With its Low Country, beaches, marshes, Blue Ridge Mountains, large glimmering lakes, and other striking features, South Carolina teems with natural Southern beauty. At the same time, cities like Charleston and Columbia offer a great deal of urban charm and excitement. There are lots of things to love about life in The Palmetto State.
However, auto insurance rates aren’t one of them. South Carolina consistently ranks in the top third of states for highest average premiums. But residents need not be held hostage by high monthly payments! SmartFinancial instantly analyzes a variety of personal factors to deliver unbiased, carrier-neutral quotes to compare for coverage that’s just right for you.
The most efficient way to find the right car insurance for the right price is by getting quotes from multiple companies. But how do you know where to begin? To help you get started, we’ve listed the top insurance companies for South Carolina below (see the full list).
Your driving history plays a big role in determining your car insurance rates, but your age, gender, vehicle type, location, claims record, and other considerations factor in, too.
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Yeah, you’re legally obligated to carry car insurance. Paying for it may seem like a nuisance while you’re not using it, but you’ll be thankful for it should you ever end up in an accident. That’s just the nature of insurance. Auto insurance can save you thousands or more in out-of-pocket expenses on vehicle repairs, medical bills, and lost wages.
South Carolina Driving Safety
South Carolina is among the deadliest states in the country for drivers, ranking first for vehicular fatalities. This is due in part to drivers failing to obey traffic signals, refusing to wear seat belts, speeding, being careless, and operating their vehicles while drunk, according to an analysis of NHTSA date for 2014. Additionally, the state’s large network of rural roads that lack shoulders contribute to the high number of automobile fatalities; 82% of traffic fatalities occurred on rural roads in 2014.
Let’s look at some illuminating South Carolina safety statistics below.
In a state brimming with natural beauty, it’s no wonder so many residents are mindful of their effects on the environment. Adapting to a greener lifestyle is increasingly common, and the state is keeping up by offering a variety of financial incentives for making more ecologically responsible choices.
Here are just a few ways green drivers in South Carolina can save some cash:
South Carolina will give you an income tax credit of nearly $700 for buying or leasing a new plug-in hybrid vehicle; it may go as high as $2,000, depending on the kilowatt-hours of battery capacity. Learn more about the specifics of this offer on the South Carolina Department of Revenue website.
If you claim a Federal income tax credit for a qualifying alternative fuel vehicle (AFV), advanced technology lean-burn vehicle, hybrid vehicle, or fuel cell vehicle, you may also claim a South Carolina state income tax credit. You can claim 20% of what you get as a Federal credit on your state taxes.
Many carriers give discounts to South Carolina motorists who drive an eco-friendly vehicle. Alternative fuel vehicles, hybrids, and economy cars are frequently eligible. Similar offers are often extended to those who keep their mileage (and accident risk) down as part of a greener lifestyle.
The minimum limits of liability coverage for South Carolina drivers are $25,000 of bodily injury per person and $50,000 bodily injury per accident to cover two or more people. Drivers must also carry $25,000 property damage liability per accident.red by law.
South Carolina is a tort liability state. This means you can pursue a claim against an at-fault driver. However, the state also uses a comparative negligence system, which means you can be disallowed from collecting for the percentage you contributed to the accident.
Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to a single person
Payment per person per accident for out of pocket costs due to injury
Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you
Many drivers elect to carry more than the minimum car insurance coverage required by South Carolina law. For them, taking on additional coverage for more monetary protection gives greater peace of mind. And then there are many others whose vehicle financing lenders insist upon collision, comprehensive, or other coverages over the legal minimums.
Your state’s minimum requirements may protect you against legal liability, but they may not be enough to protect your bank account should be involved in a serious accident. That’s why adding optional coverages to your policy makes sense. Some exclusions will apply.
10 Things to Consider When Shopping for a New Auto Insurance Policy can help you make the savviest decisions about your coverage.
*This list of insurance companies is based on the ratings for the Southeast U.S. Region in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Ratings are derived from five key service areas: claims, price, interaction, policy offerings, and billing. USAA is a military-only option and is therefore not including in the above rankings.
South Carolina has strict car seat regulations to protect children from injury and death. In the state, children from birth to 1 year, or those weighing less than 20 pounds, must be properly secured in an approved rear-facing child safety seat.
Children ages 1 through 5 years who weigh at least 20 pounds but less than 40 pounds must ride in a forward-facing car seat. Children in this age group who weigh 40 to 80 pounds must be properly secured in a belt-positioning booster seat.
Children are not required to ride in a booster seat if they weight more than 80 pounds or can sit with their backs against the seat and with their legs bent over the seat edge without slouching. However, children under 6, regardless of weight, cannot sit in the front passenger seat unless there are no available rear seats.
There are no statewide laws addressing leaving children unsupervised in a vehicle in South Carolina, but deliberately endangering a child is illegal. If there’s evidence you should have known that a child left unattended could become ill or die from temperature, kidnapping, or accidental injury, you could be charged with child neglect or child endangerment.
South Carolina residents are urged to never leave a child (or pet) unattended in a motor vehicle, even for a few minutes and even on a cool day in a safe location. If you encounter an unattended child who you believe is in danger, please call 911, provide a description of the vehicle, and wait with the child until help arrives.
Yes, South Carolina allows car insurers to use an insurance credit score when determining premiums. This insurance credit score is calculated based on several factors, including your credit, financial standing, and other risk factors.
Good drivers qualify for discounts in South Carolina, but the savings don’t stop there. Depending on your lifestyle, age, driving record, and policy management, you may qualify for several discounts that can add up to a significant savings on your premium. Some of these discounts include:
South Carolina permits drivers to show proof of insurance digitally on a smartphone or other mobile device. This environmentally friendly law was passed, in part, to cut down on unnecessary mailings and paper. Drivers without the technology to show this form of proof must carry an insurance ID card in their vehicle.
If your insurance lapses, your insurance provider will notify the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles electronically. You’ll then receive a letter asking you to verify new insurance within 20 days. Failure to do so will result in suspension of your driver’s license, license plate, and vehicle registration.
If your coverage lapses and you’re unable to provide proof of insurance when pulled over, you may be issued a citation and subject to a fine or jail time. If you then fail to provide proof within 30 days, you may face indefinite suspension of your driver’s license. Payment of a $100 fine is required to reinstate your license.
It’s against the law to drive in South Carolina with the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
In South Carolina, you can be charged with a DUI if your BAC is over the limit, even if your driving ability does not appear to be impaired. DUI convictions remain on your record for 10 years.
South Carolina law states that if you’re driving a motor vehicle, you have already given consent to a chemical test for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol levels. Refusing to take this test can result in suspension of your driver’s license for 6 months for a first offense and 9 months for a second or third offense.
You cannot plead down a DUI charge in South Carolina, even for your first offense. Penalties for driving under the influence depend on the number of previous offenses, but may include license suspension, community service, jail time, installation of an ignition interlock device, and more.
Many South Carolina insurance companies reward drivers who have voluntarily completed a driver improvement course. Find out what discounts your insurance company offers, then sign up for a state-approved course.
There are many ways to reduce your car insurance premium, both in the short and long term. Start by improving your credit score and maintaining a clean driving record, and then opt for higher deductibles and larger upfront payments when taking out a new policy. You can also save by asking for discounts, reducing coverage on older cars, and shopping around for the best rates and discounts.
Uninsured motorist coverage is not required in South Carolina. Insurers are required to offer you uninsured motorist coverage to protect against injury and property damage by an uninsured driver or hit-and-run driver, but you are not required to purchase this type of insurance.
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