South Carolina Car Insurance Laws: How Much Coverage Do I Need (2024)?

South Carolina requires all drivers to purchase insurance with 25/50/25 liability coverage and equal uninsured motorist coverage.
Written by Jaya Anandjit
Edited by Jessica Barrett
Reviewed by Brice Regling
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South Carolina's
car insurance laws require all drivers to purchase an auto insurance policy that includes liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage in the limits of $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 of bodily injury liability per accident, $25,000 of property damage liability.

Car insurance requirements in South Carolina

South Carolina’s minimum auto insurance requirements include the following coverage limits:
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$25,000 of
bodily injury liability (BIL)
insurance for injuries you cause to a single person in an at-fault accident
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$50,000 of bodily injury liability for injuries you cause in a single at-fault accident
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$25,000 of
property damage liability (PDL)
coverage for damage you cause to other’s property
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$25,000 of
uninsured motorist coverage
for you or your passenger’s injuries resulting from an accident with an uninsured driver or hit-and-run
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$50,000 of uninsured motorist coverage for injuries caused to you and your passengers in a single accident with an uninsured driver or hit-and-run
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$25,000 of uninsured motorist coverage for your property damages resulting from an accident with an uninsured driver or hit-and-run
All car insurance policies sold in the state of South Carolina include these coverage requirements. Insurers are also required to offer underinsured motorist coverage to all drivers, but you don’t have to purchase it. 
Liability coverage
will protect other drivers if you’re involved in an at-fault accident, and uninsured motorist coverage will protect you from the costs associated with a hit-and-run or a collision with an uninsured motorist. 
The only question you need to answer is whether South Carolina’s coverage minimums are enough car insurance coverage for you.
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When you shop for insurance with Jerry, your state's minimum required insurance is always required as a default.

Is minimum coverage the most cost effective option?

For the average driver, the cheapest policies in South Carolina are typically those with minimum coverage alone. However, if you’re involved in a major at-fault accident or experience damage to your vehicle, these coverage levels can leave you with high out-of-pocket costs.
A more cost effective car insurance option would be a full coverage policy with higher liability limits and physical damage coverage. 
  • Fact: Carrying higher liability limits will protect your assets (and your future income) from personal injury lawsuits—plus, insurance companies value financial responsibility and may reward you with lower premiums in the long run. 
  • Our recommendation: Purchase at least $50k/$100k/$50k liability limits—or enough to protect all your assets and potential income.  
  • Fact:
    Full coverage
    offers financial protection from damages to your vehicle caused by an at-fault accident, severe weather, vandalism, theft, a collision with a non-moving object, and more.
  • Our recommendation: Get coverage for damages to your vehicle with a full coverage policy that includes
    comprehensive coverage
    and
    collision insurance
    .
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You can adjust your coverage selections when reviewing quotes in the Jerry app.
If you finance or lease your vehicle
Financed and leased vehicles typically require full coverage car insurance with collision and comprehensive coverage. If your vehicle is leased or financed, be sure to connect with your lender to confirm their insurance expectations.

South Carolina auto insurance rates: Minimum liability and full coverage

While car insurance rates vary from driver to driver, South Carolina’s average insurance coverage expenses can give you an idea of how much you might pay for your coverage: 
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Minimum liability insurance costs South Carolinians an average of $152 per month or $1,820 per year
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Full coverage car insurance costs an average of $232 per month or $2,780 per year
If you require insurance in the Palmetto State, insurance experts recommend comparing quotes for different coverage levels and from various providers. Quote comparisons are the best way to find a policy that meets your needs and fits your budget.
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The Jerry app is a great resource for reviewing policies with different coverage levels and getting quotes from multiple insurers to help you make the right choice.
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Optional coverages in South Carolina

The best all-round coverage for South Carolina drivers includes higher liability policy limits, uninsured motorist coverage, comprehensive insurance, and collision coverage. Besides these four main types of protection, there are also a few additional coverage that typically benefit SC drivers:
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Medical payments coverage (MedPay)
: MedPay offers coverage for medical bills for you and your passengers after a car accident.
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Gap insurance
: In the event of a total loss, gap insurance pays the difference between your car’s actual cash value and the remaining owed amount on its loan or lease.
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Roadside assistance
(Towing and labor coverage): This type of coverage offers roadside services like jump starts, towing, flat tire changes, lockout assistance, and more.
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Rental car reimbursement:
If your vehicle is the shop following a covered loss, this insurance helps to cover the cost of a rental car.

Penalties for driving without insurance in South Carolina

If you’re caught driving without valid
proof of insurance
in South Carolina, you may face a driver’s license suspension, fines, and even jail time. Furthermore, you’ll have to file an
SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility
for three years, which will drive up your insurance premiums. 
First offense: Driving without insurance in South Carolina
  • Driver’s license and registration suspension until you provide proof of insurance
  • $600 uninsured motorist fee; up to $200 in fines, 30 days in jail, or both
  • $5 fee per day (up to $200) for each day you went without insurance
  • $200 reinstatement fee and SR-22 filing requirement for three years 
Second offense: Driving without insurance in South Carolina
  • $200 fine
  • 30 days in jail
  • License and registration suspension
  • $200 reinstatement fee and SR-22 filing requirement for three years
Subsequent offenses: Driving without insurance in South Carolina
  • 45 days to six months in jail
  • License and registration suspension
  • $200 reinstatement fee and SR-22 filing requirement for three years 

FAQs

What are the minimum requirements for auto insurance in South Carolina?

South Carolina drivers must carry the following minimum amounts of automobile insurance: 
  • $25,000 of
    bodily injury liability (BIL)
    insurance per person
  • $50,000 of bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 of bodily injury uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $50,000 of bodily injury uninsured motorist coverage per person
  • $25,000 of property damage uninsured motorist coverage

Do you have to have car insurance to get a driver’s license in South Carolina?

Yes—the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires that you show proof of insurance before it will issue a driver’s license. If you do not have a vehicle or live in a household with a vehicle, you’ll mark that on the second page of your application for a permit, license, or ID.

Is South Carolina a no-fault state for insurance?

No—South Carolina is an at-fault state. That means the at-fault driver is responsible for covering the medical expenses and repair costs for the other parties after an auto accident.

Does South Carolina require proof of insurance?

Yes—you must carry proof of insurance with you at all times when operating a motor vehicle in South Carolina. If a law enforcement officer stops you and you’re unable to provide proof of insurance, you'll likely receive a ticket, and you must provide proof of insurance within 30 days to avoid a license suspension.

What happens if you don’t have car insurance in South Carolina?

If you don’t have car insurance in South Carolina, you could face a variety of consequences, including:
  • Fines ranging from $100 to $600 for the first offense
  • Jail time
  • License and registration suspension
  • An SR-22 form requirement for three years

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