Carrying auto insurance helps drivers protect themselves financially in the event of a collision or other incident that renders their vehicle inoperable.
However, while most products and services cost the same for every shopper regardless of their marital status, age, and personal history, auto insurance premiums vary widely from one person to another.
For this reason, it’s imperative that drivers do their research and comparison-shop to find the best car insurance in South Carolina.
Your gender, the car you drive, your driving history, whether you own or rent a home, and your age are just a few of the factors that insurance companies use to determine your premium.
Your geographic location also has a significant impact on your insurance costs.
Understanding how much drivers are paying for insurance in your region and gathering competitive offers can help you secure an auto insurance policy that meets your needs and fits your budget.
Average Cost of Car Insurance in South Carolina
When drivers shop around for auto insurance, the primary question they want to answer is “How much is car insurance in South Carolina?”
Understanding how much the average South Carolinian is paying for their coverage can help you recognize whether the rates you’re quoted are competitive.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average auto premium for a South Carolina driver in 2015 was $973.10.
From 2012 to 2015, personal auto insurance premiums increased by an average of $26 per year.
Compared to the national average, rates in South Carolina in 2015 were relatively low, with drivers paying approximately $36 less per month.
How much is car insurance in South Carolina compared to its neighboring states?
In 2015, South Carolina’s rates were the highest in the region, coming in higher than rates in North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia.
|Average Cost of Car Insurance in South Carolina||$973.10|
|Average Cost of Car Insurance in North Carolina||$655.37|
|Average Cost of Car Insurance in Georgia||$896.50|
|Average Cost of Car Insurance in Virginia||$750.85|
While a mature driver with a spotless driving record will pay less than a 21-year-old male with multiple speeding tickets, there are many more variables that can drive up the cost of coverage.
In addition to being influenced by personal factors such as age, marital status, and driving experience, premiums are also affected by certain conditions in your region.
1. Traffic Conditions in South Carolina
According to the NAIC report on traffic density, there were 654,399 vehicle miles per highway mile in South Carolina in 2014, compared to the national average of 724,348.
The “vehicle miles per registered vehicle” was 12,793 in South Carolina, which was slightly higher than the national average of 12,010.
The rate of fatal accidents in this state was 1.65 per 100 million vehicle miles in 2014, which is higher than the national average of 1.08.
The higher accident rates and more vehicles on the roadways may cause insurance companies to set rates slightly higher in certain areas of South Carolina.
2. Vehicle Theft Rates in South Carolina
The FBI’s Hot Wheels Report shows that the vehicles most commonly stolen in South Carolina are Ford pickups (685 were stolen in 2016) and Chevy pickups, which accounted for 470 vehicle thefts in that same year.
Other commonly stolen vehicles include Honda Accords and Civics, Toyota Camrys, Chevrolet Impalas, and Nissan Altimas.
Since these vehicles are statistically more of a theft risk, drivers with these vehicles can expect higher insurance premiums.
3. Population Density in South Carolina
According to the NAIC, South Carolina had a relatively dense population of 160 people per square mile in 2014, with 76 percent of those people residing in metropolitan areas.
The countrywide average is just 90 people per square mile, with nearly 84 percent of these individuals living in metropolitan areas.
Because drivers in less populated areas are less likely to get in an accident, those who live in rural areas may have cheaper rates than those who live in densely populated ones.
4. Disposable Income in South Carolina
Disposable income has an indirect effect on auto insurance rates, as drivers in wealthier areas tend to have more expensive cars that are more costly to insure.
In 2014, the per capita disposable income per person for South Carolina was $33,295, which is about $7,500 less than the nationwide average.
Companies with the Best Car Insurance in South Carolina
When shopping around for the best car insurance in South Carolina, it’s important to get at least three quotes from different insurance companies to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
In addition to considering the price of the coverage that you need, you should also weigh other factors such as the company’s financial outlook, their claims process, customer reviews, and ratings.
Look for large companies that have readily available reviews, including:
Progressive was established in 1937, and is among the four largest auto insurance companies in the United States. The company is best known for its “Name Your Price” car insurance shopping option.
Progressive offers a variety of auto insurance products, including liability coverage, comprehensive insurance, and roadside assistance.
Established in 1912, Liberty Mutual is a multinational insurance company with a presence in 20 countries.
In addition to standard offerings such as collision and comprehensive coverage, this insurer also offers a 12-month rate guarantee and New Car Replacement™.
USAA was founded in 1922 by a group of U.S. Army officers and has since grown to become a Fortune 500 company.
While its insurance policies were initially available only to active officers, USAA now offers policies to active and retired service members and their immediate families. USAA provides policies for all types of vehicles, and as of 2016, it had nearly 12 million members.
Known for its catchphrase “You’re in good hands,” Allstate is a company that has built its brand on providing personalized care for policyholders.
It offers a range of products, including medical payments coverage, comprehensive and collision coverage, and uninsured motorist coverage.
American Family has been in business for over 90 years with a mission to become the most trusted and customer-driven company in the industry.
This insurer’s policyholders can choose from a full suite of auto insurance products, including medical payments coverage, emergency roadside assistance, and comprehensive and collision coverages.
While MetLife is relatively new to the auto insurance game, providing coverage for vehicles only since the 1970s, its history as a company stretches back to the early 1870s.
Today, it offers a wide range of products, including roadside assistance, glass coverage, and gap coverage.
Travelers is a multinational insurance provider that provides numerous options such as loan/lease gap coverage, rideshare coverage, accident forgiveness, and new car replacement.
The company has been a mainstay on the Fortune 500 list since 1995 and has won multiple awards including the NAIC award for the Largest U.S. Workers Compensation Carrier from 2014 to 2017.
What is Mandatory Car Insurance in South Carolina?
Most states, including South Carolina, require that drivers carry auto insurance.
In South Carolina, all drivers are required to carry liability coverage.
This type of insurance doesn’t provide coverage for damage to the insured person’s vehicle, but it covers accident-related losses for the victim and their property in an at-fault accident.
In South Carolina, the minimum liability limits, expressed as 25/50/25, are:
- $25,000 for a single injury or fatality
- $50,000 for all persons injured
- $25,000 for property damage
In addition to liability insurance, South Carolinian drivers are also required to carry uninsured motorist coverage, which pays out if a driver is the victim of a hit-and-run or an uninsured driver.
State law in South Carolina requires that drivers carry uninsured motorist coverage equal to the minimum amounts of liability coverage (25/50/25).
Drivers must be able to provide proof of insurance if they are stopped by a police officer or are involved in a collision.
In South Carolina, proof of insurance can be provided either by showing an insurance card or proof of insurance in an electronic mobile device.
How to Reduce the Cost of Your Coverage
A robust auto insurance policy is essential for protecting yourself financially in the event of a collision, but quality coverage doesn’t have to break the bank.
Once you find the best car insurance in South Carolina for your needs, you may be able to lower your rate by choosing a higher deductible and bundling your auto insurance policy with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
In addition to these measures, the Insurance Information Institute recommends lowering your premium by:
- Carrying lower policy limits on older vehicles
- Finding out if your employer offers group insurance
- Taking advantage of low mileage discounts
- Maintaining good credit
- Asking about other discounts
The auto insurance provider that you choose may offer a variety of discounts based on your vehicle’s safety features, your driving record, or even the payment method you select.
To get the most accurate quote, have this information on hand for your auto insurance agent:
- For each vehicle you own: make, model, year, trim package, safety features, anti-theft devices, and an average of how many miles you drive per year
- Household information: where you live, where you park at night, how much liability coverage you need, what deductible you can comfortably afford, and how many drivers are in your household
- Driver information: the age and driving history of each driver on the policy and safe driving courses completed; report cards for teen drivers with above average grades
What Can Increase the Cost of Your Car Insurance in SC?
Just as there are factors that can lower your auto insurance premium, there are also factors, such as your gender and age, that can cause an increase in price.
While some of these are outside your control, you can take certain steps to offset them.
- Driver Age: Drivers under the age of 21 and over the age of 70 typically pay the highest premiums for their coverage. By completing a defensive driving course, policyholders in these age brackets may be able to reduce their premium.
- Driver History: Statistically, drivers who have received multiple speeding tickets or who have driven under the influence are more likely to file an insurance claim and, therefore, pay higher premiums. Fortunately, in South Carolina, any points accrued from speeding, making an illegal turn, or reckless driving will fall off your record after 24 months. If you have a less-than-perfect driving history, consider taking a defensive driving course to clear your record more quickly. Make sure you follow traffic laws and contest speeding tickets as warranted to avoid an increase in your premium.
- Your Vehicle: An expensive car costs more to repair or replace and, therefore, costs more to insure. Additionally, if your vehicle has a greater potential to cause damage in the event of a collision, your rate may be higher. When shopping for a new vehicle, look for safety and anti-theft features to help offset the higher insurance premium.
By gathering quotes from multiple insurance providers and determining what discounts you qualify for, you can find the best car insurance in South Carolina for your needs and budget.*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that "timely" information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.