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South Carolina - Our guide to car insurance
Any car insurance quote for South Carolina should offer you the following insurance coverage or financial responsibility at a minimum to drive legally:

25/50/25 – This is shorthand for the liability policy limits required which means you need a minimum coverage of:

  • $25,000 for death or injury to one person;
  • $50,000 for death or injury to two or more people; and
  • $25,000 for property damage to others

If you are from another state or occasionally drive to other states: Nearly all car insurance policies have a provision that will adjust your coverage from the minimums required in your state to the minimum insurance or proof of financial responsibility in any other U.S. state. Means: you do not need to get a new insurance policy for each state you are driving through. However, if you buy a policy in a low limits state (like South Carolina, Pennsyvania or Rhode Island) but live in a high limits state (like Alaska), insurers will only write a policy where your car is principally garaged. So if your home is in Alaska, you should buy the minimum limits for Alaska. Please note that this does NOT necessarily apply if you are commuting or otherwise regularly visit another state. In such cases, your insurance carrier should provide with a fitting coverage for both states. Please check with your agent if in doubt.

As with any other state – even the high limit states like Alaska and Maine – South Carolina’s required insurance limits are low, considering the cost of repair and damages likely to occur in an accident. If you are in a serious collision and the damages you caused are greater than the coverage limits you purchased, you may be personally liable to pay for those damages that exceed your insurance coverage. Additional coverage is actually quite cheap to purchase and in most cases an affordable option, even for considerable coverage increases.

Auto Insurance Requirements and Laws in South Carolina

South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state with a 51% rule. This is a legal defense that means that a plaintiff can recover for an injury, reducing the amount that the plaintiff can recover based on the percentage of which the plaintiff is at fault if it is determined that his or her fault in causing the injury is less than 51%. If the plaintiff’s fault level reaches 51% or more, he or she cannot recover any damages resulting from the accident.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

In South Carolina, a first time offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI – read more here) is a misdemeanor offense. If you are 21 years or older, if you have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of .08% or higher while driving, South Carolina law presumes you are driving while intoxicated. If you are under 21, a lower BAC may apply to you. There are three levels of impairment for determining the penalties for DUI offenses: .08 to .099% BAC, and .10 to .159% BAC, and .16% and higher. If you cause injury or property damage while impaired by alcohol, you may be subject to higher level of BAC penalties even if your BAC is not in the higher category.

1st DUI in South Carolina

If convicted, you may be sentenced from a minimum of 48 hours up to 90 days in jail, depending on your BAC, aggravating factors, or prior DUI convictions. A court fine of at least $400 may be imposed, increasing with higher BAC up to $1000. You will also be responsible for other court fees. Your license will be suspended for 6 months and you may be required to attended alcohol safety school. DUI course or alcohol/drug abuse treatment may be ordered. SR-22 or FR-44 forms are required for DUIs in South Carolina.

The 2nd DUI

If convicted, you may be sentenced for the minimum of 5 days or up to 3 years depending on BAC, aggravating factors, or prior DUI convictions. Fines may be imposed of at least $2,100 up to $6,500. Your license will be suspended for up to 1 year. You may be required to install an ignition interlock device for 1 year after your license revocation. SR-22 or FR-44 forms are required for DUIs in South Carolina.

South Carolina Info


NAIC 2009 Market Share Information
Note: List does not contain duplicates of associated or affiliated insurance companies

Additional Auto Insurance Resources

Top Ten Car Insurance Companies in South Carolina

These are the top ten insurance companies rated by 2010 market share in the state (Please check this article for more information about car insurance company “ratings”):

  1. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance
  2. Allstate Insurance Group
  3. Safco Corporation
  4. State Auto Mutual Group
  5. Geico General Insurance Company
  6. Liberty Mutual Insurance Group
  7. The Hartford Financial Services Group
  8. United Services Automobile Association (USAA)
  9. Nationwide Insurance Company
  10. Harleysville Insurance Company