The words "low-priced" and "auto insurance" really shouldn't be used in the same sentence, especially when you are looking for the lowest insurance prices for safe drivers. To save some money, let's familiarize you with a few of the things that have an impact on car insurance rates, and come up with some ways to reduce the price of the next policy you buy.

The type of vehicle that needs insurance is a large consideration in finding the lowest-priced coverage for safe drivers. Vehicles with limited speed and performance, good crash test ratings, or a track record of few liability claims will cost significantly less to insure than fast, unsafe models. The information below illustrates insurance costs for a selection of the cheaper automobiles to insure.

Cheapest Vehicles to Insure for Safe Drivers in South Carolina
Make and Model Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Ford Escape Limited 2WD $839
Hyundai Elantra SE Touring Station Wagon $892
Honda CR-V LX 2WD $898
Toyota Prius $911
Ford Edge SEL AWD $954
Chevrolet Impala LS $962
Toyota Camry LE $972
Ford Explorer Limited 4WD $990
Volkswagen Jetta S 2.5 Station Wagon $1,003
Ford Focus SEL 4-Dr Sedan $1,007
Jeep Wrangler Sport Islander Package 4WD 2-Dr $1,021
Honda Odyssey EX-L W/Navigation $1,025
Nissan Rogue S AWD $1,041
Dodge Grand Caravan SE $1,046
GMC Sierra 3500HD SLE Crew Cab 2WD $1,062
Toyota RAV4 Limited 2WD $1,064
Chevrolet Equinox LS 2WD $1,071
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Data based on single male driver age 50, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $1,000 deductibles, and South Carolina minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include homeowner, multi-vehicle, safe-driver, claim-free, and multi-policy. Rate quotes do not factor in specific location information which can raise or lower premium rates significantly.

Based upon the rates shown, we can conclude that vehicles like the Ford Escape, Hyundai Elantra, Honda CR-V, and Toyota Prius should be some of the cheapest vehicles to insure for good drivers.

Comparing quotes for low-cost insurance is hard enough, and deciding which company has the cheapest auto insurance rates for safe drivers in South Carolina calls for a little more work. Insurance premiums will be somewhat lower than the average price in South Carolina attributed to the lower risk related to selling coverage for good drivers. Cheap coverage should be readily available from a lot of good insurance companies.

Every insurance company has a different process to set premium rates, so first we will examine the auto insurance companies that tend to have lower prices in South Carolina. It's important to understand that South Carolina auto insurance rates are calculated based on many things which can significantly increase or decrease your annual premium. Simply turning a year older, filing a claim, or getting a ticket for running a stop sign can trigger changes in premium resulting in some companies being more expensive than before.

Best Insurance Companies for Safe Drivers

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Who has the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina?
Rank Company Cost Per Year
1 The Hartford $768
2 USAA $995
3 State Auto $1,138
4 Auto-Owners $1,141
5 Southern Farm Bureau $1,248
6 SC Farm Bureau Mutual $1,286
7 National Grange Mutual $1,335
8 Travelers $1,384
9 State Farm $1,422
10 Allstate $1,621
11 Progressive $1,660
12 Encompass $1,707
13 Nationwide $1,832
14 Safe Auto $1,927
15 GEICO $2,061
16 Bristol West $2,395
17 Liberty Mutual $2,439
18 Safeco $2,744
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The Hartford normally has some of the cheapest car insurance rates in South Carolina at around $768 each year. This is $841 less than the average premium paid by South Carolina drivers of $1,609. USAA, State Auto, Auto-Owners, and Southern Farm Bureau also are some of the more affordable South Carolina insurance companies.

In the above example, if you are a customer of Auto-Owners and switched to USAA, you may see a yearly price reduction of in the vicinity of $146. Drivers with Southern Farm Bureau may save as much as $253 a year, and SC Farm Bureau Mutual policyholders might realize rate reductions of up to $291 a year.

These rates are averaged for all types of drivers and the different vehicles they drive and do not take into consideration a price decrease for safe drivers. So the auto insurance company that can offer the best rates for your situation may not even be in the top 18 companies shown above. That illustrates why you need to compare prices as often as possible using your own specific driver and vehicle information.

Full coverage or liability only

Paying a lower price for auto insurance is important to the majority of drivers, and one of the easiest ways to reduce the cost of insurance for safe drivers in South Carolina is to not buy comprehensive and collision coverage. The example below illustrates the comparison of yearly insurance costs with and without full coverage. The data assumes a clean driving record, no at-fault accidents, $500 deductibles, single marital status, and no discounts are applied.

As an overall average, full coverage on your policy costs $2,146 per year more than just buying liability insurance. Many people question if you should buy full coverage at all. There isn't a written rule to stop paying for physical damage insurance, but there is a general guideline you can use. If the annual cost of having full coverage is more than about 10% of the vehicle's replacement cost less your deductible, then it might be time to consider dropping full coverage.

For example, let's say your vehicle's settlement value is $3,000 and you have $1,000 full coverage deductibles. If your vehicle is damaged in an accident, the most your company will settle for is $2,000 after paying the physical damage deductible. If you are paying over $200 a year for physical damage coverage, then it might be time to buy liability only.

There are some situations where buying only liability insurance is not a good plan. If you haven't satisfied your loan, you have to maintain full coverage to protect the lienholder's interest. Also, if you can't afford to buy a different vehicle in the event your current vehicle is totaled, you should not opt for liability only.

How careless driving impacts auto insurance rates

In a perfect world, the best way to earn cheap auto insurance rates in South Carolina for good drivers is to be a safe driver and avoid at-fault accidents and violations. The example below shows how traffic citations and fender-benders can raise insurance costs for different age groups. The prices are based on a married male driver, comp and collision included, $250 deductibles, and no additional discounts are factored in.

In the previous chart, the average cost of an auto insurance policy in South Carolina per year with no accidents and a clean driving record is $1,532. Add in one speeding ticket and the average cost hikes up to $1,759, an increase of $227 each year. Then add one accident along with the one speeding ticket and the yearly cost of auto insurance for safe drivers in South Carolina increases to an average of $2,391. That's an increase of $859, or $72 per month, just for being a careless driver!

How to get discounts on South Carolina insurance rates

Auto insurance companies that offer cheap quotes for safe drivers may provide rate discounts that could reduce prices by as much as 25% or more if you meet eligibility requirements. A few of the larger companies and a summarized list of policyholder discounts can be found below.

The example below visualizes the comparison of car insurance rates with and without discounts applied. The prices are based on a male driver, no driving violations, no at-fault accidents, South Carolina state minimum liability limits, full physical damage coverage, and $1,000 deductibles. The first bar for each age group shows insurance cost with no discounts. The second shows the rates with multiple vehicle, passive restraint, marriage, claim-free, multiple policy, and anti-theft discounts applied. When drivers qualify for the discounts, theaverage yearly reduction on auto insurance for safe drivers is 28% or $535.

What aren't you shopping around?

South Carolina auto insurance rates are influenced by many factors which can substantially change the price of coverage. Turning one year older, becoming a homeowner, or getting a speeding ticket may prompt premium changes that can make some companies affordable when they were higher priced. Also, insurance companies amend pricing at least once a year as an adjustment for underwriting gains or losses. Heavier than normal losses may cause rate hikes, while a better loss history can produce cheaper South Carolina car insurance rates.

For instance, the chart below shows a variety of companies that have the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for a 45-year-old female driver with a clean driving record, no accidents, and solid credit. If we look at prices based on her current situation, The Hartford has the cheapest car insurance rates in South Carolina at $775 annually. This is $834 less than the average policy premium paid by South Carolina drivers of $1,609. USAA, State Auto, Auto-Owners, and Southern Farm Bureau also make the list of the most affordable South Carolina auto insurance companies.

The chart below compares rates after we give the driver in the first chart a chargeable accident, slightly worse credit, and a speeding citation. Because every insurance company uses their own calculation for determining rates in each state, analyzing rate quotes may result in a different ranking of affordable companies as shown below.

National Grange Mutual now has the best price in South Carolina with Travelers, USAA, State Farm, and Auto-Owners now rounding out the top five. This demonstrates why South Carolina drivers need to compare as many rates as possible when trying to find the lowest auto insurance rates for safe drivers.

Rates are made up of many factors and change frequently, so the cheapest option six months ago may now be one of the more expensive options.