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Finding cheap auto insurance in South Carolina can take a lot of pressure off your monthly budget. But with so many companies claiming to offer the best rates, it’s not easy to noodle out the perfect policy for your particular needs. Our Geeks have made the process a whole lot easier by comparing quotes from some of the top providers in the state.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in South Carolina
The most reliable way to make sure you’re getting the cheapest premiums in South Carolina is to compare quotes from multiple providers. The table below summarizes the results of our Geeks’ comparison study:
|Liberty Mutual||Safe Drivers|
|USAA||Drivers in the Military|
|Esurance||Drivers Who Pay Their Premiums Upfront|
|Allstate||Drivers with a DUI|
FAQs About Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina
What Are the Mandatory Car Insurance Requirements in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, all motorists must have auto insurance that covers:
- $25,000 Per Individual / $50,000 Per Collision In Liability Coverage For Bodily Injuries
- $25,000 In Liability Coverage For Property Damage
- $25,000 Per Individual / $50,000 Per Collision In Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance Coverage in South Carolina?
Driving without car insurance in South Carolina can be charged as a misdemeanor offense. If you are unable to show an insurance ID or insurance papers when a police officer requests it, you will be fined $100 to $200, and your plates and registration may be confiscated. You will also have to file form SR22 immediately after being cited for the offense or you will have to pay a $550 Uninsured Motorist Fee. You will also have to pay $5 per day until you submit your new insurance policy to the court. You will have to pay $200 to get your registration reinstated.
If you are convicted of a second offense within 10 years of the first, the financial penalties are similar to those of a first offense, but you might also have to spend 30 days in jail. For a third offense within 10 years, you will be considered a Habitual Offender and have to spend 45 days to six months behind bars.
How Can I Get My Car Insurance Rates Reduced in South Carolina?
Cutting your monthly insurance premiums is easier than you probably think. Unfortunately, many people fail to ask their provider about the discounts that apply to their particular situation. Before you contact your insurer, it’s a good idea to learn the key elements that go into your car insurance rates. These include:
- Whether you were found liable for a recent wreck;
- Whether you’ve been cited for any major traffic infractions;
- Whether you’ve been convicted of DUI or DWI;
- Your age and years of driving experience;
- Your location;
- The vehicle you drive;
- Your annual mileage; and
- How you intend to use your vehicle.
Next, you need to identify ways to show your insurance provider that you are less of a liability to insure. The following strategies are especially effective:
- Make a concerted effort to avoid accidents for consecutive years;
- Never break traffic laws;
- Do not drink and drive;
- Buy a vehicle that is cheap to insure; and
- Reduce your annual mileage.
If your current provider doesn’t have any discounts that apply to your situation, consider getting quotes from other insurance companies.
What Are Common Reasons Why Car Insurance Claims Are Denied?
1. You Didn’t Report the Accident
Your insurer most likely will require a police report to prove that you were involved in an accident. Why? Every year, insurers have to sift through thousands of fraudulent claims, so they have begun to take a hardline against flimsy cases.
To prevent your next claim from going up in smoke, ensure that you have reported the accident to both the police and your insurance company.
2. Your Policy Doesn’t Cover the Types of Damages You Incurred
Your insurance policy isn’t a new microwave – don’t throw out the manual! Understanding your policy takes just a few hours of reading and will arm you with useful information when it’s time to file a claim.
Many drivers file claims for damages that are not covered by their insurance policy and go through the hard work of filling out forms and collecting evidence only for the process to end in a denial.
3. You Were Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Not only is driving while intoxicated illegal, but it will also destroy your claim. If a police report on the crash indicates that you were under the influence, your insurer will immediately reject your case.
4. You Didn’t Visit the Doctor
If you’re claiming medical expenses, your insurer requires a detailed doctor’s report linking your injuries to the crash. However, if you delay visiting the doctor, it may be hard to connect your injuries to the accident.
Visit a doctor as soon as possible after a crash.
5. You Didn’t Pay Your Premiums
If you miss a cable payment, you’ll be watching nothing but static. Skipping your policy’s monthly payments carries far more chilling consequences.
In almost any case, your insurer will not compensate you for damages or injuries if you haven’t paid your premium.
How Can I Prepare for the Worst-Case Accident Scenario?
Make sure you hedge your bets even when the odds aren’t in your favor:
- Keep loose items such as books, debris and toys in your trunk;
- Invest in a first aid kit to help treat injured passengers, drivers or pedestrians; and
- Keep a folder containing your insurance and health plan information and your vehicle registration on hand.
What Is Low Mileage Insurance?
You’ve heard mention of low mileage insurance and how it could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. But this new-fangled option for the road shy among us could be more expensive if you don’t understand the policy requirements.
Certain insurers are offering low mileage insurance to drivers who clock in under average mileage, rewarding these motorists with reduced rates and other benefits. Providers will track distance via a smartphone app or device installed in the car.
If you drive rarely, this option will help you bring down your rate. However, if you cross the mileage threshold, you may be strapped with higher premiums than if you had just purchased a regular policy.
What Is High-Risk Insurance?
While technically not a type of insurance, this “coverage” refers to policies designed for high-risk drivers. Typically, a high-risk motorist is a driver who has had their licensed suspended or revoked due to a conviction for driving under the influence, driving without insurance, committing several traffic violations in a short space of time, or causing a serious accident due to reckless driving.
Most insurers do not want to insure high-risk drivers as the likelihood of these motorists being involved in another accident is much higher than the average road user. Therefore, providers have sprung up to offer high-risk drivers an opportunity to retain their driving privileges by purchasing coverage meeting state’s mandated minimum limits.
High-risk insurance can cost a small fortune, and many drivers in this situation trade their new vehicles for older rides to offset the burden of increased rates.
What Is Comprehensive Coverage?
Some damage to your vehicle won’t be the work of a reckless driver, unexpected pothole, or sneaky parking meter. For so-called “acts of God,” which include damage or loss caused by theft, vandalism, natural disasters, fire, falling objects, protests, and falling objects, you will need to purchase additional coverage to ensure your bad luck doesn’t turn into a financial nightmare.
Comprehensive insurance is your safety net. This feature is required if you are leasing or financing your car but may still be a good investment if you’re worried about Mother Nature taking out her wrath on one of your most important assets. In many parts of America, where natural disasters such as wildfires are prevalent, there is no question that purchasing comprehensive insurance is a smart idea. But in most cases, this added expense will cost you more than it might help you save in the long run.
Our advice: Use the value of your car as a guideline. If your comprehensive coverage costs more than 10 percent of what your vehicle is worth, you’re better off without this added feature.
How Do Insurers Calculate My Premiums in South Carolina?
Providers calculate your rates based your chances of filing a claim. Typically, drivers are divided into low and high claims groups depending on certain factors. For example, teen drivers are more likely to be involved in collisions than motorists in their late 40s. Insurers may also take into account other criteria such as:
- Your permanent driving record of accidents and violations;
- Where you live;
- Your gender;
- Your vehicle’s make, model, and age;
- Your occupation;
- Your marital status; and
- Your prior insurance coverage.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage?
In South Carolina, you are required to purchase Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage in order to comply with the state’s mandatory minimum insurance laws. This type of coverage reimburses you for any costs related to injuries sustained in an accident involving an at-fault driver who does not have insurance. It’s estimated that 7.7% of motorists in the state are uninsured.
What Are Some Important Traffic Laws in South Carolina?
Severe penalties await anyone breaking South Carolina’s traffic laws. Read on to make sure you don’t cross the line next time you drive:
South Carolina Texting and Driving Laws
South Carolina may be facing one of the worst plights of distracted drivers, ranking third in the country for road fatalities linked to lapses in concentration. As a result, legislators have taken a hard stance against anyone caught paying more attention to their phones than the road. South Carolina’s “no texting and driving” rule prohibits sending, composing, or reading SMS or chat messages while behind the wheel. If you’re caught tapping away, you could be strapped with a fine and may have your license suspended.
South Carolina Child Car Seat Laws
Like many other states, South Carolina law requires children 8 or under to be seated safely in an approved child car seat. If the child is under 2 years old, he or she must make use of a rear-facing seat.
Children who are 2 years or older, must be secured in a forward-facing safety seat in the rear seats of the car. Children who are 4 or over must be restrained in a belt-positioning booster seat attached to one of the rear passenger seats of the vehicle. Children who are at least 57 inches tall and are 8 years old or over can make use of your vehicle’s standard seats, provided the shoulder belt fits snugly over the chest, the lap belt straps tightly over the child’s hips and thighs, and the child is able to sit straight against the seat back.
South Carolina Seat Belt Laws
Both the driver and passengers are required to wear a seat belt at all times while the vehicle is in motion. If you are pulled over, and a police officer discovers you or one of your passengers isn’t buckled up, you could be fined $50.
South Carolina Car Accident Statistics
In 2016, South Carolina averaged 20.5 accident-related deaths per 100,000 people. A Safewise study examining the impact of distracted drivers, ranked the Palmetto State as the third deadliest for motorists in the country. Only Alabama (23.1) and Mississippi (23.1) reported a higher ratio of road fatalities during that same period.