One of the many considerations that are used to help calculate insurance cost is the neighborhood you call home. Cities with larger populations or higher claim trends tend to have more expensive auto insurance rates, whereas areas with fewer weather claims and lower vehicle theft rates benefit from having to pay less for coverage.

The next table rates the most costly cities in South Carolina to purchase auto insurance in. Charleston is ranked #3 with a yearly premium of $1,285 for the average policyholder, which is about $107 each month.

How much does car insurance cost in Charleston, SC?
Rank City Average Per Year
1 Goose Creek $1,296
2 Summerville $1,290
3 Charleston $1,285
4 North Charleston $1,262
5 Florence $1,259
6 Socastee $1,223
7 Sumter $1,215
8 Myrtle Beach $1,186
9 Mount Pleasant $1,177
10 Columbia $1,177
11 Saint Andrews $1,160
12 Greenwood $1,143
13 Hilton Head Island $1,139
14 Greenville $1,133
15 North Augusta $1,128
16 Spartanburg $1,127
17 Aiken $1,119
18 Anderson $1,116
19 Rock Hill $1,091
20 Wade Hampton $1,080
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Price information shown is estimated as the specific zip code location can raise or lower prices substantially.

Seeing where Charleston ranks compared to other South Carolina cities, comparing quotes for cost effective auto insurance is difficult, and figuring out which companies have the cheapest insurance rates in Charleston calls for more quotes for comparison. Each auto insurance company uses their own method for setting prices, so we'll take a look at the lowest cost insurance companies in Charleston.

It's a good idea to know that South Carolina insurance rates are influenced by many factors that can increase the price you have to pay. This price variability is why it is so important to compare many different companies when trying to find cheap auto insurance quotes in Charleston. Insurance rates are impacted by many factors and can change substantially, so the best price the last time you checked may now cost much more than other companies.

Best Insurance Companies in Charleston

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Cheapest auto insurance in South Carolina ranked by cost per year
Rank Company Cost Per Year
1 The Hartford $768
2 USAA $985
3 State Auto $1,105
4 Auto-Owners $1,119
5 SC Farm Bureau Mutual $1,248
6 Southern Farm Bureau $1,298
7 National Grange Mutual $1,375
8 State Farm $1,380
9 Travelers $1,397
10 Allstate $1,621
11 Encompass $1,641
12 Progressive $1,643
13 Nationwide $1,760
14 Safe Auto $1,985
15 GEICO $2,061
16 Liberty Mutual $2,439
17 Bristol West $2,468
18 Safeco $2,663
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The Hartford may have some of the lowest car insurance rates in Charleston at around $768 a year. This is $841 less than the average policy premium paid by South Carolina drivers of $1,609. USAA, State Auto, Auto-Owners, and SC Farm Bureau Mutual also make the cut as some of the lowest-priced Charleston, SC auto insurance companies.

As shown in the table above, if you currently have coverage with Auto-Owners and switched to The Hartford, you may realize yearly savings of approximately $351. Insureds with SC Farm Bureau Mutual could save as much as $480 a year, and Southern Farm Bureau insureds might see rate reductions of $530 a year.

It's important to note that these premiums are averages for all ages of drivers and types of vehicles and do not take into consideration a specific vehicle garaging location in Charleston. So the auto insurance company that can offer you the best rate may not even be in the list above. That's why you need to get rate quotes using your own personalized driver profile and vehicle information.

The type of vehicle you are insuring is a large factor that determines if you can find low-priced car insurance in Charleston. Vehicles with higher performance characteristics, poor safety ratings, or an increased likelihood of liability claims will cost more to insure than safer models. The next table outlines insurance costs for a handful of the most cost-effective automobiles to insure in South Carolina.

Cheapest Vehicles to Insure in Charleston, SC
Vehicle Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Honda CR-V EX 2WD $1,184
Ford F-150 XL Regular Cab 2WD $1,220
Ford Escape XLS 2WD $1,291
Honda Accord LX 4-Dr Sedan $1,301
Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 2WD $1,323
Chevrolet Impala LS $1,372
Toyota RAV4 Limited 2WD $1,399
Toyota Camry LE $1,408
Dodge Ram Quad Cab ST 2WD $1,421
Chevrolet Malibu LT $1,426
Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD Off-Road Package 4WD $1,431
Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4WD 2-Dr $1,448
Hyundai Elantra Blue 4-Dr Sedan $1,455
Ford Edge Sport 2WD $1,475
Toyota Prius $1,478
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Premium data assumes single male driver age 50, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $1,000 deductibles, and South Carolina minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include multi-vehicle, multi-policy, safe-driver, homeowner, and claim-free. Price estimates do not factor in specific garaging location which can increase or decrease auto insurance rates noticeably.

Based on these rates, you can infer that models like the Honda CR-V, Ford F-150, Ford Escape, Honda Accord, and Ford Explorer are most likely going to be a few of the most budget-friendly vehicles to insure for drivers in Charleston.

Full coverage or liability only

Finding the cheapest insurance is probably important to the majority of people, and an easy way to save on the cost of insurance in Charleston is to not insure for full coverage. The chart below illustrates the difference between car insurance rates with and without physical damage coverage, medical payments, and uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage. The data is based on no claims or driving citations, $250 deductibles, single status, and no discounts are applied to the premium.

Averaged out for all age groups, physical damage coverage on your policy costs $2,437 per year more than just buying liability insurance. At some point, almost every driver questions if you should buy full coverage at all. There isn't a written rule of when to stop paying for physical damage insurance, but there is a general school of thought. If the yearly cost for physical damage coverage is more than around 10% of the replacement cost of your vehicle minus the policy deductible, then you might want to consider buying only liability coverage.

Impact of violations and accidents on rates

A great way to score the most affordable insurance premiums for drivers in Charleston is to drive carefully and maintain a clean driving record. The example below illustrates how traffic citations and fender-benders drive up yearly insurance costs for different insured age categories. The data assumes a single male driver, full coverage, $1,000 deductibles, and no additional discounts are factored in.

In the chart above, the average cost of auto insurance in Charleston per year with a clean driving record and no accidents is $1,435. Get written up for one speeding ticket and the average cost jumps to $1,618, an increase of $184 each year. Now throw in two accidents along with the one speeding ticket and the annual cost of insurance in Charleston goes up to an average of $3,349. That's an increase of $1,914, or $160 per month, just for being a little careless behind the wheel!

Get discount Charleston insurance

Insurers that provide coverage in Charleston may also provide rate discounts that could reduce prices by as much as 30% if you meet specific criteria. A list of companies and some of their more popular discounts are outlined below.

The diagram below illustrates the comparison of yearly insurance costs with and without discounts applied to the policy premium. Data assumes a female driver, a clean driving record, no at-fault accidents, South Carolina state minimum liability limits, full coverage, and $100 deductibles. The first bar for each age group shows premium with no discounts. The second bar shows the rates with multiple policy, anti-theft, safe-driver, marriage, defensive driving course, and passive restraint discounts applied. When taking advantage of discounts, the average savings per year on insurance in Charleston is 28% or $690.

How to find more affordable car insurance in Charleston

The list below summarizes many penny-pinching ideas that can help you find cheap coverage.

The last suggestion is remarkably crucial, as was emphasized in the article above. Insurance rates can be adjusted at any time, so don't be hesitant to change insurance companies if a lower price can be found.

Many drivers prefer to stick with one company, but it's not a good idea if that loyalty results in overpaying big bucks every year. It takes less than five minutes to shop around and find cheaper auto insurance in Charleston.