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The Best Car Insurance in South Carolina

The best discounts, rates, coverage options, and more in South Carolina

Best Cheap Auto Insurance in South Carolina
Geico Logo

If you’re seeking the cheapest rates in South Carolina, look no further. If you’re not a military member, GEICO’s $1,237 rate for full coverage is the cheapest average premium you’ll find in the Palmetto State.

Best Auto Insurance for Drivers With a Bad Record in South Carolina
Auto-Owners Insurance logo

South Carolina has some of the highest crash and speeding ticket rates in the country. If you have a spotty driving history, Auto-Owners boasts affordable average rates.

Best Auto Insurance for Teens in South Carolina
American National Logo

Teens and parents of teens should look to American National for its affordable rates. On top of cheap insurance, you can benefit from American National’s easy claims service and seamless online tools.

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Our Commitment to You: At AutoInsurance.com, our mission is to help you make smarter auto insurance decisions with confidence. We follow a strict editorial policy to ensure the accuracy of information presented is rooted in data and vetted by thousands of hours of research. While we may earn compensation from our partners, this does not influence our assessments and recommendations. Learn more about how we make money.

South Carolina has some of the highest fatality rates, moving violation rates, and auto theft rates in the country, which may lead to higher premiums for drivers in the state. On top of that, the state saw a 23 percent increase in auto insurance premiums between 2021 and 2023.1 A combination of higher-than-average claims, premium increase freezes due to COVID, and inflation are all contributing to statewide premium increases.

If your goal is to bring your costs down while maintaining quality coverage, you’re at the right place. Our extensive research has allowed us to identify the best providers in the state based on the cheapest rates and best coverage by age, driving background, military status, and more.

Average Annual Premium in South Carolina

Car insurance costs drivers in South Carolina about $1,900 a year on average. While this number is climbing, it’s still slightly cheaper than the national average of $2,071.

Average Rate by City in South Carolina

Among the largest cities in South Carolina, Hilton Head Island, known for its beaches and scenic golf courses, has the cheapest average rate ($1,658 annually). North Charleston, on the other hand, has the highest average rate ($2,104).

City Monthly average premium Annual average premium
Hilton Head Island $138 $1,658
Mount Pleasant $155 $1,862
Columbia $166 $1,986
Charleston $171 $2,048
Huger $173 $2,070
Edisto Island $174 $2,087
North Charleston $175 $2,104

Comparison of the best auto insurance companies in South Carolina

Feature GEICO Auto-Owners American National Allstate USAA
Average annual rate in South Carolina $1,337 $1,554 $1,413 $2,244 $1,320
Southeast Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking out of 1,000 (J.D. Power)2 828 816 N/A 832 876
Best for People looking for the cheapest option Drivers with a bad record Teens Homeowners Military families and veterans
Agents in South Carolina 8 100+ independent agents 25+ 100+ No local agents
Review GEICO review N/A N/A Allstate review USAA review

Summary of the best auto insurance in South Carolina

  1. 1.

    Best Cheap Auto Insurance in South Carolina: Geico

  2. 2.

    Best Auto Insurance for Drivers With a Bad Record in South Carolina: Auto-Owners

  3. 3.

    Best Auto Insurance for Teens in South Carolina: American National

  4. 4.

    Best Auto Insurance for Homeowners in South Carolina: Allstate

  5. 5.

    Best Auto Insurance for Military Members in South Carolina: USAA

Detailed List of the Best Auto Insurance in South Carolina

1. Best Cheap Auto Insurance in South Carolina - Geico

What We Like Most:

  • Save money with defensive driving courses
  • Cheapest rates after a speeding ticket
  • Save by installing safety equipment

GEICO’s one of the largest and older providers in the state. It offers the best average rates in South Carolina,3 discounts for a variety of drivers, and affordable coverage for people with bad credit.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    Military members
  • pro
    People who want to bundle insurance
  • pro
    People with bad credit
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    People who want local agents
  • con
    People who don’t want to manage their insurance online

Cheapest Average Rate for Most Drivers

Other than USAA, which is limited to military members, veterans, and military families, GEICO offers the cheapest average car insurance rate for drivers in South Carolina.

Company Monthly average rate Annual average rate
USAA $110 $1,320
GEICO $111 $1,337
American National $118 $1,413
Auto-Owners $129 $1,554
State Farm $138 $1,656
Travelers $151 $1,806
Allstate $185 $2,244
Progressive $194 $2,338

Cheap Rates for Drivers With Bad Credit

Car insurance companies use your credit score to determine auto insurance premiums in South Carolina. Poor credit scores tend to lead to higher premiums for most drivers. Fortunately, some companies, like GEICO, offer cheaper rates to drivers with bad credit.

Here’s the full breakdown of the cheapest providers for drivers with bad credit in South Carolina.

Company Monthly average rate Annual average rate
GEICO $212 $2,544
Travelers $229 $2,748
Nationwide $245 $2,940
Allstate $262 $3,144
Progressive $276 $3,312
Auto-Owners $289 $3,468
State Farm $313 $3,756

FYI:

The average credit score in South Carolina was 696 in 2022. The state’s score is 18 points lower than the national average of 714 and is considered “good” by Experian.4

Military and Federal Discounts

If you’re one of the 55,000-plus active-duty military members or a part of the more than 21,000 federal agencies in South Carolina, you can take advantage of the following GEICO discounts.5

Discount Maximum saving percentage
Military discount 15%
Emergency deployment discount 25%
Federal employee (Eagle) discount 12%
Affiliation discounts Savings vary
2. Best Auto Insurance for Drivers With a Bad Record in South Carolina - Auto-Owners
Auto-Owners Insurance logo

What We Like Most:

  • Low premiums for adding a teen to a policy
  • Good rates even after an accident
  • Discount for GPS monitoring

Auto-Owners is the 10th-largest provider in South Carolina and our top pick for drivers with a bad record. If you have a speeding ticket or accident on your record, there’s a good chance Auto-Owners will offer you the best rates.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    People with a moving violation on their record
  • pro
    People with a speeding ticket on their record
  • pro
    Teens
  • pro
    People who want to bundle life and auto insurance
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Safe drivers
  • con
    Older Americans

Cheapest After a Speeding Ticket

While non-moving violations, like parking tickets or fix-it tickets, won’t affect your car insurance rates, moving violations will. If you have a speeding ticket on your record, you have a good chance of finding the best rates with Auto-Owners.

Company Monthly average rate Annual average rate
Auto-Owners $142 $1,704
GEICO $143 $1,719
USAA $147 $1,764
State Farm $151 $1,812
Farm Bureau $156 $1,872
Travelers $208 $2,496
Allstate $240 $2,880
Progressive $253 $3,036

Cheapest After an Accident

As you might imagine, car insurance companies tend to increase premiums for drivers with an accident on their record. Depending on your provider and the severity of your accident, there’s a good chance your provider will increase your premium after an accident — even if it’s your first accident.

Similar to speeding tickets, Auto-Owners offers the most affordable average rate for drivers after an accident in South Carolina.

Company Monthly average rate Annual average rate
Auto-Owners $157 $1,884
GEICO $168 $2,016
Farm Bureau $183 $2,196
Travelers $214 $2,568
Progressive $276 $3,312
Nationwide $308 $3,696
Allstate $311 $3,732

Large Team of Independent Agents

Unlike other major providers that require agents to sell their insurance only, Auto-Owners relies on independent agents to sell its insurance. Because independent agents can sell insurance for multiple agents, Auto-Owners has hundreds of agents across the state for you to choose from.

3. Best Auto Insurance for Teens in South Carolina - American National

What We Like Most:

  • Cheapest for teens
  • Roadside assistance comes with windshield repair
  • Excellent financial strength

With car insurance rates as low as $1,670, American National is our top pick for teens in South Carolina. If you’re unfamiliar with American National, rest assured that it has excellent financial strength ratings and robust coverage to ensure you’re protected.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    Teens
  • pro
    Parents of teens
  • pro
    Safe drivers
  • pro
    People who want car insurance add-ons
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Unsafe drivers
  • con
    People who want multiple saving opportunities

Cheapest Average Rates for Teens

Teens and new drivers pay more for car insurance on average because new and young drivers tend to file more claims and get into more accidents. If you’re between the ages of 16 and 18, American National is one of the best auto insurance providers for teen drivers; it offers the cheapest average rates in South Carolina.

Company Monthly average rate Annual average rate
American National $139 $1,670
Farm Bureau $235 $2,819
GEICO $258 $3,101
Auto-Owners $268 $3,212
State Farm $270 $3,245

Solid Third-Party Ratings

While American National may not be the largest provider in South Carolina, it’s as financially stable as any household name in the state. It has the highest-possible score from several financial third-party rankings. Each institution below measures insurers’ creditworthiness, financial strength, claims fulfillment capability and ability to meet financial responsibilities.

  • A.M. Best Rating: AM Best affirmed American National with an A (Excellent) financial strength rating.6
  • S&P Global: American National has an AAA rating from S&P Global, which is the highest score that S&P awards insurance companies.7
  • FlitchRatings: Flitch gave American National its third-highest rating (A).8

24/7 Roadside Assistance

Whether you’re a teen or parent of a teen, you can rest assured with American National’s 24/7 roadside assistance coverage. American National’s roadside coverage can assist with some of the most common emergencies on the road, including:

  • Flat-tire change
  • Jump-starts
  • Gas delivery
  • Lockout service
  • Vehicle tows
  • Windshield chip repair service
4. Best Auto Insurance for Homeowners in South Carolina - Allstate

What We Like Most:

  • Three ways to earn a student discount
  • Pay-per-mile option for drivers with low mileage
  • No waiting period to purchase accident forgiveness

Large Bundling Discount

South Carolina has one of the highest homeownership percentages in the country. If you’re a homeowner looking to get the most out of a bundling discount, Allstate is the way to go. You can save up to 25 percent on your insurance when you bundle auto insurance with home or condo insurance.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    Homeowners
  • pro
    Safe drivers
  • pro
    Good students
  • pro
    People with a new car
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Military members and veterans
  • con
    People looking for the cheapest option

Did You Know?

South Carolina has a 71 percent homeownership rate, which puts it among the top 10 states. If you’re among the state’s millions of homeowners, we highly recommend taking advantage of a robust home and auto bundling discount.9

Save With Drivewise

If you’re a safe driver, you can earn some big savings with Allstate’s optional usage-based insurance program, Drivewise. You get a discount just for signing up, and you can save up to 40 percent on your car insurance depending on how well you score through the Drivewise app.

Drivewise is a UBI-tracking app. It tracks your driving habits through the app, scoring you on the following criteria:

  • Driving speed
  • Hard-braking frequency
  • The time of day you drive
  • How many miles you drive

Wide Range of Coverage Policies

Whether you need coverage for your daily-use vehicle, a classic car, a boat, or something else, Allstate will probably be able to cover it. Here are all the coverage types you could sign up for with Allstate:

  • Auto Insurance
  • Boat Insurance
  • Business insurance
  • Classic car insurance
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Condo insurance
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Identity protection
  • Landlord insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Motorcycle insurance
  • Off-road vehicle insurance
  • Pet insurance
  • Phone protection
  • Renters insurance
  • RV insurance
  • Special event insurance
  • Voluntary employee and supplemental insurance
5. Best Auto Insurance for Military Members in South Carolina - USAA

What We Like Most:

  • Cheapest rates for teens on a family policy or on their own
  • Special discount for teens transitioning off their parents’ policy
  • Strong customer service and claims process

USAA has offered car insurance to military members, military families, and veterans for 101 years. To become a member, you must be a military member, veteran, or military dependent (spouse or child of a military member). Today, it offers some of the most affordable average rates and boasts some of the highest customer service scores in the industry.

Fun Fact:

With 55,369 active duty and retirees, South Carolina has the eighth-largest military population. Since 9/11, more military members from South Carolina have served in wars than any other state (per capita).10

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    Military members, veterans, and military families
  • pro
    USAA members
  • pro
    Safe and unsafe drivers (affordable rates for both)
  • pro
    Military members on deployment
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Non-USAA members

Cheap Rates

USAA offers the cheapest overall average rate ($1,320) in the state, as well as competitive rates for drivers after an accident ($1,764) and after a DUI ($2,136). If you qualify for a USAA membership, we definitely recommend it for its affordable cost.

Coverage for Military Members Overseas

USAA offers coverage to military members and military families deployed overseas. If you find yourself in the following regions/countries on military duty, ask your agent about maintaining your USAA coverage overseas.

  • Azores
  • Belgium
  • Cuba
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guam
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • United Kingdom

Excellent Customer Service

USAA consistently scores highest for customer service and customer satisfaction. In the Southeast, J.D. Power gave it an 876 out of 1,000, which is 37 points higher than the average and 10 points higher than the second-highest rated provider (Farm Bureau of Tennessee).

Frequently Asked Questions

What car insurance companies are available in South Carolina?

Here’s a list of some of the largest providers in the state.

  • Allstate
  • American National
  • Auto-Owners
  • Direct Auto
  • Farm Bureau
  • GEICO
  • National Grange Mutual
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • Safe Auto
  • Southern Farm Bureau
  • State Farm
  • The Hartford
  • Travelers
  • USAA

How much car insurance do I need in South Carolina?

Here are the state’s minimum liability requirements:

  • $25,000 per person in bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident in bodily injury
  • $25,000 in property damage liability
  • $25,000 person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist bodily injury
  • $25,000 in uninsured motorist property damage11

Which provider offers the cheapest rates to seniors in South Carolina?

With average rates of around $1,400 annually, American National offers the cheapest insurance for seniors in South Carolina.

Can I show proof of insurance on my phone in a traffic stop in South Carolina?

Yes, you can show digital proof of insurance on a phone or other mobile device during a traffic stop in South Carolina.

Methodology

Our state and regional guides are informed by public databases, proprietary data, local organizations in South Carolina, and third-party reviews. We’ve culled this information to create guides that relate to the needs of the most common drivers and families in South Carolina, including teens, safe drivers, unsafe drivers, drivers with bad credit, and military members.

  • Third-party ratings: J.D. Power, A.M. Best, the Better Business Bureau, and S&P Global are just a few of the third-party ratings systems we reference to assess car insurance companies. These organizations help us assess the claims satisfaction, overall customer service, and financial strength of car insurance companies in South Carolina.
  • Proprietary data: We’ve built millions of data points around our team’s decades of interactions connecting customers to car insurance companies. That data provides us with the information we need to determine what makes some providers more successful with certain customers.
  • Insider guidance: Finally, we consult with Paul Ford, president of insurance at Centerfield, AutoInsurance.com’s parent company. Paul’s insider knowledge, built through his tenures at NetQuote, Bankrate, CapitalOne, and Datalot, informs our auto insurance recommendations and guides.

Citations

  1. US private auto insurance rates see double-digit jump in 2023. S&P Global Market Intelligence. (2023, Aug 30).
    https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/us-private-auto-insurance-rates-see-double-digit-jump-in-2023-77178794

  2. Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Plummets as Rates Continue to Surge, J.D. Power Finds. J.D. Power. (2023, Jun 13).
    https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2023-us-auto-insurance-study

  3. 2022 Market Share Reports For Property/Casualty Groups and Companies by State and Countrywide. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Sep).
    https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/publication-msr-pb-property-casualty.pdf

  4. What Is the Average Credit Score in the US? Experian. (2024, Jan 22).
    https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/what-is-the-average-credit-score-in-the-u-s/

  5. Federal Civilian Employment. U.S. Office of Personnel Management. (2017, Sep).
    https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/data-analysis-documentation/federal-employment-reports/reports-publications/federal-civilian-employment/

  6. American National Property and Casualty Company. AM Best. (2024).
    https://ratings.ambest.com/CompanyProfile.aspx

  7. American National Group LLC. Ratings Direct S&P Global Ratings. (2024).
    https://www.americannational.com/wps/wcm/connect/americannational/

  8. Rating Definitions. FitchRatings. (2024).
    https://www.fitchratings.com/products/rating-definitions

  9. QuickFacts South Carolina. United States Census. (2023, Jul 1).
    https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/SC/HCN010217

  10. Numbers and Per Capita Distribution of Troops Serving in the U.S. Post-9/11 Wars in 2019, By State. Watson Institute Brown University. (2024).
    https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/costs/social/Troop%20Numbers%20By%20State_Costs%20of%20War_FINAL.pdf

  11. Automobile Insurance. South Carolina Department of Insurance. (2024).
    https://www.doi.sc.gov/588/Automobile-Insurance