South Carolina Car Insurance Requirements

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Minimum car insurance in South Carolina

Car owners in South Carolina must buy two main types of auto insurance: Liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. But state minimums can be insufficient coverage if you're in an accident. It's important to know the coverage types available so you can make the smartest purchase. 

Minimum liability insurance in South Carolina:

Liability insurance pays others when you cause a car accident. But only up to the coverage limits you buy. You can be sued for damage and injuries if you don't have enough liability insurance. That's why it's often wise to buy more than the state-required minimums. In South Carolina you must have liability limits of at least:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 property damage per accident

This is often written as 25/50/25.

Minimum uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage in South Carolina:

  • South Carolina requires drivers to have UM coverage with limits of at least $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. UM kicks in if you're hit by a driver without liability insurance.
  • UIM insurance is similar to UM but it applies to crashes with drivers who have liability insurance but not enough for your medical bills. UIM is available in South Carolina but you can reject it.

Personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments (MedPay) coverage:

  • South Carolina doesn't require PIP insurance or MedPay but they are available. They are similar coverage types. Both pay for medical bills for you and anyone riding in your car, even if the accident was your fault, up to the coverage limit you choose.

Comprehensive and collision coverage:

  • Comprehensive insurance covers theft of your car or damage caused by hail, flood, fire, vandalism, falling objects, hitting an animal and explosions.

Collision coverage:

  • For damage to your car if you hit someone else's car or an object, like a sign post or even a building.

Rental reimbursement:

  • Pays for a rental when your car is being repaired for car accident damage.

  More: Cheap car insurance in South Carolina

You must show an insurance ID card (or other proof of financial responsibility) in South Carolina when:

  • Law enforcement requests it.
  • You renew vehicle registration.

Penalties for not having auto insurance in South Carolina

  • False certificate or evidence is a misdemeanor.
  • First offense: fine of at least $100 but not more than $200, or up to 30 days in jail.
  • Second offense within five years: fine of $200 or 30 days in jail or both.
  • Third or subsequent offense within five years: jail for at least 45 days, but not more than six months.
  • Making false statement as to insurance will also result in revocation of driver's license and denial of registration for six months.

Source: Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

Complaints about insurance companies

Each state's department of insurance is in charge of handling complaints against insurance companies. A "complaint ratio" reveals the number of complaints nationally against a company relative to the insurer's size of business. Here are ratios for the biggest auto insurance companies in South Carolina.

South Carolina auto insurance complaints

Updated Aug. 14, 2018

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