South Carolina offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, as well as picturesque mountain backdrops and thousands of acres of untouched wilderness in the ACE Basin. With so much natural beauty to explore, you need to make sure you have the proper car insurance coverage before you set out.

Luckily, the average price of car insurance in South Carolina is a little below the national average. But that doesn’t mean you should settle for the first cheap insurance policy you find. The best way to get affordable car insurance that leaves you protected is to compare rates from as many companies as possible.

OnlineAutoInsurance.com can lets you compare rates from multiple car insurance companies. You’ll only need to provide basic information to start comparing car insurance quotes from insurers operating in your area.

But before you start shopping for insurance in South Carolina, you need to understand the state’s requirements and decide the amount of coverage you need. So what are the state’s minimum coverage requirements, and what other options should you consider?

South Carolina Car Insurance Laws

State laws require you to maintain the following coverage, with the stated minimums, at all times:

Liability Coverage

  • $25,000 Bodily Injury Liability per person
  • $50,000 Bodily Injury Liability per accident
  • $25,000 Property Damage Liability per accident

Your Bodily Injury policy will pay for medical expenses and funeral costs, as well as economic losses like lost wages, as a result of injuries you are liable for in an at-fault accident. It can also cover legal fees if the other driver sues you. Property Damage liability coverage will pay to repair or replace vehicles and structures damaged in an at-fault accident. Your liability policy won’t help you pay for any injuries you or your passengers sustain, nor will it help you repair damages to your vehicle.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

  • $25,000 Bodily Injury Liability per person
  • $50,000 Bodily Injury Liability per accident
  • $25,000 Property Damage Liability per accident

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist, or if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run. Unlike Liability, there is deductible you will have to meet (typically $200). You also have the option of purchasing an underinsured motorist policy, which will pay out if your medical bills or repair costs exceed the other driver’s maximum limits.

If you’re caught driving without car insurance, you will face fines, driver’s license suspension, and a steep reinstatement fee. You’ll also likely have to file for SR-22 insurance with your insurance provider, which means you’ll have to pay more insurance premiums.

But there’s more to worry about than the legal repercussions of driving without insurance. If you’re in a car accident without an insurance policy, you’ll still be liable for all damages, and the out-of-pocket expenses could leave you in debt for years. The best way to protect yourself and your assets is to maintain the proper level of car insurance coverage at all times.

South Carolina Uninsured Motorist Fee

Drivers in South Carolina have an unusual policy available - the option to register as an uninsured motorist. For $600 year, you can forgo carrying a car insurance policy and still operate your vehicle legally, so long as you are not currently required to file SR-22 insurance.

However, you are still liable for any damages you cause in a car accident, and you will be paying these damages off without any insurance coverage. This is probably why very few people opt for this loophole. In spite of this, South Carolina has relatively few uninsured motorists compared to the rest of the nation.

Additional Coverage

Your Liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage will keep you legal to drive, but there are plenty of situations where you’re still vulnerable. If you’re at fault for an accident, you’re on your own for medical bills and vehicle repairs. But adding additional policies can help protect you and your vehicle in a car accident.

Comprehensive and Collision coverage will help you repair or replace your vehicle no matter what caused the damages. Collision coverage pays for damages caused by accidents with other vehicles regardless of fault, as well as the cost of repairs if you hit a stationary object, like a mailbox or telephone pole.

Comprehensive coverage pays for damages that happen outside of collisions, such as fire or hail damage. It will also cover you if your vehicle is stolen or vandalized. If you’re still paying off your vehicle, your lienholder will almost always require you to carry both Comprehensive and Collision policies.

Medical Payments is a type of no-fault insurance that will cover medical expenses related to a car crash no matter who’s at fault. Though the limits are often fairly low, they will generally pay out quickly and are useful for helping to meet your health insurance deductible. It will also help pay for dental work you might need after a car wreck, which health insurance generally won’t cover.

Many car insurance companies offer Roadside Assistance policies for just a few dollars a month, which can help you if you ever need a jump start or you run out of gas. You can also get rental reimbursement to make sure you have a ride even if your car is stuck in the shop for a while.

Finding cheap car insurance in South Carolina

Car insurance companies set your rates based on personal factors, like your age, credit score, driving history, and address, as well as the make, model, and year of your vehicle. Because every company weighs these factors differently, no one company will offer the cheapest car insurance for everyone. Comparing car insurance quotes is the only way to find a company that offers the best rates for you.

If you want to get the lowest rates, you need to maintain a clean driving record and a healthy credit score. The more moving violations and insurance claims you have in your history, the higher your rates will be. Taking a defensive driving course is a good way to offset the hikes in your premiums if you do get a speeding ticket.

You should always check the cost of insuring a vehicle before you buy a new car. If you can’t afford to keep it insured, it’s not the right car for you. Advanced safety features will usually fetch you a discount, while cars that are more likely to be stolen are usually more expensive to insure.

While adjusting your coverage levels will lower your rates, this is a risky way to try to save money on car insurance. If you choose high deductibles you can’t meet, or low limits that won’t protect you in a severe accident, you’re wasting your money and risking your financial stability.

Insurance companies offer a variety of discounts as incentives, and you should take advantage of as many of them as you can. Qualifying factors can include safe driving, owning your home, a high GPA for students, and multi-car discounts.

The bottom line

The only way to be sure you’re getting the best deal on your car insurance is to compare quotes from all the companies in your area. Once you’ve found the policy that’s right for you, you can purchase it online and have proof of insurance within minutes.

Even if you already have coverage, keep your eye out for a better deal! Switching insurers can save you hundreds of dollars a year. Start your free rate comparison today, and rest assured you’ll always have quality coverage that’s affordable for you.