In South Carolina, car insurance is a must. All drivers must purchase liability insurance as financial responsibility for accidents. Read article to learn more about South Carolina car insurance requirements, regulations, and rates.

Required Car Insurance in SC

You are required by the state to hold at least the following minimum amounts of coverage:

  • Liability coverage
  • Uninsured motorist coverage.

Liability Coverage in SC

The state of South Carolina requires all drivers to purchase liability insurance. The following are minimum limits of liability insurance as stipulated under South Carolina car insurance laws:

  • $25,000 for death or bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 for total death or injury per accident, for multiple accident victims
  • $25,000 for property damage.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist insurance cover is mandatory for all drives in this state. This insurance covers the cost of injury caused to your family members or passengers in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have coverage. The following are the minimum required amounts for 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.

Optional car insurance coverages

You can also purchase optional South Carolina car insurance coverages. If you are shopping for insurance cover for your car, consider these optional car insurance coverages: Collision – Insurance cover that helps pay for damages made to your car after an accident Comprehensive – Insurance cover that pays for damages resulting from all accident related events such as fire, floods etc Rental reimbursement coverage – This insurance coverage pays part of your rental car expense resulting from accident that it was involved in Towing and labor coverage – This insurance coverage pays for the cost of expenses involved when your car is towered Loan/lease coverage – Covers the remaining loan or lease after an accident.

Uninsured Motorist Registration

In South Carolina, you can register as uninsured motorist with the Department Of Motor Vehicle for an annual fee of $550. If you register as uninsured motorist, you will be required to pay for property damage and injuries resulting from an accident that you are at fault. To qualify for registration as uninsured motorist, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • A valid driver’s license for at least 3 years
  • Each driver in your household holds a driver’s license for at least 3 years
  • You don’t have SR-22 certification
  • You have not been convicted of any violation for at least 3 years.

If you meet the qualifications for uninsured motorist registration, you must fill the Application for Uninsured Motorist Registration (FR-510).

Proof of Car Insurance

You must show proof of insurance when:

  • You are stopped by a police officer
  • You are involved in a car accident.

If you are registered without car insurance, you can show your copy of your approved application.

Traffic Stops

If you fail to show proof of insurance when you are stopped by a traffic officer, you will face a fine or imprisonment or given a ticket. Once the citation is issued, you must submit proof of insurance to the SCDMV within 30 days, or face driver’s license suspension.

Car Accidents

If you are involved in a car accident and do not have proof of insurance, you will be issued with a Notice of Requirement (FR-10). This notice will require you to prove that you were properly registered as uninsured motorist or insured against accidents that cause injury, death or property damage. This form must be filed by your car insurance provider and submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicle within 15 days of the accident. If you fail to do so, your driver’s license or car registration will face suspension. NOTE: If you are registered as uninsured motorist, include FR-10 to prove that you are registered as such and return it to the address on the form.

Vehicle Registration

You must have the minimum required car insurance to register your car in South Carolina. The Department of Motor Vehicle will verify your coverage electronically with your car insurance company. So you don’t have to show proof of insurance at the time of registration. DMV is notified when your car insurance policy is suspended or cancelled. They will also notify you of the same and require you to take action. Insurance policies can be canceled:

  • At any time if you fail to pay your premium
  • For any reason 2 to 3 months into a new policy.

Alternative Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

Drivers with poor driving records may have a difficult time finding a car insurance company to insure their vehicles. If you find it hard to get a car insurance company through open market, you can apply for car insurance policy through the Associated Auto Insurers Plan of South Carolina (AAIPSC). This association helps high-risk drivers to get car insurance. But remember that car insurance through AAIPSC plan comes with higher premiums because of the risks involved. For more information about insurance through AAIPSC, call them at (866) 560-4100.

Insurance Penalties: SR-22

SR-22 form is filed by your car insurance company to certify that you will hold and maintain coverage for a specific period of time. In South Carolina, this certification is required to have your license reinstated after any of these violations:

  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Any DUI offense
  • Driving a car without insurance
  • Driving a car without registering as an uninsured driver
  • Failing to have a valid SR-22 in place.

SC Insurance Regulation

The South Carolina Department of Insurance (SCDOI) is the body that is responsible for regulation of car insurance policy and insurance companies. This body enforces South Carolina car insurance laws and provides insurance information to the public.

Insurance Fraud

The Attorney General’s Office in South Carolina handles case of insurance frauds. Typically car insurance frauds involve, but not limited to:

  • Falsified documents
  • Making up injuries or damages
  • Staging a car accident.

Car insurance frauds are costly. You can report suspected car insurance fraud to the Attorney General’s Office in South Carolina:

  • By phone at ((888)-953-7283)
  • Online by completing the Insurance Fraud Complaint Form.

Insurance Questions

The SCDOI deals with issues relating to insurance complaints and questions. If you have a car insurance complaint or question about your rates, you can report it to this department by submitting the Consumer Complaint Form online.

Determining Your Car Insurance Rate

South Carolina car insurance rates are determined based on the following factors:

  • Driving record
  • Age and gender
  • Marital status
  • Geographic area
  • Past insurance
  • Credit report.

Car insurance companies may also factor in information about your car:

  • How it is used
  • The make and model
  • Safety and/or anti-theft features
  • Deductibles.

Car Insurance Discounts

When shopping for car insurance, ask your agent whether they have discounts that apply to you. Car discounts may include:

  • Insuring multiple vehicles
  • Buying multiple policies
  • Anti-theft devices, such as alarm systems
  • Safety devices, such as airbags
  • A good driving record
  • Low mileage on your vehicle.

If you are a teen driver, you may also qualify for discounts for:

  • Taking a driver’s education course
  • Being a good student.

Most Stolen Cars in South Carolina

Driving a car that is always targeted by thieves may increase your car insurance rates. According to www.nicb.org, the 2013 most stolen cars in South Carolina include:

  1. Ford Explorer and Ford Pickup (Full Size)
  2. Honda Accord
  3. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
  4. Chevrolet Pickup
  5. Toyota Camry
  6. Ford Crown Victoria
  7. Dodge Pickup (Full Size)
  8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
  9. Chevrolet Impala.