Becoming a homeowner is a major milestone, but it comes with responsibilities—including purchasing homeowners insurance. Because South Carolina is susceptible to hurricanes, high winds, and other extreme weather events, having insurance coverage on your home is crucial. Without it, you run the risk of having to pay out-of-pocket to repair or even rebuild your home if it were to get damaged.  

In South Carolina, the homeownership rate is almost 69 percent, which is higher than the U.S. average of 63.9 percent. Because of the state’s severe weather patterns, the cost of homeowners insurance in South Carolina is also higher than the national average. After Hurricane Florence hit the coast in 2018, there were 19,205 claims filed for residential home damage in South Carolina, which equated to over $47 million in paid losses. 

When you’re shopping for homeowners insurance, there are a few things to consider. The value of your home, the type of coverage you choose and your deductible will impact how much you pay for an annual premium. Also, keep in mind that basic homeowners insurance doesn’t cover certain events that are common in South Carolina, like flooding. If your home is close to the coastline, consider purchasing a separate policy to protect your home from flood damage. 

Best home insurance companies in South Carolina

Finding the best homeowners insurance can be challenging. There are dozens of providers on the market, and it can be difficult to determine which company is ideal for your specific needs and budget. 

To simplify your shopping experience, we looked at the highest rated insurers in J.D Power’s 2019 U.S. Homeowners Insurance Study, evaluating price, coverage options and customer service for each. Here are the best South Carolina homeowners insurance companies at the top of the list:

  • Amica: Amica earned a perfect 5-star rating for overall satisfaction, policy offerings, customer service and claims handling in J.D. Power’s study.
  • Auto-Owners: Auto-Owners was ranked as “above average” in each category in J.D. Power’s study, and is well known for offering low cost premiums.
  • Farm Bureau: South Carolina Farm Bureau isn’t ranked by J.D. Power, but the company is a great option for residents who want to support the state’s agricultural economy. 
  • State Farm: Customers gave State Farm high marks in J.D. Power’s study for its extensive range of policy offerings and reliable customer service.
J.D. Power Rating AM Best Rating BBB Rating
Amica 5 out of 5  A+ A+
State Farm 4 out of 5  A++ A+
Auto-Owners 4 out of 5  A++ A+
Farm Bureau N/A B++ A+

Average homeowners insurance cost in South Carolina

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the average cost of homeowners insurance in South Carolina is $1,269 each year, which is higher than the U.S. national average of $1,173. However, you’ll have to get a personalized quote to determine how much you’ll actually pay. 

Remember that your annual homeowners insurance rate is determined by a number of factors, like the location of your home, the size, what it’s built with, your credit score, your age and even your marital status. To determine costs for the providers on our list, we got sample quotes for a 26 year old female homeowner living in Columbia, with a $100,000 replacement cost and a $1,000 deductible:

  • Amica: $890 per year
  • State Farm: $1,036 per year
  • Auto-Owners: $1,997
  • Farm Bureau: Must be a member before getting a quote

The cost of homeowners insurance in South Carolina is comparable to other coastal states in the region. Here is how the average annual premium for South Carolina compares with North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, based on data from III. 

South Carolina North Carolina Georgia Alabama
Average premium $1,269 $1,086 $1,267 $1,433

The main reason why homeowners insurance in these states is higher than the country’s national average is homes on the southeastern coast face a high risk of hurricane damage. If extreme winds, torrential rain and flooding put your house in a state of total disrepair, it costs more for the insurance company to compensate you for your losses. 

Home insurance coverage options in South Carolina

In every state, there are four main types of homeowners insurance coverage, including:

  • Dwelling coverage: Dwelling coverage specifically protects the structure of your home from damage. It also covers some detached structures, like your garage.
  • Personal property coverage: Personal property coverage protects your personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, electronics and appliances. 
  • Liability protection: Liability protection covers you in a lawsuit if someone were to get injured on your property, or if you accidentally damage someone else’s home.
  • Guest medical protection: If someone gets hurt at your home, like falling down the stairs or slipping on a snowy walkway, guest medical protection will help pay for their medical bills.

This might seem like enough coverage, but remember that some disasters, like flooding and earthquakes are not covered under basic homeowners insurance policies. For South Carolina residents, it’s a smart idea to purchase a separate policy to protect your home in the event of a flood, which are common during hurricane season.

If you’re familiar with hazard insurance, that will be included in your basic homeowners insurance policy. Specifically, hazard insurance pays to replace the structure and contents of your home if they are damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster. 

Common causes of home insurance losses in South Carolina

The biggest causes of homeowners insurance claims and losses in South Carolina are related to hurricanes, and related weather events, such as wind damage and flooding. According to data from CoreLogic, between 36,000 and 347,000 homes in South Carolina are at risk of damage from storm surge, which could cause up to $80 billion in damages. 

Frequently asked questions

Is homeowners insurance required in South Carolina?

No, homeowners insurance is not legally required in South Carolina. However, if you have a mortgage on your home, your lender may require you to have a minimum amount of insurance coverage before you can get approved.

What is the cheapest homeowners insurance in South Carolina?

The cheapest homeowners insurance company isn’t the same for everyone. There are a variety of factors that influence your annual premium, and that’s why it’s important to shop around and get multiple quotes. 

How do I get homeowners insurance in South Carolina?

Getting homeowners insurance in South Carolina is simple. Whether you get a quote online, through the phone or in-person, you’ll have to submit some basic personal information, including your age, gender, marital status and income. The lender will most likely run a credit check before they give you a quote. You’ll also have to provide information about your home, like when it was built, where it’s located, any safety features it has, the building materials and any recent improvements.

How can I save money on my homeowners insurance?

Although homeowners insurance can be costly, there are a variety of ways that you can save on your annual premium. First, find discounts you are eligible for. Many companies offer discounts for customers that pay their premium in full, enroll in paperless billing, install home safety features, bundle their policies and are claims-free for a certain number of years. You can also work on improving your credit score, or consider raising your deductible to save money.