A homeowners insurance policy in SC is a homeowners insurance policy, right? Not exactly. Insurance policies can be as varied as houses themselves. Depending on your budget and the value of your home, policies can vary.
- Shop around and get comparison quotes. A good rule of thumb is to get three quotes from three separate companies. Make sure you request the same kind of information and the same policy, so you can truly compare what they have to offer and the pricing. Don’t assume all insurance companies offer the same thing. Pricing can vary considerably and you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the very best insurance policy at the very best price.If you have an existing insurance company, include it as a fourth quote. Some companies offer discounts for loyal customers or for bundling home and auto insurance policies. You may qualify for some discounts that bring your existing insurance pricing in line with what other companies are offering. If you’re happy with the coverage, you could save yourself the hassle of switching insurance companies while getting some money-saving discounts.
- Understand whether you need a separate flood insurance policy. Homeowners in Charleston, SC, are certainly at risk for flooding whether from a hurricane, tropical storm, or simply heavy rains mixed with high tides. Even homeowners who don’t live in a designated flood zone could find themselves in high water in certain situations. This is why it’s critical to consider a separate flood insurance policy.The majority of policies do not cover damage caused by flooding so if your first floor is 6 inches underwater and you don’t have flood insurance, you’re faced with paying for the repairs yourself. And even a small amount of water can do some serious damage.The average flood insurance policy is about $700 a year so it’s not a terribly expensive policy to add. You may find it’s worth the peace of mind knowing you’re covered the next time a hurricane is headed for the South Carolina coast.
- Ask questions about what’s included in the policy.Homeowners insurance policies vary in the amount of coverage. You need to find out if you have a more basic plan or if yours covers things like high-value personal property (art and jewelry). Does your policy cover personal liability in the event someone is injured on your property?
- Know the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value. Don’t assume your homeowners insurance company will give you the full value of your home in the event your house is damaged beyond repair. Again, this is why it’s important to fully understand your policy. If your insurance pays a replacement cost, this means you get the full cost of replacing your home – up to a maximum amount. Make sure that the maximum is high enough. You’ll want to be able to purchase a new home that’s comparable to the one you lost.Actual cash value, on the other hand, gives you the current cash value of your personal property or home – with depreciation. Understand the difference and talk with your insurance agent to get a sense of how much money you would receive should your house and its content be destroyed in something like a fire or tornado. By taking the time to understand homeowners insurance in SC, the specifics of different policies, and what happens in the event of a disaster, you’ll be informed and able to make a smart choice about the right policy for you.