Posted on May 16, 2014
Commercial insurance is often one of the largest expenses South Carolina businesses face after paying benefits and payroll costs. Because of the importance of properly protecting companies from lawsuits and claims, just having insurance is not enough. Business owners can greatly benefit from learning about the right type and amount of coverage needed so that they can get the most insurance protection they can reasonably afford.
South Carolina Liability Coverage
No matter how safely a company operates, the chances are good that during the course of doing business, there may come a time when they will be sued. General liability insurance protects companies from the risk of liability for personal injuries, product liability or property damage. The cost of legal expenses and damage awards can add up quickly, and those without proper liability coverage could potentially have to pay for claims out of pocket. Liability insurance takes care of the expenses of claims and lawsuits so that company owners can have the security that their assets are safely protected.
While general liability handles injury claims of clients and other third parties, another form of liability covers claims made by employees that employers have unlawful employment practices. With employment practices liability insurance, business owners are protected from employee claims of discrimination, emotional distress, wrongful termination and harassment.
Workers Compensation Coverage
Workers compensation insurance provides valuable benefits to those employees who find themselves with work related injuries or illnesses. This employer provided insurance pays medical benefits and lost wages as well as vocational rehabilitation costs and disability payments.
South Carolina employers with 4 or more part time or full time employees must have workers' compensation insurance. The only exemptions to the workers comp law is provided to farm workers and agricultural sales people, federal employees, state & county associations, employers with payroll of less than $3,000 per year, owner-operator drivers, and real estate agents.
South Carolina companies invest a lot of time and money in purchasing and maintaining their business buildings and equipment. When wind, theft, or fire damages those assets, commercial property insurance pays to repair or replace both the structure and any contents inside. The expense of replacing damaged business personal property such as computers, furniture and documents can often be quite costly so having this coverage that will keep companies operational and able to continue in business despite a significant loss or damage to their property.
Some small businesses can combine their general liability and property insurance into one package called a business owner's policy or BOP. If a business qualifies, this type of policy combines popular coverage at an affordable price that is often attractive to companies and their pocketbook.
Commercial Flood Insurance
Flooding is not just a common occurrence in South Carolina; it also happens to be the most common natural disaster in the United States. South Carolina can experience a large amount of flood damage from hurricanes and tropical storms that move into the state from the Atlantic. In fact, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the state has endured more than $7 billion in flood damage over the last 12 years. Contrary to what many business owners may believe, flood damage is not covered by commercial property insurance. It must be purchased as a separate policy.
Business owners seeking to protect themselves and their businesses from the devastating effects of flooding can obtain flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program. This FEMA administered insurance coverage is available with limits up to $500,000 for buildings and $500,000 for contents. Businesses that rent their space are eligible to apply for contents only insurance to protect their inventory, furniture and equipment.
Wind, Hail & Coastal Insurance for South Carolina
Those residents and business owners located in coastal or beach areas of South Carolina have special needs for property insurance policies that cover wind and hail that is common along the coast. Many commercial property policies do not provide coverage for these specific perils because of their location, so companies must purchase separate policies to add this much needed protection. Some insurance companies will also allow special endorsements to be added to existing policies so it is important to review these plans with the insurance agent or broker representing your property insurance policy.
Companies situated more inland of the state also require coverage for both hurricane and tornado damage. Standard commercial policies will usually cover these events when in lower risk areas. It is important to review existing policies to determine if these perils are covered or excluded.
Additional Information on South Carolina Insurance