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Best Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina for 2019

March 20, 2019
Auto Insurance, Insurance
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

If you’re looking for cheap car insurance in South Carolina, it pays to compare. Prices vary dramatically from one company to the next.

NerdWallet researched rates from the seven largest insurers in the state and found the three cheapest options for several types of drivers.

Cheapest for good drivers

Southern Farm Bureau had the cheapest rates we found for good drivers with good credit in South Carolina. Its average quote was roughly $90 per month, with State Farm and Nationwide coming in second and third, respectively.

InsurerAverage price
*Southern Farm Bureau is not rated because there is not enough data to evaluate it against larger companies.

NerdWallet rating: Not rated*

$1,083/year

$90/month
4.0 NerdWallet rating

$1,364/year

$114/month
4.0 NerdWallet rating

$1,449/year

$121/month
For this calculation, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with a clean driving record and good credit. With the exception of age, a large portion of drivers are closest to this profile, which carries standard "full coverage" insurance, including state-required coverage.

Cheapest for drivers with poor credit

South Carolina drivers with blemished credit might want to take a look at Southern Farm Bureau, which had the cheapest insurance rates we found for this group at $151 per month, on average. Nationwide and Allstate also make the list.

InsurerAverage price
*Southern Farm Bureau is not rated because there is not enough data to evaluate it against larger companies.

NerdWallet rating: Not rated*

$1,816/year

$151/month
4.0 NerdWallet rating

$1,862/year

$155/month
3.5 NerdWallet rating

$2,139/year

$178/month
Poor credit can have a bigger effect on car insurance premiums than even a DUI conviction or a recent accident. To calculate these figures, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-olds with a clean driving record, poor credit as reported to their insurer, and standard "full coverage" insurance.

Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault accident

State Farm was the cheapest auto insurance company we found for South Carolina drivers with a recent accident on record, at $151 per month. Nationwide and Allstate round out the cheapest three.

InsurerAverage price
4.0 NerdWallet rating

$1,811/year

$151/month
4.0 NerdWallet rating

$2,173/year

$181/month
3.5 NerdWallet rating

$2,291/year

$191/month
To get these figures, we averaged rates for 40-year-olds with one recent at-fault crash and the typical "full coverage" insurance. Your rates will remain high for three to five years after you cause an accident or have a moving violation. If you fall into this category, be sure to shop for new insurance rates just after the three-year and five-year anniversaries of your infraction.

Cheapest for low-mileage drivers

Southern Farm Bureau was the cheapest carrier we found for drivers in South Carolina who put few annual miles on their cars, at $86 per month, on average. Allstate and State Farm complete the list.

InsurerAverage price
*Southern Farm Bureau is not rated because there is not enough data to evaluate it against larger companies.

NerdWallet rating: Not rated*

$1,033/year

$86/month
3.5 NerdWallet rating

$1,150/year

$96/month
4.0 NerdWallet rating

$1,219/year

$102/month
Whether you're retired, work at home or often use public transportation, you may be able to get cheaper car insurance simply because you drive less. The rates above are for 40-year-olds with typical "full coverage" insurance and a clean driving record who drive 5,000 miles per year instead of the standard 12,000.

Cheapest for minimum coverage

For those who want minimal insurance coverage in South Carolina, Southern Farm Bureau is worth a look. Its average quote for minimum coverage car insurance was $35 in our analysis, with Allstate and Geico also making the cut.

InsurerAverage price
*Southern Farm Bureau is not rated because there is not enough data to evaluate it against larger companies.

NerdWallet rating: Not rated*

$424/year

$35/month
3.5 NerdWallet rating

$500/year

$42/month
3.5 NerdWallet rating

$632/year

$53/month
We calculated these numbers by averaging rates for 40-year-old good drivers who have only the minimum mandatory insurance in their state. Such light coverage isn't typically recommended, since it might not cover all the bills resulting from a car accident, but it's better than nothing — especially if you can't afford much more.

Cheap for military families


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  • Available only to active military members, veterans and their families.

If you’re an active member of the military or a veteran — or have an immediate family member who is — chances are good you’ll get a good rate with USAA, an option that isn’t available to the general public. For that reason, we can’t rank it with the others, but USAA is among the three cheapest options for all driver types above except those with poor credit.

Minimum auto insurance limits required in South Carolina

South Carolina drivers are required to carry liability coverage, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI) and uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD).

Here are the minimum amounts of insurance coverage needed to drive legally:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $25,000 UMBI per person.
  • $50,000 UMBI per accident.
  • $25,000 UMPD per accident.

Although these limits will satisfy legal requirements, it’s wise for most drivers to get more than the bare coverage. The minimum car insurance might not be enough to fully cover accident costs, and the remaining balance would have to come out of your own pocket.

Visit NerdWallet’s guide to car insurance requirements by state for more detail on how coverage works.

Alternative car insurance in South Carolina

Drivers who’ve been denied car insurance on the voluntary market within the past 60 days may qualify for coverage under the Associated Auto Insurers Plan of South Carolina. This option helps drivers who have checkered driving histories, extremely poor credit or other factors preventing them from getting traditional auto coverage.

NerdWallet can make it easy to find coverage at the most competitive price. Use our car insurance comparison tool to view rates from top insurers.

Here’s a summary of where you’ll find the cheapest rates, by category:

Cheapest car insurance in South Carolina

CategoryCheapest option
Good driversSouthern Farm Bureau
Drivers with poor creditSouthern Farm Bureau
Drivers with one at-fault accidentState Farm
Low-mileage driversSouthern Farm Bureau
Minimum coverageSouthern Farm Bureau
Cheap for military familiesUSAA
For our base-profile driver with good credit and a clean driving history, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers for 40-year-old men and women in 20 ZIP codes. The policy includes:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per crash.
  • $50,000 property damage liability coverage per crash.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per crash.
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist property damage coverage per crash.
  • Collision coverage with $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with $1,000 deductible.

We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with poor credit, we adjusted the credit tier from “good” to “poor.”
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash.
  • For low-mileage drivers, we adjusted the miles driven from 12,000 per year to 5,000.
  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state.

We used a 2015 Toyota Camry in all cases. These are rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.