Is South Carolina a No-Fault State?

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  • Is South Carolina a No-Fault State?

Even though South Carolina isn’t a no-fault state, insurers still offer policyholders a first-party medical benefit (FPMB) they can carry on their policies to cover their medical expenses in the event of an accident, regardless of who’s at fault. While drivers in the Palmetto State must have active auto insurance policies, the minimum coverage all drivers must have is a limit of liability and uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.

Keep reading to discover why South Carolina is a no-fault state, how drivers file claims during accidents, and the required coverages all drivers must have on their South Carolina auto insurance policies.

Is South Carolina a No-Fault State?

No, South Carolina isn’t a no-fault state. However, some insurers may offer no-fault coverages that policyholders can add to their auto insurance policies to cover a range of expenses in an accident.

States enact no-fault laws to make receiving insurance funds quicker for victims of car accidents. Typically, states with high populations or a higher-than-average number of uninsured drivers will enact no-fault laws because it takes longer for claims to be processed if fault must be assigned.

In tort states, like South Carolina, at least one driver must be considered at fault before any drivers involved in an accident can begin to receive insurance benefits. However, in tort states, it can take longer for victims to receive assistance from insurers for their accident expenses because insurance systems are more likely to get backed up.

In a no-fault state, drivers typically rely on themselves for coverage in an accident. Drivers will carry no-fault coverages that cover their own expenses in the event of an accident, regardless of who’s at fault. However, in tort states, the victim of an accident will use the at-fault driver’s liability coverage to help pay their expenses.

In the Palmetto State, car insurance laws mandate drivers have at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, $25,000 in property damage liability per accident (25/50/25 liability coverage), and the same 25/50/25 limit of uninsured motorist coverage (UM)

If the at-fault driver can’t pay for the total of the victim’s expenses, they must pay the remainder out of pocket. Whether the at-fault driver was driving without insurance or the victim’s expenses exceeded their liability limit, they’re on the hook for all the victim’s bills. At-fault drivers in tort states are also responsible for the full amount of their expenses, even if they don’t have any insurance coverage to assist in paying the bills.

While South Carolinians are only required to carry a minimum limit of liability and UM coverages, drivers can opt to have full coverage policies equipped with no-fault coverages. In many no-fault states, drivers must carry a first-party medical benefit (FPMB) called personal injury protection (PIP). While PIP isn’t available in the Palmetto State, drivers can select a similar FPMB called medical payments coverage (MedPay). FPMBs like PIP and MedPay help the policyholder cover their medical expenses in the event of an accident, regardless of who’s at fault. 

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Is South Carolina a No-Fault Insurance State for Accidents?

South Carolina isn’t a no-fault state for accidents. This means drivers aren’t required to carry no-fault coverages like FPMBs or property protection insurance (PPI). While no-fault coverages may not be necessary in the Palmetto State, many drivers still opt to carry them for the added cushion they provide to one’s policy.

Adding no-fault coverage like an FPMB such as MedPay, collision coverage, or comprehensive coverage to one’s policy will upgrade it from a minimum coverage policy to a full coverage one. While a full coverage policy may not be the cheapest policy in the state, it’s often the safest. The average cost of a full coverage policy in South Carolina is about $1,640 annually, just $30 below the national average of $1,670. Remember, though, that one’s premium isn’t the only cost associated with an auto insurance policy.

When filing a claim, one must pay one’s deductible before receiving the financial assistance provided by one’s coverages. Typically, those who select a low deductible will have higher premiums, and those who select a high deductible will have lower premiums. Many of the best insurers in the state offer full coverage policies with lower-than-average premiums and various discounts policyholders can stack to lower their premiums even further.

A policy with minimum legal coverage will only protect the victim in an accident with the at-fault policyholder. However, a full coverage policy can be tailored to the policyholder’s comfort and provide coverage that directly protects the policyholder, regardless of who’s at fault in an accident. While it can be tempting to bypass the high premiums associated with a full coverage policy, such a policy is often more cost-effective in the long run as costs in an at-fault accident with minimum coverage can tally up quickly. 

Remember, driving without insurance in the Palmetto State is illegal, no matter how enticing it may be to forgo the cost of insurance entirely. The penalties for driving uninsured in South Carolina can range from fines, license and registration suspension, jail time, or any combination of the three. Plus, drivers who have their license or registration suspended may be at risk of filing for an SR-22, which may raise one’s premiums for several years.

Ensuring your policy makes sense for your needs and budget is crucial. Whether you choose a minimum or full coverage policy, drivers should ensure they have room in their budget for a worst-case accident scenario. 

Why Is South Carolina an At-Fault State?

South Carolina is an at-fault or tort state for a couple reasons. Typically, states with a high population, several densely populated cities, or a higher-than-average number of uninsured drivers will adopt a no-fault law. South Carolina hasn’t adopted a no-fault law because it has no densely populated cities, has an average population, and the population of uninsured drivers is about 11%, less than the national average of 12% of uninsured drivers.

When states have a high population, whether it’s state-wide or in a few densely packed cities, there are more drivers on the roads. With a higher-than-average number of drivers on the road, there’s a higher statistical likelihood of accidents and claims being filed.

An increase in claims being filed leads to a rise in lawsuits, thus backing up both the legal and insurance systems. Thus, states enact no-fault laws, so drivers must rely on themselves for insurance coverage and have fewer chances to sue each other. No-fault laws help mitigate the burdens placed on the legal and insurance systems in states where drivers are more likely to be in car accidents. 

How To Get Car Insurance Quotes in South Carolina

If you’re looking to add an FPMB to your full coverage policy or are curious about how to better tailor your policy to your needs, the best way to find policies in the Palmetto State is to get and compare quotes online. By getting and comparing quotes from the state’s top insurers, you can adjust your policy to best suit your needs and budget.

Lucky for you, quotes are our specialty. Here at Clovered, we have a free quoting tool you can use to get quotes from several insurers in minutes. If you’d rather speak with a professional about your quote or how to build your policy, you can contact one of our licensed agents using 833-255-4117 or

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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