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Car Insurance in South Carolina
South Carolina Car Insurance
Car insurance is mandatory in South Carolina. Drivers must have liability insurance, and any claims you make are subject to reduction if you are found to have contributed to the accident.
Read below for more details about required and optional car insurance coverages, regulations, and rates.
Required Car Insurance in SC
South Carolina auto insurance laws mandate that you hold at least the minimum required amounts of both:
- Liability coverage.
- Uninsured motorist coverage.
Liability Coverage in SC
Liability insurance pays for damages/losses and injuries to the other party if you cause an accident.
In SC, you must have the following minimum liability coverage:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person.
- $50,000 total for bodily injury or death per accident.
- $25,000 for property damage.
You can opt to buy additional coverage from licensed South Carolina car insurance companies.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist insurance pays for the damages/losses and injuries that you suffer if you are in an accident caused by driver who does not have car insurance.
NOTE: A registered uninsured driver who causes an accident must pay for damage or medical costs out of pocket. This type of uninsured driver is not covered by uninsured motorist coverage.
In South Carolina, you must have the following minimum uninsured motorist coverage:
- $25,000 for property damage.
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person.
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death per accident.
You can always opt for higher limits if you want more coverage.
Other SC Car Insurance Options
For additional protection, you can elect to buy other types of coverage from your agent.
If you elect not to have car insurance, you can register as an uninsured motorist with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Additional Car Insurance
Optional coverage types help pay costs not paid for by liability or uninsured motorist coverage. They include:
- Collision coverage: Pays for accident-related damages to your car.
- Comprehensive coverage: Pays for damage to your car caused by external factors like weather, theft, or wildlife.
- Medical payments coverage: Pays for medical expenses if they exceed the limits of other coverage.
- Rental reimbursement coverage: Pays for a rental car if you need one after an accident.
- Towing and labor coverage: Pays for towing and some repair costs.
NOTE: If you finance or lease a vehicle, your lender may require you to buy collision and/or comprehensive coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Registration
South Carolina offers drivers the option of registering with the DMV as an uninsured motorist for an annual fee of $550.
NOTE: If you register as an uninsured motorist, you are liable for any damages or losses that are your fault.
To register as an uninsured motorist, you must meet certain qualifications:
- You have held a valid driver's license for at least 3 years.
- Every other driver in your household has held a valid driver's license for at least 3 years.
- You are not currently required to have SR22 certification.
- You have not had been convicted of certain violations in at least 3 years. The SC DMV provides a full list of violations, but some of the most common are:
- Reckless driving.
- Failing to stop for a school bus, signal, or police officer.
- Specific moving violations.
- 2 accidents or more that cause over $600 in injury or $1,000 in property damage.
If you meet the registration qualifications and you wish to apply for uninsured motorist status, you must complete the Application for Uninsured Motorist Registration (FR-510).
NOTE: If you are convicted of a violation or if someone who has been licensed for less than 3 years joins your household, your uninsured motorist status will be revoked and you will have to buy car insurance.
Proof of Car Insurance in SC
You must show proof of insurance if you are stopped by a police officer or involved in a car accident.
If you are a registered uninsured motorist, you can show your copy of your approved application.
If you do not have proof of your South Carolina car insurance during a stop, you can be given a ticket and face a fine or imprisonment.
Once the citation is issued, you must provide proof of insurance to the SCDMV within 30 days, or your driver's license can be suspended.
If you are involved in a car accident and do not have proof of insurance, a responding officer may issue you a Notice of Requirement (FR-10), which requires you to prove that you were properly insured or registered as an uninsured motorist in any car accident involving:
- Property damage.
Your Notice of Requirement form must be completed by your auto insurance carrier and submitted to the DMV within 15 days of the accident, or your driver's license and vehicle registration can be suspended.
NOTE: If you are a registered uninsured motorist, attach a statement to the FR-10 that states you are registered as uninsured with the South Carolina DMV and return it to the address on the form.
You must have valid South Carolina car insurance to register your car in South Carolina. The DMV will verify your coverage electronically when you give them the name of your insurer, so you do not need to show proof of insurance.
The SCDMV is notified when a policy is canceled or suspended. You will be notified if your policy is no longer valid.
Insurance policies can be canceled:
- At any time if you have not paid your premium.
- For any reason 61 to 90 days into a new policy.
If you receive a notice that your insurance has been canceled, you must update the SCDMV with your valid, current insurance information within 20 business days to avoid suspension of your driving privileges.
If you do not have valid auto insurance, your driver's license and vehicle registration will be suspended and you may have to pay reinstatement fees:
- $200 to have your driver's license and vehicle registration reinstated.
- An additional $5 per day that you were not insured (up to $400).
Alternative Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
If you have violations on your driving record, you may be subject to additional car insurance requirements and may have difficulty finding an insurance provider.
If you have been unable to find a South Carolina car insurance carrier who will accept you, you can contact the Associated Auto Insurers Plan of South Carolina (AAIPSC) to request coverage. Your request must certify that you've tried to get insurance and were rejected in the previous 60 days.
The AAIPSC assigns drivers to a licensed SC insurance company. That company is required to provide insurance to a driver assigned by the AAIPSC.
Contact the AAIPSC by phone at (866) 560-4100 for more information.
Insurance Penalties: SR-22
SR-22 forms, also referred to as SR22 insurance, is a form filed by your car insurance company that guarantees you will maintain coverage for a specific period of time.
In South Carolina, an SR-22 is required to have your license reinstated after any of these violations:
- Any DUI offense.
- Driving with a suspended license.
- Driving a car without insurance or without registering as an uninsured driver.
- Failing to have a valid SR-22 in place (if required).
The length of time you must have the SR22 varies depending on the type of offense and the number of offenses you have.
SC Insurance Regulation
The South Carolina Department of Insurance (SCDOI) regulates the insurance industry in the state. The SCDOI is responsible for applying and enforcing insurance laws and providing insurance information to the public.
The South Carolina Attorney General's Office handles insurance fraud complaints and investigations.
Car insurance fraud can include:
- Falsified documents.
- Making up injuries or damages.
- Staging a car accident.
- Giving inaccurate information to get car insurance.
Fraud is illegal and contributes to higher insurance rates.
You can report suspected fraud to the SC Attorney General's Office:
- By phone at (888) 95-FRAUD. ((888)-953-7283)
- Online by completing the Insurance Fraud Complaint Form.
The SCDOI can answer your insurance questions and help resolve complaints.
If you have a question or complaint about your rates, a claim, an agent, your car insurance company, or other auto insurance topics, you can submit the Consumer Complaint Form online.
Determining Your Car Insurance Rate
South Carolina car insurance rates are based on many factors, which may include your:
- Driving record.
- Age and gender.
- Marital status.
- Geographic area.
- Past insurance.
- Credit report.
They may also factor in information about your car:
- How it is used.
- The make and model.
- Safety and/or anti-theft features.
Your deductibles, the out-of-pocket costs you pay if a claim is made against your insurance, also affect your auto insurance rates. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.
SC Car Insurance Discounts
When shopping for car insurance quotes, be sure to ask your agent about discounts that may apply to you.
Specific discounts may be available for:
- Insuring multiple vehicles.
- Buying multiple policies (like home and auto).
- Safety devices, such as airbags.
- Anti-theft devices, such as alarm systems.
- A good driving record.
- Low mileage on your vehicle.
In addition, teen drivers may qualify for discounts that can help make their rates more affordable, including discounts for:
- Taking a driver's education course.
- Being a good student.
To make sure you get the lowest car insurance rate available, be sure to compare rates from different South Carolina car insurance companies, ask about discounts, and maintain a good driving record.
Most Stolen Cars in South Carolina
If you drive a car that is a known target for theft you will likely face increased car insurance rates.
The following is a list of 2013's most stolen cars in South Carolina according to www.nicb.org:
- Honda Accord.
- Ford Pickup (Full Size).
- Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size).
- Ford Explorer.
- Chevrolet Pickup.
- Toyota Camry.
- Ford Crown Victoria.
- Dodge Pickup (Full Size).
- Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee.
- Chevrolet Impala.
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