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South Carolina Car Insurance (SC)

South Carolina Car Insurance

The owner or operator of a vehicle must have minimum liability coverage:
- $25,000 per person for Bodily Injury;
- $50,000 per accident for Bodily Injury;
- $25,000 per accident for Property Damage;

Insurance required:
- Bodily injury liability;
- Property damage liability;
- Uninsured motorist;

Proof of insurance required:
- At registration (YES)
- At time of accident (YES)
- At all times in vehicle (YES)

(I.I.I.) recommends you carry $100,000 of bodily injury protection per person and $300,000 per accident.

South Carolina Car Insurance Requirements: South Carolina Driving Must-Have

Avoid getting a citation in South Carolina by having the right amount of car insurance coverage. South Carolina is one of the states where you can get busted for driving without at least the minimum amounts of car insurance coverage as evidenced by documents serving as proof of coverage. When you are inspected by a law enforcement officer while driving in the state and you cannot show proof that the car you are driving is insured, you might be subjected to a fine or even to imprisonment. Your license and registration might also be revoked if you are unable to show the necessary documents as required by law within a period set after you have been issued your citation. In fact, before you can register your vehicle and when you renew your registration, you need to present the same documents. The state’s department of motor vehicle uses an electronic monitoring system to track and verify whether you indeed have the necessary coverage. As these requirements vary from state to state, you need to check whether you have ample coverage especially when you are transferring to South Carolina from another state. Your insurance company should be able to tell you how much the minimum requirements are in terms of auto insurance coverage to be able to drive your car in South Carolina.

The minimum coverage you need to get for your car insurance in South Carolina is $25,000 for bodily injury liability and $25,000 for property damage. The bodily injury liability coverage is set on a per person basis and capped at a maximum of $50,000 per accident. It is worthy of note that although this is higher than the minimums set in some states this amount would still be inadequate if you ever figure in a serious accident. As the state of South Carolina follows a tort system, you might be sued for more than this amount in case you are found to be at-fault in any vehicular accident. This is why it is often recommended that you take out more coverage in your car insurance policy. It is also recommended, although not required by the South Carolina department of motor vehicle, that you take out an uninsured/underinsured coverage so that you are also protected in case the person who was found to be at fault does not have adequate coverage. In more serious accidents that might cause you to be seriously injured, you can take the legal course and file a case against the person at fault. This, however, could take quite some time to settle especially if the amount in question is quite hefty.

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South Carolina Car Insurance Laws

Currently, South Carolina law mandates that upon issuance of drivers licenses to first-timers, and upon subsequent renewal, the drivers must attest on the license application (DL 447) that they are covered by appropriate car liability insurance. In case the driver's license applicant does not have a car registered under his name, or if the automobile is not in his household, it must be noted in the application by checking off the corresponding box. The applicant must likewise certify that the declared liability insurance is of a personal nature and not the liability insurance of an employer.

Car owners must present proof the vehicles they drive are properly insured. The name of the insurance company must be provided to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) every time the vehicle is registered, whether it is for the first time or for renewal. The SCDMV will then electronically validate your policy. Verification failures may result to the suspension of the vehicle registration and the driver's license. New residents of South Carolina whose automobiles are covered by a national insurance company must make sure that their new address is reported to the insurance company before having the vehicle registered in South Carolina.

The law also provides for penalties for failure to present proof of insurance when requested by a law enforcement officer. A citation may be given together with a penalty or imprisonment. Once a citation is issued, proof of car insurance coverage on the vehicle being driven at the time must be presented within 30 days to avoid being meted a 30-day suspension on driving privileges.

Currently, the minimum insurance limits for South Carolina are "25/50/25". This means that the insurance policy must provide a minimum of $25,000 for injury liability for a person who figures in an accident, $50,000 for all accident-related injuries, and $25,000 for properties damaged in the car accident.

During a vehicular mishap, the law requires the investigating officer to issue a "Notice of Requirement" (form FR – 10) to check the validity of the liability insurance at the time of the accident. Once form FR -10 is issued by the officer on the scene, the owner must provide within 15 days from the time of the accident, the proof of insurance on the vehicle (through the insurance company) that was involved in the accident. Failure to do so may result to the suspension of registration or driving privileges.

Under South Carolina law, insurance companies are required to notify the SCDMV upon cancellation of a liability insurance policy. To do this, the "Notice of Cancellation of Policy" (form FR – 4) is sent to the department who will in turn forward it to the owner. The owner must provide the department with updates on the current insurance coverage or give up the car registration/plate. Failure on the part of the car registrant to submit documentary evidence that the vehicle is presently covered or give proper advice to the SCDMV as to the current status will result to the suspension of both the driver's license and the car registration/plate. Suspension will cost the owner up to $400 in reinstatement fees.

South Carolina Department of Insurance

  • 1201 Main Street, Suite 1000 Columbia, SC 29201
  • Phone: (803) 737-6160
  • Fax: (803) 737-6205

South Carolina Department of Transportation

  • 955 Park Street Columbia, SC 29202
  • Phone: (803) 737-2314
  • Fax: (717) 783-0505
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