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Charleston SC Homes For Sale : Flood Insurance - What’s Next?

Charleston, South Carolina area is a great place to live or have a vacation home. The weather is great, the beaches are fantastic, golf courses are abundant, there are many historical sites, the architecture is unbelievable, the dining is unbeatable, and the people are the friendliest in the country. It is because of these reasons that I believe Charleston SC Homes are truly unique. I look forward to helping you with any of your Charleston SC Homes For Sale needs in Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester counties. Today’s article is titled:

Charleston SC Homes For Sale : Flood Insurance - What’s Next?

Charleston SC Homes For Sale : Flood Insurance - What's Next?

Last week, Congress passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which substantially changes Biggert-Waters and the consequences associated with it. The new legislation will remove the point of sale trigger allowing homeowners to assume subsidized rates and permanently keeps grandfathered rates in place. However, this legislation will take time for FEMA to implement. Click here for additional information.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated.

Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC Homes For Sale needs or questions.

See Charleston SC Real Estate Blog for local attractions and current Charleston events.

Look at Charleston SC Homes For Sale anywhere in the tri-county area.

View my entire inventory of VisualTours of Charleston SC Real Estate homes at http://www.visualtour.com/inventory.asp?U=182210

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

A South Carolina Wind Mitigation Inspection Could Save You Money

The Charleston, South Carolina area is a great place to live or have a vacation home.  The weather is great, the beaches are fantastic, golf courses are abundant, there are many historical sites, the architecture is unbelievable, the dining is unbeatable, and the people are the friendliest in the country.  It is because of these reasons that I believe Charleston SC Real Estate is truly unique.  I look forward to helping you with any of your Charleston SC Real Estate needs in Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester counties. Today’s article is titled:


A South Carolina Wind Mitigation Inspection Could Save You Money


In 2007 a law was passed by the South Carolina legislature – a law that was created to help South Carolina homeowners protect their homes from wind and hurricane damage. Four years later, many South Carolina homeowners still are not aware of the possible savings they could receive with a simple, specialized home inspection.

The act requires that insurance companies provide discounts to homeowners, whose homes are protected against damage during a hurricane or windstorm. The use of storm shutters, roof tie downs, better roof coverings, impact-resistant windows and doors, and other actions taken to reduce losses are some examples of qualified improvements.

 Wind mitigation discounts may apply to existing older homes, as well as newer constructions, and are justified because stronger, more wind-resistant houses have lower windstorm losses. Lower windstorm losses result in reduced costs to insurance companies that are then passed on to the consumer. Inspectors typically charge $150 per inspection. By law, they are not allowed to charge any more. Many inspectors also offer discounts to the elderly and military personnel.

Inspections are performed and reviewed by state-licensed inspectors, who work closely with the homeowner’s insurance agent. Inspectors look for features that minimize wind damage during a hurricane or strong wind storm. Some of the features that qualify for wind mitigation certification include the type of roof, the presence of roof straps and secondary water resistance barriers. Inspectors then work with the insurance agent to ensure that the homeowner obtains the appropriate discounts.

In addition to the windstorm insurance mitigation inspections, Alpha Safe Home Inspectors also provides assistance in obtaining grant funds for South Carolinians to fortify their homes against the damaging effects of hurricanes and severe wind storms. The SC Safe Home Grant Program, operated within the South Carolina Department of Insurance, the same department that oversees the wind mitigation program, provides grant dollars to individual homeowners to make their properties more resistant to hurricane and wind damage. This program has helped more than 1,000 homeowners with grants totaling more than $4,568,000. State-certified inspectors, like those with Alpha Safe Home Inspectors, can help homeowners work through the grant process and ensure that their homes are retrofitted or fortified properly with money provided by the state.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated.

Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC Real Estate needs or questions.

See Charleston SC Real Estate Blog for local attractions and current Charleston events.

Look at Charleston SC Real Estate homes anywhere in the tri-county area.

View my entire inventory of VisualTours of Charleston SC Real Estate homes at http://www.visualtour.com/inventory.asp?U=182210 

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

NAR Still Advocates Flood Insurance Reform

The Charleston, South Carolina area is a great place to live or have a vacation home.  The weather is great, the beaches are fantastic, golf courses are abundant, there are many historical sites, the architecture is unbelievable, the dining is unbeatable, and the people are the friendliest in the country.  It is because of these reasons that I believe Charleston SC Real Estate is truly unique.  I look forward to helping you with any of your Charleston SC Real Estate needs in Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester counties. Today’s article is titled:


NAR Still Advocates Flood Insurance Reform


The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® said today it was pleased that Congress passed and the president signed into law a one-year extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for before it expires tomorrow, but still believes a longer extension and reforms are needed to provide fairness and continuity to the NFIP.

The NFIP authority was set to expire on Sept. 30 for the ninth time in two years; Congress has approved eight short-term extensions during this time. The new law, signed last night by President Obama, extends the program until Sept. 30, 2011.

“While this extension will help purchasers close their transactions for the next 12 months, these stop-gap measures have created great uncertainty in many real estate markets. That’s especially true when deadlines near because lenders have refused to lend based on promises and indications of extensions, which paralyze the market for indefinite periods. A long-term extension of five years will bring stability to the markets,” says NAR President Vicki Cox Golder.

Golder thanked Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and David Vitter (R-La.) for introducing the extension bill, as well as the leadership of both the House and Senate for expediting its passage.

“Now that Congress has given us some breathing room, we need to move ahead with long-term reauthorization reforms,” Golder said. “As the leading advocate for homeownership and housing issues, NAR also strongly supports strengthening the NFIP’s solvency through outreach and education programs that would help raise participation beyond the current 50 percent of home owners in federally designated flood areas. The increase in participants would boost funding for the NFIP, help property owners recover from flood losses, and decrease future federal assistance when uninsured properties flood and suffer loss.”

Adding types of coverage for living expenses, business interruption, and replacement cost of contents, as well as updating coverage limits — which haven’t been adjusted since 1994 — would also help increase participation.

NAR also favors extending and fully funding the pilot program to mitigate properties that have repeatedly suffered insured flood losses.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated.

Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC Real Estate needs or questions.

See Charleston SC Real Estate Blog for local attractions and current Charleston events.

Look at Charleston SC Real Estate homes anywhere in the tri-county area.

View my entire inventory of VisualTours of Charleston SC Real Estate homes at http://www.visualtour.com/inventory.asp?U=182210 

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

Source: NAR (10/1/2010)

Extension of National Flood Insurance Program and Homebuyer’s Tax Credit Approved

The Charleston, South Carolina area is a great place to live or have a vacation home.  The weather is great, the beaches are fantastic, golf courses are abundant, there are many historical sites, the architecture is unbelievable, the dining is unbeatable, and the people are the friendliest in the country.  It is because of these reasons that I believe Charleston SC Real Estate is truly unique.  I look forward to helping you with any of your Charleston SC Real Estate needs in Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester counties. Today’s article is titled:


Extension of National Flood Insurance Program and Homebuyer’s Tax Credit Approved


With Hurricane Alex threatening homes along the Gulf Coast Wednesday night, the U.S. Senate temporarily extended the National Flood Insurance Program until September 30th.  The action would make the federally backed flood insurance available to coastal residents and other flood prone communities.  The legislation passed unanimously late Wednesday and would be retroactive to June 1st.  The President must still sign off on the extension.

The Associated Press reported tonight that Congress has sent President Barack Obama a plan to give homebuyers an extra three months to finish qualifying for federal tax incentives that boosted home sales this spring.  The legislation would give buyers until Sept. 30 to complete their purchases and qualify for tax credits of up to $8,000. Under the current terms, buyers had until April 30 to get a signed sales contract and until June 30 to complete the sale.  The bill only allows people who already have signed contracts on or before April 30th to finish at the later date.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated.

Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC Real Estate needs or questions.

See Charleston SC Real Estate Blog for local attractions and current Charleston events.

Look at Charleston SC Real Estate homes anywhere in the tri-county area.

View my entire inventory of VisualTours of Charleston SC Real Estate homes at http://www.visualtour.com/inventory.asp?U=182210 

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

The Impact of an Expired National Flood Insurance Program

The Charleston, South Carolina area is a great place to live or have a vacation home.  The weather is great, the beaches are fantastic, golf courses are abundant, there are many historical sites, the architecture is unbelievable, the dining is unbeatable, and the people are the friendliest in the country.  It is because of these reasons that I believe Charleston SC Real Estate is truly unique.  I look forward to helping you with any of your Charleston SC Real Estate needs in Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester counties. Today’s article is titled:


The Impact of an Expired National Flood Insurance Program


The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has run out of funding as of May 31, 2010.  As of today, Congress has not acted to extend the funding.

What this means for buyers trying to refinance an existing loan, or purchasing a home in a FEMA designated flood zone is that they cannot obtain flood insurance until the National Flood Insurance Program is again fully funded.  If a buyer is obtaining a mortgage the lender may not approve financing until flood insurance is obtained.  Thereby delaying the closing until flood insurance is obtained.  The inability to obtain flood insurance will put homebuyers across the nation in jeopardy of losing there homebuyer tax credit.  According to current guidelines you must close on, or before June 30, 2010 to qualify for the tax credit.  There has been some effort in congress to get the closing deadline extended but as of this date little progress has been made.  

For buyers who are currently purchasing or trying to refinance a loan located in a flood zone, you have the option to acquire private flood insurance, available through many insurance companies, but it is much more costly. 

As it stands now until Congress passes a bill to fund the National Flood Insurance Program, new policies cannot be written and existing policies cannot be renewed.  Homeowners are being encouraged to jup through the hoops to renew their policy because Congress approval of funding is inevitable.  When the National Flood Insurance Program is funded new policies and renewals will be go into effect retroactively.  If a flood strikes while an owner is waiting for a new policy, or and existing policy to be written a claim will be paid, but not until the National Flood Insurance Program is fully funded.  

I believe every citizen who is affected by a FEMA Designated Flood Zone should contact their Senators and Congressman immediately and urge them to resolve this issue. ACT NOW!!

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated.

Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC Real Estate needs or questions.

See Charleston SC Real Estate Blog for local attractions and current Charleston events.

Look atCharleston SC Real Estate homes anywhere in the tri-county area.

View my entire inventory of VisualTours of Charleston SC Real Estate homes at http://www.visualtour.com/inventory.asp?U=182210 

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

 

SC homeowners should check insurance plans after Haiti earthquake

From the South Carolina Insurance News Service:

COLUMBIA, SC - The South Carolina Insurance News Service is reminding everyone that with the Haiti earthquake, now would be a good time to check your own insurance plan coverage.

According to the SCINS, the earthquake that devastated parts of Haiti last week was smaller than the quake of 1886 that caused widespread damage in South Carolina. Experts estimate that if the Charleston quake -- which measured a 7.3 magnitude on the Richter scale -- were to occur today, damage to insured property would exceed $40 billion.

Ninety percent of the brick structures around Charleston were damaged in the 1886 quake, which was felt from Cuba to New York and from Bermuda to the Mississippi.

According to SCNIS many South Carolinians do not carry earthquake insurance. Based on a survey by the South Carolina Insurance News Service, as few as 10 percent to 15 percent of homeowners choose to purchase earthquake insurance.
Most basic homeowner and rental insurance policies do not cover damage caused by an earthquake, but coverage can be added to most policies as an "endorsement" for an additional cost. Earthquake insurance covers the damage to a home and its contents caused by the movement of the earth.

The South Carolina Insurance News Service provides the following facts about earthquakes:

 1.  Most people don't buy earthquake insurance because they think it's too expensive and an earthquake will never happen to them.

2.  In South Carolina, the entire state is considered to have a moderate to high risk for earthquakes.

3.  An earthquake of the same magnitude as the 1886 earthquake would cost close to $40 billion in today's dollars (according to Applied Insurance Research).
 Most homeowner and rental insurance policies DO NOT cover damages caused by an earthquake, but coverage can be added to most policies as an "endorsement" for an additional cost.

4.  Earthquake deductibles are set as percentages, i.e. 5% or 10% of the coverage amount rather than fixed dollar amounts. The earthquake deductibles apply separately from your basic homeowner's (and business) policy deductible. Following a damaging earthquake, South Carolinians could face loss of life, injury and property damage. Without earthquake insurance, you would have to pay for all losses to your home and possessions.

5.  Earthquake insurance can be quite inexpensive depending on the location and type of construction of your home. The average cost of an earthquake endorsement for a $250,000 home in the Charleston area would be approximately $200-$250 per year.

6.  Contact your insurance agent or company to find out what the costs would be for your home.

7.  Consider retrofitting your home to make it more resistant to earthquake damage.

8.  Educate your children about earthquakes and what they should do if an earthquake occurs.

9.  Check for hazards in your home. For example, consider fastening shelves securely to walls, place large or heavy objects on lower shelves and store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches. Also, if you have a frame house, is it fastened to the foundation? Secure your hot water tank with straps so it cannot tip over.
 
Are your gas connectors flexible to help prevent fire? Learn how to turn off the gas, electricity and water to your house after an earthquake.

For any additional questions contact Wally Burbage with Allstate Insurance at http://www.allstateagencies.com/WallyBurbage

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/ 

View my entire inventory of VisualTours at http://www.visualtour.com/inventory.asp?U=182210 

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

Your CLUE Insurance Report Matters

Your homeowners claims don't disappear after your insurer cuts a check because CLUE reports keep them alive for seven years--and that could cost you.
 
A tree falls on the roof of your house. You file an insurance claim with your agent, collect a settlement from the insurer, and fix your roof. End of story, right? Not quite. Every claim you make on your homeowners insurance is recorded in a widely used insurance industry database called CLUE, short for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange.  Almost all insurance companies use CLUE to check on the claims history of prospective policyholders. The CLUE report also includes insurance claims made on your home before you even bought it. A-PLUS is another company that maintains a loss-history database. What's inside these reports can affect your insurance premiums, or even prevent you from getting coverage.

Your claims history lives on in CLUE
The CLUE Personal Property report, which pertains to homeowners insurance, is divided into two parts: your personal record of claims ("Claims for the Subject") and the claims on your home ("Claims History for Risk"). The number of claims in either section will affect whether you can get insurance for your home, how much coverage you can get, and how much you'll pay in premiums. If you're turned down for homeowners insurance because of information in your CLUE report, your insurance company is required to let you know why you were rejected.
Since the database is used by most insurance companies, your claims history follows you from one insurer to another. Actual claims, as opposed to inquiries, remain in the CLUE database for seven years from the date you filed them. Both ChoicePoint, the owner of CLUE, and A-PLUS advise insurance carriers not to report loss information just because you called to ask a question about whether your policy will cover a particular loss. Individual insurance companies may keep a record of inquires, though.

How insurers use CLUE
Insurance companies rely on CLUE reports because statistics show that if you've filed a claim in the past, you're more likely to file one in the future, says Dick Luedke, a spokesperson for State Farm Insurance. The amount of a claim is less important than how often you've filed, he says. "We aren't trying to make up for past losses, but to predict the risk of future claims."

Each insurance company has its own formula for calculating how much a claim will affect your premium, according to the Insurance Information Institute (http://www.iii.org/), a trade group that provides information to consumers. Suffice it to say the fewer the claims the less you'll likely be charged. State Farm gives a 5% discount if you haven't filed a claim in the last five years, says Luedke. That's $40 off an average annual premium (http://www.iii.org/media/facts/statsbyissue/homeowners/) of $804. Ask your agent if a claim-free discount is available.

Claims aren't all that count
Knowing what's on your CLUE report will give you a sense of whether you'll need to pay extra for homeowners insurance, or even if you run the risk of rejection. Unfortunately, even a pristine report doesn't mean you can be sure of getting homeowners insurance at a great price. That's because the claims on your CLUE report aren't the only things that affect your overall insurance risk.
Insurance companies also consider your credit score, which is based on such things as how much debt you carry, whether you pay your bills on time, and so forth. According to the Insurance Information Institute, studies show that how people manage their finances is a good indicator of whether they'll file an insurance claim. The more likely you are to file a claim, the bigger risk you are to the insurance company. And more risk means a higher premium or denial of coverage. Other factors insurers consider include the location of your home and its type of construction.

How to review your CLUE report
If you do decide to check you CLUE Personal Property report, it's a relatively easy process. Under federal law, you get one free CLUE report a year. You can contact ChoicePoint by telephone at 800-456-6004. You can also register online (http://WWW.CHOICETRUST.COM) to gain access to an electronic copy of your report for 30 days. Request a form to receive a Property Loss report from A-PLUS by calling 800-709-8842. There's a charge of $9 to have the report mailed to you, according to the company's website.

Your CLUE report will have:
 •Your name, home address, birth date, and Social Security number;
 •The number assigned to the report;
 •The name of your insurance company;
 •The type and number of the insurance policy;
 •The type of loss-fire, water, etc.-for each claim and the claim number;
 •The date of the loss and the amount of each claim;
 •The status of each claim: closed, pending, etc.

The report also tells you how to dispute any errors (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/how-to-correct-your-clue-insurance-report/) you find. Because risk calculations vary by insurance company, it's impossible to say exactly how a claim on your CLUE report will affect your premium. That makes it tough to decide just how much value checking your CLUE yields. Still, taking less than an hour once a year to order and review your report could pay off, especially if you find an error.
Mariwyn Evans has spent 25 years writing about commercial and residential real estate. She's the author of several books, including "Opportunities in Real Estate Careers," as well as too many magazine articles to count.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/ 

View my entire inventory of VisualTours at http://www.visualtour.com/inventory.asp?U=182210
 
Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

Article from HouseLogic.com

Homeowners Insurance: Time for an Annual Check-Up

An annual check-up on your homeowners insurance can result in a healthier policy and a healthier pocketbook.
It's time for your annual check-up. The good news is that for this one, you won't have to don one of those revealing hospital gowns-and you may walk away with a healthier pocketbook. We're talking about a homeowners insurance check-up, a task you should complete once a year, ideally around renewal time. This will ensure your policy still provides the right level of coverage for your family, and your premium isn't costing you more than it should. 
Remember, homeowners insurance is essential. The coverage is designed to protect your home and its contents, as well as shield you from liability for accidents and such on your property. Block out an hour of your time, call an insurance agent, and get answers to these three important questions.

What type of coverage do I have?

The most effective type of coverage is known as "replacement cost," which covers, up to your policy limits, what it would take today to rebuild your house and restore your belongings, says Jerry Oshinsky, a partner at Jenner & Block in Los Angeles who has represented homeowners in litigation against insurers.

"Extended" replacement cost coverage provides protection to your policy limit, say $500,000, and then perhaps another 20% of the cost after that. Percentages vary, but in this example you could recoup up to $600,000 on a $500,000 policy, assuming your losses reach that high. Extended coverage can compensate for any unanticipated expenses like spikes in construction costs between policy renewals. Now harder to find due to the industry shift toward extended replacement coverage, "full" or "guaranteed" replacement coverage covers an entire claim regardless of policy limits.

A less attractive alternative is "actual cash value" coverage that usually takes into account depreciation, the decrease in value due to age and wear. With this type of policy, the $2,000 flat-screen TV you bought two years ago will be worth hundreds of dollars less today in the eyes of your claims adjuster. Kevin Foley, an independent insurance broker in Milltown, N.J., favors replacement cost coverage unless you can save at least 25% on the premium for going with actual cash value coverage instead.

Even if you have replacement cost protection for your dwelling and personal property, don't assume everything is covered. Structures other than your home on your property-such as a detached garage or swimming pool-require separate coverage. So too do luxury items like jewelry, watches, and furs if you want full replacement cost because reimbursement for those items is typically capped.

How much coverage do I really need?

OK, now that you're clear on what type of policy you have, you need to figure out how much policy (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/homeowners-insurance-are-you-over-or-underinsured/) you truly require in dollar terms. Let's say you purchased your home five years ago and insured it for $200,000. Today, it's worth $225,000. Simply increasing your coverage to $225,000 may nonetheless leave you underinsured. Here's why.
The key to determining how much dwelling coverage you need isn't the value of your home but the money you'd have to pay to rebuild it from scratch, says Carlos Aguirre, an agent for Liberty Mutual Insurance in Arlington, Texas. Call your local contractors' or homebuilders' association and inquire about the average per-square-foot construction cost in your area. If it's $150 and your home is 2,000 square feet, then you should be insured for $300,000.
There's no rule of thumb for how much your homeowners insurance should cost. Insurers use numerous factors-age, education level, creditworthiness-to determine pricing, so the same policy could run you more than your neighbor. In recent years the average annual premium (http://www.iii.org/media/facts/statsbyissue/homeowners/) was $804. Oshinsky advises against scrimping on insurance because big increases in coverage probably cost less than you'd think. He recently purchased a liability policy that cost $250 for the first $1 million in coverage. Adding another $1 million increased his premiums only $12.50 more.

How can I lower my premiums?

The higher your deductible, the amount you pay out of pocket before coverage kicks in, the lower your premium. Landing on the appropriate deductible level requires remembering that insurance should cover major calamities (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/homeowners-insurance-to-claim-or-not-to-claim/), not minor incidents, says Foley, the independent insurance broker. Most homeowners should be able to absorb modest losses like a broken window pane or a hole in the drywall without filing claims. If you can, then you're wasting money with a $250 deductible.
Foley's rule: If you're a first-time homeowner and don't have a lot of savings, moving up to a $500 deductible will probably stretch your budget. However, if you live in a ritzy home and drive an expensive car, then you should be able to afford a $1,000 deductible. In Milltown, N.J., for example, the premium for a $200,000 home with a $500 deductible would be $736, according to Foley; moving up to a $1,000 deductible drops the annual premium to $672. That's $64 in savings.

 Every major insurer offers discounts to various groups, such as university employees or firefighters. Figure about 5%. Ask which affiliations would entitle you to a discount and how much. If an AARP membership would result in a $50 savings, pay the $16 dues and pocket the $36 difference. Many insurers also offer discounts ranging from 1% to 10% or more for installing protective devices like alarms and deadbolt locks, for going claim-free for an extended period, or for insuring both your car and your home with the same carrier.

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has been involved in insurance litigation. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Consumers Digest, Bankrate.com, REALTOR(R) Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, personal finance, and legal topics.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/ 

View my entire inventory of VisualTours at http://www.visualtour.com/inventory.asp?U=182210
 
Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman

http://www.carolinajoe.com

Article from HouseLogic.com
 

10 Tips for Lowering Homeowner’s Insurance Costs

1.  Review the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) Report on the property you are interested in buying.  CLUE reports detail the property’s  claims history for the past five years, which the insurers may use  to deny coverage.  Make the sale contingent on a home inspection to ensure  that problems identified in the CLUE report have been repaired and the buyer’s ability to obtain satisfactory homeowner’s insurance.
  
2.  Seek insurance coverage as soon as your offer is approved.   You must obtain insurance to buy and you don’t want to be told at closing that the insurer has denied your coverage.  Also, in areas susceptible to hurricanes insurers will not issue policies if there is a named storm in the tropics.

3.  Maintain good credit. Insurers often use credit-based insurance scores to determine premiums.

4.  Buy your home owners and auto policies from the same company and you’ll usually qualify for savings. But make sure the discount really yields the lowest price.

5.  Raise your deductible. If you can afford to pay more toward a loss that occurs, your premiums will be lower. Avoid making claims under $1,000.

6.  Ask about other discounts. For example, retirees who tend to be home more than full-time workers may qualify for a discount on theft insurance. You also may be able to obtain discounts for having smoke detectors, a burglar alarm, or dead-bolt locks.

7.  Seek group discounts. If you belong to any groups, such as associations or alumni organizations, they may have deals on insurance coverage.

8.  Review your policy limits and the value of your home and possessions annually. Some items depreciate and may not need as much coverage.

9.  Investigate a government-backed insurance plan. In some high-risk areas, federal or state government may back plans to lower rates. Ask your agent.

10.  Be sure you insure your house for the correct amount. Remember, you’re covering replacement cost, not market value.

For additional information contact Wally Burbage, with All State Insurance, at 843-881-1921, or 843-766-1221, or email WallyBurbage@AllState.com, or go to his website http://www.allstateagencies.com/WallyBurbage/Welcome/.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

5 Things to Know About Homeowner’s Insurance

 

1. Know about exclusions to coverage. For example, most insurance policies do not cover flood, wind and hail, or earthquake damage as a standard item. These types of coverage must be bought separately.

2. Know about dollar limitations on claims. Even if you are covered for a risk, there may be a limit on how much the insurer will pay. For example, many policies limit the amount paid for stolen jewelry unless items are insured separately.

3. Know the replacement cost. If your home is destroyed you’ll receive money to replace it only to the maximum of your coverage, so be sure your insurance is sufficient. This means that if your home is insured for $150,000 and it costs $180,000 to replace it, you’ll only receive $150,000.

4. Know the actual cash value. If you chose not to replace your home when it’s destroyed, you’ll receive replacement cost, less depreciation. This is called actual cash value.

5. Know the liability. Generally your homeowner’s insurance covers you for accidents that happen to other people on your property, including medical care, court costs, and awards by the court. However, there is usually an upper limit to the amount of coverage provided. Be sure that it’s sufficient if you have significant assets.
 
For additional information contact Wally Burbage, with All State Insurance, at 843-881-1921, or 843-766-1221, or email WallyBurbage@AllState.com, or go to his website http://www.allstateagencies.com/WallyBurbage/Welcome/.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston, SC real estate needs or questions.
 
“Carolina Joe”

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