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South Carolina Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

South Carolina Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

South Carolina is located in the Southeastern region of the United States. It is sandwiched between North Carolina and Georgia with the Atlantic Ocean located to its east. It was originally a part of the Province of Carolina, but it eventually split from North Carolina. Historically it was the very first colony to declare independence from the British Crown during the American Revolution. In terms of area, it is one of the smaller states, but it is slightly above average in regards to population.

The state’s official nickname is the “Palmetto State” due to the state tree – the sabal palmetto a.k.a. cabbage palmetto. The economy in South Carolina is geared primarily towards agriculture, industry, manufacturing, tourism, and transportation. Education and health services also play a role in contributing to the economy. There are also various foreign companies that have set up firms in this state including the popular automobile manufacturer BMW.

South Carolina Motorcycle Insurance

Do you want to drive your motorcycle in the beautiful state of South Carolina? If so, you will first need to know the state’s requirements. You will need to get insurance for your motorcycle to prove that you are financially responsible. Your insurance will need to meet the state-required amounts for both liability and uninsured motorist protection. All motorcyclists need to get insured so that if they are “at fault” for an accident, other parties get proper reimbursement.

How to Establish Financial Responsibility in SC

In the state of South Carolina, you only have one option when it comes to showing responsibility – you must get liability coverage. In addition to liability coverage for bodily injuries and property damage, you must also get uninsured motorist protection. This type of coverage is what will help pay for damages if you are hit by a driver that lacks insurance.

  • Liability Insurance: Any major insurance provider will help you get liability coverage that meets the state’s required coverage.
  • Uninsured Motorist: Major insurers know that you will also need coverage for uninsured motorists that match the minimum required liability amounts.

Note: In different states you may have the option of getting a surety bond, self-insurance, or making a cash deposit as an insurance alternative. In South Carolina, you must get both liability and uninsured motorist coverage from a licensed provider.

Motorcycles / Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

Most people are pretty knowledgeable when it comes to motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters. Do you know the difference between these three common 2 wheeled vehicles? If so, you are ahead of the game. If you aren’t familiar with the proper classification of these vehicles, read the definitions below. If you need further assistance in classifying your vehicle, contact the South Carolina DMV at the following number: (803)-896-5000.

Motorcycle: A motor vehicle having no more than 2 permanent functional wheels in contact with the ground or trailer and having a saddle for the use of a rider. (Tractors are excluded from this definition).

Motor-Driven Cycle: Every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, with a motor that produces 5-brake horsepower or less.

Moped: A cycle with pedals or without pedals that has a motor that does not exceed 50 cc engine displacement. Its power does not exceed 2-brake horsepower and the vehicle is not capable of traveling at a speed in excess of 30 mph on a level surface. The power drive system must be automatic with no shifting after the engine is engaged.

South Carolina Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Below are the required amounts of coverage for the state of SC. You need to make sure that your policy fulfills these minimums before you register and operate your motorcycle. Keep these minimums in mind while shopping for a policy.

Minimum Liability Insurance:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage per accident

Uninsured Motorist Coverage:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury

  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury

  • $25,000 per accident for property damage

As you can see, the amount of Uninsured Motorist (UM) protection required matches that of what is required for liability coverage. In the event you are hit by a drive that doesn’t have adequate coverage or is uninsured, your uninsured motorist protection will pay at least the minimums. You do have the option of increasing your levels of both liability and uninsured motorist coverage. Keep in mind that it may be smart to increase your coverage levels because in a severe accident, the damages may exceed the minimums listed above.

South Carolina Motorcycle Laws: Safety & Licensing Requirements

All drivers should be aware of laws concerning helmets, eye protection, and licensing before they hit the road. Below are some requirements that you’ll want to memorize so you keep yourself safe and are riding your motorcycle in a legal manner.

  • Helmets: All drivers under the age of 21 must wear a motorcycle helmet. Helmets must have reflectors to maximize visibility. Helmets must be in compliance with the FMVSS 218 DOT standard.
  • Eye Protection: All individuals under the age of 21 must wear eye protection while operating a motorcycle. The only exception to this law is if the motorcycle has a windshield that effectively screens the eyes.
  • Headlights: All motorcyclists must use their headlights during the daytime in this state.
  • License: In order to legally operate a motorcycle in South Carolina, you must obtain a Motorcycle Endorsement on your driver’s license or get a Class M license. In order to get proper licensing, you will need to initially pass a written test, followed by a road driver-safety examination.

Proof of Insurance in SC

As you probably already know, if you are pulled over by a police officer, you need to provide proof of insurance. If you are ever involved in an accident, you will also need to exchange insurance information with the other parties involved. When you initially purchase a policy, your insurer will send the SCDMV coverage verification; this is sent electronically.

  • Insurance Identification Card: When you purchase an insurance policy from a state-licensed insurer, they will issue you an ID card. This contains important policy information as well as other contact information.

You need to always keep your identification card with you. Although the SCDMV keeps tabs on your insurance via an electronic database, you still need a copy of proof with you at all times while riding your motorcycle. The electronic database is just used to verify that your card and other information is legitimate.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in SC

In nearly every state there are penalties that you will face if you drive without insurance. You may think that you can get away with no insurance for awhile, but all it takes is one accident or getting pulled over for you to face the legal consequences. Various penalties for driving uninsured in this state are listed below.

  • Fine: Citations are issued immediately to drivers that are caught driving without insurance.
  • Suspended License: Drivers that fail to meet insurance requirements will have their license suspended.
  • Suspended Registration: The registration for your motorcycle will be suspended for a designated period of time.
  • Imprisonment: Certain individuals may end up serving time in prison for driving without coverage.
  • Reinstatement Fees: Following the suspension periods of your license and registration, you will need to pay proper fees to get them reinstated. You will also need a valid insurance policy before your privileges are reinstated.

It is important to understand that you need to maintain adequate insurance throughout the registration period of your motorcycle. If you cancel your insurance policy, your provider will notify the SCDMV electronically through the ALIR (Automobile Insurance Liability Reporting System). You will receive a letter from the SCDMV stating that they will need new insurance verification within 20 business days or you will face penalization.

South Carolina Motorcycle Insurance Companies

There are a variety of insurance providers that offer coverage in the state of South Carolina. In order to make sure you get the best possible deal on a policy, you will need to comparison shop. Although it may take a little time out of your day to do a little research on available policies, your research could end up saving you hundreds (or thousands) of dollars. To start your search for a provider in your state, use the Zip Code form below (or at the top of the page).

By entering your Zip Code, you will notice a listing of the top providers based on your specific area. It is your job to collect quotes from each of these companies and compare the price estimates. It is completely free to collect quotes, but may take some time to fill out the forms that are necessary to give you an estimate. Once you have gotten various quotes and conducted a thorough company comparison, you can select the provider that best fits your needs!

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