South Carolina is known for its pristine marshlands and picturesque, moss-draped squares. The state boasts 200 miles of coastline—making it a magnet for tourists and tempests alike. In fact, South Carolina ranks fifth among the most hurricane-prone states in the U.S. Three of the 10 costliest hurricanes ever recorded made landfall here, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

If you live in the Palmetto State—or are considering a move there—it pays to do your homework before a natural disaster strikes. Whether you plan to put down roots in Charleston, Greenville, or Mount Pleasant, we want to make sure you have the very best home insurance policy to protect your family and personal belongings

Insurify allows homeowners to compare quotes from top insurance companies. The cheapest rates are just a few clicks away.

How to Get the Best Homeowners Insurance in South Carolina

Buying a home is a huge financial commitment, and, inevitably, the decision to do so involves some level of risk. While this is unavoidable, homeowners can take steps to minimize this risk and protect their property from unforeseen disasters. 

The first step in protecting oneself is purchasing homeowners insurance. Though not required by law, home insurance protects your personal belongings from natural disasters or theft. Different coverage options are available for different property types, locations, and other factors. 

Keep reading for a full guide on South Carolina home insurance

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Homeowners Insurance Rates in South Carolina by Company 

Homeowners insurance companies don’t always have your best interest in mind. That’s where Insurify comes in.

In 2020, the average home insurance premium in South Carolina cost $2,785 annually, and the median home value was $161,800. 

That’s a lot of cash. How can you cover these costs and still provide for you and your family? 

Average Home Cost in South Carolina Average Annual Insurance Premium in South Carolina
$161,800 $2,785

Homeowners Insurance Costs in South Carolina by City

Home insurance rates will differ from customer to customer based on the specific insurance products purchased, the bundling of those products, and the risk profile of the property being insured. 

Insurance companies decide a customer’s risk profile based on ZIP code–specific variables like the number of nearby claims that have been filed, local crime rates, property values, and weather patterns. For this reason, premiums can vary by city and even neighborhood.

Rates in South Carolina can be relatively high or low compared to the national average; it all depends on where you live. Here are the ZIP codes in South Carolina where home insurance is the most and least expensive.

Most Expensive Real Estate in South Carolina  Cheapest Real Estate in South Carolina
Kiawah Island $986,227 Spartanburg $135,936
Isle of Palms $823,562 Columbia $147,135
Hilton Head  $556,486 Florence $147,740

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What does home insurance cover in South Carolina?

There are several types of home insurance. Specific terms of insurance policies may vary by state, but in general, the standard policy types are as follows:

HO-1

Basic

  • The simplest and least comprehensive type of homeowners insurance
  • Provides coverage for a handful of potential problems including
    • natural disasters (storms, fires, wind, lightning, volcanic eruption), 
    • explosions, 
    • theft, 
    • damage from vehicles, 
    • or civil commotion. 
HO-2

Broad Form

  • Broad form homeowners insurance policies include all basic form coverage, plus protection from:
    • falling objects, 
    • damage from the weight of ice, snow, or sleet, 
    • freezing of household systems including HVAC and pipes, 
    • sudden and accidental damage to pipes and other household systems from artificially generated electrical current, 
    • accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam,
    • sudden and accidental damage. 
  • HO-2 policies typically cover both dwelling protection and personal property.
  • In some cases, broad form coverage may also include liability coverage. However, it still only covers the specific damages listed in the policy.
HO-3

Special Form

  • The most common form of homeowners insurance is known as a “special form” policy.
  • While HO-1 and HO-2 policies are “named peril” policies (meaning they only cover dangers that are specifically listed in the policy), HO-3 policies are “open peril” policies meaning they’ll cover all dangers except those specifically excluded in the policy documents.
HO-4

Tenant’s Form

  • HO-4 policies, also known as renters insurance, are for people who lease rather than own their homes. 
  • Tenant’s form policies typically cover all the same dangers as HO-2 policies. 
  • These policies include personal property coverage and liability coverage but don’t cover the physical structure of the house. 
  • Some HO-4 policies may also include loss of use coverage for the tenants.
HO-5

Comprehensive

  • Comprehensive form policies are usually the broadest and provide the highest level of coverage; not surprisingly, they also tend to be the most expensive type of homeowners insurance policies.
  • The biggest difference between HO-3 and HO-5 policies is that most HO-3 policies are “actual cash value” policies, whereas typically HO-5 policies are “replacement cost value” policies.
  • An actual cash value policy will only reimburse you for the actual value of a damaged or destroyed item, while a replacement cost value policy will reimburse you for however much it would cost to completely replace or repair the damaged or destroyed item (up to the coverage limits on the policy). 
  • HO-5 policies also provide personal property coverage against a wider range of dangers than the typical HO-3 policy. Many HO-5 policies also have extra coverage for high-value personal property, such as jewelry and artwork.
HO-6

Condo Form

  • Not surprisingly, condo form insurance is for condominium owners. HO-6 policies generally protect against the same types of dangers as HO-3 policies. 
  • They provide dwelling protection coverage with a twist: HO-6 policies cover the walls, floors, and ceiling of the condo unit but not the rest of the building. 
  • These policies also include personal property and liability coverage and may include loss of use coverage.
HO-7

Mobile Home Form

  • If you own a mobile home or manufactured home, you likely have an HO-7 policy. 
  • Mobile home form policies are typically identical to HO-3 policies, except they’re designed specifically for mobile and manufactured homes.
  • Like HO-3 policies, they provide dwelling protection coverage, other structures coverage, personal property coverage, liability coverage, and possibly loss of use coverage as well. 
  • HO-7 policies generally only protect the home when it’s stationary; if you plan to move your mobile or manufactured home, you’ll need to get a special policy to cover it while it’s in transit.
HO-8

Older Home

  • Older homes have generally been built to less stringent code standards than recently built homes, and so insurers have designed a specialized type of homeowners insurance policy for them. 
  • HO-8 policies often only cover the basic perils listed in HO-1 policies and generally apply to homes that are registered landmarks or otherwise deemed historic homes. 
  • Owners of registered landmarks are typically forbidden from making the updates to HVAC, electrical, and other parts of the home to enable them to qualify for a standard HO-3 policy, so an HO-8 policy is often the only option for them.

Mobile Home Insurance Coverage 

Mobile homes make up a higher percentage of total households in South Carolina than in any other state except New Mexico. In fact, there were nearly 300,000 occupied mobile homes in the state in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Unfortunately, given their vulnerability to extreme weather events, mobile homes are considered a higher risk by home insurance companies and can be difficult to insure. A standard home insurance policy will not cover a mobile home. Instead, you’ll need a specialized policy. Not all providers offer these policies and those that do sometimes do so only through affiliates. 

Whichever company you choose, remember that a standard policy usually will cover your home only while it is stationary. If you want to be protected during transit, you’ll need to buy additional coverage.

Windstorm and Flood Insurance 

South Carolinians are no strangers to severe weather events. Hurricanes and floods are both common, and they’ll only become more so as the climate continues to warm. This fact was brought into tragic relief when the state was hit with a so-called “thousand-year flood” in 2015. According to the National Weather Service, the disaster cost the state 19 lives and $1.5 billion in flood damage

How do you protect against such disasters? Contrary to popular belief, “hurricane insurance” is not the answer. In fact, it doesn’t even exist. Instead, storm damages are covered under two discrete hazards: “windstorm” and “flood.” If you live on or near a coastline, neither of these will likely be included in your standard homeowners insurance policy

You can often purchase supplementary windstorm coverage either from your existing insurance provider or through a separate, state-sponsored program. You can purchase flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The law requires that property owners purchase flood insurance for some homes, especially those in high-risk areas.

Talk to your insurance agent to learn what options are available.

South Carolina Homeowners Insurance FAQs

How much is home insurance in South Carolina?

The average cost of homeowners insurance is higher in South Carolina than many other states—mainly due to its proximity to the coast. As discussed above, hurricanes and floods are commonplace, and insurance companies charge higher premiums to account for this risk. The only way to avoid paying this premium entirely is to avoid buying property close to the water. However, if an ocean view is non-negotiable, you can still save money by comparing quotes from multiple providers. Online tools like Insurify make it easy to find the best deal—no matter where you live.

What does “wind pool” mean?

The South Carolina Wind and Hail Underwriting Association (SCWHUA) —commonly called the “wind pool”—is the residual property insurance market in South Carolina. State lawmakers established the pool in 1971 to provide wind and hail coverage for the state’s coastal property owners, many of whom had struggled to find coverage up until then. While the wind pool is a much-needed safety net for many, it’s not always the cheapest option. Officials recommend that homeowners consider all options before purchasing coverage through the pool. Online tools like Insurify make it easy to compare policies.

What is the Excess Insurance Premium Tax Credit?

Insurance can be very expensive, especially if you live in a state that is prone to natural disasters. Fortunately, some state governments offer special incentives to reduce these risks and encourage people to invest in property within their borders.  In South Carolina, homeowners can claim an income tax credit of up to $1,250 if they spend more than five percent of their income on home insurance. Any unused credit can be carried forward for five years. This provision, known as the “Excess Insurance Premium Tax Credit,” applies only to state income tax and is only applicable to your legal residence.

Special Home Insurance Situations in South Carolina

Unique elements of your home may affect homeowners insurance prices. Check out these quotes for some special situations that may impact your home insurance in South Carolina.

Cheapest Home Insurance for Houses With a Swimming Pool in South Carolina

Insurance Company Average Annual Premium
Nationwide $851
Homeowners of America $850
Universal $819
Cincinnati $1890

Cheapest Home Insurance for Houses Less Than 20 Years Old in South Carolina

Insurance Company Average Annual Premium
American National P&C $380
Bankers $407
Encompass $2828
USAA $985

Conclusion: How to find the cheapest home insurance in South Carolina

Just like with groceries or clothes, you can find a good bargain on home insurance. With a little research and the right tools, you’ll be on your way to big savings. 

Use Insurify to compare home insurance premiums for your property in South Carolina.

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Browse, compare, and secure home insurance with Insurify today! 

Yep, it’s that easy.  

Updated August 4, 2020

T.S. Strickland is an award-winning journalist and brand strategist based in Pensacola, Florida. His work has been published in the Washington Post, USA Today, Entrepreneur, National Fisherman and elsewhere. When he's not writing, T.S. enjoys kayak fishing, cooking and going on walks with his Australian Shepherd, Rosie. He tweets @TSStrickland1.