should apply for a non-owners car insurance policy before filing for an SR-22. Non-owners auto coverage is typically cheaper than traditional coverage since it doesn't cover physical damage to your vehicle.

Find an affordable policy in South Carolina in minutes!

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Rates by city

Car insurance companies calculate your rate based on many factors, and an important one is the location of the vehicle. The cheapest car insurance is found in Salem and the most expensive in Crocketville.

Have a look at the table below to see average car insurance costs in some of South Carolina's biggest cities.

City Avg. Annual Premium
Mount Pleasant $1,937
Rock Hill $1,969
Columbia $2,089
Charleston $2,140
North Charleston $2,193

Car insurance price trends in South Carolina

In South Carolina, average annual auto insurance costs increase by $106 in the past year. A typical South Carolina driver pays an average of $1,572 per year or $131 per month.

Year over year pricing trends in South Carolina tends to be more volatile compared to national averages. The steepest decrease occurred from 2012 to 2013, while the highest uptick took place from 2016 to 2017. Since 2019, the average rate has continued creeping up.

Year Avg. Annual Premium — South Carolina Yearly Change — South Carolina Avg. Annual Premium — US Yearly Change — US
2021 $1,572 $106 $1,529 $46
2020 $1,466 $54 $1,483 -$61
2019 $1,412 -$2 $1,544 $23
2018 $1,414 $3 $1,521 $84
2017 $1,411 $135 $1,437 $69
2016 $1,276 $52 $1,368 $88
2015 $1,224 $109 $1,280 $51
2014 $1,115 $71 $1,229 $34
2013 $1,044 -$129 $1,195 -$80
2012 $1,173 $5 $1,276 $82

If your rates are rising faster than the average in your state, compare quotes and find a better deal. The Zebra's car insurance comparison engine furnishes quotes based on your specific profile — enter your ZIP below to get started.

South Carolina car insurance FAQs

Below you'll find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding South Carolina auto insurance.

According to our data, Auto-Owners ($652 per six-month policy) and Travelers ($712) are the cheapest providers in South Carolina.

Car insurance in South Carolina is slightly more costly than the national average. A liability-only policy will set you back $591 per year, and a full coverage policy costs $1,572.

Yes, it is illegal to drive without insurance in South Carolina. If you're struggling to pay for auto insurance, use our comparison tool to see how much you could be saving for full or liability coverage.

Save money on your next car insurance policy!

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.