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If you own a home, finding a home insurance policy at a fair price is likely to be a top priority. Comparison shopping is the best way to get a policy that meets your needs at an affordable cost. We evaluated average rates for large home insurance companies in South Carolina to help you find an affordable insurance policy.
Cheap home insurance in South Carolina cost comparison
Related: The best home insurance companies
Home insurance cost factors
Your ability to find cheap home insurance in South Carolina will depend on several factors, such as:
- The age of your home
- The materials your home is made of
- The cost of rebuilding your home
- fire rating for your site
- Register your claims
- Record your personal claims
- your credit
- Coverage amount, policy limits, and deductible
Related: 10 ways to get cheap home insurance
What does home insurance cover?
A standard home insurance policy (also called HO-3) covers your home for any not-excluded issue with your policy.
Your belongings (personal belongings) are covered for “perils” specified in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Vandalism, theft, explosions, and fires are just some of the problems covered by home insurance.
A standard homeowner’s insurance policy can be divided into several types of coverage:
- dwelling: This coverage pays to rebuild or repair your home if it is damaged. It also covers connecting structures, such as a balcony or rooftop.
- Other structures: This pays to rebuild or repair structures not associated with your home, such as a shed or fence.
- Property: This type of insurance pays homeowners to repair or replace your belongings after an issue such as theft or fire. Items covered include clothing, jewelry, artwork, furniture, rugs, pots and pans, sports equipment and other types of items.
- Legal Responsibility: This pays for injuries and damage to property that you accidentally cause to others. For example, if your dog bites a guest, your liability insurance can pay for a settlement or court ruling against you. It also pays for your legal defense.
- Medical payments to others: This covers small medical claims made by people who do not live in your home, regardless of who is responsible for the accident. For example, if a guest takes trips over a rug, you can click this coverage to pay for an emergency room visit. This coverage is usually sold in small quantities, such as $1,000.
- Additional Living Expenses: If you are displaced from your home due to a problem covered by your policy (such as a fire), additional living expenses pay for costs such as restaurant meals, laundry services, and hotel bills.
Related: How much home insurance do you need?
What is not covered by homeowners insurance?
Common exclusions found in a standard home insurance policy include problems such as nuclear hazards, power outages, bug and bug infestations, war, wear and tear, earthquakes, potholes and floods.
Be sure to review your policy closely to understand what is excluded from coverage.
The most common disasters in South Carolina
Hurricanes are the most common declared disaster in South Carolina. In August 2019, Hurricane Dorian was the second strongest storm on record in the Atlantic Ocean. Dorian stayed offshore as he passed South Carolina, but the storm brought tropical winds, torrential rain and coastal flooding that destroyed homes, forced evacuations, and more than 160,000 power outages.
The Palmetto state has an 80% chance of being affected by the tropical system each year, according to the South Carolina Bureau of Climatology.
But hurricanes aren’t the only problem South Carolinas have to contend with. A snowstorm on February 11, 2014 lasted for three days, leading to 350,000 power outages and closing schools and businesses. Governor Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency as the storm dumped eight inches of snow in some parts of the state and up to an inch of ice in other locations.
Disasters by month in South Carolina
September and October have historically been the busiest months for declared disasters in South Carolina.
Disasters by year in South Carolina
South Carolina residents deal with an average of one declared disaster per year, but some years are busier than others.
For example, 2016 saw the reported disasters of Hurricane Matthew and the Pinnacle Fire. The fire was the longest and largest fire in South Carolina’s history. It started on November 9, 2016 and burned more than 10,000 acres before taking control on December 16, 2016.
Flood Insurance in South Carolina
In certain years, South Carolina can experience more than a hundred floods. But a standard home insurance policy will not cover flood damage. If your property is at risk, you should consider purchasing flood insurance.
During the week of October 3, 2015, Columbia and the Midlands experienced what some have called the “Thousand Years Flood”. More than 20 inches of rain swept the area and led to 19 deaths, hundreds of evacuations, and more than 375,000 people left without safe water for nearly two weeks.
Many areas in the United States suffer from costly and devastating floods but may not have been declared a federal disaster. Here’s a look at the number of recent floods in South Carolina.
Financial assistance from the government can be limited or unavailable. It is wise to have reliable flood insurance. Most people who have flood insurance buy it through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program. You can also get flood insurance through the private market.
FEMA’s Individuals and Families Program (IHP) can provide cash and direct assistance after a major disaster or emergency, if you qualify. This program helps people find housing after a problem directly caused by a disaster, provided it is not covered by insurance or other sources.
Earthquake Insurance in South Carolina
While South Carolina has not declared any earthquake disasters, the state is at medium to high risk, according to the 2018 National Long-Term Seismic Hazard Map from the US Geological Survey.
The state records 10 to 20 earthquakes annually, according to the South Carolina Department of Emergency Management. People feel about two to five earthquakes each year.
But a standard home insurance policy will not cover earthquake damage. If you want earthquake coverage, you will need to purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy.
Earthquake insurance usually covers:
- other structures
- Additional living expenses
Earthquake insurance often has a deductible separate from your home insurance, usually 10% to 25% of your dwelling policy limit.
Tips for buying home insurance
Whether you’re a long-time homeowner looking for a new insurance company or you’re about to close your first home, you’ll want to buy an insurance policy at a good price without sacrificing coverage. Here are tips for home insurance veterans and beginners alike:
- Evaluate how much liability coverage you need. You should buy an amount proportional to the value of what you could lose in a lawsuit, or at least $300,000.
- Evaluate your rebuilding costs. You want your housing coverage amount to equal the cost of rebuilding your home with fair materials, based on labor costs in your area. You can ask your home insurance agent or trusted contractor to help you determine the amount.
- Get replacement cost covered. If your personal belongings are damaged, the replacement cost coverage pays for new items. Actual cash value pays only the consumable value of your items.
- Cover your valuables. Some items, such as jewelry, may have “special limits” that specify how much your document will pay if it is stolen. It’s a good idea to schedule your personal belongings so that your high-value items are secured for their value.
- Ask about discounts. Make sure you get all the discounts you qualify for, like home insurance and multi-line discounts.
- Find financial ratings. Check the financial strength of your potential insurance company with companies like AM Best or Standard & Poor’s.
- Get multiple quotes. Since prices for the same policy can vary greatly, comparison shopping is key to finding a good value. Get quotes for the same level of coverage from multiple insurance companies.
Average home insurance rates were calculated using data from the Quadrant Information Services. Prices are based on a policy with $300,000 condo coverage and $100,000 liability coverage.