Last updated: August 2023
Direct Auto Insurance is proud to offer car insurance in South Carolina, the “Palmetto State.” Whether you live in Columbia or along the Atlantic coast, you must meet the South Carolina minimum auto insurance requirements. Take a few minutes to learn what coverages are mandatory, which ones are optional, and how Direct Auto can help you find cheap car insurance in South Carolina. Get a free quote to see how much money you can save with Direct.
South Carolina Car Insurance Laws
Do you have to have car insurance in South Carolina?
South Carolina law requires all drivers have proof of financial responsibility, which is satisfied by a car insurance policy that meets all of the state’s requirements. South Carolina auto insurance policies must at least meet the minimum liability coverage limits, typically expressed as three numbers representing thousands of dollars. For example, the liability limits in South Carolina are 25/50/25, as shown below under South Carolina Minimum Car Insurance Requirements.
South Carolina also requires all drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage at the same minimum limits as liability coverage.
South Carolina Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
Wondering what your insurance policy needs to fulfill South Carolina insurance requirements? Here’s a quick breakdown by coverage type.
Is It Required by Law?
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage provides financial protection if you cause an accident that injures another person. It helps pay for their medical expenses and your legal services (if necessary).
Yes. $25,000 bodily injury per person/$50,000 bodily injury per accident.
Property Damage Liability Coverage helps pay to repair or replace other people’s property that is damaged in an accident you cause. It typically involves damage to another vehicle, but it could help pay to repair a house, fence, mailbox, and more.
Yes. $25,000 property damage per accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) helps pay for your medical bills and related expenses if the other driver has no coverage (UM), insufficient coverage (UIM), or can’t be identified due to hit and run. In some states, UM/UIM can also help pay for property damage.
Yes for UM. $25,000 UM bodily injury per person/$50,000 UM bodily injury per accident. $25,000 UM property damage liability. UM property damage in South Carolina comes with a $200 deductible.
UIM not required. Insurers must offer UIM, but you can reject it in writing.
Collision Coverage helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if you collide with another car, tree, guardrail, or another object, regardless of fault.
Comprehensive Coverage helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it’s damaged by something other than a collision, like fire, floodwaters, falling branches, vandalism, or contact with an animal.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While state minimum coverage ensures you meet legal requirements, it doesn’t provide protection for your own injuries or damage to your own vehicle. Even with uninsured motorist coverage, you might need to add additional coverage, like comprehensive and collision, to more fully protect yourself financially.
1Your lender may require these coverages if you lease or finance your vehicle.
Are there additional coverage options?
For added peace of mind, Direct Auto offers add-on services and other insurance products for South Carolina drivers:
- Roadside Assistance*
- Emergency Protection Plan (EPP)*
- Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay)
- Towing & Labor Coverage
- Rental Reimbursement Coverage
South Carolina Proof of Financial Responsibility and Penalties
What if I don't meet South Carolina’s minimum car insurance requirements?
Every South Carolina driver is required to have proof of financial responsibility to drive legally. If you’re caught driving without insurance, you could lose your license, lose your registration, and face fines.
Drivers must always carry proof of insurance and must be able to present proof of insurance upon request, such as during a traffic stop, at an accident scene, etc. You can do so by showing your physical ID card or downloading an electronic copy to your mobile device.
If your insurance policy is canceled or lapses, your insurer will notify the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. You’ll then have 20 days to verify your coverage, or you’ll face the penalties above and have to pay up to $400 to have your driving privileges reinstated. If you receive a ticket for driving without insurance, you’ll have to pay a $600 uninsured motorist fee and will be subjected to SR-22 requirements for three years.
Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License in South Carolina
Thinking about driving with a suspended license in the Palmetto State? Think again! If you’re caught driving when you shouldn’t, you face a series of escalating fines and jail sentences depending on which offense it is, according to Nolo. If your license was suspended for a DUI-related charge, the penalties are even more severe.
SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina
Some high-risk drivers are also required to keep an SR22 (also known as a certificate of financial responsibility) on file with the state verifying they have purchased auto insurance coverage that satisfies the state’s minimum coverage requirements. Every state has its own SR-22 laws, but you might be required to keep one on file if:
- You were ticketed for driving without insurance.
- You were convicted of a DUI/DWI.
- You were driving with a revoked or invalid license.
If you need an SR22 filed to demonstrate financial responsibility compliance or have questions about the penalties for non-compliance, we’d be happy to help. Direct Auto specializes in helping people find affordable car insurance coverage, regardless of their history. Give us a call today for a free quote.
High-Risk Auto Insurance in South Carolina
Most individuals do not have a perfect driving record, and after a certain number of violations or a serious enough violation, drivers can be considered a major risk to insure. While some companies try to steer clear of these individuals, other insurance companies offer non-standard insurance (another name for high-risk auto insurance) to provide financial protection for these drivers.
At Direct Auto, we're proud to offer non-standard coverage. We believe your driving history shouldn't define you forever, and we work hard to find quality, affordable coverage for every driver, regardless of their past.
Where can I find the cheapest car insurance rates in South Carolina?
Car insurance costs vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The amount & type of coverage you choose
- The year, make, and model of the vehicle you drive
- How much you drive, where you drive, and where you live
- Your demographics
- Your driving record
- Your credit history
The good news is that Direct Auto Insurance can help drivers, even those with a less-than-perfect driving record, find car insurance coverage.
Get a free car insurance quote online, or work with a Direct Auto agent to create a coverage plan that not only meets your state's requirements but fits your needs as well. We’ll work hard to make sure you get any discounts you’re entitled to receive so your premium is the lowest price possible.
South Carolina Regional Auto Insurance
Depending on where you live, you might have specific wishes and “must-haves” in your mind for your car insurance policy. After all, some cities have busy traffic and others offer quiet streets with far fewer accidents. But no matter what city you call home in the Palmetto State, we’re here to help you get covered.
Other South Carolina Auto Insurance Resources
- South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
- Official State of South Carolina Website
- South Carolina State Department of Transportation
Find Cheap Car Insurance in South Carolina with Direct Auto!
Call, click, or come in to get a free South Carolina car insurance quote from Direct Auto! We always offer affordable coverage options, and we work hard to get you cheap car insurance in South Carolina so you can keep driving to exciting new adventures.
*Emergency Protection Plans (EPP) and Roadside Assistance are not insurance and are administered through Nation Safe Drivers, Boca Raton, FL. Not all benefits available in all states.