INSURANCE SPECIFIC TO SECOND HOMES AND VACATION HOMES
and tips for creating the right homeowners coverage.
Vacation homes should be all about fun, but unfortunately, they’re not always fun to insure! As you’ve probably discovered, some insurance carriers have no interest in providing coverage for unoccupied houses or rental properties. However, if you need to insure your vacation home, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Lowcountry Insurance, we are experts in vacation home coverage. As you know, South Carolina is a vacation destination, so it’s no surprise that many of our clients have vacation homes, second homes, and vacation rental properties. Over the years, we’ve partnered with the right companies, and learned how to provide maximum vacation home insurance protection at the most competitive rates available.
- Vacation home insurance
- Insurance for rental property
- Vacant home insurance
- Unoccupied house insurance
- Landlord buildings insurance
- Landlord property insurance
- Landlord liability insurance
- Second home insurance
Our South Carolina vacation home experts can work with you to help you understand underwriting criteria and take necessary steps to attain the most desirable vacation home insurance rates. For example, if your vacation home is located in a coastal region, you may be able to significantly reduce your vacation home insurance premium with some hurricane-proofing steps, such as installing wind-resistant garage doors and roofing or impact-resistant glass windows.
Generally speaking, rates for unoccupied homes are higher than for those occupied year-round, simply because the risk of theft or catastrophic fire is higher during periods of vacancy. However, if your vacation home is vacant or unoccupied at certain times during the year, you may save money on your vacation home insurance premium by installing an alarm system, a fire sprinkler system, or a fire resistant roof. Also, make sure to follow a few precautions to minimize your chance of having a theft or vandalism claim at your vacation home property:
- Use effective, functional window latches and locks.
- Install light timers.
- Replace fire and carbon dioxide alarm batteries.
- Ask someone who lives nearby to check on the house at least once a week.
- Turn off the pilot light for any gas fireplaces.
- Unplug all portable heaters and appliances.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to secure employment practices liability insurance. Ask your business insurance advisor if your business owners policy includes EPLI protection. If not, ask us for a free insurance quote.
YOUR PERSONAL INSURANCE ADVISORS
PROVIDING COMPLETE COVERAGE. FOR ALL YOUR PERSONAL INSURANCE NEEDS.
We realize that your purchase of insurance is a key component to the protection of your family and its assets. We believe that personal insurance needs to be just that, personalized to your unique situation. And serviced by real people who not only live and work in your community but are a part if (not an unknown somebody at an 800 number in a far away place).
Insurance can be confusing with many choices as to coverage and insurance companies. We take the time to listen, understand your needs and your budget and answers questions. By representing most of the best insurance companies we are able to compare multiple companies offering you choices, options and taking the headache out of shopping.
We have a long history of helping individuals and families across the Carolinas and beyond. Our licensed, experienced and educated insurance professionals are eager to go to work tailoring an insurance package just for you.
LANDLORD LIBALITY INSURANCE
PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS
Do You Need Landlord Property and Liability Insurance?
If you have rental property, landlord property and landlord liability insurance should be considered. They can protect you if and when a dispute arises between you and your tenants. In some cases, the policy pays for any legal expenses incurred to resolve a dispute.If a tenant extensively damages your rental property, landlord property insurance pays to restore it, and may cover your loss of rental income during the restoration period.
As with your primary home, maintain an accurate inventory of your vacation home’s belongings and update the inventory every six months. Keep photos, receipts, serial numbers, and model numbers whenever possible. If you store recreational toys at your vacation home, such as boats, kayaks, jet skis, or ATVs, ask your agent if they’re covered by your vacation home policy or if a separate policy is needed. Also, ask your agent about how you can mitigate the liability involved with allowing renters to use these items. An additional risk to consider is how you protect your personal data if you make a computer available to renters. Make sure to set up a separate “guest” login, apply a password to your Wi-Fi connection, and install anti-virus software.
Whatever your vacation home or second home insurance need, Lowcountry Insurance can help! As a Trusted Choice® independent agency, we have relationships with many of the nation’s leading vacation home insurance carriers, so you can count on us to give you an objective assessment of your vacation home risks, insurance options, and rates.
for South Carolina Homeowners
South Carolina sees is fair share of bad weather in the form of hurricanes, flash flooding, torrential downpours and more. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, such storms have caused more than $7 billion in damages over the past 12 years. As a homeowner, are you prepared to shoulder the burden of the high costs associated with flooding? Our team at Lowcountry Insurance has 400 years of combined experience providing homeowners throughout the state with competent, competitive and caring insurance services. We put this experience to work for each of our clients, ensuring that we create personally tailored personal insurance packages that fit each family’s needs.
Homeowners Insurance and Flood Insurance Policies
The fact is that your homeowners insurance policy specifically excludes coverage for damages resulting from flooding. If you own a home, then you should seriously consider purchasing a flood insurance policy. This policy can cover:
- Flood preparation costs
- Damage to your home
- Damaged appliances
- Damaged goods, clothes and other belongings
- Flood cleanup costs
Flood Insurance for Homeowners vs. Renters vs. Condo Owners
Flood policies come with two separate types of coverage: building coverage and contents coverage. If you own your home, then you need building coverage to pay for any damage to the dwelling. You also need contents coverage to pay for any damage done to the items inside your home. As a renter, all you need is contents coverage, as you are not liable for costs associated with the dwelling itself.
For condo owners, the necessary coverage is not always clear. Many condo owners will find that they need both contents and building coverage, while others need contents-only coverage. In these situations, it is best to speak with an experienced agent who can help you identify your risks before you purchase your policy.
Common Misconceptions About Flood Insurance & Federal Aid
If you don’t believe that your home needs flood insurance, we encourage you to reconsider. First, every house is located in a flood zone, and approximately 30 percent of flooding occurs in homes categorized in the low to moderate risk zones. Even mild flooding that leads to only an inch of water in your home can lead to tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Finally, you must know that federal disaster aid is limited.
The National Flood Insurance Program & Flood Policies
Most all flood insurance policies are underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Congress created the NFIP in 1968 with two goals in mind: to provide affordable flood insurance to homeowners and to create a sound floodplain management system.
Today, you can purchase your flood insurance through the NFIP or through a licensed insurance agent. Rates are fixed by the government.
Contact Lowcountry Insurance for More Information
Whether you are looking for your first flood insurance policy or you have questions about changes to your policy under the Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012, reach out to our knowledgeable agents. We are happy to provide you with a free flood insurance quote and talk to you about ways you can make your coverage more affordable.
DEPENDABLE INSURANCE PROTECTION
For Homeowners and Renters in South Carolina
Whether you own or rent your home, one thing is for certain: You need dependable insurance protection. If you’re like many homeowners, your house represents one of your greatest investments. In addition, your home provides shelter for your family and is the place where many of life’s happiest moments occur. Make sure to give your home and your belongings the protection they deserve with affordable, comprehensive homeowners insurance from Lowcountry Insurance.
For the past 39 years, countless South Carolina families have relied on Lowcountry Insurance for dependable home and renters insurance protection. As an independent agency, we are affiliated with most of the nation’s leading home insurance carriers. This often means better rates or more lenient underwriting than you might find from an agency that represents just one insurance product.
If you rent a home, apartment, or condo, renters insurance is a must. This coverage reimburses you if your belongings are stolen or damaged by a covered cause of loss such as fire. When you live in a multi-family structure like a condo or an apartment, you can be inadvertently impacted by your neighbors’ practices. For example, if the person next door forgets to extinguish a candle or accidentally drops a cigarette, your belongings can be harmed. For this reason, renters insurance is critical.
What kind of protection is included in homeowners insurance?
Most home owners policies include:
- Dwelling insurance pays to replace your home’s structure if it’s ever destroyed by fire, storm, or other causes of loss. When you purchase homeowners insurance coverage, make sure your policy’s limit is based on the replacement value of your home, which is often quite different than the market value. Also, inform your agent of any outbuildings. Your agent can tell you if the outbuildings are included with your policy or if you need additional protection. Also, alert your agent to any recent updates or remodeling. These can increase your home’s replacement value.
- Contents/personal property coverage pays to replace the belongings in your home such as furniture, clothing, jewelry, and electronics. It’s a good idea to take an inventory of your belongings to ensure that your contents limit is high enough. Inform your agent of any unique or unusual valuables such as firearms, fine art, collections, expensive jewelry, or antiques. These items may require an added level of protection. In some cases, small boats (such as a drift boat) or equipment such as a riding lawnmower or tractor may be covered by your homeowners policy. Alert your agent of every asset, so he or she can determine the smartest home insurance strategy.
- Liability insurance pays for damages if your negligence causes harm to someone else. Liability insurance is helpful to have in many unexpected situations, like when a visitor breaks an ankle tripping on your front step or if your dog bites a passerby. If you operate a home-based business or entertain extensively at your home, let your agent know so he or she can address any potential coverage gaps.
Two things that are not covered by your standard homeowners policy are the risks of flood and earthquake. If you would like flood or earthquake coverage, ask your agent to prepare a quote for these risks. Keep in mind that flood insurance usually has a 30-day waiting period, so don’t wait until a storm is forecasted to request protection.
How to Prepare a Home Inventory
When disaster strikes, it can be tough to remember everything that was destroyed or stolen. That’s why it’s a good idea to be prepared with an accurate home inventory.
- One easy way to take a home insurance inventory is to take photos or a video of the items in your home. In addition, make a list of your belongings that includes key information such as serial numbers, brand names, model numbers, dates of purchase, and value. If possible, save receipts as additional documentation.
- Make sure to include all expensive items in your home such as jewelry, firearms, home electronics, computer software, and antiques. And don’t forget the items stored in your garage, attic, and outbuildings.
- Once your home insurance inventory is complete, update it every six months. Always keep a backup copy of your home inventory accessible outside of your house. Your insurance agent may be willing to keep a copy on file for you.
If you ever need to file a homeowners insurance claim, your home inventory will be an invaluable time-saving resource.
Whatever your home insurance need, Lowcountry Insurance can help. We also offer coverage for condominiums, second homes, and vacation homes. Ask us for a free homeowners insurance or vacation home insurance quote today!
AUTO INSURANCE PROTECTION
Don't pay more than needed for auto insurance
Cars are expensive. First, there’s the cost to buy or lease a practical vehicle. Then there’s the exorbitant expense of fuel – some SUVs require $100 for fill-up these days! On top of all that, you have to worry about oil changes, car washes, and general maintenance. And we haven’t even talked about car insurance yet!
You see, at Lowcountry Insurance we understand that budgets are tight, the economy is rocky, and you don’t want to pay more than needed for auto insurance. That’s why we’re here to help with auto insurance quotes and helpful car insurance comparisons. We have relationships with most of the nation’s best car insurance companies, which means you have access to MORE choices and BETTER car insurance rates. You no longer have to shop around, because we do all the shopping for you.
Protect your investment
Because cars are expensive, auto insurance is more important than ever before. Consider the following:
- Lawsuits are on the rise, and for catastrophic accidents, damages often reach $1 million or more. Unfortunately, most auto insurance policies’ limits are less than $1 million, putting the at-fault driver’s assets at risk. This is of grave concern for families with teenage, elderly, or recently licensed drivers who may be more prone to accidents. If your teenage driver inadvertently causes a fatal accident and you don’t have the proper auto insurance policy, you could lose all the assets you’ve worked so hard to accumulate.
- Teenage drivers can be expensive to insure because the probability of accident is so much higher than that of the general population. If you’re insuring a teenage driver, it’s important to know your choices and the safe driver incentives and multi-line discounts available to help offset the added expense of auto insurance for teen drivers.
- Loans on new cars can often be more than the vehicle’s depreciated value. If a new car is totaled, this can create a gap in the insurance company settlement and the loan value, leaving the car owner to make up the difference. If you don’t have a lot of equity in your vehicle, an insurance expert can help you explore the pros and cons of gap car insurance.
- Some vehicles, such as antique vehicles or those used for farming or commercial purposes, may not be fully protected by standard auto insurance policies. An insurance expert can help you identify coverage gaps before it’s too late.
These are three examples of why it’s important to utilize the free guidance of a local auto insurance expert. Conversely, when you buy over the Internet, you rely on your own knowledge to determine the coverage types and limits. And since your expertise probably lies in areas other than car insurance, doing it yourself could be risky. Furthermore, when you buy from a “branded” agency, your agent is only paid to sell you that one brand of coverage-he or she isn't paid to tell you that it might not represent the most competitive rate or the best comprehensive protection for your unique situation.
What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident
Driving is one of the riskiest things we do every day. If you’re ever in a car accident, remember to follow these steps to minimize the damages:
- Stop: Even if there may be no damage, or if you’re concerned that you are at fault, stop. It’s important to document the incident so the facts are not distorted later.
- Remain calm: Do not argue with the other driver and do not admit fault. Even if the other driver is threatening you, stay in your car and call for help. If the police arrive, tell your story clearly and calmly and stick to the facts.
- Respond to any emergencies: If someone is hurt, call 9-1-1, flag down help, and help the victim if you’re able.
- Be aware of your surroundings: If you’re in a thoroughfare, be aware of oncoming traffic. Move off the road if possible, turn on your hazard lights, and use a flare or cone to alert other drivers.
- Take pictures: It’s a good idea to take pictures of the scene, including shots of your car, the other car, and any damages, so you can share them with your auto insurance adjuster. Use the camera in your cell phone if needed.
- Write down contact info: Get the other driver’s name, contact information, license plate number, car make and model, and insurance information. Do the same for any witnesses.
- Document any injuries: If you’ve been hurt at all, seek medical treatment right away. It’s important that you establish medical documentation of your injury. Proactive treatment may also help minimize future issues.
- Report your claim: Regardless of fault, call us and let us know what happened. We’ll guide you through the steps to take and, if needed, will help you file your car insurance claim.
Lowcountry Insurance is a Trusted Choice® independent agency, so you can count on us to give you an objective assessment of your driving-related risks and auto insurance options.