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If you’re a homeowner or are looking to buy your first home, homeowners insurance is a must. It protects your biggest asset and can save you from spending hundreds of thousands of expenses out of pocket in the event that your home or property gets damaged.

For those who live in the Palmetto State, homeowners insurance is extra important. South Carolina is susceptible to hurricanes, extreme winds, and weather-related damage. Without insurance, repairing these damages can drain your savings fast.

If you live in South Carolina, here’s what you need to know about protecting your home.

What is homeowners insurance? 

Homeowners insurance is the best way to protect your home. It protects three specific parts of your home. The first aspect of home insurance is coverage for the structure of your home in the event that it’s damaged. This damage could be from high winds, hurricane, fire, lightning, or whatever disasters are mentioned in your policy. So, if your home is destroyed, this part of coverage helps you pay for rebuilding, construction fees, materials, and temporary living space.

The second part of home insurance is coverage for personal property. In the event that your belongings are damaged by water or fire, or even stolen, this part of insurance will help you pay to repair or replace your belongings.

The last part of homeowners insurance is liability protection. This part of your policy protects you from any legal fees or lawsuits if someone is injured in your home. If you have a guest or visitor and they fall or are injured by a family member or pet, liability protects you.

Do you need it?

The short answer is—yes. If you have a mortgage on your property, your lender will probably require some form of homeowners insurance to cover their assets if your home is damaged. Even if you are not required to have homeowners insurance, it’s a good idea. If you don’t have insurance coverage on your home and it undergoes damage, you will have to cough up repair money out of pocket. And trust us—this isn’t ideal.

Homeowners insurance is an especially good idea if you live in South Carolina. In 2018, Hurricane Florence cost Insurance companies a grand total of $47 million in damages and over 19,000 claims were filed. So, if you’re looking to purchase a home or already have a home, homeowners insurance is a must.

Best home insurance companies in South Carolina 

There are a few factors that make insurance companies great. The type of coverage offered, the annual premium, and deductible costs are just a few. In South Carolina, there are five insurance companies that rank high in all of these qualities, and more.

Allstate

It’s always good to be in good hands. With Allstate, South Carolina homeowners will be. The average Allstate home insurance premium for a $250,000 home is $1,290 a year. Compared to the average cost of insuring a home in South Carolina is $1,284, this cost is only slightly above average.

The quality, however, is worth the extra $6. Allstate offers many features that benefit homeowners. When it comes to customizability, Allstate knocks it out of the park. They offer additional coverages for personal belongings and items such as musical instruments, sports equipment, garden coverage, landscaping and yard coverage, and even reimbursements for green improvements.

In addition to having a relatively cheap premium, and customizable add-ons to make your policy fit your life the best, they also offer some optional features that reward insured customers. Their most popular feature is their Claim Rateguard feature. This protects your insurance premium from increasing just because you file a claim. They also offer claim-free rewards and deductible rewards, which give customers money back if they don’t have any claims and decrease deductible rates when you sign up.

Auto-Owners 

Auto-Owners is another homeowners insurance company in South Carolina, and yes,  they offer more than just car insurance. They offer additional protection such as guaranteed replacement cost coverage, equipment breakdown protection, and premium packages for homeowners which covers the cost to replace groceries if the power goes out. If you live in South Carolina, you know how quickly food can spoil when a hurricane cuts the power off.

An added bonus with Auto-Owners is the multitude of discounts they offer! While their premiums are already affordable, averaging $1,272, they offer discounts for just being a good customer. Here are a few of their most popular discounts:

  • Multi-policy discount

  • A discount for paying your premium in full

  • Consistent payment discounts

  • Protective devices discount

  • Water shut-off system discount

  • Green discount

  • Automatic backup generator discount

Cincinnati Financial 

The average price of an annual premium with Cincinnati Financial is $1,464. While this is higher than the average, they target homeowners with an especially high value home. With the hurricane risk, this extra coverage is a must have.

Cincinnati Financial is known for their three-tier coverage options. The highest policy is known as their Executive Homeowner policy and covers over a million dollars in rebuilding. The Executive Capstone policy covers homes with one million dollars in rebuilding protection. The Executive Classic policy covers rebuilding costs over half a million.

State Farm 

State Farm is not only a great option for home insurance in South Carolina, they are also the largest home insurance company in the nation with 18% of the market. They offer low rates, coming in at an average of $1,370 a year. They’re also known for their discounts, and customer service. If you’ve ever been frustrated with your insurance company because they feel out of reach or impossible to communicate with, rest assured that State Farm is known for their communication.

They also offer a bundling discount for multiple policies, so if you own a home and want to bundle homeowner’s insurance with car insurance or another policy, you could save up to $1,000.

USAA 

If you’re on active military duty or a retired military veteran living in South Carolina, USAA offers coverage for an affordable cost with great customer service. While they don’t offer many additional coverages like Allstate or Auto-Owners, they do offer exceptional basic coverages and additional earthquake insurance and identity theft coverage.

How much do you need? 

It’s important to know how much homeowners insurance coverage you need. If you are underinsured, you may have out of pocket fees to cover and if you’re over insured, you’ll pay for more than you need.

A good rule of thumb to gauge how much insurance you need is to have enough to cover your assets. In the event that you can’t pay or refuse to pay, your home or car could be seized. By having enough insurance coverage to pay these costs, you protect your home. You should also have enough to completely replace your home, provide a temporary place for you to live, and rebuild any additions you built to the house.

If you’re unsure of how much this would cost, contact your local real estate or construction companies. The market is always changing, as is the price of materials, so it’s always a good idea to get updated information.

Tips for saving money 

It’s no secret that home insurance is more expensive in South Carolina because of increased weather risks and damage. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be stuck overpaying for home insurance. Our best tip for saving money is to shop around to make sure you are getting the coverage you need at the best price.

>>SAVE: Compare homeowners insurance

Summary 

Homeowners insurance protects your home from hurricane, wind damage, and more. So, if you live in South Carolina, it’s important to know what insurance companies offer the best coverage for the cheapest price. It’s also important to know how much homeowners insurance you need to protect you in the event that your home does undergo damage.

>>COMPARE: Compare homeowners insurance