South Carolina Workers' Compensation Insurance

Employers with four or more employees in South Carolina must carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Work comp protects employees when injuries or illnesses they sustain at work require medical treatment or missed work.

A workers’ comp insurance policy protects employers by covering medical expenses for injured workers, and can pay for employer legal defense fees in an injury-related lawsuit.

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South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Requirements

All South Carolina businesses with four or more employees must carry work comp insurance, whether full-time, part-time or employed family members. The state does not offer an exemption form or certificate to opt-out of coverage, though certain roles can exclude themselves.

Sole Proprietors, Partners and Members of an LLC

In South Carolina, these roles are excluded from coverage but have the option to include themselves. Corporate officers are included in coverage, but may exclude themselves.

General Contractors and Independent Contractors

Subcontractors may be treated as employees and need to be covered under the general contractor’s policy, if they do not carry their own coverage. However, a general contractor may require subcontractors to maintain workers’ compensation insurance in order to avoid the liability of a claim from an uninsured subcontractor.

Related Read: Workers' Compensation for Sole Proprietors

Employees vs. Independent Contractors

The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission defines an independent contractor as someone who:

  • Operates under an independent contractor agreement with specific terms.
  • Uses their own equipment and tools.
  • Set their own rates and payment.
  • Controls when or how they work.

Here are 10 general questions to ask to help distinguish between employees and independent contractors.

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Rates

According to a study by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, South Carolina ranks 14th in the nation for highest workers’ compensation costs. Employers in 2018 paid a rate of approximately $1.50 - $1.99 per $100 in payroll for workers’ compensation coverage.

The cost of workers’ compensation insurance is based on several factors. South Carolina workers’ compensation rates are recommended by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which many U.S. states use as their rating bureau. NCCI collects data on workplace injuries and advises rates for each class code, or industry, based on the relative risk to employees.

The workers’ comp rate, along with the company’s history of claims, years in business and other factors, are used to calculate the final premium. While rates are advised, the end quote for a workers’ compensation policy can vary from one insurance carrier to another.

Learn more about how much workers’ compensation insurance costs.

How to Buy Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina

To buy workers’ comp insurance in South Carolina:

  1. Calculate your payroll.
  2. Request a quote from a commercial insurance carrier or agency. South Carolina has a private market, so you may obtain coverage through any insurer licensed to write work comp in the state.
  3. Answer a few questions about your business and its operations. Have your EIN Number, number of employees, payroll and basic business details in front of you.

South Carolina does not have a state-funded insurance option. If your business is having trouble finding coverage, contact NCCI and ask for the South Carolina assigned risk plan. NCCI administers the state’s assigned risk pool, and will place you with a carrier.

South Carolina Work Comp Resources

Editor’s note: Last updated December 28, 2018

Here's What You Need to Get Started

To buy workers compensation insurance, you need to request a quote from a licensed insurance agent and provide some details about your business.

Here’s what to have in front of you:

  • Number of employees in each class code.
  • Total payroll for all employees. You may be able to exclude yourself if you don't wish to be covered under the policy. 
  • Federal ID Number. If you are a sole proprietor, you can use your Social Security Number.
  • Copy of your workers comp insurance policy, if you've had coverage or claims in the past few years. If you know your company's experience mod, please have your experience mod rating sheet or policy in front of you. Otherwise, you will be assigned a default rating of 1.0.

The information on this page has been interpreted and summarized for your convenience. Please consult your state's governing authority for the most current and complete legislation.