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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joshua is a copywriter at Obrella who for more than 10 years has been creating content about insurance, health care, and more. He helps companies explain complex insurance subjects in simple ways so that customers can make smart buying decisions. He spends way too much time binge-watching Netflix, loves the outdoors and has a cat who tolerates him.

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Reviewed by Joshua Adamson
Joshua Adamson

UPDATED: Aug 2, 2021

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Everything you need to know as a driver in South Carolina is now right at your fingertips. We’ve done the research on state laws, minimums required, average cost, and more so you can find all the information you need as an insured South Carolina driver.

How Much Insurance is Required

South Carolina is one state where you don’t have to get auto insurance coverage to stay in good standing with the law. There are actually three options to choose from. If you decide to get auto coverage, you’ll need both liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage with these minimums:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury liability, per person per accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury liability total per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage liability per accident

Extra Car Insurance You Can Add On

The policy minimums that the state has set in place don’t cover everything. If your car is totaled, you might have to pay for extra costs out-of-pocket if you don’t have enough insurance. Here are some popular insurance options you can add onto your policy to safeguard against this.

  • Collision Coverage – Get this coverage to pay for damages to your car if you get into an accident.
  • Comprehensive Coverage – South Carolina has some serious flooding and hurricane problems. Comprehensive coverage will pay for damages done by the elements and other things like vandals or hitting a deer.
  • Rental Car Coverage – After an accident, you might need another car while yours is fixed. This kind of coverage can help pay for one.

Your Other Insurance Option

If you decide against getting car insurance (which we don’t recommend) you must register as an uninsured motorist for a yearly fee of $550. You’ll have to qualify for these South Carolina DMV rules in order to do so:

  • Every driver in your household, including yourself, must have had a valid license for three years
  • You cannot have been convicted within the last three years of any of the following:
    1. Reckless driving
    2. Felony with a motor vehicle
    3. Three moving violations or more
    4. DUI
    5. See the full list

The thing you have to keep in mind with this option is that you’ll pay for everything out-of-pocket if you get into an accident. Are you willing to run that risk? The average South Carolina auto policy will only cost you around $900 a year for tens of thousands of dollars worth of coverage. The uncovered uninsured motorist certification is $550 and provides no financial protection.

Violations And Penalties

If you don’t have proof that you’re insured or haven’t paid to be a registered uninsured motorist, here is what you may have to deal with:

Driving a vehicle that you do not own with invalid insurance:

  • 30 day license suspension
  • $100 reinstatement fee

Driving a vehicle that you own with invalid insurance:

  • $550 reinstatement fee
  • Driver license and registration suspension until reinstatement fee has been paid
  • Must file SR-22 for three years

Canceling your insurance? You’ll need to tell your insurance company to notify the DMV or you’ll get in even more trouble. They’ll send you a notice that will give you 20 days to provide proof that you have valid liability insurance with another provider.

How Your Insurance Premiums Are Determined

If you do go the auto insurance route (please do!), insurance companies will need to know more bit about you so they can come up with an annual rate. They determine this by weighing the risk of insuring you. If you’re more of a liability, your rates will be higher and if you’re found to be less risky, you’ll most likely pay less. Here’s what they’ll want to know:

  • Your Age
  • Your Gender
  • Your Address
  • The Car You Drive- make, year, model, how it is used
  • Credit history
  • Claims/Driving history

What South Carolinians Pay For Auto Insurance

Knowing what your neighbors pay is a good way to gauge if your policy is too expensive or just right. According to our research, South Carolina is the 14th most affordable state. Take a look at the average premiums from the most affordable companies:

 Average Annual Rates
The Hartford$573.99
USAA$844.93
State Farm$1,017.76
21st Century$1,046.04
GEICO$1,112.23
Get Your Rates Quote Now

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Find the cheapest insurance in South Carolina based on your driving profile.

Most Stolen Cars in South Carolina

If you drive a car that’s a favorite among thieves, you could pay for it in higher rates. Here are the top stolen cars in South Carolina:

  • Honda Accord
  • Ford Pickup (Full Size)
  • Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
  • Ford Explorer
  • Chevrolet Pickup
  • Toyota Camry
  • Ford Crown Victoria
  • Dodge Pickup (Full Size)
  • Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
  • Chevrolet Impala

Licensed Agents Can Help

With years of experience in South Carolina car insurance, licensed agents can help answer any questions you may have. They can also provide you with free quotes from top insurance companies so that you can begin to compare rates that are unique to you. If you are ready to talk to a real person, call [mapi-phone /].

Before making any final decisions on your insurance company, it is important to learn as much as you can about your local insurance providers, and the coverages they offer. Call your local insurance agent to clear up any questions that you might have. Questions to consider asking include, “What is the best coverage plan for me/my family/my situation?” “What are the minimum coverage requirements in my state and what form of coverage do you recommend?” “Do you guys offer any bundle discounts if I take out both my auto insurance and home insurance with you?” and “What is the average rate of insurance quotes you guys offer?”

Before making any big insurance decisions, use our free tool to compare insurance quotes near you. It’s simple, just plug in your zip code and we’ll do the rest!

Additional South Carolina Resources

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