General Contractor Insurance in South Carolina
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General contractor insurance in South Carolina

Learn about business insurance requirements and the most common policies for general contractors in South Carolina.

What insurance is required for general contractors in South Carolina?

General contractors in South Carolina must carry the following insurance coverage to comply with state laws:

Workers’ compensation insurance icon

Workers' compensation insurance

If you own a construction or home improvement business in South Carolina with four or more employees, your business is required to carry workers' compensation insurance.

Workers' compensation insurance covers medical care and disability benefits when an employee is injured on the job or develops an occupational illness. It's a key policy for the construction industry and related professions, such as carpenters, electricians, and plumbers.

Sole proprietors may not need workers' comp for their South Carolina general contractor license, but it's still a good idea to carry this coverage. Personal health insurance doesn't cover work-related personal injuries, so it can save you from out-of-pocket medical expenses.

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Commercial auto insurance

If your South Carolina business owns a vehicle, you must carry commercial auto insurance that meets the state's minimum requirements for auto liability insurance.

Commercial auto insurance protects business vehicles owned by your general contracting company. It covers property damage and medical bills in an accident, along with vehicle theft, weather damage, and vandalism.

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What other policies are common for general contractors in South Carolina?

General contractors may need different types of insurance depending on the work they do and their client contracts. These policies are the most popular for general contractors in South Carolina, and often provide the best coverage for their insurance needs.

General liability insurance icon

General liability insurance

General liability insurance is the foundation of a general contractor’s protection. It covers legal fees related to accidents that damage a client's property or cause a bodily injury, along with libel and other advertising injuries.

Contractors in South Carolina may be required to have a general liability policy depending on the counties they work in and the type of work they do. They also might need it to sign a commercial lease or meet the terms of a client's contract.

Adding commercial umbrella insurance can boost the coverage limits on commercial general liability insurance and other policies.

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Business owner's policy (BOP)

Licensed contractors who work independently or own a small company often qualify for a business owner’s policy. This policy bundles general liability coverage with commercial property insurance at a discount.

A BOP is the top policy recommended by Insureon's expert agents, as it offers protection against common liability claims and business property coverage at an affordable price.

Contractor’s tools and equipment coverage icon

Contractor's tools and equipment insurance

Contractor’s tools and equipment insurance protects a general contractor’s saws, nail guns, drills, and other construction equipment. Look to this policy or inland marine insurance to protect equipment that moves from place to place.

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Professional liability insurance

Professional liability insurance provides protection when a general contractor is sued for a professional mistake, such as a missed deadline on a construction project. This policy is also called errors and omissions (E&O) insurance.

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Contractor surety bonds

Surety bonds guarantee reimbursement for the client if a general contractor fails to fulfill the terms of a contract or adhere to building codes. Common types of surety bonds include bid bonds, performance bonds, and payment bonds.

Builder’s risk insurance icon

Builder's risk insurance

Builder’s risk insurance can cover fires, vandalism, equipment theft, and other damage done to a structure under construction. Project owners may require this coverage for contractors and subcontractors, or you may be able to join their policy as an additional insured.

Depending on the counties or cities your business operates in, you may be required to carry this coverage.

Environmental insurance icon

Contractors pollution liability (CPL) insurance

Contractors pollution liability insurance covers costs related to pollution, such as a lawsuit alleging harm caused from exposure to silica dust on a construction job site. It's sometimes referred to as environmental insurance.

How much does small business insurance cost for general contractors in South Carolina?

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General contractors in South Carolina who buy policies from Insureon pay an average of:

General liability: $115 per month
Workers' compensation: $336 per month
Commercial auto: $229 per month

Several factors affect the cost of general contractor insurance, including:

  • Type of building construction, such as townhouses, multifamily homes, or offices
  • Business property and equipment
  • Business income and size
  • Years of work experience
  • Policy limits and deductibles

When do you need a general contractor business license in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, from Columbia to Charleston, general contractors must be registered and licensed to work on projects worth more than $10,000. Depending on the license limitation [PDF], your requirements for obtaining the license might vary.

There are five tiers of license limitations, which determine the dollar size of projects the licensee can undertake:

  • Group 1: The limitation of group one is $100,000, and you must have $10,000 in working capital, a net worth or total equity of $20,000, and a surety bond of $20,000.
  • Group 2: In group two, you can accept jobs up to $400,000, but you must have $40,000 in working capital, a net worth or total equity of $60,000, and a surety bond of $60,000.
  • Group 3: This group is limited to projects up to $1,000,000, and you must have $100,000 in working capital, a net worth or total equity of $150,000, and carry a surety bond of $150,000.
  • Group 4: The limit of group four is $3,000,000, but you must have $175,000 in working capital, a net worth or total equity of $250,000, and a surety bond of $250,000.
  • Group 5: In group five, there are no dollar limits on contracts, but you must have $250,000 in working capital, a net worth or total equity of $350,000, and a surety bond of $350,000.

Licensure requirements include:

  • Designated Primary Qualifying Party (PQP) for each classification or sub-classification for which a license is desired.
  • Completed general contractor application, including the $350 license fee.
  • Verification to conduct business in SC from the SC Secretary of State (not required for a sole proprietorship).
  • Financial statement or surety bond supporting the license limitation.
  • Pass all required exams, including the SC Business Law and Project Management for Commercial Contractors Exam and all chosen technical exams.
  • Any city or county specific certifications or licenses you might need.

View details on the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation website.

How do I get South Carolina contractors insurance?

Insureon’s industry-leading technology helps general contractors in South Carolina save time and money shopping for insurance. Start an online application to get free quotes from top-rated U.S. insurance companies.

To get through the application quicker, have this information ready:

  • Workforce details, such as the number and types of employees
  • Current and projected revenue
  • Business partnerships
  • Insurance history and prior claims
  • Commercial lease insurance requirements

A licensed insurance agent can answer your questions and help you find the right coverage for your business. Small business owners can get their certificate of insurance shortly after they apply for quotes and pay for a policy.

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Updated: October 24, 2023
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