Popular Questions about Workers' Compensation Insurance in South Carolina

If an employee is injured on the job or is diagnosed with an occupational illness, the costs associated with necessary medical treatment and lost wages can add up quickly. 

Workers’ compensation insurance protects your business and your employees by offering benefits to injured workers while reducing the likelihood that your business will need to deal with expensive lawsuits. 

The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission assigns each kind of job a base rate for workers' compensation coverage. Insurance companies must use these base rates when calculating costs, but they are permitted to raise or lower their rates up to 25% through policy debits and credits. They may even offer additional discounts and incentives.

Let's look at the cost ranges for a few different kinds of jobs in South Carolina. These are the rates employers will pay for every $100 of employee payroll:

  • Landscapers:  $4.41 to $11.84
  • Plumbers:  $2.45 to $6.58
  • Roofing contractors:  $18.12 to $48.63
  • Retail store workers:  $1.20 to $3.22
  • Clerical workers:  $0.14 to $0.38
  • Restaurant workers:  $1.10 to $2.95

As you can see, workers’ comp rates are significantly higher for jobs with an increased risk of employee injuries (like roofers) than for low-risk occupations (like office workers). Companies with a good safety rating will pay rates at the lower end of the price range, while companies with a high rate of employee injuries will pay higher rates.

The quoted cost for your business will be based on:

  • The number of employees you have
  • How much your employees are paid
  • The types of jobs they do
  • Your company's history of accidents and workers’ compensation claims

In South Carolina, all employers who have four or more full-time or part-time workers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

There are a few exceptions. In South Carolina, it is not necessary to purchase coverage for:

  • Sole proprietors, LLC members, and partners (though you may include these workers in your policy if you wish to)
  • Agricultural employees
  • Railroad/railway workers
  • Certain commission-paid real estate salespeople
  • Textile Hall Corporation employees

Additionally, employers whose annual payroll during the previous year was less than $3,000 are exempt from the requirement to purchase coverage, regardless of the number of workers they employ.

Workers' compensation insurance can protect your business against financial losses and potential lawsuits by ensuring that employees who are hurt on the job receive the medical benefits and compensation for lost wages they deserve. 

This insurance can cover traumatic injuries, repetitive stress injuries, overexertion injuries, and occupational illnesses.

Workers' compensation insurance in South Carolina provides injured employees with:

  • Full coverage for all necessary medical treatment.
  • Full coverage for related medical expenses like hospital stays, ambulance services, prescription medications, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, and supplies like crutches and slings.
  • Reimbursement for miles driven to medical appointments, physical therapy, and other necessary treatment facilities if the round trip is more than 10 miles.
  • Disability pay if the employee must take more than seven days off work to recuperate.
  • Coverage for job retraining if the employee is unable to return to their previous job due to their injury.
  • Death benefits, including up to $12,000 in burial expenses and compensation to the employee's spouse and dependents for up to 500 weeks.

As with any insurance coverage, workers' comp has some exclusions. You can expect your workers’ compensation insurance company to deny claims for:

  • Employee injuries sustained outside of work
  • Accidents that occurred while the injured employee was intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drugs
  • Intentional and self-inflicted injuries
  • Injuries that occurred while the employee was committing a serious crime
  • Claims for pain and suffering

An independent insurance agent can further explain what your workers' compensation insurance policy covers and excludes in South Carolina.

If a prospective client asks you for proof of workers' compensation coverage, you can present them with a certificate of insurance. This certificate is a single-page document that provides information about your coverage, including details like:

  • Name and address of the insured
  • Name of the insurance company 
  • All relevant policy numbers
  • Effective date and expiration date for each policy listed

You will be issued this certificate by your insurance company when you purchase or renew your policy. 

Alternatively, prospective clients can obtain proof of coverage through an online look-up at the SC Workers' Compensation Commission website.

Independent insurance agents make it easy to find the right workers’ comp coverage because they do the comparison shopping for you. These agents cut the jargon and clarify the fine print, so you know exactly what you’re getting no matter what kinds of policies you are purchasing for your business.

No business is too small to benefit from the help of an independent agent. Arrange an obligation-free consultation with an independent insurance agent near you to get started.

No. Workers' compensation benefits are not considered taxable income.

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National Workers' Compensation Insurance Stats

Healthcare $1,825 Per $100,000 payroll

Retail Trade $2,850 Per $100,000 payroll

Construction $7,430 Per $100,000 payroll


Workers' Compensation Insurance Laws in South Carolina

  • With few exceptions, all employers in South Carolina with at least four employees are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. Established companies with a solid financial base may opt to self-insure with approval.
  • When employers are made aware of a work-related injury or occupational illness, they must notify their workers’ compensation insurance company within ten days.
  • Employers may not terminate or retaliate against a worker who files a workers’ compensation claim.
  • If an employee is injured and does not have workers’ compensation insurance, your business is liable for their expenses. The state can take your business assets to cover these costs. These debts cannot be discharged, even if you file for bankruptcy.


Common Workers' Compensation Claims in South Carolina

Insurance companies in South Carolina pay out more than $157 million in workers’ compensation insurance claims a year.


Top 10 reasons for workers’ comp claims in SC:

  1. Overexertion: This includes injuries related to pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying, and throwing.
  2. Falls: This includes same-level falls and falls from an elevation, such as from a ladder, scaffold, rooftop, or stairs.
  3. Struck by an object: This can most often include items dropped from above like items from shelves, tools dropped by other workers, and similar hazards.
  4. Bodily reaction: This includes injuries where someone is hurt without making contact with anything else, like excessive bending, reaching, standing, sitting, or climbing.
  5. Motor vehicle accidents: In addition to being among the top 10 causes of workers’ comp claims in the United States, this is also one of the top causes of on-the-job fatalities.
  6. Caught in or under something: These injuries are most common in manufacturing plants where heavy machinery is used.
  7. Repetitive motion injuries: These injuries tend to develop slowly over time due to continuous repetitive motion. The most common injury of this type is carpal tunnel syndrome.
  8. Striking an object: This is when the injured worker walks or runs into something and suffers a significant injury as a result.
  9. Mental injuries: Stressful workplaces can result in psychological problems. To qualify for workers’ comp, the employee must demonstrate that the mental injury was the direct result of extreme work conditions and this must be backed by medical evidence.
  10. Violence: This is when a worker is violently attacked, whether by an aggravated customer, a coworker, or a criminal.

Workers in South Carolina experience more than 38,000 on-the-job injuries and occupational illnesses a year.