Finding cheap car insurance in South Carolina is fairly high compared to other states, leaving many residents in search of discounts and cheaper rates. The average amount individuals pay for auto insurance in the state is essentially the same as the national annual average of $1,470. To be more specific, that is only $109 less (on average). 

Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina

Having auto insurance is non-negotiable. It not only is the law in the Palmetto State but it also saves you money later if involved in any type of accident or mishap. Plus, it can supplement your health insurance if you were to get injured. Unlike some states, location and what is recommended (not necessarily required) plays a big factor for auto insurance rates in South Carolina since hurricanes are common along the coast. 

It’s definitely worth it to pay a little more now and save yourself a headache, a depleted bank account due to a weather-related accident, or even a lawsuit later on. 

There are various factors that come into play when insurance companies decide upon their rates. Let’s take a look at those now.

What Insurance Rates Depend On

The price you pay for insurance is dependent on several things. Some you may deem unfair, but believe it or not, there is adequate research involved in these deciding factors. To better find cheap car insurance in South Carolina, know what insurance companies will be looking for. 

Driving History

This factor is pretty common sense. If you receive multiple tickets and are accident-prone, you are a huge risk to insurance companies, so they are going to charge you more upfront. 

Claims History

This is a big one — and should be fairly obvious. The more claims you file, the insurance company is going to view you in one of two ways: risky or suspicious. 

Insurance History

If you are fickle about which insurance company you want to stay with or are the type of insurer who often allows your policy to lapse, the next auto insurance company will most likely frown on your inconsistent behavior. They want someone who will pay on time and stick with them.

Age 

The younger the driver, the riskier. Those aren’t judgments— those are overall facts. The average cost difference between a teen driver and a driver in their 50’s is over $1,000 for a 6-month premium. The same goes for older drivers. 

Credit Score

Why would this matter? You aren’t buying a car, just driving one. According to the Federal Trade Commission, drivers with poor credit file more claims than those with good credit. 

Years of Driving Experience

To insurance companies, you are less risky the more driving experience you have. Plain and simple. 

Location

Certain states require specific types of coverage, which can, in turn, affect the cost. In addition, your zip code plays a fairly important role in determining your premium in that bigger cities often are higher than towns and rural areas. Where you physically park your car makes a difference as well. Parking in a single-home garage is less risky than parking in an actual parking garage, outside, or on the street. 

Gender

Statistics show that male drivers exhibit more risky driving behaviors than females. There usually isn’t too big of a jump for being a male, but this is still a factor. 

Annual Mileage

This is a factor because the more miles you travel per year, the more you are on the road and at risk for something happening. The difference typically isn’t huge though and varies state by state. 

Marital Status

The monetary difference actually isn’t significant; but you do get a little perk for being married, as you do with a few other things. 

Coverage Level

Undoubtedly, the more coverage you have, the more money you pay. 

Additional Perks/Discounts Offered

Rates also depend on company-specific perks and discounts that they may offer. By asking the insurance company what they have, you could save quite a penny. This is worth looking into to find cheap car insurance in South Carolina.

Now that you know about the factors insurance companies review in order to get you a rate quote, let’s look at the special factors in the state of SC that can either cost you more money or save you money.

Special Factors in South Carolina that May Increase Your Rates

Did you know?

  • That auto insurance is more expensive in the southern portion of South Carolina, which is where some of the most expensive communities are.
  • That although the weather in South Carolina is generally moderate, hurricanes are prevalent on the coast during certain times of the year.

Weather-related conditions will not always increase the amount you pay for the minimum liability. However, if you are in an at-risk area, you’ll definitely want to purchase comprehension and collision if it is worth it for the vehicle you own. You better make sure to purchase your comprehensive and collision coverage before a hurricane watch or warning goes into effect for your area. If something happens to your vehicle, insurers will be looking into when exactly you purchased the coverage and may not pay out if something seems suspicious. 

These two factors are considered more risky and in turn cause increased insurance rates. This does not mean that you won’t be able to find a good deal. There are those factors that were listed above that may decrease your rate as well, which is always good news. 

Required Coverage in South Carolina

Every state has a specific minimum required auto insurance coverage that each driver must obtain. The minimum legal requirements for SC are as follows:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person;
  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident;
  • $25,000 for property damage;
  • $25,000/$50,000/$25,000 uninsured motorist coverage

South Carolina’s required coverage does not include Underinsured Motorist Coverage, as some states do, which will help in a case where the at-fault driver has less coverage than you. This type of coverage is an optional add-on. 

This is the minimum coverage, and each driver has the ability to increase their coverage based on their own individual needs. If you take out a loan to purchase your vehicle, your lender may require additional coverage. 

If you are interested in adding coverage, these are some of the options available:

  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage 
  • Medical Payments
  • GAP Coverage
  • Rental Car Reimbursement
  • Transportation Expense Coverage
  • Towing and Labor Coverage

Largest Insurance Providers in South Carolina

The five largest insurance providers in SC are State Farm, Allstate, Geico, Nationwide, and South Carolina Farm Bureau. By largest, they hold the most policies within the state. 

A larger company does not always equate a cost-effective policy. Look at the two visuals comparing the largest insurance companies in the state with the cheapest. You can see for yourself what the differences are. 

The following are based on 12-month policy averages:

cheapest car insurance in sc
Compare companies and consider if they have what you need when looking for the cheapest car insurance in SC.

Finding the Cheapest Car Insurance in SC

The following are considered the top five most affordable insurance companies in SC: The Hartford, USAA, State Auto, Auto-Owners, and Southern Farm Bureau. You can compare these rates to those above and see that going with the more familiar or larger company won’t always save you money. 

Southern Farm Bureau was represented in both categories but is considered the cheapest of the larger companies and the most expensive out of the five most cost-effective companies. 

cheapest car insurance in sc
Finding the cheapest car insurance in SC isn’t as hard as you might think.

Discounts Offered by Each of the Cheapest Car Insurance in SC

To help find cheap car insurance in South Carolina, check out some of the discounts that may be offered. You might be able to save some money.

  • Southern Farm Bureau: account, adult driver training, away at school, claims free, company vehicle, continuous coverage, farm discount, financial responsibility, loyal customer, multi-vehicle, good student, no moving violations, personal financial discount, and young driver training discount
  • Auto-Owners: multi-policy, payment history, pay-in-full, green discount, advance quote, multi-car, safety features, deductibles, student discounts, and favorable loss history discount
  • State Auto: safe driver discount, multi-policy, accident prevention course, State Auto startup, driver training, anti-theft device, good student, multi-car, and pay-in-full 
  • USAA: safe driver, defensive driving, driver training, good student, multi-vehicle, vehicle storage, annual mileage, family discount, length of membership, and military discount 
  • The Hartford: anti-theft device, airbags, vehicle fuel type, driver training, good student, defensive driving course, multi-policy, and pay in full discount

Price Difference from Company to Company

Insurance rates can vary from company to company within the same state, even sometimes very dramatically. There are a few reasons why:

  • The cost of discounts: Certain companies offer more discounts than others; some people are aware of these and many are not unless they are told or they ask. It would be beneficial to compare a few companies and ask for a complete list of the discounts each offer. Be sure to update your demographic information if anything has changed (marital status & location) as well as any other circumstance that may get you a discount–forgetting to do so can cost you in the long run.
  • Choosing a company that uses credit scoring: This factor could either help or hurt your rate. If you have excellent credit, you will want to seek out an insurance company that includes credit scoring to determine the premium. However, if yours is sub-par, then you may want to go elsewhere.
  • Available perks: Everyone loves a good perk, but it may cost you to get them. Many auto insurance companies have “free” built-in options such as roadside assistance or bodily injury coverage for pets, yet you may technically be paying for this in your premium. 
  • Ability to combine policies to cut costs: Certain auto insurance companies offer homeowners or renters policies among other things. It is cheaper when you receive coverage for multiple things together than to separately cover them using different insurance companies or separate policies. 
  • Claim experiences and rate increases: If an auto insurance company is obtaining too many claims and are not charging enough premium, they will typically raise their overall rates to cover those costs. 

Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina

There are so many auto insurance companies out there for you to choose from–don’t get bogged down and overwhelmed by the choices. Finding the cheapest car insurance in SC is not as bad as one might think. Run some quotes online or call a representative to discuss your options based on your vehicle, lifestyle, and what discounts you are hoping for.

There may be other factors that may affect your individualized rate. After a little research and an analysis of what suits you, you should be able to find a cheap and effective insurance policy that is just right for your needs. And if you’re looking for more information, check out our car insurance guides and resources to learn more.

Related Articles:

Johnny Jet Editorial