A Special Q+A Beth Bolin, MDP Insurance
Coastal insurance has been on the rise recently. A number of factors influence these escalating rates: low inventory, rising material costs, skilled labor shortages, among others. In particular, flood insurance has increased 30+%. If you couple that with aging homes (built in the 70s or 80s), getting a new or extended policy can be a nightmare for homeowners. If you are considering selling your coastal home, be sure to work with an experienced realtor who understands the ins-and-outs of homeowners insurance is critical. We recently had a chance to sit down with Lowcountry Insurance expert, Beth Bolin to gain more insight.
Beth Bolin Q & A:
Q: Beth, one thing sellers are experiencing in Charleston—especially in resort communities that have been around since the 80s—is that getting insured, or re-insured, can be a real problem.
A: That is true. Because of weather and a number of other economic factors, home insurance costs have escalated. The homes that experience the most drastic rate increases are typically built in the 80s or 90s with the original roof. Many homes with a roof over 20-25 years can’t even get insurance. Another key factor is usage. Primary homes require more coverage than secondary or rental homes.
Q: So Beth, given some of the challenges that sellers and potential buyers are facing, what can be done to mitigate or minimize excessive insurance costs?
A: There are a number of things sellers and buyers can do. Obviously, addressing the roof issue if you have an older home. Go ahead and take care of that before you farm it out to insurance companies. Also, take a look at the windows, maybe consider reinforcing or shuttering the windows for storm protection. As a rule of thumb, keep an eye on potential wear-and-tear issues. If you see something that gives you concern about your home, I guarantee you the insurance company will also have concerns.
Q: How important is it to get multiple quotes from various companies rather than simply using someone a friend may have recommended?
A: Very important. It is always advisable to shop around for the best rates. The more people quoting the better because you have people competing for the best rate for you. Also consider increasing your deductible, which can help let some air out of the balloon monthly/yearly.
Q: What are some other tips to help keep your insurance rate down—or to help make your home more attractive to buyers from an insurance perspective?
A: Well, there are lots of things. It’s always a good idea to improve your home security system. Safety is always a smart play. Flood insurance is another big factor. If you are a seller, don’t let your flood insurance lapse—make it transferrable for the new buyer. Also maintain the water tank, even consider a tankless option. If you have an older home with a water tank in the attic, that can be a red flag. Consider moving it to the garage, if tankless isn’t an option. Finally, I would say consider bundling policies for better rates. People often overlook that. And talk to real estate agents like Michelle. They are on the front lines of all things real estate. She can give you tips and advice based on experience and based on conversations she’s had with people like me. Having that kind of perspective from an agent is a huge benefit for both buyers and sellers.
Insurance Tips For Homebuyers & Owners:
Shop around to find the best rates
Consider increasing your deductible
Upgrade your roof if it is more than 20 years old
Improve your home security system
Reinforce windows for added storm protection
(consider adding exterior shuttering)
Don’t let flood insurance lapse
(make it transferrable for new buyer)
Maintain water tank—consider tankless
(if it is in the attic consider moving to garage)
Bundle multiple policies for better rates
Add water mitigation features
If you have questions about homeowners’ insurance or simply want to know more about selling your current property or buying/building a new Lowcountry home, please contact me at your convenience. I look forward to helping you realize your real estate dreams in the Charleston area.