Is Car Insurance Required in South Carolina?

South Carolina flag designIn order to legally drive in the Palmetto State, motorists do not necessarily need to buy automobile policies. However, if a resident chooses not to purchase a policy they must pay an annual uninsured driver fee of $550 to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. The money that is obtained from these fees is then used to both offset the cost of uninsured motorist coverage and to help pay for state funded educational programs. Although this is technically an option, drivers should know that simply paying this fee does not provide any automobile insurance coverage at all, and motorists may still be responsible for injuries or damages if at-fault for an accident.

Residents should also note that there are a various situations in which a motorist may be unable to pay the uninsured motorist fee, and must purchase a South Carolina auto insurance policy in order to legally drive. For example, if a motorist has been licensed for less than three years, or is living with a motorist who has been licensed for less than three years, they must purchase automobile coverage that meets the state’s minimum requirements. Furthermore, if a driver has been convicted of certain offenses, such as car theft or illegal racing, they may also be denied the ability to pay the uninsured motorist fee and must get insured in order to legally drive.

If a resident makes the effort to search for a vehicle policy that provides an adequate amount of coverage, they may be able to locate a policy for only slightly more than the cost of the uninsured driver fee. By comparing multiple auto insurance quotes from numerous insurers, SC residents may be able to find an insurer capable of providing low priced coverage. Researching for this information online can typically produce dozens of estimates in only a matter of minutes, allowing motorists to shop around more thoroughly. If a vehicle owner chooses to purchase a policy, however, they should note that there are certain minimum requirements that must be met.
SC state flag shaped as South Carolina
Automobile policies that are purchased within the Palmetto State must include both liability and uninsured motorist coverage with specific minimum policy limits. Drivers must carry at least $25,000 for bodily injury liability for one person and $50,000 for two people or more; $25,000 for property damage liability; and $25,000 for uninsured motorist bodily injury for a single person, with $50,000 for two people or more in a single accident. Because the required amount of does not include damages to the policyholder’s own vehicle, residents may want to consider additional comprehensive and collision coverage in order to help avoid paying for potentially costly repairs to one’s automobile.