Who Has the Cheapest Auto Insurance Quotes in South Carolina?

How much does car insurance cost on average in the Palmetto State, and how does it compare across different companies? We looked at quotes for two sample drivers as a benchmark across 45 major cities to see which companies had the cheapest auto insurance rates in South Carolina.

From Aiken to York, we found that average rates for our profiled drivers were $1,539 per year, but this ranged depending on which auto insurance companies we got quotes from. The cost to consumers was nearly $1,060 on average between the most expensive and the cheapest auto insurer in a city. That's why consumers should compare car insurance quotes - going with the most expensive company could have paid for three years of coverage at the cheapest company in SC. Type in your zip above for a list of auto insurance companies to begin shopping for the best rates.

Cheapest Auto Insurance in South Carolina

Which company had the best rates for car insurance in South Carolina? Our analysis looked at auto insurance quotes from 10 companies for a basic liability policy in 45 cities and towns scattered across the Palmetto State. Quotes were obtained based on a sample driver--a single 30 year old man with an excellent driving record in the past five years. Here are the companies with the 6 companies with the lowest auto insurance quotes:

This graph illustrates which car insurance companies in South Carolina had the best rates for our sample drivers.

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The companies mean for our sample driver was $1,225 a year for liability coverage, which is 26% lower than what the average company charged in the state. *To be eligible for Southern Farm Bureau's auto insurance services, drivers must join the South Carolina Farm Bureau, which has membership dues of $40. Here is the full list of companies we included in our analysis, and how their averages compared for our driver in SC:

Rank

InsurerAverage Premium

1

Southern Farm Bureau$1,124

2

State Auto$1,200

3

State Farm$1,262

4

Allstate$1,267

5

National Grange Mutual$1,274

6

Nationwide$1,409

South Carolina Average$1,539

7

Encompass$1,561

9

GEICO$1,777

10

Safe Auto$1,903

11

Bristol West$2,013

12

Safe Auto$2,136

Cheapest Car Insurance in South Carolina: by City

Overall, our top five cheapest cities in South Carolina had an average auto insurance cost of $1,345 a year for our sample drivers. Compared to the state average, costs were 14% lower among these locations, which were clustered in the western part of the state--close to the borders of Georgia and Tennessee. On the other hand, our top five most expensive places ran about $1,726 a year – that’s approximately 11% more expensive than costs in the average city in the Palmetto State. The five costliest cities cluster in the center of South Carolina, and tend to have higher crime than average compared to their neighbors.Nevertheless, regardless of where drivers live in South Carolina, they can obtain cheap car insurance simply by comparing quotes from three or more insurers underwriting in their neighborhood. This ensures a range of quotes that give consumers more information to avoid paying more than they'd like to for their liability coverage.

The table below shows which companies had the best rates for auto insurance in South Carolina, broken out by the 45 cities and towns. Keep in mind that the average annual rates and rankings below are based on our example drivers, which were used as to benchmark across the 12 companies we analyzed.

City

Top 3 Auto InsurerPremium

Aiken

State Auto$1,008

Southern Farm Bureau$1,068

National Grange Mutual$1,140

Anderson

Southern Farm Bureau$960

Nationwide$1,080

State Auto$1,116

Barnwell

Southern Farm Bureau$1,164

National Grange Mutual$1,248

State Farm$1,248

Beaufort

State Auto$1,152

Southern Farm Bureau$1,236

State Farm$1,296

Bennettsville

Southern Farm Bureau$1,152

Allstate$1,248

State Auto$1,272

Bluffton

State Auto$1,152

Southern Farm Bureau$1,164

State Farm$1,296

Camden

Southern Farm Bureau$1,152

State Auto$1,248

National Grange Mutual$1,260

Charleston

State Auto$1,308

Southern Farm Bureau$1,368

State Farm$1,392

Cheraw

Southern Farm Bureau$1,044

Allstate$1,248

State Farm$1,308

Chester

Southern Farm Bureau$1,152

Allstate$1,248

State Auto$1,284

Clinton

Southern Farm Bureau$1,104

State Auto$1,104

National Grange Mutual$1,140

Clover

State Auto$1,152

State Farm$1,164

Southern Farm Bureau$1,200

Columbia

State Auto$1,092

Southern Farm Bureau$1,200

National Grange Mutual$1,212

Dillon

Southern Farm Bureau$1,248

Allstate$1,284

State Auto$1,368

Edgefield

Southern Farm Bureau$1,020

National Grange Mutual$1,176

State Farm$1,188

Florence

Southern Farm Bureau$1,164

State Auto$1,224

Allstate$1,320

Fort Mill

State Auto$1,152

State Farm$1,164

Southern Farm Bureau$1,188

Gaffney

Southern Farm Bureau$1,140

State Auto$1,140

State Farm$1,200

Georgetown

Southern Farm Bureau$1,200

National Grange Mutual$1,260

State Farm$1,260

Greenville

Southern Farm Bureau$1,092

State Auto$1,116

National Grange Mutual$1,236

Greenwood

Southern Farm Bureau$1,032

Nationwide$1,080

State Auto$1,128

Greer

Southern Farm Bureau$1,020

State Auto$1,044

National Grange Mutual$1,236

Hartsville

Southern Farm Bureau$1,176

Allstate$1,332

State Auto$1,356

Hilton Head Island

Southern Farm Bureau$1,044

State Auto$1,140

State Farm$1,296

Kingstree

Southern Farm Bureau$1,236

State Auto$1,260

National Grange Mutual$1,260

State Farm$1,260

Lancaster

National Grange Mutual$1,272

Southern Farm Bureau$1,308

State Auto$1,308

Laurens

Southern Farm Bureau$1,092

State Auto$1,128

National Grange Mutual$1,140

Lexington

State Auto$1,032

Southern Farm Bureau$1,080

National Grange Mutual$1,212

Manning

Southern Farm Bureau$1,128

National Grange Mutual$1,260

State Farm$1,260

Myrtle Beach

Southern Farm Bureau$1,104

State Farm$1,260

State Auto$1,284

Newberry

Southern Farm Bureau$1,008

State Auto$1,164

State Farm$1,188

Orangeburg

Southern Farm Bureau$1,212

National Grange Mutual$1,236

State Auto$1,284

Allstate$1,284

Pageland

Southern Farm Bureau$1,152

Allstate$1,260

State Farm$1,308

Pickens

Southern Farm Bureau$960

State Farm$1,140

Allstate$1,164

Rock Hill

Southern Farm Bureau$1,164

State Auto$1,164

State Farm$1,164

Saluda

Southern Farm Bureau$1,056

State Farm$1,188

National Grange Mutual$1,236

Seneca

Southern Farm Bureau$936

Allstate$1,116

State Farm$1,140

Simpsonville

Southern Farm Bureau$984

State Auto$1,116

Allstate$1,236

Spartanburg

State Auto$1,092

State Farm$1,188

Southern Farm Bureau$1,212

Sumter

National Grange Mutual$1,212

State Auto$1,236

Southern Farm Bureau$1,260

Union

Southern Farm Bureau$1,140

State Auto$1,200

State Farm$1,200

Walhalla

Southern Farm Bureau$972

Allstate$1,116

State Farm$1,140

Williamston

Southern Farm Bureau$996

Nationwide$1,080

State Auto$1,116

Winnsboro

Southern Farm Bureau$1,212

Allstate$1,248

National Grange Mutual$1,308

York

Southern Farm Bureau$1,092

State Auto$1,128

State Farm$1,164

Southern Farm Bureau offers auto insurance coverage for members of the South Carolina Farm Bureau, which requires registration and membership dues of $40.

Columbia, SC

Columbia is the state's most populous city, and is home to approximately 133,000 residents and 2,000 animals. The latter reside in the Riverbanks Zoological Park, which is one of the rare zoos to embrace cage-free natural habitats for their inhabitants. Nearly 50% of the U.S.'s soldiers have trained and lived in Fort Jackson at one point in their service. When it comes to auto insurance costs, our sample drivers saw quotes averaging $1,601 a year, which was only 4% higher than their statewide average.

Who has the best auto insurance rates in Columbia? State Auto and Southern Farm Bureau rank as the 1st and 2nd most inexpensive insurers. Getting quotes from from National Grange Mutual, State Farm and Allstate are also certain to get you a good deal, as they were the next three cheapest car insurance companies in Columbia, SC. Rates at these five companies averaged 1,280 a year, which was $321 or 25% less each year compared to what the typical carrier charged in the city.

This graph outlines the five companies in Columbia with the best rates for auto insurance

Charleston, SC

South Carolina has been heralded by many publications as one of the best travel destinations in the United States. From the city's historic significance in the Civil War to its beautiful architecture, there are a lot of attractions for visitors and residents alike. Among other notables, the first theater in the U.S. was established in Charleston, and that tradition of arts is still continued today, where a number of art and theater institutions are situated on Charleston's streets. Interstate Highways 26 and 95, U.S. Highway 17, and Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge are some of the main thoroughfares connecting the city's commuters from one end to another.

Cheap auto insurance in Charleston is attainable through some quote shopping. Our sample drivers saw on average annual rates of $1,641, which places the city 7% more expensive compared to the state average. Nevertheless, going with a quote from either one of the three companies with the best rates in Charleston could save our drivers 21%. Those three companies would be State Auto, Southern Farm Bureau and State Farm, whose policies cost a mean of $1,356 per year for basic liability coverage.

This chart ranks the five companies in Charleston with the lowest annual rates, and compares them to the citywide average

Rock Hill, SC

With over 66,000 citizens living within its borders, Rock Hill ranks as the fifth largest city in the Palmetto State. A few natural disasters have fallen on the city, including Hurricane Hugo and the 2004 Blizzard, which resulted in costly damages to residents' vehicles or homes that insurance companies would have paid out. Luckily for Rock Hill, those catastrophes were a decade or three ago, and auto insurance rates in city are better off compared to the rest of the state. On average, our example drivers saw rates of $1,475 a year to insure an automobile with basic liability protection. That's 4% lower than the rest of the state!

When it comes to low-cost car insurance in Rock Hill, there are still opportunities to whittle down annual premiums. For example, the best auto insurance quotes for our sample drivers were $1,164 a year from three companies: Southern Farm Bureau, State Auto and State Farm. This represented a reduction of $311 or 25% against the going rate from insurers in the city.

This chart lays out some of the car insurance companies in Rock Hill with the lowest rates for our sample drivers

Greenville, SC

Just forty miles away from Seneca, is Greenville, the city with the third lowest costs in our auto insurance study. Greenville has been similarly recognized for its rapid development, and strong job development. A number of major roads and highways intersect in the city including Interstates 85 and 385, and U.S. Route 276 and 29 which makes it convenient to commute around. The city's commuters also have access to the beautiful Liberty Bridge, which is a cable suspension bridge that almost appears to be floating mid-air. On top of that, the average cost of auto insurance in Greenville is a relatively low $1,404 per year, just 9% under the South Carolina mean.

Drivers looking for affordable rates for auto insurance in Greenville should include Southern Farm Bureau, State Auto and National Grange Mutual when they're looking for quotes. Together, the three companies' rates dented our typical drivers' wallets the least, and actually equated to a 22% discount compared to the going mean in the city. That figure is based on an annual average of $1,148 among the three companies, which is $256 better compared to the Greenville average. Bear in mind though, that to get a quote for auto insurance from the Southern Farm Bureau, you'll have to be a member of the South Carolina Farm Bureau, where dues are $40 out of pocket.

Greenville's auto insurance providers with the five cheapest rates are displayed in this graph, and compared to the city average

Sumter, SC

More than 40,000 people and one of the largest gingko farms call Sumter home, placing the city as the among the top ten most populous places in the Palmetto State. Sumter had its roots as a railroad repair center, and expanded into a major railroad transportation hub in the 20th century. The Shaw Air Force Base, site of the 20th Fighter Wing, is located in the northwest region of Sumter.

When it comes insuring insuring their vehicles, National Grange Mutual, State Auto and Southern Farm Bureau make up the three companies with the best rates for car insurance. Annual premiums for our sample driver was $1,236-- 26% or $446 lower at these three carriers compared to the typical insurer in our analysis. Of course, drivers should secure their own quotes from a range of at least three companies in order to determine which ones have the best rates for them.

Here are the five companies with the best rates for basic liability protection in Sumter, SC.

Florence, SC

Florence ranked as the #2 Most Expensive City in South Carolina based on annual auto insurance costs of $1,733. At these rates, drivers living in Florence pay about 12% more than the average South Carolinian. A number of professional athletes have called Florence home, including a number of NFL and MLB players, and a few NASCAR racecar drivers: Buddy Baker, Ron Barfield, Jr., and Cale Yarborough.

We recommend Southern Farm Bureau, State Auto and Allstate for drivers in Florence looking for cheap car insurance quotes. Out of the twelve insurers, our drivers saw the lowest rates in Florence among these three companies. The mean annual premium was $1,236 for a policy - 28% lower than the citywide average of $1,733. For a larger list of companies to choose from, please see our graph below, which shows the top companies with the best rates in Florence, as well as the mean premium our typical drivers saw there.

Florence's five auto insurance companies with the best rates are presented in this graph and compared to the city mean

Simpsonville, SC

This city of 18,000 has been recognized by various publications as one of the “Best Towns for Families”, and “25 Best Affordable Cities”. To these accolades we’ll add one more: Simpsonville ranks as the cheapest city in South Carolina based on car insurance costs. Residents in this small town can see an average cost of insurance of $1,358 a year for their vehicles – 12% more affordable than the state average.

Which companies have the lowest quotes for insuring a vehicle in Simpsonville? The three providers with the least expensive rates were Southern Farm Bureau, State Auto and Allstate for our sample drivers. At an average price of $1,112 a year, the three companies were 22% or $246 cheaper than what the typical insurer charged there. Just a note though - Southern Farm Bureau requires membership dues through the South Carolina Farm Bureau to be eligible for their insurance products.

Here are the five companies in Simpsonville with the least expensive annual rates based on our sample driver study

Seneca, SC

Coming in second on our list is Seneca, a city located in Oconee County at the westernmost tip of South Carolina. Seneca is centrally located between a number of institutions of higher education, including Clemson University and Furman University. It costs on average $1,322 each year to insure a car with basic protection for liability, which is about 14% cheaper than the average city in South Carolina.

Southern Farm Bureau, Allstate and State Farm had the three best rates in Seneca when it comes to automobile liability protection. Even with Seneca's lower than average costs, by getting a quote from one of these three insurers, our sample drivers were able to reduce their annual insurance costs further comparatively by $258 or 24%.

This graph ranks the five companies in Seneca, SC with the best rates for auto insurance

Walhalla, SC

Walhalla, a city of 4,000, ranks as our third cheapest city for car insurance. By some translations, Walhalla’s name means “Paradise”, and it’s easy to see why the city was named this with the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in the Appalachians close by. Annual costs for car insurance here run on average 14% lower than the typical South Carolina city at $1,322 a year.

Laurens, SC

Rounding out the top ten cities with the cheapest auto insurance costs is Laurens. Laurens is criss-crossed by U.S. Routes 221 and 76. Founded in 1785, Laurens is located in the Piedmont / Upstate region of South Carolina. It once housed former President Andrew Johnson’s tailoring business; today, it is home to 9,000 residents. Drivers in Laurens can find that the average auto insurance rates run $1,420 a year.

Dillon, SC

Ranking first on our list of the most expensive cities in the Palmetto State is Dillon. On top of the US Route 301, South Carolina Highways 34 and 9, and Interstate 95, planned expansion along Interstate 73 will help to expand commuting options for the 7,000 residents in Dillon. Insuring a car in Dillon can typically cost drivers $1,745 a year – 13% higher than the state average.

Manning, SC

The city in South Carolina where drivers pay the seventh most expensive rates for auto insurance is Manning. Manning measures about two square miles in size, and is situated along a well-traveled corridor of the Interstate 95. When it comes to car insurance, costs here can amount to $1,695 a year, about 11% more expensive versus the state average.

Bennettsville, SC

Designated by the State of South Carolina as the “first” Great Town, Bennettsville has a number of gracious Victorian houses and estates. The actor Aziz Ansari and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman, have lived in Bennettsville at one point. With average annual costs of $1,666, the city also ranks as the ninth most expensive city for car insurance.

Winnsboro, SC

Winnsboro, a city in Fairfield County, ties with Georgetown for the title of the #3 Most Expensive Citiy in South Carolina for car insurance. It’s centrally located – residents are just half an hour’s drive away from the capitol of Columbia, and the University of South Carolina. Winnsboro drivers can see costs that are about 12% higher than the state average: $1,721 a year.

Georgetown, SC

Georgetown ranks as the fifth most expensive city in South Carolina with average rates of $1,708 – on par with Winnsboro, SC. Located at the mouth of Winyah Bay, Georgetown is the third oldest city, and one of the oldest trading ports in South Carolina.

Average Cost of Insurance in South Carolina: by City

On average, our sample drivers in South Carolina can see annual rates of $1,539 for car insurance (basic liability protection of 50/100/50). As we've discussed previously, the cost will fluctuate depending on where prospective policyholders live and drive, however. Here are the annual rates for the forty five cities in our analysis, from the cheapest to the most expensive locations using our sample motorists as a benchmark.

This graph presents how much it costs on average to insure a vehicle in South Carolina, and ranks each city from cheapest to the most expensive

South Carolina Auto Insurance Coverage Requirements

Drivers in South Carolina are legally required to carry the state's mandatory minimum auto insurance limits. Here are the mandatory requirements for the state:

  • $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident for Bodily Injury Liability
  • $25,000 per accident for Property Damage
  • $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident for Uninsured Motorists

Best Auto Insurance Companies in South Carolina

One quantitative metric we have available to evaluate which companies have the best car insurance is the amount of complaints received. Using information collected from the South Carolina Department of Insurance, we took a look at complaints and premiums for the most popular insurers in the Palmetto state and compared them to their share of business to derive the complaint index. Essentially, the smaller a company's portion of complaints compared to their business, the better the company is performing in terms fo customer satisfaction, we infer. According to our calculations, the Hartford, State Auto, ANPAC, and Selective Insurance were the top-rated car insurance carriers in South Carolina. Below is a table of car insurance companies ranked from the lowest (best) to highest complaint index.

Company

Total Premiums# of ComplaintsComplaint Index

Hartford

$17,953,08600.00

State Auto

13,286,72700.00

ANPAC

11,250,08500.00

Selective Insurance

8,076,65600.00

Travelers

89,185,93810.27

South Carolina Farm Bureau

113,625,67520.43

Progressive

164,305,05530.44

Auto-Owners

48,426,67310.50

Liberty Mutual

121,205,80830.60

Nationwide

222,669,12260.65

Allstate

340,243,557100.71

Dairyland

23,238,65911.04

Victoria

20,698,19611.17

State Farm

695,727,466341.19

GEICO

277,200,675151.31

USAA

218,042,390121.33

Esurance

24,089,53122.01

GAINSCO

11,172,53612.17

21st Century

11,092,96212.19

Bristol West

10,548,06812.30

MetLife

10,315,86512.35

Horace Mann

9,189,69112.64

First Acceptance

15,660,43723.10

Direct General

22,567,40366.45

Inverness Partners

10,395,70337.00

ACCC

8,548,37038.51

How We Conducted the Study

Annual premiums in the South Carolina study are based on rates for a single 30 year old male. Each driver owns and drives a 2011 Toyota Camry about 12,000 miles a year between his office and residence. Their driving records and credit histories are good – in particular, they haven’t had any crashes, accidents, or moving violations in the most recent five years they’ve been driving.

South Carolina state requires three types of liability coverage in auto insurance policies in the state: bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured motorist. The minimums under South Carolina’s tort system for both liability and uninsured motorist coverage are: $25,000 per person up to $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident - roughly half of the coverage assumed in our analysis. Included in our study are national insurers such as GEICO, Allstate, and State Farm, as well as regional underwriters such as Southern Farm Bureau and Safe Auto.

Type

Study Limits

Bodily Injury Liability

$50,000 per person, and

up to $100,000 per accident

Property Damage

$25,000 per accident

Uninsured Motorist

$50,000 per person, and

up to $100,000 per accident

Our team of analysts reviewed rates for 45 cities in the Palmetto State, all of which are listed below in alphabetical order, along with their average annual rates and performance versus the state average.

CityPremiumPercent Difference From State Average

Seneca

$1,32214%

Greenwood

$1,33913%

Walhalla

$1,34513%

Simpsonville

$1,35812%

Aiken

$1,36411%

Anderson

$1,38410%

Pickens

$1,38510%

Greenville

$1,4049%

Greer

$1,4098%

Williamston

$1,4188%

Laurens

$1,4208%

Hilton Head Island

$1,4446%

York

$1,4486%

Clinton

$1,4585%

Rock Hill

$1,4754%

Fort Mill

$1,4804%

Spartanburg

$1,4814%

Bluffton

$1,4824%

Clover

$1,4963%

Beaufort

$1,5042%

Edgefield

$1,5161%

Newberry

$1,5360%

Saluda

$1,5370%

South Carolina Average

$1,5390%

Gaffney

$1,555-1%

Lexington

$1,561-1%

Cheraw

$1,569-2%

Camden

$1,586-3%

Union

$1,589-3%

Columbia

$1,601-4%

Myrtle Beach

$1,605-4%

Chester

$1,607-4%

Orangeburg

$1,625-6%

Barnwell

$1,625-6%

Pageland

$1,633-6%

Charleston

$1,641-7%

Lancaster

$1,649-7%

Bennettsville

$1,666-8%

Sumter

$1,683-9%

Manning

$1,696-10%

Georgetown

$1,708-11%

Hartsville

$1,712-11%

Kingstree

$1,719-12%

Winnsboro

$1,721-12%

Florence

$1,733-13%

Dillon

$1,745-13%

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