Across South Carolina, we found that average rates for our profiled drivers were $427 for a six-month policy, or $854 per year. But this varied depending on the auto insurance company. Drivers who get coverage from Auto-Owners could pay as little as $567 per year on average, which is the cheapest option in our survey and a 34% savings compared to the statewide average.
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Because of this cost difference, we recommend South Carolina residents always compare quotes to find their cheapest rates. Type in your ZIP code above for a list of auto insurance companies to begin shopping for their best rates.
Cheapest auto insurance in South Carolina
In South Carolina, the cheapest companies for minimum liability auto insurance — the policy required by state law — are Auto-Owners, GEICO and State Farm. We found that rates with these three companies are 24% cheaper than the statewide average of $854 for minimum liability insurance.
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However, if you're a veteran or active service member, you should definitely get a from USAA. Other drivers won't be eligible, but we found it was the cheapest company in the state on average.
Policies that just 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. Furthermore, 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.
|Rank||Insurer||Average annual premium|
|1||Auto-Owners Insurance Co||$567|
|4||Southern Farm Bureau||$858|
Cheapest company for full coverage: Auto-Owners
For inexpensive full-coverage auto insurance, Auto-Owners is the best choice for South Carolina drivers. This company offered the cheapest quotes to our profile driver, with an average rate of $1,583. An Auto-Owners full-coverage policy is nearly half the cost of an identical policy with Allstate, the most expensive insurance company in the state.
- Auto-Owners: $1,583 per year / $132 per month
- State Farm: $1,594 per year / $133 per month
- GEICO: $1,699 per year / $142 per month
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. These policies are 136% more expensive than ones with minimum coverage. However, if your car is worth more than a few thousand dollars, these policies can help you avoid costly repairs after an accident.
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 30% on full coverage auto insurance premiums, compared to the statewide average of $2,731 per year.
- State Farm: $1,919 per year / $160 per month
- Nationwide: $2,093 per year / $174 per month
- Auto-Owners: $2,349 per year / $196 per month
Based on our survey, auto insurance rates typically increase by 36% after an at-fault accident. This amounts to an annual cost difference of $718 per year.
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 insurance reported being extremely satisfied with their insurer.
|Overall rank*||Group||% of respondents overall extremely satisfied with most recent claim||% of respondents who rated customer service as "excellent"|
|NA||SC Farm Bureau||NA||NA|
Cheapest car insurance in South Carolina by city
The table below shows which companies had the best rates for auto insurance in South Carolina, broken out by city. Keep in mind that the average annual rates and rankings below are based on our profile driver for a full-coverage policy.
|City||Cheapest auto insurers||Annual premium|
|Rock Hill||State Farm||$1,510|
|Hilton Head Island||State Farm||$1,449|
|Myrtle Beach||State Farm||$1,495|
|North Myrtle Beach||State Farm||$1,474|
|Port Royal||State Farm||$1,469|
|Moncks Corner||State Farm||$1,618|
|Lake City||State Farm||$1,601|
Cheap auto insurance in Charleston is attainable through quote shopping. Our sample drivers saw an average annual rate of $2,141, which means car insurance in this city is 6% more expensive compared to the state average.
We found that drivers who get coverage from the cheapest auto insurance companies in Charleston — GEICO, Auto-Owners and State Farm — could save 21% on their car insurance. Average rates at these companies were $1,692 per year for a full-coverage policy.
According to our research, a full-coverage auto insurance policy in Columbia costs $2,081 per year. This is roughly on par — only 3% greater — with the statewide average in South Carolina of $2,013.
Who has the best auto insurance rates in Columbia? Auto-Owners, GEICO and State Farm rank as the three least expensive insurers in the city. Rates from these three companies averaged $1,636 per year, which is 21% less than the city average.
North Charleston, SC
With an average rate of $2,193 per year, auto insurance costs in North Charleston are slightly more expensive than they are in Charleston — where the average annual cost of insurance is $2,141. Drivers in this city will likely be able to save on auto insurance costs if they get coverage from Auto-Owners, GEICO and State Farm. These companies offered rates 18% below the city average.
Mount Pleasant, SC
Our rate survey found that Mount Pleasant drivers can expect to pay $1,995 for auto insurance. This is just 1% less than the South Carolina average, a difference of only $18 per year. To find the cheapest rates, Mount Pleasant residents should get quotes from GEICO, State Farm and Auto-Owners. These companies provided our sample driver average rates 22% below the citywide mean.
Rock Hill, SC
On average, our sample driver saw rates of $2,024 per year for a full-coverage auto insurance policy — which is just 1% greater than the state average. 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 $1,592 a year from three companies: State Farm, Auto-Owners and GEICO.
Average cost of insurance in South Carolina by city
The cost will fluctuate depending on where prospective policyholders live and drive. Here is the annual rate comparison for the 50 largest cities included in our analysis, from the cheapest to the most expensive locations, using our sample motorist — with a full coverage policy — as a benchmark.
|Rank||City||Average annual car insurance cost|
|16||Hilton Head Island||$1,871|
|23||North Myrtle Beach||$1,929|
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
How we conducted the survey
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. The quotes we obtained were for a 2015 Honda Civic EX owned by our sample driver, who drives 12,000 miles a year.