Popular QuestionsPopular Questions about Workers' Compensation Insurance in South Carolina

Why is South Carolina workers’ compensation insurance so important?

If an employee is injured or becomes ill on the job, the costs associated with necessary medical treatment and lost wages can add up quickly. Workers’ compensation insurance protects both 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. 

Is my South Carolina business required by law to carry workers’ comp insurance?

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 exception in this state.  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.

Where can I buy workers’ compensation insurance in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, workers’ compensation policies can be purchased through a commercial provider, through the NCCI-administered assigned risk fund, or waived because they self-insure.

Commercial Providers

The most cost-effective way to obtain a policy is by comparing rates from a few of the commercial insurance companies that offer this coverage.

These companies must base their cost for coverage on the rates designated for each job classification as regulated by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Because commercial providers are permitted by the state to offer policy discounts of up to 25%, comparing rates can potentially save you money.

NCCI-Administered Assigned Risk Fund

Some businesses present a high risk that most insurance companies are unwilling to underwrite. These businesses may find it difficult or impossible to obtain coverage through a commercial provider. In this case, they would need to purchase an NCCI-administered assigned risk policy through any of the various insurance carriers that offer this specialized coverage.

If your business falls in this category, a local independent agent can help you obtain guaranteed coverage through an approved assigned-risk carrier.

Self-Insurance

South Carolina businesses are given the option to self-insure. To do so, a company must demonstrate the financial strength necessary to cover the costs associated with workplace injuries, and must obtain approval from the South Carolina Self-Insurance Division.

Be aware that if your company opts to self-insure, you will need to provide an audited GAAP financial statement annually, and you will be required to pay the state a self-insurance tax of 2.5% of your total paid expenses for the program.

What will workers’ compensation insurance pay for in SC?

Medical Bills

  • Example: A worker at your tree pruning and removal company is injured in a fall and requires urgent medical attention.
  • Workers’ compensation will provide workers who are injured or become ill on the job with necessary medical treatment, including urgent care, follow-up care, prescription medications, and physical therapy. Employers have the right to choose which medical providers their employees can use for their care.

Wage Replacement

  • Example: An approved medical provider determines that your employee requires a minimum of 8 weeks for recovery following a lumbar injury at your company warehouse.
  • Injured workers who are totally or partially disabled and require at least seven consecutive days off work are eligible to receive cash benefits (wage replacement) of 2/3 of their average income during the year prior to the injury.

Death Benefits

  • Example: A driver for your transportation company suffers a fatal injury in a traffic collision. 
  • If a worker dies from a work-related injury or illness, the worker’s surviving dependents can receive weekly cash benefits equal to approximately 2/3 of the deceased worker's average weekly wage for the year before the accident. Workers' compensation will also pay up to $2,500 in burial expenses.

Mileage Reimbursement

  • Example: A worker at your manufacturing plant develops a lung disease following chronic exposure to toxic fumes at the worksite. He requires the care of a specialist who is located 15 miles away from his home.
  • If an employee must travel more than 10 miles one way to receive necessary treatment or follow-up care, or needs to travel at least 10 miles round trip to get to a pharmacy for required medications, workers’ compensation will reimburse the employee for the mileage.
How are workers’ compensation rates calculated?

In this state, workers’ compensation premiums are calculated according to the types of jobs your workers do, your company’s overall annual payroll, and your company’s history of accidents and workers’ compensation claims.

In general, if you have workers who do jobs that have a high probability of resulting in serious injuries, you can expect to pay more for workers’ compensation insurance in South Carolina than companies whose workers have a low injury risk.

South Carolina uses the job classification system created by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). This state therefore uses the NCCI’s statistical plan for calculating rates.

Rate Calculation Method

Classification code: Every occupation is assigned a specific classification code by the NCCI. You would need to find the classification codes for the jobs that each of your employees do.

Base rate: The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission assigns and oversees base rates for each of these class codes according to the overall injury risks associated with each type of job. 

The base rate is used as part of a formula that determines an employer’s annual workers’ compensation premium. 

Example based on $50,000 in annual payroll

  • Classification Code 9102: Lawn Service and Maintenance Workers
  • Base Rate: $2.29
  • Premium Calculation: BASE RATE X (PAYROLL/100): $50,000/100 = $500 X $2.29 = $1,145
  • $1,145 = Estimated annual workers' compensation premium for South Carolina lawn service workers

Established employers can score lower rates if they have a solid safety rating. This is known as an experience modifier-based discount.

What is an experience modifier, and how does it affect workers’ comp rates?

An experience modification factor, or “experience mod,” is an additional factor that insurance companies may use when calculating your workers’ compensation costs. It increases or decreases your workers’ compensation premium for a given year, depending on your company’s safety record and claims history.

An experience modification is a numerical representation of your company’s actual losses compared with expected losses for businesses that operate in your industry (landscaping companies are compared with other landscaping companies; hotels are compared with other hotels, etc.). 

The mod is applied to the South Carolina workers’ compensation premium as a debit or credit. 

  • Average Mod: 1.0 = Does not impact your premium
  • Debit Mod: Greater than1.0 = Your premium goes up
  • Credit Mod: Less than 1.0 = Your premium goes down

Experience-rated premium calculation

  • BASE RATE X (PAYROLL/100) X MOD = PREMIUM

South Carolina employers are eligible to receive an experience modification rating when they meet one of the following requirements: 

  • $9,000 in policy premium is generated during the last year or last two years; or
  • $4,500 is the average policy premium generated for more than two years.
How can I find the best workers’ compensation policy for my SC business?

If you are looking for a great workers’ compensation insurance policy to cover your South Carolina business, an independent insurance agent can help. These agents can match you up with highly rated insurers who specialize in covering businesses in your industry.

These agents can also help you review rates and offerings from a variety of insurance providers so that you can choose the coverage that offers the best value to your company.

There are currently 315 independent insurance agents in South Carolina who are ready to help, so it should be easy to find an agent with an office near you.

InformationMore Related Insurance FAQs

How Does Your City Compare in Work Comp Cost in South Carolina?

Average Cost per $100,000 in Payroll

CityTop Industry 1 / Avg. Workers' Comp CostTop Industry 2 / Avg. Workers' Comp Cost
ColumbiaRetail Trade: $2,335Educational Services: $1,630
CharlestonProfessional, Scientific, and Technical Svcs: $1,410Accommodation and Food Svcs: $2,700
North CharlestonConstruction: $24,100Retail Trade: $2,335
Mount PleasantProfessional, Scientific, and Technical Svcs: $1,410Manufacturing: $11,820
Rock HillManufacturing: $11,820Retail Trade: $2,335
GreenvilleManufacturing: $11,820Professional, Scientific, and Technical Svcs: $1,410
SummervilleManufacturing: $11,820Retail Trade: $2,335
GeorgetownManufacturing: $11,820Construction: $24,100
CamdenEducational Services: $1,630Finance and Insurance: $590
Hilton HeadConstruction: $24,100Accommodation and Food Svcs: $2,700
SimpsonvilleManufacturing: $11,820Retail Trade: $2,335
HanahanConstruction: $24,100Manufacturing: $11,820
ConwayRetail Trade: $2,335Educational Services: $1,630
OrangeburgManufacturing: $11,820Retail Trade: $2,335
ClemsonEducational Services: $1630Accommodation and Food Svcs: $2,700
North Myrtle BeachAccommodation and Food Svcs: $2,700Retail Trade: $2,335
BlufftonConstruction: $24,100Accommodation and Food Svcs: $2,700
PiedmontManufacturing: $11,820Construction: $24,100
GaffneyManufacturing: $11,820Retail Trade: $2,335
SpartanburgManufacturing: $11,820Retail Trade: $2,335
Goose CreekManufacturing: $11,820Public Administration: $520
AikenManufacturing: $11,820Retail Trade: $2,335
Myrtle BeachAccommodation and Food Svcs: $2,700Construction: $24,100
AndersonManufacturing: $11,820Retail Trade: $2,335
GreerManufacturing: $11,820Construction: $24,100
GreenwoodManufacturing: $11,820Retail Trade: $2,335
MauldinManufacturing: $11,820Retail Trade: $2,335
North AugustaRetail Trade: $2,335Construction: $24,100
EasleyManufacturing: $11,820Retail Trade: $2,335
West ColumbiaConstruction: $24,100Accommodation and Food Svcs: $2,700
BeaufortAccommodation and Food Svcs: $2,700Construction: $24,100
Fort MillManufacturing: $11,820Finance and Insurance: $590
Port RoyalPublic Administration: $520Retail Trade: $2,335
ClintonManufacturing: $11,820Educational Services: $1,630
NewberryManufacturing: $11,820Educational Services: $1,630
SenecaManufacturing: $11,820Accommodation and Food Svcs: $2,700
LaurensManufacturing: $11,820Construction: $24,100
IrmoConstruction: $24,100Accommodation and Food Svcs: $2,700
Surfside BeachAccommodation and Food Svcs: $2,700Administrative Support and Waste Mgmt: $5,890

Columbia, SC Workers’ Compensation Insurance

How does having a business in Columbia affect my workers’ compensation cost? 

If you own a business in the state’s capital city, you will need to adhere to South Carolina’s laws regarding workers' compensation insurance. This means that if you have at least four employees, you are required to carry this coverage. By maintaining a solid safety history, your business can earn policy discounts of up to 25%.

Now, let’s take a peek at the three most common business industries in Columbia, and see what the average annual workers’ compensation cost would be (based on a $100,000 payroll).

  • Retail Trade: $2,335 per year
  • Educational Services: $1,630 per year
  • Accommodation & Food Services: $2,700 per year

Retail workers may be injured while creating merchandise displays. Restaurant workers may sustain burns in the kitchen. Hotel employees can suffer back injuries while doing maintenance work.  None of this city’s tops industries have a high risk of employee injuries, and the rates assigned to these types of jobs reflect this.

An independent insurance agent who understands the coverage needs of employers in your industry can help guide you through the process of finding the best workers’ compensation coverage for your Columbia business. 

Charleston, SC Workers’ Compensation Insurance

How does having a business in Charleston affect my workers’ compensation cost? 

The industry your business operates in, the number of workers you employ, and the types of jobs your workers do can all play a role in how much you will be expected to pay for Charleston workers’ compensation insurance. You can reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims filed by your employees and keep your rates affordable by providing your workers with a safe and healthy workplace.

Let’s take a peek at the three most common business industries in Charleston, and see what the average annual workers’ compensation cost is (based on a $100,000 payroll):

  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: $1,410 per year
  • Accommodation & Food Services: $2,700 per year
  • Manufacturing: $11,820 per year

While accidents can happen at any job, manufacturing employees have a relatively high risk of sustaining significant injuries at work. Workers in professional and technical positions suffer fewer and less severe injuries, so they are much less expensive to insure. Rates in the manufacturing industry depend on what products the insured company produces.

Employers in Charleston can obtain workers’ compensation insurance quotes and learn more about this important coverage by speaking with a local independent agent.

Mount Pleasant, SC Workers’ Compensation Insurance

How does having a business in Mount Pleasant affect my workers’ compensation cost? 

As an employer in Mount Pleasant, you will want to keep your workers’ compensation rates affordable by finding ways to limit worker injuries. The best way to achieve this goal is to provide a safe workplace for your employees. Insurance companies that specialize in covering companies in your business industry will often offer guidelines for employee safety.

Now, let’s look at the three most common business industries in Mount Pleasant, and see what the average annual workers’ compensation cost is (based on a $100,000 payroll):

  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: $1,410 per year
  • Manufacturing: $11,820 per year
  • Retail Trade: $2,335 per year

Manufacturing jobs are among the most expensive to cover with workers’ compensation insurance. However, rates will vary within this industry according to what kinds of products your company produces. The risk of worker injury is higher for employees in an automotive production plant than for workers in food packaging companies.

Talk to a local independent insurance agent for help finding the best workers’ compensation policy to cover your Mount Pleasant business.

Rock Hill, SC Workers’ Compensation Insurance

How does having a business in Rock Hill affect my workers’ compensation cost? 

Rock Hill businesses must remain in compliance with South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws. When it comes to this insurance, the more dangerous the work your employees do, the higher your rates are likely to be. The best way to keep your workers’ compensation rates in check is to provide your employees with a safe and healthy workplace. A good safety history can earn your company discounts of as much as 25% off your annual premiums.

Now, let’s take a peek at the three most common business industries in Rock Hill, and see what the average annual workers’ compensation cost is (based on a $100,000 payroll).

  • Manufacturing: $11,820 per year
  • Retail Trade: $2,335 per year
  • Accommodation & Food Services: $2,700 per year

As a general rule, employees at manufacturing plants are more likely to suffer serious injuries than workers at retail stores, hotels, and restaurants. Of course, some manufacturing jobs are more hazardous than others, so if you are purchasing coverage for a company that operates within this industry, your rates will be based on what kinds of products your workers are producing.

If you want to make sure you are purchasing the right policy for your Rock Hill business, you can seek the advice and assistance of a local independent insurance agent.

Greenville, SC Workers’ Comp Insurance

How does having a business in Greenville affect my workers’ compensation cost? 

As an employer in Greenville, you will want to find ways to limit worker injuries in order to keep your workers’ compensation rates affordable. The best way to do this is to provide your employees with a safe and healthy workplace. Insurance companies that specialize in covering businesses in your industry can often offer guidelines for maximizing employee safety.

Now, let’s look at the three most common business industries in Greenville, and see what the average annual workers’ compensation cost is (based on a $100,000 payroll):

  • Manufacturing: $11,820 per year
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: $1,410 per year
  • Retail Trade: $2,335 per year

These average rates reflect the fact that workers at manufacturing plants are more likely to suffer serious injuries on the job than are workers in professional positions and at retail stores. Of course, it is more hazardous to make some products than others, so rates within the manufacturing industry can vary significantly. If you own a manufacturing firm in Greenville, your workers’ compensation costs will be based on what, specifically, your company produces.

If you are shopping for workers’ compensation insurance for your Greenville business, you can contact an independent agent near you for help finding a suitable policy at a competitive price.