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Best Car Insurance In South Carolina (2023)

Learn the top five companies for coverage in the Palmetto State.

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06/18/2023 09:52 PM

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If you’re searching for the best car insurance in South Carolina, this article will help you find providers that offer quality coverage at affordable rates. We’ve analyzed car insurance quotes to provide our recommendations for the top auto insurance companies across the Palmetto State.

Our review team offers honest and unbiased reviews of the top car insurance providers in the industry. Through hours of research and secret shopper analyses, we’ve found South Carolina’s best and cheapest car insurance options.

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Cheapest Car Insurance In South Carolina

Rates for auto insurance coverage vary widely across state lines, so it’s important to look at data specific to car insurance in South Carolina. The table below shows companies that typically offer some of the cheapest car insurance premiums in South Carolina. According to our rate estimates, at an average of $678 per year, a full-coverage policy from American Financial tends to be the cheapest option in South Carolina.

Auto Insurance ProviderEstimated Annual Cost
American Financial$678
Auto-Owners Insurance$1,271
State Farm$1,430
Southern Farm Bureau$1,496

How Much Is Car Insurance In South Carolina?

According to our rate estimates, the average cost of car insurance in South Carolina is around $1,665 per year. This is nearly 4 percent less than the national average of $1,730.

Drivers who live in Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville can expect to pay more than those in less populous areas. Still, they’ll likely spend less than those in comparable urban areas across the country.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that traffic fatalities increased by more than 18 percent from 2011 to 2015 in South Carolina. NHTSA data also shows that the state had the nation’s fourth-highest rate of traffic fatalities per capita in 2019. Based on these statistics, it’s somewhat surprising that rates for car insurance in South Carolina generally stay below the national average.

Cheapest Car Insurance In South Carolina: Young Drivers

Drivers under the age of 25 have less experience behind the wheel, so insurance companies in South Carolina offset risk by charging higher car insurance rates. Below are the cheapest rates for different age groups 25 and under.

Cheapest Car Insurance In South Carolina: 16-Year-Olds

Sixteen-year-old drivers in South Carolina can find the cheapest car insurance from American National at around $290 per month and from Southern Farm Bureau at around $319 per month.

Cheap Car Insurance In South CarolinaAverage Monthly CostAverage Annual Cost
American National$290 $3,485
Southern Farm Bureau$319 $3,829
Auto-Owners Insurance$324 $3,888
Geico$340 $4,084
State Farm$343 $4,127

Cheapest Car Insurance In South Carolina: 18-Year-Olds

In South Carolina, the cheapest full-coverage car insurance for 18-year-olds comes from American National at $140 per month. Auto-Owners Insurance comes in a close second at $234 per month.

Cheap Car Insurance In South CarolinaAverage Monthly CostAverage Annual Cost
American National$140 $1,690
Auto-Owners Insurance$234 $2,819
Southern Farm Bureau$259 $3,109
Travelers$269 $3,232
State Farm$269 $3,235

Cheapest Car Insurance In South Carolina: 21-Year-Olds

Twenty-one-year-olds can find the cheapest coverage in South Carolina at American National, which has an average monthly cost of $92. Drivers this age can also find affordable coverage from Geico and USAA.

Cheap Car Insurance In South CarolinaAverage Monthly CostAverage Annual Cost
American National$92 $1,108
Geico$150 $1,806
USAA$162 $1,950
Auto-Owners Insurance$162 $1,952
Travelers$174 $2,092

Cheapest Car Insurance In South Carolina: 25-Year-Olds

The cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for 25-year-olds comes at roughly $63 per month on average from American National. Geico also offers affordable coverage at $109 per month.

Cheap Car Insurance In South CarolinaAverage Monthly CostAverage Annual Cost
American National$63 $758
Geico$109 $1,317
USAA$112 $1,351
Auto-Owners Insurance$126 $1,515
Travelers$129 $1,556

Cheapest South Carolina Car Insurance: High-Risk Drivers

In general, those with clean driving records pay lower insurance premiums than drivers who have a history of speeding tickets, car accidents, or DUI convictions. The table below shows the difference in cost for each traffic violation by the top five cheapest companies for South Carolina drivers.

Car Insurance ProviderSpeeding TicketsRecent AccidentsDUI Convictions
American Financial$827 $927 $927
Geico$1,206 $1,784 $3,005
USAA$1,266 $1,665 $1,893
State Farm$1,605 $1,773 $1,605
Auto-Owners Insurance$2,058 $2,506 $2,936

*Speeding tickets are for 16 to 20 mph over the speed limit. Recent accidents are for a single vehicle ($2,500 worth of damage).

Cheapest Car Insurance In South Carolina: Bad Credit

Bad credit scores greatly increase the cost of car insurance in South Carolina. In fact, having poor credit usually leads to higher rates than for those with recent car accidents and potentially even DUIs on their driving records. With an average annual rate of $1,963, Progressive usually offers the lowest cost for drivers with bad credit.

Car Insurance Providers in South Carolina Estimated Monthly Cost Estimated Annual Cost
Progressive $164 $1,963
Nationwide $169 $2,030
USAA $194 $2,333
Geico $199 $2,387
Travelers $207 $2,485

Top 5 Auto Insurance Companies In South Carolina

After careful research, our review team named USAA, Geico, Progressive, State Farm, and Travelers as the top five auto insurance providers in South Carolina. We formulated these rankings based on a number of factors, including cost and coverage.

Best Car Insurance in South Carolina Overall Rating Cost Rating Coverage Rating
1. USAA 4.6 4.6 4.6
2. Geico 4.6 4.7 4.2
3. Progressive 4.3 4.4 4.4
4. State Farm 4.7 4.6 4.6
5. Travelers 4.5 4.4 4.7

*Our research team scores car insurance companies by taking nationwide factors into account. The order of insurers in this table is specific to car insurance in South Carolina.

#1 USAA: Best For Military Members

USAA offers coverage in all 50 states, though it’s available only to those in the armed forces, veterans, and their families. The company offers some of the best car insurance rates in the nation along with multiple discount opportunities. Drivers with new cars, clean driving records, good grades, bundled policies, and more can save on auto insurance from USAA. We named USAA Best for Military Members in our review of the country’s best auto insurance companies. It was also awarded an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best.

Read moreUSAA insurance review

Strong score from AM Best

Only available to military members,

veterans and their families

Excellent customer service
Available in all 50 states

#2 Geico: Best For Discounts

Since Geico has multiple discount opportunities and features some of the cheapest rates in the country, the provider is a great option for both student drivers and military members. Geico features discounts for drivers with added safety features in their cars, such as anti-theft systems, anti-lock brakes, and airbags. Geico also gives discounts to drivers who complete defensive driving courses, bundle their auto and home policies, and complete Geico’s usage-based program DriveEasy. Geico is available in all 50 states and received an outstanding A++ financial strength rating from AM Best and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Read moreGeico insurance review

Geico Pros Geico Cons

Highest-rated provider in our industry


Doesn’t offer gap insurance

Standout coverage for students and

members of the military

Average claims satisfaction

Strong AM Best financial strength


#3 Progressive: Best Usage-Based Insurance

Progressive is known for having more affordable rates for drivers with speeding tickets, DUIs, and other traffic violations on their records. Progressive’s usage-based  program Snapshot is a great way for high-risk drivers to get discounted prices on their premiums by practicing safe driving habits. This provider offers auto insurance across all 50 states and has discounts for continuous insurance coverage, home owners, and those who bundle policies. Progressive was awarded an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best.

Read moreProgressive insurance review

Progressive Pros Progressive Cons
Offers highly rated usage-based insurance Below-average claims satisfaction
Top choice for high-risk drivers Doesn’t offer military discounts
Strong financial health

#4 State Farm: Best Overall Provider

With its usage-based program Steer Clear, State Farm is a great option for teens and young adult drivers who practice safe driving habits behind the wheel. On top of the six standard types of car insurance, State Farm also offers rideshare insurance, classic car insurance, and emergency roadside assistance. 

State Farm received an excellent A++ financial strength rating from AM Best and offers notable discounts for new vehicles, new drivers, and more. State Farm’s good student discount is the best in the country, helping high school and college students save up to 25 percent off premiums. The company offers car insurance in every state except for Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Read more: State Farm insurance review

State Farm Pros State Farm Cons
Good choice for students and teen drivers Average rates are somewhat higher
Easy-to-reach insurance agents
Largest auto insurer in the nation

#5 Travelers: Best Coverage Options

A top option for teen drivers, Travelers has been offering high-quality insurance products since 1853. Travelers is now the 10th-largest auto insurance provider in the country, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Along with the six standard types of car insurance, Travelers offers loan/lease gap coverage, new car replacement coverage, rideshare coverage, and accident forgiveness. It also features discounts for good students, safe drivers, and those who get early quotes. Travelers maintains an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best as well as an A rating from the BBB.

Read more:  Travelers insurance review

Travelers Pros Travelers Cons
Strong scores from AM Best and the BBB Doesn’t offer military discounts
Various discounts available Below-average customer satisfaction
Great choice for teen motorists

Requirements For Car Insurance In South Carolina

South Carolina, just like almost every other state, has a state minimum coverage requirement for auto insurance. State law in South Carolina mandates that drivers carry these types of car insurance:

  • Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability: $25,000 per accident
  • Uninsured motorist coverage/underinsured motorist coverage: 25/50/25 limits

Additional coverage that’s helpful but not mandated by South Carolina law includes the following:

While these extras cost more than a cheap car insurance policy that only meets minimum car insurance requirements, they could give you peace of mind on the road. To many drivers, that makes full-coverage car insurance worth the purchase. These types of coverage are usually required by lenders anyway.

Is South Carolina An At-Fault State Or A No-Fault State?

South Carolina is an at-fault state, so the driver deemed responsible for a car accident will pay for the damages incurred by other drivers. Most states have at-fault insurance laws, so laws for South Carolina car insurance are relatively similar to those in the rest of the country.

How To Get Car Insurance In South Carolina

After thorough review, our team ranked USAA as the top auto insurance provider in the Palmetto State. Due to its outstanding discounts and cost-effective policies, USAA offers the cheapest auto insurance rates for various types of South Carolina drivers.

Though USAA usually offers car insurance in South Carolina at below-average prices, the company has high-quality coverage. Geico, Progressive, State Farm, and Travelers also offer strong car insurance coverage options at great prices, making them well worth getting free quotes if you don’t qualify for USAA coverage.

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Best Cheap Car Insurance In South Carolina: FAQ

What is the average cost of car insurance per month in South Carolina?

According to our rate estimates, the annual average price of car insurance in South Carolina is $1,610, which comes to around $134 per month.

Is South Carolina car insurance higher?

Full-coverage car insurance in South Carolina averages out to $1,665 per year, according to our estimates. This is almost four percent cheaper than the national average, which is $1,730 per year.

Why is South Carolina car insurance so high?

South Carolina actually has below-average car insurance costs compared to the rest of the U.S., with average rates that are about 7 percent lower than the national average. This is despite the fact that the Palmetto State had the nation’s fourth-highest rate of traffic fatalities per capita in 2019 and that numbers have increased substantially in the last decade.

How much car insurance do I need in South Carolina?

You need to have at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in body injury liability coverage, $25,000 per accident in property damage liability, and 25/50/25 limits on uninsured motorist coverage/underinsured motorist coverage.

What happens if you don’t have car insurance in South Carolina?

According to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV), those without South Carolina auto insurance could have their driving privileges, license plate, and vehicle registration suspended. Additionally, these drivers could pay up to $400 to reinstate their driving and registration privileges.

Can you register a car without insurance in South Carolina?

As proof of insurance is required at the time of registration, you won’t be able to register a car without insurance in South Carolina.

How We Rate Insurers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car insurance providers. While there are multiple qualities that make a car insurance company successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:

  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between insurers because so many factors impact annual premiums. The cheapest insurer for one driver may not be the cheapest for another. To determine our cost score, we look at insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services, discount opportunities, and consumer reports.
  • Coverage: To determine our coverage score, we look at the number of coverage options available as well as coverage limits and deductible options. Our ratings also take into account additional services and benefits like roadside assistance.
  • Reliability: It’s important that an auto insurer is able to meet its claims obligations. Companies with a strong financial strength rating from AM Best score best in this category. Established insurers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
  • Service: We comb through customer reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to learn about customer experiences. Insurers with a low volume of complaints score well in this area. We also consider the claims process, giving higher ratings to car insurance providers that offer easy-to-use claims apps.

*Data accurate at time of publication.