Accidents can happen to anyone, especially during inclement weather when visibility and road conditions are poor. That’s why if you own a vehicle in Columbia, SC, you are required by law to carry car insurance.
From fender-benders on Gervais Street to multi-vehicle collisions on Interstate 77, a reliable auto insurance policy can shield you from facing large financial losses in the wake of an accident.
Independent agents make it easy to find the right policy. These agents can obtain customized quotes from some of the best car insurance companies in Columbia, SC. That way, you can be sure you are getting the coverage you want at a competitive price. Find an insurance agent near you to get started.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in Columbia, SC?
The average cost of car insurance in South Carolina is lower than the national rate. This is good news for Columbia drivers who are looking for an affordable policy.
- National average annual car insurance cost: $1,311
- South Carolina average annual car insurance cost: $1,210
Of course, car insurance costs can vary greatly from one driver to the next. This is because costs are calculated individually based on several factors such as:
- The make, model, and year of the vehicle(s) you are insuring
- Whether you own or rent your home
- Your age, occupation, marital status, and driving record
- Information about other licensed drivers in your household
- The accident and auto theft rates in the vicinity of your home
- The amount of liability coverage you are purchasing
- The coverage options you wish to include in your policy
If you bundle your coverage with another policy like home insurance or renters insurance, you can often get significant discounts. Be sure to ask about any other incentives that you might qualify for, such as if you have long, safe driving history or your family includes a teen driver who gets good grades.
Comparing policies and rates from a variety of insurance companies lets you be sure you are getting your coverage at a competitive price. Independent insurance agents make comparison shopping easy.
What Are the Car Insurance Requirements in Columbia, SC?
Liability insurance covers injuries and property damage that you may cause to other people if you are responsible for a collision. Uninsured motorist insurance covers injuries and property damage sustained by you if you are in a collision caused by an uninsured driver.
Your car insurance policy must meet or exceed the following coverage amounts:
- Liability coverage:
- Bodily injury liability insurance: $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability insurance: $25,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist coverage (UIM):
- UIM bodily injury insurance: $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident
- UIM property damage insurance: $25,000 per accident
The costs associated with a serious collision can easily go over what a minimum coverage policy will pay for. That is why many residents of Columbia opt to purchase car insurance with more liability insurance than the state requires.
If you have a lot to lose and want even more liability coverage than your car insurance policy can offer, you may want to consider also purchasing an umbrella insurance policy. This is an affordable way to boost all of your personal liability coverage.
What Else Can Columbia, SC Car Insurance Cover?
In addition to the liability and uninsured motorist coverage that is required by law, insurance companies will give you the option of adding any of a number of available coverage options to your Columbia car insurance policy:
- Full coverage: This typically refers to coverage against damage to your own vehicle. While not required by law, it is often required by lenders if you are still paying for your car and by dealerships if you are leasing it. Full coverage includes:
- Medical payments insurance: Also known as “MedPay,” this can pay for the cost of medical treatment for you and your passengers if you are injured in a collision, regardless of fault.
- Gap insurance: This can bridge the gap between what you owe for your vehicle and what it is actually worth if it is totaled in a covered event. This is often a good idea during the first couple years of new vehicle ownership when depreciation is fastest.
- Towing and roadside assistance insurance: This can pay for assistance if your vehicle becomes disabled while you are out on the road.
- Rental reimbursement insurance: This can pay for the cost of renting a vehicle while repairs are being made to your car following a covered event.
Take the time to review all of the coverage options offered to you so you can determine which, if any, are a good fit for you.
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What Is the Penalty for Driving without Insurance in Columbia, South Carolina?
Driving without insurance is illegal in South Carolina. If caught doing so, you can face expensive penalties including:
- A $600 uninsured motorist fee
- The suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration until all fees are paid in full
- The need to pay $200 in reinstatement fees to get your license and vehicle registration back
- The requirement to maintain an SR-22 certificate with your insurance company for three years
- An increase in your car insurance rates
Even so, nearly one in ten drivers on the roads in this state are operating uninsured vehicles. This is why uninsured motorist insurance, which is a mandatory part of your car insurance, is so important.
- Percentage of US drivers who are uninsured: 13.0%
- Percentage of South Carolina drivers who are uninsured: 9.4%
If you are in a collision caused by an uninsured driver, uninsured motorist insurance can ensure that you have immediate coverage for any medical bills and repair costs you may have accrued as a result of the accident.
Your insurance company will then take on the difficult task of trying to collect the funds owed by the uninsured driver.
Does Columbia, SC Car Insurance Cover against Vehicle Thefts?
The auto theft rate in South Carolina higher than the national average. In Columbia, the rate is even higher. Residents of this city report about 800 auto thefts a year.
- National auto theft rate per 1,000 people: 2.29
- South Carolina auto theft rate per 1,000 people: 2.82
- Columbia auto theft rate per 1,000 people: 6.69
As a vehicle owner, it is important to know that you can only be compensated for a stolen car if your auto insurance policy includes comprehensive, or “other than collision,” insurance.
Comprehensive insurance covers against far more than just theft. It can also reimburse you for loss and damage to your car due to a variety of other non-collision hazards, such as if your car is damaged by hail, a flood, or a fallen tree.
If you are still paying for your car or you have it on a lease, chances are good you have comprehensive insurance already. If not, you can talk to an independent agent to find out how much it will cost to add this optional coverage to your Columbia car insurance policy.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent in Columbia, SC?
As a vehicle owner in Columbia, you can turn to local independent agents for help when you are looking for a reliable auto insurance policy that meets your coverage and budgetary needs.
Independent agents are not tied to a particular insurance company, so they are free to work with several competing providers as they search for the best and most affordable policy to cover you and your family.
Find an independent insurance agent near you to learn more. Your agent can help you start comparing customized car insurance quotes in no time.
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