Best homeowners insurance in South Carolina in 2021

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Becoming a homeowner is a major milestone, but it comes with responsibilities, including purchasing homeowners insurance to provide you and your family with financial peace of mind. Homeowners in South Carolina pay an average of $1,142 per year, or about $95 per month, for $250,000 in dwelling coverage, according to Bankrate’s 2021 study of annual quoted premiums.

If you are looking for homeowners insurance in the Palmetto State, you might be wondering where to start. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team has researched the largest South Carolina homeowners insurance companies by market share. Armed with our analysis of these highly rated carriers, you may be able to find the best homeowners insurance in South Carolina for your needs.

Best home insurance companies in South Carolina

Bankrate’s insurance experts began the search for the best South Carolina homeowners insurance by obtaining current quoted premiums for some of the most popular carriers from Quadrant Information Services. We analyzed the data and combined it with our research about coverage options, discounts, policy features and customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power.

When you are getting South Carolina home insurance quotes, you may want to consider these five companies:

Home insurance company Average annual premium for $250k dwelling coverage J.D. Power customer satisfaction score
Allstate $1,141 829/1,000
Auto-Owners $1,217 843/1,000
Cincinnati $1,283 Not rated
State Farm $1,570 829/1,000
Travelers $1,443 803/1,000

Allstate

Allstate may be a great insurance company for South Carolina homeowners who want to personalize their policy with optional endorsements. Allstate offers a variety of unique endorsements, including yard and garden coverage, sports equipment coverage, musical instruments coverage, green improvement reimbursement and more. In addition to standard discounts like multi-policy, Allstate also offers extra saving opportunities, like discounts for new homebuyers and responsible payers.

Learn more: Allstate Insurance review

Auto-Owners

Contrary to what the name might suggest, Auto-Owners does not just sell auto insurance policies. The company also offers robust homeowners insurance coverage, with add-ons like guaranteed replacement cost coverage, equipment breakdown insurance and its exclusive Homeowners Plus package, which includes unique coverage like food spoilage if your power goes out. Auto-Owners’ average home insurance premium is slightly higher than South Carolina’s average, but you might be able to lower your premium by taking advantage of the company’s generous discounts.

Learn more: Auto-Owners Insurance review

Cincinnati

Cincinnati may be a good option for South Carolina homeowners who own a high-value home. This super-regional company sells three tiers of homeowners insurance — Executive Homeowner, Executive Capstone and Executive Classic. The Executive Homeowner is for any home value, while the Executive Classic policy covers homes with a rebuilding value of $500,000 and above and the Executive Capstone policy covers homes with a rebuilding value of $1 million and above. The company also offers a few discounts and endorsements for additional protection.

Learn more: Cincinnati Insurance review

State Farm

State Farm could be a solid choice for home insurance, with low rates, good discounts and helpful online tools and resources. As the largest home insurer in the U.S. by market share, homeowners looking for an established company with hundreds of local agents throughout South Carolina might find that State Farm is a good fit. The company’s premium is the highest on our list and above the average South Carolina homeowners insurance premium, but you may be able to get a lower rate if you have a new roof or a roof made with impact-resistant materials to mitigate storm losses.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

Travelers

If you are looking for a home insurance policy with an extensive options for add-ons, Travelers may be worth checking out. Its annual premium is on the higher end, but could help you add important coverage like higher limits for valuable items and financial assistance for rebuilding with green materials after a covered loss. To get the most for your money, consider contacting one of Travelers’ 644 independent insurance agencies in South Carolina to discuss which discounts you qualify for. Multi-policy discounts tend to be the most impactful, but there are also opportunities to save by being loss-free and having security systems and smart home technology installed.

Learn more: Travelers Insurance review

How much is homeowners insurance in South Carolina?

South Carolina homeowners insurance costs, on average, $1,142 per year for $250,000 in dwelling coverage. For comparison, the national average home insurance premium for the same amount of coverage is $1,312 per year. South Carolina homeowners pay about 13% less for home insurance than the average American. South Carolina homeowners also pay less for coverage than homeowners in neighboring states. North Carolina’s average home insurance premium is $1,295 per year and Georgia’s average annual premium is $1,376.

Although South Carolina is on the Atlantic Coast, its likelihood of being impacted by strong storms may be less than its neighbors. Both North Carolina and Georgia are among the worst states in the country for tornadoes, which could increase the cost of home insurance.

Home insurance in South Carolina

Many homeowners are drawn to South Carolina’s beautiful beaches, but living in a coastal state has risks. Homeowners in South Carolina should be aware of common insurance losses so they can protect their finances against the threat of repairs or catastrophic losses.

Common causes of loss in South Carolina

The biggest causes of home damage in South Carolina are related to hurricanes and related weather impacts, such as wind damage and flooding. According to data from CoreLogic, approximately 354,000 homes in South Carolina are at risk of damage from storm surge, which could cause up to $86 million in property damage. Tropical Storm Fred recently spared South Carolina significant damage, but brought heavy rainfall to the western portion of the state. It is not uncommon for numerous hurricanes and tropical storms to hit the state each season.

Other common causes of loss include:

  • Wildfires: Wildfires are common in South Carolina during late winter and early spring. On average, wildfire management teams respond to more than 5,000 wildfires each year in the state.
  • Tornadoes: According to data from the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), South Carolina ranks among the Top 10 states for tornadoes, with 57 twisters in 2020. Tornadoes with destructive winds, rain and hail can cause serious property damage and can occur anywhere in the state.
  • Theft: In 2019, there were 26,449 reported breaking and entering incidents in South Carolina. Theft is not a prominent cause of loss, but it does happen, particularly in areas with an above-average crime rate.
  • Earthquakes: It may surprise you to learn that earthquakes are actually relatively common in South Carolina, with approximately 10 to 15 recorded each year. Only three to five of them are strong enough to be felt by residents, but a study conducted in 2001 concluded that South Carolina is at a high risk for earthquake activity.

Once you have a better understanding of what kinds of property damage commonly occurs in your area, you may feel better informed to choose endorsements to protect your finances.

Home insurance coverage options in South Carolina

When you get homeowners insurance quotes in South Carolina, you will notice that some common coverage types — like dwelling, personal property, liability and additional living expenses coverage — are included. And while a basic homeowners insurance policy may be the right fit for some, there are some optional coverage choices that you may want to consider if you own a home in South Carolina. These include:

  • Flood insurance: Flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. Usually, you will need to buy a separate flood insurance policy through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program of private flood insurers, although some companies offer flood coverage as an endorsement to your homeowners policy.
  • Earthquake coverage: Although earthquakes that cause significant damage are not common in South Carolina, one could happen at any time. Many home insurance companies offer earthquake coverage as an endorsement, or you may need to purchase a separate policy if you are in a particularly high-risk area.
  • Water backup coverage: Because South Carolina is at risk for heavy rains, it may be common for sewer and drain lines to back up with water. This can happen from any drain line, although it is more common in basements, crawlspaces and other below-ground areas. To have coverage for this type of damage, you must have this endorsement as part of your homeowners policy.

Discussing your unique situation with a licensed insurance agent might be a good idea. An agent should be able to help guide you to choose appropriate coverage so that your homeowners policy fits both your budget and your insurance needs.

Frequently asked questions

Is homeowners insurance required in South Carolina?

Homeowners insurance is not legally required in South Carolina. However, if you have a mortgage on your home, your lender will likely require you to have a policy. Typically, you will be required to have at least enough dwelling coverage to pay off your loan if your home is destroyed. However, even if you own your home outright, homeowners insurance is still recommended by most financial advisors and can help you protect your financial health and provide peace of mind for you and your family.

What is the cheapest homeowners insurance in South Carolina?

The cheapest homeowners insurance company is not the same for everyone. According to the Triple-I, there are a variety of factors that influence your annual premium, including your ZIP code, claims history, the value and age of your home, age of your roof, your credit-based insurance score, proximity to a fire station and what coverage and deductibles you choose. It might be helpful to shop around and get multiple home insurance quotes to compare prices and coverage options.

Does a standard homeowners policy include hurricane coverage?

Private insurers in South Carolina are required to notify residential property insurance policyholders if the policy contains a separate deductible for hurricane, named storm or wind/hail damage. If it is included, the insurer must provide an example to show how the deductible functions for a policy valued at $100,000. The insurer must also include a clear explanation of the event that will trigger the deductible.

The South Carolina Wind and Hail Underwriting Association (Wind Pool) insures properties where the homeowner has not been able to find coverage elsewhere for windstorm and hail damage from any type of windstorm. The Wind Pool operates in certain coastal areas of the state.

How do I get homeowners insurance in South Carolina?

Getting homeowners insurance in South Carolina is generally simple. Whether you get a quote online, over the phone or in person through an agent, you will have to submit some basic personal information, including your age, gender and marital status. You will also have to provide information about your home, like when it was built, where it is located, any safety features it has, the building materials and any recent improvements.

After you have chosen a quote, a representative from the company or your agent may have you sign an application and you might have to make a payment up front unless your insurance is paid from your mortgage’s escrow account.

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 premium. First, consider finding discounts you are eligible for. Many of the best home insurance companies in South Carolina 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 standing or consider raising your deductible to save money.

When can a company cancel my homeowners insurance policy?

Your home insurance policy could be cancelled at any time during your policy term or nonrenewed at the end of the term. While nonrenewals can happen for a variety of reasons — a company may no longer offer coverage in your area, for example — insurance companies can only cancel your policy midterm in two scenarios. First, if the premium is not paid, your policy could be cancelled. Second, if you commit fraud or misrepresent your risk on an application, an insurance company could cancel your policy. Typically, if your policy is canceled or nonrenewed, you will be given advance notice so that you can find replacement coverage.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on 40-year-old male and female homeowners with a clean claim history, good credit and the following coverage limits:

  • Coverage A, Dwelling: $250,000
  • Coverage B, Other Structures: $25,000
  • Coverage C, Personal Property: $125,000
  • Coverage D, Loss of Use: $50,000
  • Coverage E, Liability: $300,000
  • Coverage F, Medical Payments: $1,000

The homeowners also have a $1,000 deductible and a separate wind and hail deductible (if required).

These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes will differ.