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Protecting small businesses in the Palmetto State
Small businesses are doing big business in South Carolina, where more than 400,000 small businesses make up 99.4% of all businesses in the state. This may be due, in part, to South Carolina's uniquely welcoming economic climate for businesses. South Carolina offers no state property tax, no local income tax, no inventory tax, no sales tax on manufacturing machinery, no wholesale tax and a favorable corporate income tax structure—all benefits that work together to reduce a small business's start-up and operating costs.
With all of these incentives, it's no wonder that South Carolina's small businesses employ more than 777,000 people—or nearly half of South Carolina's entire private workforce—and that number keeps growing every year. In 2015, small businesses created nearly 30,000 net jobs. But with complex workers compensation regulations and a coastal location that brings the risk of hurricane season every year, it's wise for small business owners in South Carolina to take steps to protect their investments.
Top covered industries in South Carolina
Small businesses throughout South Carolina's richly diverse industries can find insurance coverage with Hiscox, which tailors each insurance plan to each small business's specific risks and needs. Small business owners who insure with Hiscox include those who work in the insurance, cleaning services, information technology, lawn care and home repair industries.
Lawn care professionals
A lawn care provider in South Carolina might operate heavy equipment around homes, use sharp tools near clients, and handle harsh chemicals. These activities all bring a heightened risk of bodily injury and property damage that expose lawn care providers to potential liability, regardless of whether they serve commercial customers, residential homeowners, or both. For all of these reasons, Hiscox provides custom insurance that can fit each South Carolina lawn care business's specific needs.
General liability insurance is one of the most important types of insurance for a lawn care business to have. It protects against bodily injury, so if a client trips over a lawn care professional's tools and cuts open their hand, the policy will cover the costs of the client's medical care. It also protects against property damage, so if an employee breaks a customer's window in their home while working on the lawn, the policy will cover the costs associated with replacing the window. And it also protects against personal injury. If an employee is at lunch and starts talking to the cafe's owner about a client in a false and unflattering way and that client hears about this discussion and sues for slander, the policy will cover the claim and pay for a defense attorney, if necessary.
A handyperson in South Carolina will serve a wide variety of clients in a range of settings, from private homes to corporate offices to other small business's storefronts. Dealing with others' personal property every day brings a heightened liability risk that can benefit from comprehensive small business insurance, and an insurance policy inspires confidence in clients when they're deciding whom to hire for a home improvement or repair project.
Typically, a handyperson will need general liability insurance, which offers several essential benefits. Because it protects against bodily injury, the handyperson's business will be protected if, for example, an elderly client trips over the handyperson's ladder, falls, and breaks an arm; the policy will cover the costs of the client's medical care. Because it protects against property damage, it will cover the costs of any items that may be broken if, for example, an employee knocks over a shelf containing a collection of antique vases. And because it protects against personal damage, the business will be protected if, for example, an employee on his coffee break is overheard gossiping about a client in a false and unflattering way—and the client hears about the discussion and sues for slander. In those cases, the policy will cover the resulting claim and, if necessary, even pay for a defense attorney.
South Carolina's thriving business scene employs a number of IT consultants, who work with high-end equipment and sensitive personal and business information every day. And just as IT consultants tailor information technology to meet their clients' needs, Hiscox creates tailored insurance plans to meet IT consultants' needs.
Because IT consultants can have a huge impact on a client's business, they can benefit from professional liability insurance, which is sometimes called errors and omissions insurance. This policy would protect an IT consultant if, for example, they review a client's website and network security in order to implement new security procedures and, a month later, the client's website gets hacked and they lose revenue from the site being down. Even if the IT consultant hasn't made a mistake, the client might still make a claim of faulty work against them. A professional liability policy could cover defense costs as well as any settlement or judgment.
General liability insurance protects against claims of bodily injury or property damage. , If an IT consultant is at a client’s site, for example, and spills a cup of coffee on the client’s server, a general liability policy could cover the cost to replace the server.
Hiscox knows that even an insurance agent needs insurance for their business. And just as an insurance agent makes sure that their clients are protected against risk, Hiscox makes sure that insurance professionals are protected against the risks associated with owning and operating a small business in South Carolina.
One of the most frequently obtained policies for small business owners in South Carolina is professional liability insurance, or errors and omissions insurance. An insurance agent might need the protection of professional liability insurance if, for example, a client instructs the agent to purchase a policy and gives the agent a check for the premium but the agent forgets to bind the policy with the carrier. , If the uninsured client is later involved in an accident, they may demand that the insurance agent pay for the loss.
In addition, general liability insurance can protect an insurance agent against a third party's claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs, and damage to property, such as a claim from a client who slipped and fell in the insurance agent's office
Janitorial and cleaning services
Whether their employees clean factory floors or clients' kitchens, South Carolina's janitorial and cleaning services operate at a level of risk every day: they work on-site at customers' offices and homes, they handle delicate and expensive items, they operate cleaning equipment owned by clients, and they use harsh chemicals. Even baseless liability claims can drain a business's assets, so Hiscox specializes in providing tailored coverage to give cleaning professionals peace of mind and protection against potential litigious situations.
General liability insurance, which protects against a third party's claims of bodily injury or property damage, is the most common policy used by janitorial and cleaning services. This protection against bodily injury might be needed, for example, if a client trips over an employee's cleaning equipment and breaks an arm; even if the client's injuries don't seem to be the employee's fault, the janitorial business can still be held liable for the cost of the client's medical care. Another example might be if an employee is cleaning an executive's office and accidentally breaks an antique lamp while dusting it; the customer may demand that the cleaning service pay for the cost of the lamp's repair. General liability insurance also protects against claims of personal injury, such as if an employee is overheard gossiping about a client, who then sues the business for slander.
More professions we insure in South Carolina
South Carolina Small Business Insurance
If you have a professional services business in South Carolina, you’ve come to the right place. We currently offer a range of small business insurance coverage, which includes professional liability insurance and general liability insurance.
General liability insurance, known as Commercial General Liability (CGL), protects your business from another person or business’s claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs, and damage to property. Some examples of what could be covered are below:
- Bodily injury: A prospective client came to an architect’s office to discuss a project. The client tripped on the stairs leading to the office, fell down the stairs, and broke his arm. General liability insurance could protect architects against third-party claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs and property damage.
- Property damage: A project manager was working at a client site, using the client’s computer system. The project manager accidentally dropped the laptop he was using, breaking it. The client made a claim for the replacement cost of the laptop. General liability insurance could protect project managers against third-party claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs, and property damage.
- Personal injury: A property manager was overheard talking to a tenant about the building’s owner. The property manager made comments that were negative and untrue. The statements were repeated to the owner of the building, who sued the property manager. General liability insurance could protect property managers against claims of negligence and will appoint an attorney to defend them, if needed, even if they haven’t made a mistake.
Learn more about general liability insurance.
Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance (E&O insurance), covers another person’s claims against businesses that provide professional and personal services. Some examples of what could be covered include:
- Negligence: An employee of a document preparation company was assisting the human resources department of a large company is transitioning their paper files to an electronic system. The employee accidentally shredded numerous documents before they were scanned correctly and the company was later sued for failing to maintain the proper documentation. The client company made a claim against the document preparation firm. Professional liability insurance could protect document preparers against claims of negligence.
- Lost data: A contract draftsman was working on plans for a hospital addition. He inadvertently deleted the layer of the file that contained the electrical specifications. He was unable to recover the data, and the electrical work had to be completely re-done, setting the project schedule back. Professional liability insurance could protect draftsmen against claims of negligence and will appoint an attorney to defend them, if needed, even if they haven’t made a mistake.
Learn more about professional liability insurance.
Did you know?
South Carolina offers the same labor laws that the federal government guarantees across the United States. For example, any business with more than 15 employees may not discriminate against employees based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, genetic information or disability. Like most states, South Carolina is an "at-will" employment state, meaning that employers can fire employees at any time for any reason, but employees can still sue for breach of contract if they believe the terms of their employment contract have been violated. Employees in South Carolina are also entitled to the federal minimum wage, federal overtime regulations and federal break time regulations.
Careful business practices can, of course, mitigate the risk of wrongful-termination and discrimination lawsuits. However, all South Carolina small business owners face the natural risks associated with a coastal location, including the tropical storms, wind damage and heavy rains that come along with hurricane season. For example, Gov. Henry McMaster reported that Hurricane Florence caused $607 million in damages in South Carolina in September 2018 when it brought more than 20 inches of rain in parts of South Carolina over four days—an estimate that includes $111 million in flood insurance-related claims.
And although it doesn't lay on a fault line, South Carolina also experiences its share of earthquakes—between 10 and 20 each year, two to five of which are felt. In 2014, a 4.1 magnitude earthquake shook the Edgefield area, causing visible damage to several buildings. In 1886, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake killed 60 people and caused damage that, in today's dollars, would amount to tens of millions of dollars.
Small business owners can help mitigate some of these risks through custom small business insurance, including a business owner's policy that protects against property damage.
South Carolina workers compensation laws
According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, any South Carolina business with four or more employees—including full- and part-time workers, seasonal employees, and both adults and minors, but excluding volunteers—is required to carry workers compensation insurance.
However, there are exceptions: Agricultural employees, railroad or railway employees, textile hall corporations, and realtors who are paid on commission are exempt from workers compensation requirements. While business owners such as sole proprietors, partners and LLC members aren't automatically covered in workers compensation insurance coverage, they may choose to include themselves in their company’s coverage. And if a company hires a subcontractor who is not insured, any of the subcontractor's injured employees would be covered under the hiring company's workers compensation insurance, so even a business with fewer than four employees should consider workers compensation insurance if it hires any contract workers.
There's another excellent reason for small businesses to obtain workers compensation insurance, even when not required by law. If an injured employee makes a workers compensation claim against an uninsured business, the cost of that employee's medical care and missed work—as well as any litigation costs—would be covered by the state-created-and-maintained South Carolina Workers Compensation Uninsured Employers' fund. This fund can, in turn, take the business's assets to cover the costs of the claim, and even if the business declares bankruptcy, the state can still have a lien on its assets.
How can Hiscox help your South Carolina business?
At Hiscox, there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all insurance policy. Our expertise across a variety of industries helps ensure that each client's coverage—from liability insurance to a business owner's policy to workers compensation and beyond—meets their particular needs. We offer a range of benefits:
- Flexible payment options. Our monthly payment schedule, which comes with no added fees, can help you manage your cash flow.
- Tailored insurance. With Hiscox, you'll only pay for the coverage you need.
- Claims responsiveness. When a covered claim is reported, Hiscox will immediately assign a dedicated claims representative to assist you.
- Worldwide coverage. An Illinois business insured through Hiscox is covered for work done anywhere in the world, as long as the claim is filed in the U.S., a U.S. Territory or Canada.
Get a fast, free quote now and get that Hiscox confidence behind your South Carolina business. If you prefer, you can call us at 1-866-283-7545 and speak with a Hiscox licensed agent, Monday – Friday, 7am – 10pm ET.
Hiscox Customer Reviews
Samantha, South Carolina
Very convenient and easy to purchase just what I needed for my business
Jong, South California
"Liability insurance premium is affordable. I will keep this insurance policy until I am working my business operation. Thanks Hiscox's insurance service."
Richard, South Carolina
"Excellent experience. Website information was clear and easy to understand. Selecting the right product and getting immediate feedback was great."
Oliver, Hemingway, SC
Hands Up, llc, Academy and West Colorado office
"customer service was great"
met our business needs
This information is provided to assist you in understanding the coverage we offer and does not modify the terms and conditions of any insurance policy, nor does it imply that any claim is covered. Coverage is subject to underwriting and may not be available in all states.
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