How Bankrate chose the best home insurance companies in South Carolina
Bankrate’s insurance experts chose the best homeowners insurance in South Carolina by using a series of key metrics. These included reviewing average home insurance premiums from Quadrant Information Services, as well as coverage options, discounts and mobile accessibility. We also considered third-party industry rankings for customer service and financial strength.
From there, the performance of home insurance companies in each of these categories was summed up in a Bankrate Score to help you get a picture of a company and compare it with other carriers. The better a company did in each of these separate metrics, the higher its overall Bankrate Score for a maximum score of 5 out of 5.
- Some of the best South Carolina homeowners insurance companies include State Farm, Auto-Owners and Allstate.
- South Carolina has the lowest average home insurance rates compared to neighboring states.
- Common causes of loss in South Carolina include tropical cyclones, severe weather and flooding.
Best home insurance companies in South Carolina
Bankrate’s insurance experts began the search for the best South Carolina homeowners insurance companies by obtaining quoted premium data from Quadrant Information Services for some of the largest insurance providers by market share. We also analyzed each company’s coverage options, available discounts, AM Best ratings for financial strength, National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) complaint records and customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power.
Based on our findings, the best home insurance companies in South Carolina include State Farm, Auto-Owners and Allstate. While the best home insurance company depends on your individual circumstances, it may be worth getting quotes from these five major providers during your search.
|Home insurance company||Bankrate Score||Average annual premium for $250k in dwelling coverage||J.D. Power score||AM Best rating|
|Cincinnati||Not rated||$1,345||Not rated||A+|
Best for: Digital policy management tools
Allstate, the second-largest U.S. home insurer based on market share according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), may be a company worth considering for South Carolina homeowners who want to manage their policies online and learn more about insurance. Allstate also 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, including discounts for new homebuyers and responsible payers. The company is also fiscally solid, with an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best, although the rating is slightly lower than the top two carriers in the state.
Learn more: Allstate Insurance review
Best for: Numerous home insurance discounts
Contrary to what the name might suggest, Auto-Owners does not just sell auto insurance policies. The super-regional 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 due to a covered peril. 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. Auto-Owners carries an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best, the highest level possible. One drawback is that the company does not have as many options for digital tools, so it may not be ideal for homeowners who want to manage their policies on their phone or on the web.
Learn more: Auto-Owners Insurance review
Best for: High-value homes
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 endorsements for additional protection, but has the second-highest average premium of the companies on our list of best South Carolina home insurance list.
Learn more: Cincinnati Insurance review
Best for: Customer satisfaction
State Farm, the largest U.S. home insurer with 17.9% market share according to the Triple-I, 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. State Farm carries an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best.
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review
Best for: Optional homeowners insurance endorsements
If you are looking for a home insurance policy with extensive options for add-ons, Travelers, the sixth-largest U.S. home insurer, may be worth checking out. Its average annual premium is on the higher end, but the company’s robust home insurance offering 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’ nearly 700 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 claim-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, $1,165 per year for $250,000 in dwelling coverage. For comparison, the national average home insurance premium for the same amount of coverage is $1,383 per year. South Carolina homeowners pay about 16 percent 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 $1,317 per year and Georgia’s average annual premium is $1,373.
South Carolina is on the Atlantic Coast and prone to impacts from tropical cyclones, as well as frequent tornadoes. However, average real estate values across the Palmetto State are less than Georgia and North Carolina, resulting in a lower average cost to insure your home.
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 from severe weather events.
Common causes of loss in South Carolina
The biggest causes of home damage in South Carolina are related to tropical cyclones and related severe weather impacts, such as wind damage and flooding. According to data from CoreLogic, approximately 364,000 homes in South Carolina are at risk of damage from storm surge, which could cause up to $86.4 billion in property damage. It is not uncommon for numerous hurricanes and tropical storms to hit the state each season. In late 2020, Tropical Storms Eta and Zeta created significant flooding issues throughout the state. South Carolina also sustained significant impacts from Hurricane Florence in 2018.
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 Triple-I, South Carolina ranks among the Top 20 states for tornadoes, with 24 twisters in 2021. Tornadoes with destructive winds, rain and hail can cause serious property damage and can occur anywhere in the state.
- Theft: In 2019, there were 22,359 reported breaking and entering incidents in South Carolina. Theft is not a prominent cause of loss, but it does happen, particularly in areas of the state 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. Earthquakes are not covered by standard home insurance policies.
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 (NFIP) or 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. Also, your sump pump could fail due to a power outage and cause your basement to flood. 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. A local 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.