For students in college, one of the largest criteria that determine the amount you pay for auto insurance is where your car is garaged in South Carolina. Areas with more people or higher crime rates like Florence, Charleston, and Summerville are more likely to have higher rates, whereas less populated areas have the luxury of lower rates.

The illustration below ranks the most expensive places in South Carolina for college students to buy auto insurance in.

How much is auto insurance in South Carolina?
Rank City Average Per Year
1 Florence $1,311
2 North Charleston $1,288
3 Charleston $1,273
4 Goose Creek $1,258
5 Summerville $1,240
6 Socastee $1,223
7 Mount Pleasant $1,213
8 Sumter $1,202
9 Columbia $1,177
10 Myrtle Beach $1,174
11 Saint Andrews $1,149
12 Hilton Head Island $1,139
13 Rock Hill $1,135
14 Greenwood $1,132
15 Anderson $1,116
16 Greenville $1,100
17 North Augusta $1,095
18 Spartanburg $1,094
19 Wade Hampton $1,090
20 Aiken $1,086
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Prices are approximated as specific South Carolina zip code can impact price quotes greatly.

The type of vehicle you are insuring is probably the most important factor that determines the availability of the lowest-priced coverage for college students. Vehicles with more horsepower, a lack of safety features, or a high likelihood of having liability claims will cost substantially more to insure than safer, lower-performance models. The next list features insurance premiums for a handful of the most affordable automobiles to insure.

Cheapest Vehicles to Insure for College Students in South Carolina
Make and Model Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Hyundai Elantra GLS Touring Station Wagon $1,783
Honda CR-V EX 4WD $1,809
Ford Escape Limited 4WD $1,924
Toyota Prius $1,950
Jeep Wrangler Sport Islander Package 4WD 2-Dr $1,973
Ford F-150 STX Super Cab 2WD $1,981
Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 2WD $1,999
Chevrolet Impala LS $2,087
Ford Edge Limited 2WD $2,094
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid $2,113
Toyota Camry LE $2,120
Volkswagen Jetta S 4-Dr Sedan $2,113
Toyota RAV4 4WD $2,119
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Data rating is based on single female driver age 20, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $1,000 deductibles, and South Carolina minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include claim-free, and safe-driver. Premium amounts do not factor in specific zip code location which can modify coverage rates greatly.

Based upon the rates shown, we can conclude that models like the Hyundai Elantra, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Toyota Prius, and Jeep Wrangler will be some of the cheaper vehicles to insure for students in college. The price for car insurance will be more costly because of the fact that there is more liability risk for college students, but in general those vehicles will tend to have the cheapest car insurance rates possible.

Buying cheap car insurance is not easy, and finding out which companies offer the cheapest car insurance rates for college students in South Carolina will involve additional perseverance. Insurance prices should be slightly greater than the average rate in South Carolina, with the extra cost attributed to the posibility of more claims associated with offering insurance for students in college, but competitive insurance should be obtainable with a little diligence. Each auto insurance company has a unique approach for setting prices, so let's begin by taking a look at the car insurance companies with the overall best prices in South Carolina.

It's important to know that South Carolina car insurance rates are impacted by many factors that may substantially change the price of your policy. Events such as a birthday, having a claim, or getting into an accident can trigger price changes that can cause some rates to be more expensive than others.

Lowest Insurance Price Quotes for College Students

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South Carolina car insurance ranked by cost per year
Rank Company Cost Per Year
1 The Hartford $775
2 USAA $1,025
3 Auto-Owners $1,107
4 State Auto $1,138
5 Southern Farm Bureau $1,260
6 SC Farm Bureau Mutual $1,298
7 Travelers $1,356
8 National Grange Mutual $1,375
9 State Farm $1,380
10 Allstate $1,573
11 Progressive $1,643
12 Encompass $1,691
13 Nationwide $1,814
14 Safe Auto $1,907
15 GEICO $2,001
16 Liberty Mutual $2,439
17 Bristol West $2,468
18 Safeco $2,771
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The Hartford has some of the most affordable car insurance rates in South Carolina at around $775 each year. USAA, Auto-Owners, State Auto, and Southern Farm Bureau would also be considered some of the cheaper South Carolina insurance companies.

As shown in the table above, if you buy coverage from Auto-Owners and switched to The Hartford, you might realize an annual savings of in the neighborhood of $332. Drivers with State Auto could save as much as $363 a year, and Southern Farm Bureau policyholders might reduce rates by $485 a year.

It's important to note that these prices are averaged across all ages of drivers and types of vehicles and do not take into consideration a price increase for college students. So the company that can offer the best rates for your situation may not even be in the top 18 companies in the list above. That's why you need to get quotes using your own individual information.

How much more does full coverage cost in South Carolina?

Paying a lower price for car insurance is probably important to most drivers, and a good way to pay lower rates for insurance for college students in South Carolina is to only pay for liability coverage. The example below illustrates the comparison of auto insurance costs with full physical damage coverage and with liability coverage only. The rates are based on no violations or accidents, $1,000 deductibles, drivers are not married, and no other discounts are factored in.

If all age groups are averaged, physical damage coverage costs $1,937 per year more than insuring for liability only. At some point, about every driver wonders if full coverage is worth the money. There is no definitive guideline of when to eliminate physical damage insurance, but there is a broad guideline. If the yearly cost of full coverage is more than about 10% of the vehicle's replacement cost less your deductible, then it could be time to drop full coverage.

For example, let's pretend your vehicle's replacement value is $7,000 and you have $1,000 physical damage deductibles. If your vehicle is totaled in an accident, you would only receive $6,000 after paying your policy deductible. If you are paying in excess of $600 annually for physical damage coverage, then it's probably a good time to buy liability coverage only.

The information below highlights how deductible selection can increase or decrease annual premium costs when quoting cheap insurance for college students in South Carolina. The data assumes a married male driver, full physical damage coverage, and no other discounts are factored in.

In the chart above, a 30-year-old driver could lower rates by $264 a year by switching from a $100 deductible up to a $500 deductible, or save $400 by using a $1,000 deductible. Young drivers, like the age 20 example, have the ability to save $794 annually by selecting a higher deductible.

When choosing a higher deductible, it is a good idea to have enough savings to cover the extra out-of-pocket expense. That is the one disadvantage of using higher deductibles.

Get discounts on South Carolina insurance

Insurance providers that offer cheap quotes for college students could also offer rate discounts that could reduce prices by 30% or more if you qualify for them. A few popular companies and some of their more popular discounts are shown below.

The chart below illustrates the difference between insurance rates with and without discounts applied to the policy rates. The price estimates are based on a male driver, a clean driving record, no claims, South Carolina state minimum liability limits, full physical damage coverage, and $1,000 deductibles.

The first bar for each age group shows the price with no discounts. The second bar shows the rates with paid-in-full, passive restraint, vehicle safety, continuous coverage, good student, and paperless filing discounts applied. When discounts are applied, the average amount saved each year on car insurance for college students is 19% or $366.

Tips for buying budget-friendly auto insurance for college students

It's not impossible to find cheaper rates, and here are some thrifty solutions that can help South Carolina drivers buy cheaper auto insurance.

The last idea is particularly vital, as was noted in the article above. Prices charged by car insurance companies vary considerably, so drivers shouldn't be resistant to switch companies if a lower-cost policy is available.

Many drivers prefer to stick with one company, but we do not recommend it if it's costing you money that could be spent on other things. If you have a few minutes, compare prices and find cheaper insurance for college students.