INSURANCE - CAR INSURANCE

Average Cost of Car Insurance in South Carolina for 2024

Updated April 15, 2024
Fact checked
American National is generally the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for full coverage policies.

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Between its gorgeous beaches and delicious barbecue, it’s easy to see why South Carolina is one of the fastest-growing states in the country. But getting car insurance can be a shock-inducing experience for those new to the Palmetto State.

The average cost of car insurance in South Carolina is $2,132, compared to the national average of $1,582. However, the price of your premium depends on several factors, including your age, location, and credit history.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • The average cost of car insurance in South Carolina is $2,132 per year for full coverage and $653 for state-minimum insurance.
  • Teen drivers pay an average of $3,951 per year for insurance.
  • Seniors pay an average of $1,945 per year for coverage.

How much does car insurance cost in South Carolina?

While South Carolina doesn’t have a particularly high cost of living, its average car insurance premiums are much higher than the national average. For full coverage policies that include collision, comprehensive, and liability insurance, the average annual cost is $2,132.

Why is insurance so expensive in South Carolina? There are two main reasons:

  • South Carolina is one of the worst states for drunk driving based on the percentage of drunk driving fatalities.
  • The state also has a high percentage of drivers without insurance. According to the Insurance Research Council, 10.9% of drivers in the state are uninsured.

Due to those factors, serious accidents or claims are more common, so insurance companies charge much higher premiums.

Avg. cost for full coverage Avg. cost for minimum coverage Cheapest insurance provider
$2,132/year $653/year American National
Avg. for young drivers Avg. cost for seniors Avg. for high-risk drivers
$3,951/year $1,945/year $2,306/year

Average cost of car insurance in South Carolina by provider

Residents of South Carolina can purchase car insurance from major providers like Allstate or State Farm. But they also can get coverage through a smaller insurer, such as Auto-Owners, that only issues policies in 26 states. Sometimes, smaller insurance companies can offer more competitive rates, so include smaller companies when shopping for car insurance.

USAA and Geico had the lowest average premiums for full coverage policies. But for minimum liability coverage, Auto-Owners was the cheapest, with an average premium of just $434 per year.

Provider Full coverage Minimum liability coverage
Auto-Owners $1,296/year $434/year
Allstate $1,684/year $637/year
Nationwide $1,654/year $740/year
GEICO $1,196/year $468/year
Progressive $1,859/year $796/year
State Farm $1,315/year $576/year
Travelers $1,514/year $745/year
USAA $1,194/year $483/year

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How does credit score affect car insurance rates in South Carolina?

Like most states, South Carolina allows insurance companies to use driver credit histories to determine car insurance rates. Having excellent credit can help you save a significant amount of money. On average, a driver with poor credit will pay hundreds more for car insurance than someone with excellent credit.

Credit health Avg. annual premium
Poor (550-649) $2,779/year
Average (650-699) $2,306/year
Good (700-749) $1,907/year
Excellent (750+) $1,711/year

Average car insurance rates for high-risk drivers in South Carolina

High-risk drivers, meaning those more likely to be involved in accidents or file a claim, will typically have higher premiums than drivers with clean driving records. 

A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can cause your premiums to increase by $382 per year. And an at-fault accident can raise your yearly premiums by an average of $240.

Violation Avg. annual premium before violation* Avg. annual premium after violation Avg. cost increase
At-fault accident $2,132/year $2,372/year $240
DUI $2,132/year $2,514/year $382
Speeding ticket $2,132/year $2,410/year $278

*Assumes clean driving record with good credit

How does age affect car insurance rates in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, teens will pay much higher premiums than other age groups. 18-year-old drivers paid an average of $4,456 per year, more than double the state average. However, premiums steadily decrease as you age, with those in their 60s paying the lowest average premiums.

Age Avg. annual premium
18 $4,456/year
25 $1,890/year
30 $1,793/year
40 $1,778/year
60 $1,717/year

South Carolina car insurance rates by city

Drivers in busy, congested areas or cities with high crime rates will be more likely to file a claim than those in suburban or rural areas, so they usually have to pay much higher premiums.

In South Carolina, the city with the highest average premium was Florence; drivers pay an average of $2,298. NeighborhoodScout gave Florence a crime rating index of one, meaning that 99% of cities in the U.S. are safer, so the higher premium isn’t surprising.

City Avg. annual full-coverage premium
Florence $2,298/year
Rock Hill $2,072/year
Columbia $2,059/year
Charleston$2,041/year
Greenville $2,022/year
Myrtle Beach $1,993/year

SC’s minimum car insurance requirements

South Carolina, like most states, requires drivers to have car insurance. All drivers in the state must meet the following minimum coverage requirements:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury protection for one person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury protection for two or more people
  • $25,000 in property damage insurance

Because South Carolina has a high percentage of uninsured drivers, drivers within the state are also required to have uninsured motorist protection. Uninsured coverage must equal the minimum liability requirements.

How to save money on car insurance in South Carolina

You can save money on car insurance in South Carolina by following these tips:

  • Increase your deductible: How much you pay for repairs or damages before your insurance kicks in has an inverse relationship with premiums. The lower the deductible, the higher your premiums, and vice versa. If you have an emergency fund that could cover a higher deductible, increasing the deductible could be a good idea since you’ll get a reduced premium.
  • Adjust your coverage: With the high cost of car insurance in South Carolina, it may make sense to lower your coverage limits or cancel certain coverages. For example, if you have an older vehicle that would be inexpensive to replace, you could save money by canceling collision or comprehensive coverage and only purchasing liability insurance.
  • Ask about discounts: Call or email your insurance agent and ask about any discount programs that may be available. For example, if you have a shorter commute than you used to, you may qualify for a low-mileage discount. Or if you installed a new anti-theft device, you may be eligible for an additional discount.
  • Consider usage-based insurance (UBI): UBI, also known as pay-per-mile insurance, bases your premiums on your mileage and driving habits. Those who drive safely and have shorter commutes could save money on their policies. In South Carolina, several companies offer UBI coverage, including Allstate, Progressive, and Nationwide.
  • Shop around: How insurers determine premiums varies by company, so it’s a good idea to shop around and request quotes from the best car insurance companies — or even more specifically, the best car insurance in South Carolina. You may find that switching companies could help you save.

Methodology

Our analysis was conducted using six different auto insurance marketplaces to determine the average cost of auto insurance in each state. The data we analyzed included coverage premiums from up to 10 different insurance providers. We looked at rates by city, driver profile, and credit score, as well as factored in the impact of driving violations. This data is for comparative purposes only. Your actual quote may be different.

FAQs about car insurance costs in SC

Is car insurance expensive in SC?

In South Carolina, car insurance — particularly full coverage policies — is much more expensive than in other states. Full coverage policies cost $2,132 per year in the Palmetto State, compared to the national average of $1,582.

How much is car insurance per year in SC?

The average cost of car insurance in South Carolina is $2,132 per year for full coverage policies and $653 per year for state-minimum coverage.

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Author Details

Kat Tretina Kat Tretina is a personal finance expert focusing on practical financial matters, including student loans, debt repayment, side hustles, insurance, and healthcare. Drawing from her personal experience, she aims to simplify complex financial topics and provide individuals with the information they need to make informed decisions.