South Carolina

What is Auto Insurance?

All forms of insurance provide protection to consumers by covering certain risks and promising to pay for financial losses caused by these risks.

Auto insurance is one of the most used types of personal insurance. South Carolina law requires that you purchase liability and uninsured motorist coverage to drive legally in the state. Auto insurance is divided into two basic coverages: liability and property damage.


Auto liability insurance policies contain three major parts under South Carolina Tort law: liability insurance for bodily injury; liability insurance for property damage; and uninsured / underinsured motorists coverage.

Bodily injury liability insurance protects you against the claims of other people who are injured in an accident for which you were at fault. South Carolina requires you to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person for bodily injury and $50,000 for all persons injured in one accident. Claims for bodily injury may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering

Property damage liability insurance pays for any damage you cause to the property of others. This not only includes damages to other vehicles but also other property, such as buildings, walls, fences, and equipment. The minimum limit in South Carolina is $25,000 for all property damage in one accident. Uninsured motorists coverage protects the policy holder directly. This coverage pays if you are injured and/or your property is damaged by a hit-and-run driver or a driver who does not have auto insurance. There is a $200 deductible by law.

Property Damage

Property damage coverage may include both collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. These two coverages are not required by law.

Collision coverage pays for physical damage to your car as the result of your auto colliding with an object, such as a tree or another car. This coverage is optional and is not required by law. In the case of an accident involving an older car, the cost of repairing the car can quickly exceed the actual cash value of the car. In this case, insurers will “total” the car and pay you the actual cash value of the car rather than repairing it.

Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your auto from almost all other causes, including fire, vandalism, flooding, theft, falling objects, and collision with animals. Comprehensive coverage also will cover broken glass, such as damage to a windshield, and in South Carolina the deductible for safety glass does not apply.

As stated above, these two coverages, comprehensive and collision are not required by law but may be required by your lender.