The words "affordable" and "insurance" probably shouldn't be used in the same sentence, especially when you are trying to find the best price on coverage for drivers with a DUI. In an attempt to save some money, let's introduce you to some of the things that influence auto insurance prices, and see how we can help you lower the cost of your next policy.

Comparing quotes for budget car insurance is hard enough, and deciding which company quotes the cheapest auto insurance rates for drivers with a DUI in South Carolina may require even more perseverance. Prices could be much more expensive than the average rate in South Carolina attributed to the potential for more claims related to selling coverage after getting a DUI, but competitively-priced insurance should be available if you compare enough companies.

Each insurer has their own formula to set their prices, so first we will examine the auto insurance companies that tend to be cheaper in South Carolina. It's important to know that South Carolina auto insurance rates are determined by lots of factors which can substantially change the price you pay. This price fluctuation is why consumers need to compare many different companies when trying to get the lowest insurance rates for drivers with a DUI. Auto insurance prices are impacted by many things and can change without notice, so the best option two years ago may now not even be in the top five.

Find the Cheapest Car Insurance after a DUI

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South Carolina car insurance ranked by cost per year
Rank Company Cost Per Year
1 The Hartford $745
2 USAA $995
3 State Auto $1,105
4 Auto-Owners $1,153
5 SC Farm Bureau Mutual $1,248
6 Southern Farm Bureau $1,248
7 National Grange Mutual $1,321
8 State Farm $1,366
9 Travelers $1,397
10 Allstate $1,621
11 Progressive $1,643
12 Encompass $1,657
13 Nationwide $1,778
14 Safe Auto $1,927
15 GEICO $2,061
16 Liberty Mutual $2,415
17 Bristol West $2,468
18 Safeco $2,744
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The Hartford may offer some of the cheapest car insurance rates in South Carolina at around $745 a year. USAA, State Auto, Auto-Owners, and SC Farm Bureau Mutual also make the cut as some of the most economical South Carolina car insurance companies.

As illustrated above, if you are insured with Auto-Owners and switched to USAA, you could earn a yearly savings of in the vicinity of $158. Drivers with SC Farm Bureau Mutual may save as much as $253 a year, and Southern Farm Bureau insureds might see rate reductions of $253 a year.

Remember that these policy rates are averaged across all drivers and vehicles and are not factoring in a rate increase for drivers with a DUI. So the company that fits your needs best may not even be in the list above. That's why you need to quote rates from many companies using your own specific driver information and vehicle.

After getting a DUI, one of the more important criteria that are looked at to determine car insurance rates is where your residence is. More densely populated places like Florence, Charleston, and Goose Creek tend to pay more, whereas areas with less congestion can boast about having cheaper rates.

The table below ranks the highest-priced areas in South Carolina for drivers with a DUI in which to buy car insurance.

Where does South Carolina rank for car insurance cost?
Rank City Annual Rate
1 Florence $1,298
2 North Charleston $1,288
3 Charleston $1,285
4 Summerville $1,278
5 Goose Creek $1,246
6 Sumter $1,239
7 Columbia $1,225
8 Socastee $1,223
9 Myrtle Beach $1,186
10 Saint Andrews $1,184
11 Mount Pleasant $1,177
12 Hilton Head Island $1,139
13 Aiken $1,130
14 North Augusta $1,128
15 Anderson $1,127
16 Greenville $1,111
17 Greenwood $1,099
18 Rock Hill $1,091
19 Spartanburg $1,083
20 Wade Hampton $1,080
21 Greer $1,077
22 Taylors $1,063
23 Mauldin $1,040
24 Simpsonville $1,039
25 Easley $1,035
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Rate quotes are estimated as the specific South Carolina residence address can raise or lower premium rates greatly.

The vehicle on the policy is a significant factor that determines the availability of low-cost coverage for drivers with a DUI. Vehicles with more horsepower, a lack of modern safety features, or a track record of large liability claims will cost quite a bit more to insure than safer, lower-performance models.

The next list estimates insurance costs for some of the cheaper vehicles to buy coverage for.

Cheapest Vehicles to Insure for Drivers with a DUI in South Carolina
Vehicle Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Honda CR-V EX-L 2WD $1,195
Hyundai Elantra GLS Touring Station Wagon $1,274
Ford Escape Limited 2WD $1,283
Toyota Prius $1,297
Chevrolet Impala LS $1,356
Ford Focus SE 4-Dr Sedan $1,364
Honda Civic DX 4-Dr Sedan $1,356
Nissan Altima 2.5 4-Dr Sedan $1,382
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 2WD $1,387
Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4WD 2-Dr $1,395
Ford F-150 XL Super Cab 4WD $1,403
Ford Explorer XLT 4WD $1,433
Toyota Tacoma 2WD $1,450
Ford Edge Sport 2WD $1,460
Toyota Corolla LE $1,469
Chevrolet Equinox LS 2WD $1,478
Chevrolet Malibu LS $1,486
Toyota RAV4 Limited 4WD $1,478
Hyundai Sonata GLS 4-Dr Sedan $1,480
GMC Sierra SL Crew Cab 2WD $1,487
Dodge Grand Caravan Crew $1,507
GMC Sierra 3500HD SLE Crew Cab 2WD $1,511
Nissan Rogue SL AWD $1,558
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Prices above based on single male driver age 50, two speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $1,000 deductibles, and South Carolina minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include claim-free, multi-vehicle, homeowner, and multi-policy. Price information does not factor in vehicle location which can influence rates substantially.

Based upon the rates shown, you can see that vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Elantra, and Ford Escape will definitely be some of the most budget-friendly vehicles to insure after getting a DUI. Rates will be higher anyway because there is more liability risk for drivers with a DUI, but generally speaking those particular models will tend to have the lowest insurance rates that you are likely to find.

Liability-only versus full coverage

Saving on auto insurance is probably important to most drivers, and an easy way to lower the cost of insurance for drivers with a DUI in South Carolina is to only buy liability insurance. The information below illustrates the difference between insurance prices with full physical damage coverage compared to only buying liability only. Data assumes no claims, a clean driving record, $1,000 deductibles, marital status is single, and no discounts are applied to the premium.

If we average the cost for all age groups, physical damage coverage costs an additional $1,435 per year over and above liability only. At some point, about every driver wonders when is it safe to stop buying full coverage. There is no set guideline to delete full coverage, but there is a broad guideline. If the annual cost of your full coverage insurance is more than about 10% of the settlement you would receive from your company, then you might consider buying liability only.

For example, let's assume your vehicle's claim settlement value is $12,000 and you have $1,000 policy deductibles. If your vehicle is damaged in an accident, the most your company will settle for is $11,000 after paying your deductible. If you are paying in excess of $1,100 annually for full coverage, then you may want to consider only buying liability coverage.

Insurance rate increases from tickets or accidents

One of the best ways to receive the cheapest auto insurance prices in South Carolina after getting a DUI is to drive attentively and not get tickets or have accidents. The chart below demonstrates how traffic citations and accidents impact car insurance costs for different ages of insureds. The data assumes a married female driver, comp and collision included, $1,000 deductibles, and no additional discounts are factored in.

In the previous example, the average cost of a car insurance policy in South Carolina per year with no violations or accidents is $1,100. Receive one speeding ticket and the average cost surges to $1,285, an increase of $185 each year. Now add two accidents along with the one speeding ticket and the 12-month cost of auto insurance for drivers with a DUI in South Carolina jumps again to an average of $3,016. That's an increase of $1,916, or $160 per month, just for not driving attentively!

What aren't you shopping around?

South Carolina auto insurance rates are impacted by many things that may substantially change the price you have to pay for coverage. Improving your credit rating, increasing deductibles, or getting a driving violation may generate price changes resulting in some companies being cheaper than others.

Not only may your risk profile change, but auto insurance companies change their prices as needed in order to offset underwriting gains or losses. Significantly higher claims may cause rate increases, while better underwriting can result in cheaper South Carolina car insurance rates.

To illustrate this example, the chart below shows rates for the cheapest car insurance in South Carolina for a 35-year-old female driver with a clear driving record, no claims, and a good credit rating. When quoting prices based on her current risk profile, The Hartford may have the best car insurance rates in South Carolina at $768 a year. This is $841 less than the average price paid by South Carolina drivers of $1,609. USAA, State Auto, Auto-Owners, and Southern Farm Bureau are also included in the best South Carolina auto insurance companies.

Let's now give the driver from above a claim or two, slightly worse credit, and an imperfect driving record. Due to the fact that every auto insurer has a proprietary formula to determining premium rates, comparing quotes may now show a different list of cheap South Carolina auto insurance companies as shown below.

National Grange Mutual now has the lowest car insurance rate in South Carolina with USAA, Travelers, State Farm, and The Hartford now being in the top five. This example proves why it is important to compare as many rates as possible to find the best car insurance rates for drivers with a DUI. Auto insurance prices consist of many factors and can change substantially, so the best option three years ago may now be an over-priced policy.