Get the cheapest car insurance rates in South Carolina by comparing the top-rated companies and easily viewing the best offers. We help you find the carriers that provide the best coverage for the lowest premium. Reliable and affordable coverage is available in just a few minutes. The quotes you receive are always free and without obligation. Preferred, high-risk, and commercial free quotes are offered.
Companies With Best Prices In SC
So who are the companies that offer the best rates? Before we list them (below), it's important to understand that the same carrier rarely offers the lowest prices to all drivers in all areas of the state. While company "A" may specialize in high-risk households with SR-22 Bonds and numerous traffic violations, Company B may offer the best deals for preferred drivers that are retired, and rarely venture more than 30 miles away from their residence.
And Company "A" may offer the best prices in Columbia and Rock Hill, but have extremely high prices in Charleston and Sumter. There are also many scenarios that will yield different results. For example, while USAA, Geico and Progressive may have great rates for drivers that own more than two new cars, another carrier may offer the best options for high-performance vehicles. That's why shopping multiple companies will yield the best results.
Thus, it's important to compare multiple companies so you are guaranteed to get the cheapest prices. It may not be necessary to compare 10-20 carriers. But reviewing at least 3-5 different options is more likely to save you the most money. So...with the disclaimers already out of the way, here are the 12 companies that typically offer the lowest car insurance rates in South Carolina:
American National General and Property And Casualty
21st Century Centennial
Farm Bureau Mutual
Garrison Property and Casualty
State Farm Mutual
Travelers Home and Marine
Since these companies are not always going to charge the lowest prices or offer your best options, we have listed below 10 additional carriers that typically feature very affordable rates. And in many situations, their price may actually be one of the lowest available in your county.
12 Counties With The Highest And Lowest Rates
This is another rather subjective list, since there are so many variables and potential underwriting factors that can render this type of list useless. But since it provides a basic reference, we provide the cities below. The data we used was based on a single driver in their 30s that owned one vehicle with $50,000 of bodily injury liability and $500 collision and comprehensive deductibles.
It's important to understand that any company has the legal right not to offer coverage to an applicant as long as the reason is not related to race, creed, religion, marital status, level of income, type of work, or military status (either active, reserve or retired). A poor driving record is generally the principal underwriting reason that policies are either surcharged, cancelled or non-renewed. However, bad credit, no prior coverage, and multiple claims within the past five years may also be a factor. Medical issues that can impact or impair your ability to drive can also cause a declination.
What Happens If Nobody Will Cover You?
If you are unable to secure coverage from available companies in the state (presumably because of your driving record), the JUA (Joint Underwriting Association) may be able to help. Although they specialize in many other forms of coverage (healthcare, for example), it is possible they may be able to secure a high-risk plan for you. Since premiums may not fit within your budget, additional options should also be considered.
Perhaps a better, and more reliable resource is the "Associated Auto Insurers Plan Of South Carolina (AAIPSC). Created by Statute 38-77-810, this coverage is available to SC residents who have been unsuccessful in obtaining a policy within the last 60 days. Policies will be issued by the carriers that offer policies in the state. The ratio of market share each company has, will determine the percentage of applications that are assigned to them. For example, State Farm, Geico, and Allstate are more likely than Progressive or USAA to underwrite coverage.
Most commercial policies will not be offered, unless the number of vehicles is low. However, the South Carolina Commercial Automobile Insurance Plan (SCCAI) can probably offer coverage. Popular risks include buses, taxis, Commercial tractors and trucks over 20,000 pounds, and Charleston Tour Guide Services. A special agent license is required to submit this type of business. If you need assistance locating a broker, please contact us.
NOTE: It is important to understand that your policy can not be canceled for many reasons including: lack of driving experience, excessive towing or comprehensive claims, medical payments-related claim from a non at-fault incident, an accident(s) took place more than three years from the anniversary date of the policy, type of employment (if legal) including service in the military.
Minimum Car Insurance Liability Requirements In South Carolina
Regardless of which SC county or city where you reside, or which company covers you, the state minimum liability limits must be met. As a tort liability state, if you are at-fault, you can be sued by the other party that was damaged. Comparative negligence is also in place. For example, if you were judged to be 20% responsible for an accident, you can not collect the full percentage from a winning judgement against the other party. So if there were $50,000 of damages, and the other driver was responsible for 70% of the accident, you would receive $35,000.
Contributory negligence is in place in several other states including North Carolina. In these states, if you are partially (even 1%) responsible for the damages you caused, no compensation will be awarded. Naturally, if you admit that you are at fault, you will forfeit a possible monetary reward.
Bodily injury liability must be at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence. Property damage must be at least $25,000. Medical expenses, missing work wages, and pain and suffering are the most common filed liability claims. Property applies to vehicles, buildings, and/or other structures. If you receive a traffic citation, you will have to provide proof that you complied with these requirements or you risk a suspension of license. Once the license is suspended, it may result in your policy rate increasing.
Uninsured and underinsured (if your existing coverage is not sufficient) protection are also required for the same amounts. A $200 deductible applies on all policies. Collision (physical damage to your vehicle) and comprehensive (fire, theft, vandalism, etc...) are not required unless you are financing or leasing. Then, the finance company or bank will undoubtedly require "full coverage." Deductibles up to $500 (and sometimes $1,000) are allowed. The most popular options are $250 and $500.
There are several optional benefits that can be added to most policies, although they are not a legal requirement. Some of these riders include towing and labor, rental reimbursement, GAP coverage, umbrella liability protection, and deductible buybacks. "Stated value" protection is sometimes available on classic and antique models. Depending on the carrier, several of these benefits may be included in your policy, or can be packaged together at a discounted price. Also, your credit card may offer towing and/or rental reimbursement.
Of course, always keep your policy active. Thanks to electronic notification, once your current policy lapses, the South Carolina Department Of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) is almost instantaneously notified and a letter will be sent requesting proof of coverage. If a response is not received, a fine and suspension is very likely. And you don't want that!
Other Laws To Know About
You can actually drive legally without coverage by paying the BMV $550 each year. However, if an accident occurs, you are held accountable and liable for all damages you cause to property, along with injuries sustained by passengers in the vehicles. Naturally, this is NOT a risk you want to take.
You are also obligated to show proof of your coverage when requested by a police officer. An ID card, declarations page (or both) will typically suffice. Your policy must, of course, be active and meet all of the minimum liability limit requirements. If an SR-22 Bond is required, proof of the certificate may also need to be provided.
If you file a complaint against your car insurance company in South Carolina, and do not receive the required response in a timely manner, you may seek the help of the SC DOI (Department Of Insurance). Issues regarding cancellations and claims are the most common complaints. The DOI will investigate the complaint and verify you have received a response. They also routinely review the financial health of companies that write SC business.
If your policy has been active for 90 days (perhaps just bought policy), the contract can not be terminated (unless by you) for underwriting reasons. If you are cancelled, you must receive a written notice with explanation. You will have a right to appeal the decision and an opportunity to present facts that may result in a reinstatement. For example, if your carrier mistakenly believes multiple accidents were your fault, a reversal is highly possible. Also, if a driver with multiple violations is no longer in the household, an appeal is warranted.
"Emma's Law" is now in effect. The legislation was passed, and is named after the late Longstreet, who was killed in 2012 by a drunken driver that had been convicted multiple times of DUI. Under the new law, any person convicted of a DUI within six months, with a blood-alcohol level of more than .15, must install a special locking device (ignition interlock) that won't start the vehicle without passing a makeshift breathalyzer test.
Repeat offenders will have to use the system for two years. The change should keep more drunk drivers off South Carolina highways, and ultimately reduce insurance, court, and enforcement costs. The average net reduction in SC vehicle insurance rates could eventually be as much as 10%.
Bad roads are costing you more than you may realize. In 2015, more than $7 million was paid for legal claims, settlements, vehicle damage and bodily injury resulting from potholes and other conditions. Accidents involving deaths resulted in the highest payouts. In many situations, both bodily injury and property damage occurred.
The condition of roads and bridges in South Carolina has been a concern for many years. According to "TRIP," a national transportation research group, state residents pay about $1,000 more because of wasted fuel and higher operating costs. Also, the fatality rate of state roads is the highest in the US.