Across South Carolina, we found that average rates for our profiled drivers fluctuated by nearly $1,000 for a minimum coverage policy. The policy varies by auto insurance company, which is why it's imperative that you compare rates from multiple insurers.
The average rate for car insurance in South Carolina is $939 per year, or $78 per month, for a minimum liability policy.
Cheapest auto insurance in South Carolina: Geico
In South Carolina, the cheapest companies for minimum liability auto insurance — a policy with the lowest amount of coverage required by state law — are Geico, State Farm and Allstate.
However, if you're a veteran or active service member or their family member, you should definitely get a quote from USAA. Other drivers won't be eligible, but we found it was the cheapest company in the state, with an average annual premium of $485.
Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes in South Carolina
Policies that only include the state minimum auto insurance coverages are called minimum liability coverage. These policies are the cheapest way to cover your vehicle, though they may not have adequate limits to protect your assets.
The minimum policy does not include comprehensive or collision coverage. Therefore, you will be stuck paying for repairs to your own vehicle if you cause an accident or if your car is damaged by extreme weather.
Cars that are less than 10 years old or worth more than $3,000 should have additional coverage to protect you from paying outstanding out-of-pocket expenses.
Cheapest company for full coverage: Geico
For cheap full-coverage auto insurance, Geico is the best choice for South Carolina drivers. This company offered the cheapest quotes to our profile driver, with an average rate of $1,485. A Geico full-coverage policy is nearly half the cost of an identical policy with Allstate, the state’s most expensive insurance company.
|South Carolina average||$2,071||$173|
Full-coverage auto insurance policies include both third-party coverage, which pays for damage you may cause in an accident, as well as first-party coverage, which pays to repair or replace your own car.
If your car is worth more than a few thousand dollars, these policies can help you avoid costly repairs after an accident.
Cheap car insurance for drivers with prior incidents
Any driver with a history of traffic violations or accidents knows that their auto insurance rates increase drastically as a result. South Carolina drivers with this background will often have a difficult time finding cheap insurance premiums.
To make the process easier, ValuePenguin analyzed insurance rates from multiple companies to assess which would be best for your situation:
Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes in South Carolina
Cheapest for drivers with an accident: State Farm
South Carolina drivers who have been in an accident will find the best rates with State Farm, according to our research. Choosing this company could save you 54% on full coverage auto insurance premiums, compared to the statewide average of $3,023 per year.
For an alternative to State Farm, we recommend you check out Geico, which is, on average, $210 more expensive than State Farm.
|SC Farm Bureau||$2,601||$217|
|South Carolina average||$3,023||$252|
After an accident, you can find yourself spending $333 to $2,490 more annually on insurance, depending on who you're insured under. Cost differences like these are why we highly suggest you compare rates at multiple companies to make the best educated decision.
Cheapest car insurance for people with a speeding ticket: Geico
Geico and State Farm offer the best rates for drivers caught speeding. Both are widely available and have an annual premium average under $2,000.
Your insurer will likely take into consideration if you got a speeding ticket recently. Having a speeding ticket on your record increases insurance premiums by an average of $420.
|South Carolina average||$2,491||$208|
Cheapest car insurance for drivers with a DUI: State Farm
The insurer that offers the most affordable rates for drivers with a DUI is State Farm, which charges an average of $1,759 annually.
Given the seriousness of DUIs, it's no surprise that drivers will face several repercussions if they are caught driving under the influence. Many of those consequences are financial. Drivers charged with a DUI pay $1,190 more annually than drivers with a clean record.
|SC Farm Bureau||$2,404||$200|
|South Carolina average||$3,260||$272|
Cheapest car insurance for drivers with poor credit: Geico
South Carolina drivers with poor credit can find the cheapest auto insurance rates through Geico and State Farm, which offer premiums below the state average for a driver of this profile.
Insurers use credit as an assessment of a driver's "riskiness." There is a statistical correlation between poor credit and the likelihood of filing a claim.
|South Carolina average||$2,826||$235|
Cheapest car insurance for married drivers: Geico
On average, married drivers tend to pay a slightly lower premium than single drivers. Married drivers can find the best premium rates from Geico and Travelers, which are around the same price range.
Our sample married driver received an average quote of $1,915 while our single driver was charged $2,071 on average — a $156 difference.
|South Carolina average||$1,915||$160|
Cheapest car insurance for young drivers: SC Farm Bureau
Young drivers can find the most affordable rates for their age group through SC Farm Bureau and Geico.
Drivers in their teens and 20s should expect to receive higher insurance premiums than the average 30- or 40-year-old. Data shows that individuals in younger age groups are more likely to get into an accident than older drivers.
|SC Farm Bureau||$3,732||$1,986|
|South Carolina average||$6,379||$3,398|
*USAA is excluded from rankings because it is only available to current and former military members and their families.
The rates above illustrate how costly auto insurance can be for a young person. While these rates are significantly more expensive than the rates for our sample older driver, there are ways to cut down costs.
To save on auto insurance
- Consider a combined policy with your parents. Adding a teen driverto their parents' policy is less expensive than having a young person purchase their own insurance policy.
- Ask about discounts. Many insurers have a list of discounts they offer to their drivers. Some of the most common ones include discounts for installing anti-theft devices, receiving good grades in school and being accident-free for a certain period of time.
- Check out companies outside our list. There are dozens of companies available in South Carolina that offer great rates. Be sure to contact both large and small companies to ensure you receive the best bargain for your needs.
Cheapest for young drivers with one accident: Geico
Having an accident record as a young driver can make already expensive insurance premiums nearly unaffordable. The company that offers the lowest rate for young drivers after an at-fault accident is Geico.
|SC Farm Bureau||$4,868||$406|
|South Carolina average||$8,226||$685|
Cheapest for young drivers with one speeding ticket: Geico
Geico not only offers the best rates for young drivers after an accident, but they also offer the cheapest rates for drivers who have received speeding tickets. Customers who had a history of at least one traffic citation and were insured under Geico spent an average of $4,053 annually.
|SC Farm Bureau||$4,500||$375|
|South Carolina average||$7,237||$603|
Best auto insurance companies in South Carolina
Based on survey information from current customers, Auto-Owners is the best insurance carrier in South Carolina when considering both overall claim satisfaction and customer service ratings. All of the respondents with Auto-Owners reported being extremely satisfied with their insurer.
When deciding on an insurer, it's ideal to strike a balance between inexpensive rates and quality customer service. Geico has some of the cheapest rates in the state but are in the middle when considering customer satisfaction.
Claim satisfaction rating
Customer service rating
|N/A||SC Farm Bureau||NA||NA|
*The overall rank takes both claim satisfaction and customer service ratings into account. We explain these ratings in the Methodology section.
Along with our feedback survey, ValuePenguin has also compiled data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which measures customer service based on complaint index. A low customer complaint score indicates that customers are filing formal complaints with their state regulators at a lower rate.
Based on NAIC measures, SC Farm Bureau, Auto-Owners and First National have the best customer satisfaction rating.
2019 NAIC complaint index
2020 J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction
AM Best Rating
|SC Farm Bureau||0.22||—||A+|
Insurers were selected based on market share and quote availability. Complaint Index information is drawn from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The national median for the complaint index is 1.0, meaning companies with a lower index provide better customer service compared to the median company.
Average cost of insurance in South Carolina by city
The cost of insurance will fluctuate depending on where prospective policyholders live and drive. Cities that are densely populated or have higher rates of crime tend to have some of the highest rates.
Here is the annual rate comparison for all South Carolina cities, from the cheapest to the most expensive locations, using our sample motorist — with a full coverage policy — as a benchmark.
Average annual cost
Percent from average
Auto insurance rate changes in South Carolina
South Carolina auto insurers decreased their rates only slightly for 2020 — on average by 0.7%. However, many individual insurers reduced their rates even more, such as State Farm, which cut auto insurance premiums by 6.8%.
The primary reason for the decline in rates is due to the pandemic, which reduced the amount of driving during the year. This led to a record low level of auto claims, which allowed the auto insurance companies to offer cheaper premiums.
Premiums written (millions) 2019
Rate Change 2019
Rate Change 2020
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
Having a minimum coverage policy is the cheapest option and will save you money in the short term. However, if you find yourself involved in an expensive accident, the minimum policy will not cover repairs to your own vehicle. Before beginning your auto insurance search, you should start by evaluating your individual coverage needs.
Recap of the cheapest auto insurance in South Carolina
- Minimum coverage: Geico
- Full coverage: Geico
- After an at-fault accident: State Farm
- After a speeding ticket: Geico
- After a DUI: State Farm
- Poor credit history: Geico
- Very good credit history: Geico
- Married couples: Geico
- Young drivers: SC Farm Bureau
- Young drivers with one accident: Geico
- Young drivers with speeding ticket: Geico
Frequently asked questions
What is the cheapest car insurance provider in South Carolina?
State Farm has the cheapest average rate for minimum coverage in South Carolina, at $576 per year. Full coverage policies are cheapest at Geico, where they cost $1,485 on average. Remember that your price will vary based on your driving history and where you live.
Do I need car insurance in South Carolina?
Yes. Drivers are required to have at least $25,000/$50,000 of bodily injury liability and $25,000 in property damage coverage in South Carolina, along with at least $25,000/$50,000 in uninsured motorist liability coverage. South Carolina does not require personal injury protection.
How much does car insurance cost per month in South Carolina?
The average price of car insurance in South Carolina is $939 per year, or about $78 per month, for a minimum coverage policy. But keep in mind that insurers may charge you more to pay in monthly installments.
How much does car insurance cost in Columbia, SC?
The average price for car insurance in Columbia is $2,157 per year for full coverage, which is about 4% higher than the state average. That's cheaper than in Charleston, where the average price is $2,231, but more expensive than Greenville's average price of $1,999.
We collected thousands of rates from ZIP codes across South Carolina for the largest 10 insurers. We used a sample driver with the following profile:
- 30-year-old man
- Drives a 2015 Honda Civic EX
- Average credit
The base policy for the study was a full-coverage policy with the following limits:
|Bodily liability||$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident|
|Personal injury protection||$10,000|
|Property damage||$25,000 per accident|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury||$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident|
|Comprehensive and collision||$500 deductible|
For our minimum-coverage policy, we quoted a policy with the minimum required limits in South Carolina, above.
For other rates analyses (age, credit score, accident history and marriage status) the base policy listed above was alternated to reflect the new driver.
ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes may be different.
ValuePenguin commissioned a survey and asked current policyholders across several major auto insurers about satisfaction with claims and customer service. In the table above, our Claim Satisfaction Rating represents the percentage of respondents who were extremely satisfied with their most recent claim experience. The Customer Service Rating represents the percentage of respondents from the survey who rated the customer service of their insurer as "excellent."