The best car insurance in Charleston, SC

By

Erin Gobler

Erin Gobler

Insurance Expert

Erin Gobler is a freelance insurance writer at Policygenius, specializing in auto insurance. Erin has been writing about insurance and other personal finance topics since 2018 and has been published in some of the industry’s leading publications.

Published November 23, 2021

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The average car insurance premium in South Carolina is $1,864. Drivers in the state pay some of the highest insurance rates in the nation. The state’s average rate is more than $200 higher than the national average of $1,652. And while the average premium in Charleston is even higher, at $1,970 per year, there are several major insurers that offer much cheaper rates.

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As you’re shopping for car insurance, it’s important to get quotes from multiple companies to ensure you’re getting the best coverage at the best rate. Policygenius can help you get quotes from all of the top insurers in Charleston and find the best policy for you.

Key Takeaways

  • American National has the cheapest car insurance rates in Charleston, on average

  • GEICO offers the best rates to drivers with bad credit in Charleston

  • South Carolina requires that drivers carry $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident of bodily injury liability coverage and $25,000 in property damage liability coverage

Cheapest car insurance companies in Charleston, SC

Car insurance companies generally use the same factors to set car insurance rates. Those factors include a driver’s age, gender, location, driving history, and more. And while they all rely on those same basic factors, each company has its own internal formula for setting rates. As a result, you could get very different quotes from different companies.

As you can see below, American National has the lowest average insurance cost in Charleston. Keep in mind that the lowest rate for you will depend on your situation.

Company

Average cost

JD Power Rating

American National

$724

--

GEICO

$1,022

871

USAA

$1,198

890

Auto-Owners Insurance

$1,383

890

State Farm

$1,399

881

Cheapest car insurance rates by ZIP code in Charleston, SC

Just like insurance companies consider your state and city when determining your car insurance rates, they also consider your ZIP code. Certain ZIP codes throughout Charleston undoubtedly have higher rates of uninsured drivers, more car accidents, or a higher rate of vehicle-related crimes. As a result, drivers in those neighborhoods are likely to pay higher insurance rates. On the other hand, drivers in lower-risk neighborhoods are likely to pay lower rates.

Below you can see the average rate that drivers pay across different ZIP codes in Charleston. As you can see, the average rate in certain areas is considerably higher than the average rate in other areas.

ZIP code

Average cost

29401

$1,917

29403

$2,052

29407

$1,950

29409

$2,054

29412

$1,881

29414

$1,965

29424

$1,884

29425

$2,146

Choosing the right car insurance company in Charleston, SC

Because South Carolina drivers pay above-average car insurance rates, it’s even more important that you shop around. As you shop, also consider discounts from different insurance companies. For example, some insurers may offer greater discounts than others for people who don’t drive a lot or who use telematics. Similar benefits may exist based on your profession.

Policygenius can help you get quotes from the top insurers in Charleston. Additionally, our insurance experts can answer all of your insurance questions.

Car insurance rates for drivers with driving violations in Charleston, SC

South Carolina drivers already pay insurance rates that are higher than the national average. And unfortunately, drivers with violations on their driving records will pay even more. Insurance companies often increase a driver’s rates by hundreds of dollars when they have offenses on their record, such as speeding, causing an accident, or driving under the influence. These violations can remain on your record for years, causing your rates to stay high.

Below you can see how certain driving violations can impact your car insurance rates. You’ll also see that certain insurers increase your rates more than others after a violation.

Violation

American National

GEICO

USAA

Auto-Owners Insurance

State Farm

At-fault Accident

$1,030

$1,530

$1,816

$2,029

$1,703

DUI

$1,130

$2,597

$2,340

$2,940

$1,531

Driving with a suspended license

$1,218

$2,014

$2,251

$1,631

$1,531

Driving with an open container

$1,030

$2,014

$1,882

$1,631

$1,531

Driving with expired registration

$896

$1,025

$1,571

$1,384

$1,531

Driving without Lights

$896

$1,025

$1,571

$1,384

$1,531

Failure to show documents

$896

$1,025

$1,571

$1,384

$1,531

Failure to stop at a red light

$896

$1,025

$1,571

$1,384

$1,531

Cheapest car insurance for drivers with bad credit in Charleston, SC

Your credit score is another important factor that insurance companies consider when setting car insurance rates. South Carolina law allows insurers to pull a driver’s credit score and use it when determining their rates. Drivers with bad credit are considered to be a higher risk for insurance, meaning they can also expect to pay higher rates. On the other hand, drivers with good credit may be rewarded with lower premiums.

Company

Rates for drivers with bad credit

GEICO

$2,254

Nationwide

$2,259

American National

$2,614

State Auto

$2,722

State Farm

$2,877

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Buying car insurance in Charleston, SC

South Carolina law requires that all drivers in the state have a certain amount of insurance. Charleston drivers are required to hold the following insurance coverages:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident

  • Property damage liability coverage of $25,000

  • Uninsured motorist coverage equal to the minimum liability coverage

South Carolina is considered an at-fault insurance state, meaning the driver that causes an accident is financially responsible for all damages. If you’re found to be at fault for an accident and liable for damages, your liability insurance will cover them.

Keep in mind that the state’s minimum coverage doesn’t necessarily represent the maximum amount you could be responsible for. If you cause an accident and the damages exceed your liability insurance coverage limits, then you could be responsible for paying the rest out of your own pocket.

In addition to liability coverage, insurance companies are also required to offer underinsured motorist coverage. However, unlike uninsured motorist coverage, drivers don’t have to accept the underinsured motorist coverage.

The state of South Carolina keeps a record of all drivers’ car insurance policies. If the DMV is notified that your insurance policy has been canceled or lapsed, you’ll receive a letter instructing you to purchase new insurance. If you fail to do so within 30 days, you’ll have your driving privilege, license plate, and vehicle registration suspended with a $400 fee to reinstate them.

How to get cheap car insurance in Charleston, SC

South Carolina drivers pay car insurance rates that are higher than the national average. As a result, you’re probably looking for ways to reduce your premiums. Here are a few ways to save money on car insurance:

  • Shop around. Insurance rates vary from one company to the next. Policygenius can help you get quotes from all of the top insurers in South Carolina to find the best rate.

  • Save with discounts. Insurance companies offer discounts for bundling your policies, driving safely, installing vehicle safety features, and more.

  • Raise your deductible. In general, the higher your insurance deductible, the lower your premiums will be, meaning you can save by increasing your deductible.

Frequently asked questions

How much does car insurance cost in South Carolina?

South Carolina drivers pay an average car insurance rate of $1,864 per year, which is about $200 higher than the national average.

Who has the cheapest car insurance in Charleston?

American National has the cheapest car insurance in Charleston, with an average rate of $724 per year. GEICO has the second-cheapest policies, with an average annual rate of $1,022.

How does my credit score affect my insurance rates?

Studies have shown a correlation between credit score and insurance risk, where drivers with poor credit are more likely to file a claim. As a result, the better your credit score, the lower your insurance rates will be.

Does my gender affect my insurance rates?

Insurance companies often consider females to be safer drivers than males. As a result, females tend to pay lower car insurance rates.

Methodology

Policygenius has analyzed car insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for every ZIP code in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. For full coverage policies, the following coverage limits were used:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

In some cases, additional coverages were added where required by state or insurer.

Rates for overall average rate, rates by ZIP code, and cheapest companies determined using averages for single drivers ages 30, 35, and 45. Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles/year.

Rates for driving violations and “Poor” credit determined using average rates for a single male 30-year-old driver with a credit score under 578.

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of costs. Your actual quotes may differ.