You have seen the ads from auto insurance companies like GEICO and The General that make promises of enormous savings. So you just need to choose one randomly, right?

Regrettably, it's not quite that easy, as there are a whole bunch of unknowns such as whether you are single or married, your credit rating, and the crime level of your neighborhood, that all factor into the price you pay. Car insurance is kind of a dry topic, but this article will explain the causes of high insurance rates and hopefully give you enough understanding to have a good start in finding the cheapest car insurance for teens.

For teen drivers, one of the largest components that are looked at to determine the amount you pay for auto insurance is where your residence is. Larger areas like Summerville, Florence, and North Charleston will most likely have higher rates, whereas areas with less people or fewer weather incidents have the benefit of cheaper car insurance.

The following table sorts the highest-priced areas in South Carolina for teenagers to buy an auto insurance policy in.

How much does car insurance cost in South Carolina?
Rank City Annual Rate
1 Summerville $1,290
2 Goose Creek $1,284
3 Florence $1,259
4 Sumter $1,252
5 North Charleston $1,250
6 Charleston $1,247
7 Mount Pleasant $1,225
8 Socastee $1,223
9 Myrtle Beach $1,222
10 Columbia $1,177
11 Saint Andrews $1,149
12 Hilton Head Island $1,139
13 North Augusta $1,139
14 Greenwood $1,132
15 Spartanburg $1,127
16 Aiken $1,119
17 Anderson $1,116
18 Greenville $1,100
19 Rock Hill $1,091
20 Taylors $1,085
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Price information shown is comparative as the specific South Carolina residence address can change rates greatly.

The car, truck, or SUV that needs insurance is a significant factor that determines if you can find cheaper auto insurance for teenagers. Vehicles with economical engines, excellent safety ratings, or a positive history of liability claims will cost quite a bit less to insure than adrenaline junky models.

The next list ranks auto insurance premiums for a number of the cheaper vehicles to buy coverage for.

Cheapest Vehicles to Insure for Teenagers in South Carolina
Make, Model, and Trim Level Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Honda CR-V LX 4WD $3,635
Honda Accord LX-P 4-Dr Sedan $3,645
Ford Escape XLS 2WD $3,635
Toyota Prius $3,927
Dodge Grand Caravan SE $4,090
Ford F-150 XLT Regular Cab 4WD $4,095
Ford Edge SE AWD $4,278
Toyota Camry LE $4,313
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4WD $4,322
Chevrolet Impala LT $4,313
Toyota RAV4 Sport 4WD $4,321
Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4WD $4,347
Ford Explorer Limited 2WD $4,355
Hyundai Elantra Blue 4-Dr Sedan $4,501
Honda Civic EX 4-Dr Sedan $4,508
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 2WD 4-Dr $4,531
Honda Odyssey EX-L $4,535
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Cost estimates assume single male driver age 16, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $1,000 deductibles, and South Carolina minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include claim-free, and safe-driver. Table data does not factor in specific location information which can revise auto insurance rates significantly.

Looking at the numbers, we can infer that cars like the Honda CR-V, Honda Accord, Ford Escape, Toyota Prius, and Dodge Grand Caravan will be some of the cheaper vehicles to insure for teen drivers. The cost of a car insurance policy will trend higher because of the fact that there is a higher risk for teenagers, but overall those models will have the lowest insurance rates possible.

Accidents and violations increase rates

One of the best ways to obtain good insurance rates in South Carolina for teen drivers is to drive safe and avoid traffic citations and accidents. The diagram below demonstrates how speeding tickets and at-fault fender-benders impact insurance costs for each age group. The premiums are based on a married male driver, comprehensive and collision coverage, $1,000 deductibles, and no discounts are factored in.

The chart shows that the average cost of an auto insurance policy in South Carolina per year with no accidents and a clean driving record is $1,322. Factor in two speeding tickets and the average cost swells to $1,816, an increase of $494 each year. Now add one accident along with the two speeding tickets and the 12-month cost of insurance for teenagers in South Carolina jumps again to an average of $2,319. That's an increase of $997, or $83 per month, just for being a careless driver!

The information below highlights how deductible choice can impact yearly insurance costs when trying to find cheap insurance for teenagers in South Carolina. The rate quotes are based on a single female driver, full physical damage coverage, and no additional discounts are factored in.

The chart above illustrates that a 30-year-old driver could pocket $370 a year by changing from a $100 deductible up to a $500 deductible, or save $558 by choosing a $1,000 deductible. Even younger insureds, such as the 20-year-old chart data, could shave as much as $824 annually by selecting a higher deductible. When increasing deductibles, it's a good idea to have plenty of discretionary funds to offset the extra out-of-pocket expense, which deters some people from using high deductibles.

Why you should compare rates

South Carolina insurance rates are influenced by many factors that may substantially change the price you pay for coverage. Getting older, having a teenage driver, or getting a DUI can cause premium changes that may make certain companies much cheaper than others. And not only may your rating factors change, but car insurance companies change premium rates every year in order to maintain liquidity for claims. Significantly higher losses may cause higher rates, while long-term profits can produce lower-cost South Carolina car insurance rates.

For instance, the bar chart below shows the company with the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for a 30-year-old male driver with no accidents, a clean driving record, and good credit. If we look at prices based on his current risk factors, The Hartford may offer the most affordable car insurance rates in South Carolina at $768 annually. This is $841 less than the average premium paid by South Carolina drivers of $1,609. USAA, Auto-Owners, State Auto, and Southern Farm Bureau are the remaining cheapest South Carolina auto insurance companies.

In this example, we will give the driver from the first rate comparison a chargeable accident, a lower credit score, and a traffic citation. Since every insurance provider has their own process to determine rates, getting updated rate quotes most likely will result in a different ranking of the cheapest South Carolina car insurance companies as shown below.

USAA now has the lowest price in South Carolina with National Grange Mutual, Travelers, State Farm, and The Hartford also being competitive. This example shows why it is important to perform a complete rate comparison when trying to find the most affordable car insurance quotes for teenagers.

Prices are made up of many things and can change substantially, so the best price the last time you shopped your coverage around may now be costing you a lot of money.

Tips to find cheaper car insurance for teenagers

Lowering your rates is not difficult, and here are a few money-saving suggestions that can help drivers find more affordable auto insurance.

That final tip is especially important, as was emphasized in the prior article. Coverage rates vary greatly, so don't be tentative to buy from a different company if you can find a cheaper rate. Sticking with a specific company is fine, but it's not a great idea if your bullheadedness ends up costing you thousands of dollars over several years. It only takes a couple minutes to compare rates to find cheaper insurance for teenagers.