Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in South Carolina | YourMechanic Advice

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in South Carolina

The state of South Carolina requires that all drivers carry liability insurance, or “financial responsibility,” on their vehicles in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle registration.

The minimum financial responsibility requirements for South Carolina drivers are as follow:

  • A minimum of $25,000 per person, for bodily injury or death. This means you’ll need to carry a minimum of $50,000 to cover the lowest possible number of people involved in an accident (the two drivers).

  • A minimum $25,000 for property damage liability

You also need to carry two types of uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, which pays for specific costs related to an accident that involves a driver who does not carry the required legal insurance.

  • A minimum of $25,000 per person, for bodily injury or death in uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage. This means you’ll need to carry a minimum of $50,000 to cover the lowest possible number of people involved in an accident (the two drivers).

  • A minimum of $25,000 for property damage in uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage

This means that the total minimum amount of financial responsibility you will need is $150,000 to cover bodily injury or death, property damage liability and uninsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured motorist registration

Alternatively, if you do not wish to carry insurance on your vehicle, you may register with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles as an uninsured motorist. You must pay an annual fee of $550 to do so. You will be held liable for any damages or injuries that occur in an accident that is your fault.

In order to register, you must meet a set of specific criteria that includes:

  • A valid driver’s license that has been valid for at least three years.

  • All other drivers in your household must also have held a valid license for three years.

  • You may not be under a current requirement to file an SR-22 document.

  • You have not have been convicted of DUI, reckless driving, or other moving violations within the last three years.

Proof of insurance

You must show your proof of insurance, or your copy of approved application as an uninsured motorist at any traffic stop, or at the scene of an accident.

When you register a vehicle, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will electronically verify your insurance, so you do not need to have proof of insurance with you.

Violation penalties

If you do not have proof of insurance to show an officer at a traffic stop or at the scene of an accident, you may be given a ticket, or be issued a fine. You could also face imprisonment. If you do not provide proof of insurance within 30 days, you may face a suspension of your driver’s license.

If you are caught driving without valid insurance, you may face the following penalties:

  • Suspension of driver’s license and vehicle registration

  • $200 reinstatement fee

  • An additional fine of $5 per day for every day that you drove without insurance, up to $200.

For more information, contact the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles through their website.


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