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What Does Home Insurance Cover?

When you own a home, you have to take the good with the bad. While it is exciting to purchase a home, disaster can strike when you are least expecting it. This is why the home insurance advisors at South Carolina Federal Insurance Solutions want you to know what home insurance covers.

Keep in mind that the state of South Carolina does not require homeowners to have home insurance, but if you borrowed the money to purchase your home through a financial institution or mortgage company, your lender will require that you have this type of insurance in place to protect the investment they have made in your property. Even if you inherited your home or paid cash for it, you will want to have insurance to protect your home and its contents in the event of a fire or some other unforeseen disaster.

What Does Home Insurance Cover?

Home insurance covers not only your home itself, but it can cover other buildings on your property too. These buildings can include sheds, garages, and other structures like decks or porches. The structure of your home and these other structures will need to be repaired or replaced if they are affected by some sort of act of vandalism, a natural disaster, or even a fire. Home insurance will also cover your clothing and other personal belongings as well as household items, including your furniture and appliances if they are destroyed or damaged due to one of these circumstances. Your home insurance policy may also assist you in replacing items that are lost due to some sort of theft or burglary incident at your home.

There are other types of insurance you may want to invest in to protect your home that may not be included in a standard home insurance policy, like flood or earthquake coverage. Some policies can be endorsed to add these coverages or they may be purchased as a stand-alone policy. Your insurance advisor can provide more information.

Give Us A Call

To enlist the assistance of a trusted and experienced home insurance advisor in the Lowcountry, Midlands, or Upstate regions of South Carolina, call us today at (833) 359-0725!

Protecting Your Summer Fun

For many families, summer is a time to have fun, make memories and enjoy other’s company while school is out and organized activities are on hiatus. Whether your summer plans include road trips, pool parties or days spent on the water, hopefully your time will be spent making the most of the season.

As you prepare for summer, set aside some time to review your insurance policies. Since you’ll likely be welcoming more guests into your home and spending more time travelling, it’s important to make sure your policies cover your planned adventures and are sufficient to cover life’s unexpected moments, too. There are some specific steps you should take no matter how you’ll be enjoying your summer.

At home

Are you one of the lucky homeowners with a pool in your backyard? Having a pool helps you enjoy even the hottest summer days, but it also requires more extensive coverage in your homeowner’s insurance policy. Before you invite your neighbors over for a swim, review your current policy to make sure you are adequately protected.

If you live anywhere near the coast, you might also know summertime by another name – hurricane season. Though no amount of preparation can prevent a summer storm, you can make sure your family is covered before the spaghetti models take over your TV screens. Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t include coverage for flooding as a result of a hurricane, so it’s important to understand what coverage you have. And remember, the best time to make sure you’re protected in the event of hurricane-related damage is before there’s a named system on record.

On the road

If you own a recreational vehicle (RV), make sure you revisit your coverage limit on stated amount policies as many owners are seeing appreciation in the value of their RV rather than depreciation. Additionally, consider maximum vacation liability limits and make sure the replacement cost on personal items that will be stowed on the RV is sufficient.

For motorcycle owners, considering underinsured motorist coverage could be the smartest move you make this summer. Many riders opt out of this coverage due to the cost, but the reason it can be pricey is because it’s one of the most utilized coverages in the event of a bad accident. For example, a motorcycle rider is hit by a driver with state minimum liability. The accident results in $200,000 in medical bills and $50,000 in lost wages for the rider. The at-fault driver’s policy with minimum liability limits will only cover $25,000, leaving the insured biker with $225,000 of expenses that aren’t covered. An extra $300-$400/year for underinsured motorist coverage might seem expensive at first, but when you consider the potential costs of opting out, it seems like a bargain.

On the water

Is your family’s idea of summer fun a day spent on the water? Make sure anyone who will operate your boat this summer has taken a boating safety course, especially new drivers who don’t have much experience. Boat owners should also review their insurance policies and consider high liability limits and maximum med-pay limits, which can help avoid litigation after an accident. Smart boaters know that safety comes first, and having the right insurance coverage is a crucial step in protecting your family’s summer fun.

Insurance policies can be confusing, and it can be difficult to know what to look for when evaluating coverage. But we’re here to help! Our team of advisors can provide a complimentary review to ensure you have the right coverage for your family at the best value. Give us a call at 833-359-0725 or email us to get started.

A New College Graduate’s Guide to Insurance

Congratulations! Your child (technically, now an adult) just graduated college and is embarking on the transition into real adult life. For new college graduates, it’s an exciting time filled with many “firsts.” They are starting to search for their first professional job, look for their first place, and maybe purchase their first new vehicle.

In all the transitions, it’s easy to overlook an important detail—insurance. While considering insurance is certainly not as thrilling as those other significant “firsts,” it is a necessary step to help manage financial losses.

Here are three insurance coverages your new college graduate should explore:

#1 – Renter’s Insurance

Until now, your college graduate may have lived in a dorm room or shared housing with other students. Now, it’s time for them to consider making a home in their first apartment.

New renters often don’t understand that the landlord’s insurance does not cover their belongings. Should they experience an unforeseen situation – like a burglary, stormy weather that causes a leaky roof to destroy their furnishings, or small fire that creates smoke damage – they need to be protected. Renter’s insurance protects them from losing everything they are working so hard to obtain.

It’s a good idea for them to create a list of their belongings inside the apartment, placing an approximate value on each item. From electronics to linens and clothing to dishes, every piece adds up—and fast, if it all needs to be replaced. The total is the suggested amount of renter’s insurance they should purchase.

#2 – Auto Insurance

Many college graduates reward themselves for their diligent work throughout the past years—and for landing a fantastic job—with the purchase of a new car. And, why not? Purchasing that first brand new car is a significant milestone for a young adult. With a new car comes personal auto insurance, a package policy that includes coverage for liability and physical damage.  

Liability insurance pays when your graduate injures another person or damages their property (such as their car) in an at-fault accident. Every state requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. While some coverage is better than none, minimum limits are not nearly enough to protect them following an accident where they are at-fault. Research your options and consider purchasing higher limits to ensure they are covered.

Physical damage covers the cost to repair the damage to your own car. Prepare them for the increase in premium that will accompany the new vehicle when compared to that of the old hand-me-down they were driving.

Even if the cost seems scary, don’t let your new graduate skimp on coverage – advise them to purchase guaranteed asset protection (GAP) coverage. This type of insurance covers the difference of the loan payoff amount on a new or pre-owned vehicle and the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle, when an insurance carrier, due to theft or an accident, deems it a total loss.

Remember, liability pays the other person, physical damage is required to cover damages to your car. Both coverages are too important to go with the “minimums.”

#3 – Life Insurance

Most college graduates see the standard life insurance included in their employee benefits as sufficient coverage. For many, that could be the case. Like every rule, there’s an exception or two to consider:

  • Exception #1 – Your young adult has a child who will need to be raised, fed, clothed, and educated in the unlikely situation of his or her premature death.
  • Exception #2 – Your college graduate has student loans along with a co-signer. In the even the primary borrower on the student loan passes away, Sallie Mae will call upon that co-signer to pay off the debt. In fact, the debt often becomes immediately due in full in that circumstance. Life insurance protects the co-signer in this case.

College graduation is the beginning of the next chapter in life and it’s important to help your graduate understand now is the time to plan for the future. While it may not be the most exciting discussion, having the right insurance will help prepare for unforeseen circumstances.

Still have questions on how much coverage your graduate needs? Give us a call at 833-359-0725 or email us to schedule an appointment with a South Carolina Federal Insurance Solutions advisor. We can help you feel confident they have the protection they need.

Source: Trusted Choice®

Understanding Umbrella Insurance

What is Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance can cover the extra costs if you exhaust coverage from your other liability policies. This type of coverage is different from other primary forms of insurance because it does not cover your own property. Rather, it protects you financially from claims of damage to others’ property; it also protects you financially if you are found legally responsible for a bodily injury to another person.

There are two types of umbrella insurance — commercial and personal — and both are considered supplementary to primary, or underlying, policies. A personal umbrella is designed to protect your personal assets from liability claims, particularly in scenarios where you may be held liable for damages. A commercial umbrella is designed to protect your business from liability risks related to its operation.

For example, if you’re at fault in an auto accident, or a neighbor is injured in your home, a liability claim against you could exhaust the limits (maximum reimbursement) provided by your underlying policy. That policy would usually be your homeowners, auto, renters or condo insurance, whichever is applicable. This is when you can turn to your umbrella policy for additional coverage or what’s called “excess liability coverage.” Without this additional coverage, you will pay out of pocket for anything your underlying policy doesn’t cover.

What If I Don’t Have Umbrella Insurance?

If a claim is brought against you and you do not have sufficient coverage from your underlying policies, anything you own can be seized to cover costs — that can include your house, your car, your investments, your retirement accounts, and your checking and saving accounts. Your future income can also be considered as an asset, causing your wages to be garnished.

How Does Umbrella Insurance Work?

Usually, you won’t turn to your umbrella policy unless a claim has been made against you, the policyholder, by someone who believes you have wronged them in some way. First your underlying policy — most likely your homeowners, renters, condo or auto insurance — will pay out its maximum reimbursement, then your umbrella insurance coverage will kick in. The umbrella insurance company will pay the remaining settlement amount up to the limits of your umbrella coverage. Once you have exhausted both your underlying policy and your umbrella limits, you are responsible for any remaining amount due.

How Much Does Umbrella Insurance Cost?

The cost of coverage — or premium — for a personal umbrella policy typically starts at around $150 to $400 annually for a $1 million policy. Commercial umbrella insurance for smaller companies can range from $500 to $1,000. Your annual premium will increase if you decide to purchase more coverage — but it’s often possible to double the amount of your coverage and increase the policy limit to $2 million with only a 50% increase in your premium.

Whether you need personal or commercial umbrella coverage, we can analyze your complete liability picture — including the inherent geographical risks you face — and recommend an individualized insurance plan for you. Give us a call at 833-359-0725 or email us to learn more.

Source: Trusted Choice®

Insurance Premiums on the Rise, Part II

In a previous post, we addressed why insurance premiums are rising across the board. When insurance companies suffer losses due to an increase in claims from auto accidents or damage to homes from catastrophic storms, they typically increase premiums to offset the costs.

Due to hardening property markets and rapidly increasing catastrophic losses, we are seeing some homeowners insurance companies withdraw from the market and others are going out of business. Although this doesn’t happen very often, it is possible if they run into financial trouble. As a result, homeowners are finding insurance options to be limited and rather pricey.

While we proactively shop our clients’ policies when we see abnormal rate increases, it’s important to inform us of any updates to your home and/or auto(s), as it may help lower your premiums. For example, did you recently install a new roof or windows or renovate your home? Have you taken a defensive driving course within the last year? Would you consider utilizing a telematics device to track your driving habits for a period of time? Have you bundled all of your insurance policies with us? As a South Carolina Federal Insurance Solutions client, you may be eligible for a multi-policy discount, even if your policies are with different carriers.

We are evaluating our insurance carriers to ensure that we have a plan for those clients whose companies face insolvency and instability. We will continue to take a critical look as we bring on new carriers, focusing on ratings, financial size, and strength to offer our clients a broad selection of products.

Let us help you find the right amount of insurance coverage at the best value. Have a question about your policies? Give us a call at 833-359-0725 or email us to learn more.

Is There A Different Between Insuring A Boat And A Yacht?

Many residents of South Carolina own either a boat or a yacht. If you are one of these residents and are looking to get insurance for your vessel, you might be wondering whether there is a difference between insuring a boat or a yacht. Just based on appearance, yachts are vessels over 27 feet in length, while boats measure 26 feet or less in length.

Here are the differences between boat and yacht insurance that the insurance experts at South Carolina Federal Insurance Solutions want you to know. 

Boat And Yacht Insurance: What You Need To Know

Navigational limit

Boat and yacht insurance have varying navigational limits. Typically, yacht insurance offers a significantly larger navigational limit than boat insurance. 

Overland transportation

Boat insurance typically provides coverage for unlimited overland transportation. On the other hand, yacht insurance usually only allows for several hundred miles of overland transportation.

Deductibles

Yacht insurance allows for up to a 3% deductible for hull damage coverage, and the deductibles on windstorm loss, marine electronics loss, and total loss can vary depending on the policy. In contrast, boat insurance only offers fixed deductibles, usually $250, $500, and $1000. 

Liability coverage

The liability coverage for yacht insurance is significantly broader than what is available with boat insurance. Yacht insurance is designed to offer broader liability coverage to deal with the increased risk of having a larger vessel, a larger crew, and the effects of maritime law. If the captain or a crew member of a yacht is injured on the job, they can sue their employer/ yacht owner under federal law. 

Warranties

Traditionally, yacht policies have warranties like navigational limit territories, seaworthiness, and navigational lay-up limits. Boat policies don’t require warranties, although some insurers opt to include them.

Contact Us Today

Are you looking for boat or yacht insurance? Call one of our experienced insurance advisors at (833) 359-0725.

Tips for Living in a Flood Zone

If you live in a flood zone, you know that the flood season can be a stressful time. The constant threat of rising waters can make it difficult to relax and enjoy your home. However, there are a few things you can do to help reduce your stress levels and make the most of your situation. By taking some simple precautions and being prepared for the worst, you can minimize the impact of flooding on your life. South Carolina Federal Insurance Solutions provides you with the following guide for living in a flood zone.

Tips for Living in a Flood Zone

1. Know Your Risk

The first step to reducing your stress during flood season is to know your risk. If you live in a high-risk area, you will need to take more precautions than those who live in a lower-risk area. Be sure to check your local flood maps and talk to your insurance advisor to determine your level of risk.

2. Have a Plan

Once you know your risk, you can start to prepare a plan. If you live in a high-risk area, you should have an evacuation route planned out. Be sure to practice your route and make sure everyone in your household knows where to go. You should also have an emergency kit prepared with food, water, and other supplies.

3. Get Flood Insurance

For those who live in a designated flood zone, purchasing flood insurance is not optional – it is required by most mortgage lenders. Remember, your homeowner’s insurance policy probably doesn’t cover flooding, and even if it does, the coverage is likely to be limited. A separate flood insurance policy can protect your home and belongings from flood damage and can give you peace of mind knowing that you’re covered in the event of a flood.

Get Flood Insurance in South Carolina

For those living in a flood zone, it’s important to know your risk and be prepared. Insurance Solutions can help you assess your risk and find the best flood insurance policy for your needs. For more information on how to protect your most valuable asset or to get a quote, call us today at (833) 359-0725.

Top 5 Distracted Driving Habits and How to Avoid Them

At South Carolina Federal Insurance Solutions, we make shopping for auto insurance convenient and affordable. Here we take on an important topic that affects almost all drivers.

Many of us have been guilty of distracted driving at one point or another, and modern technology like cell phones, in-car entertainment systems, upgraded stereo systems, and more make it harder to keep our focus on the road. Below are five quick and easy tips on avoiding distracted driving to keep yourself, your passengers, and others as safe as possible.

Limit Cell Phone Usage to an Emergency: When driving, your cell phone should only be used for an emergency. While hands-free driving technology that is found in every modern vehicle is extremely convenient, it can still cause you to miss key visual and audio clues needed to avoid an accident.

Don’t Drive Drowsy: Drowsiness is one of the leading causes of accidents in the United States. Your ability to react and make safe decisions while driving is diminished if you feel tired or are taking certain medications. Let someone else drive or call a rideshare service to reach your destination safely.

Stay Clear of Food: While it can be tempting to consume a meal while on the go, spilling food or taking your hands off the wheel to grab a bite means that your eyes are off the road and may put you and your passengers in danger. Instead, pull over for the few minutes it takes to eat your food.

Focus on Driving: Whether you have a long commute or make frequent road trips, the more time you spend in the car, the more tempting it may be to take care of other tasks like talking to your friends, text messaging, or finding a new podcast. Be smart and keep 100% of your focus on your vehicle and the others on the road.

Safety First: Protect the lives of any children in your care by utilizing age-appropriate safeguards and keep your pets clear of entry to the front seats. Secure any cargo that may move around while your vehicle in in motion. Always wear your seat belt and drive sober and drug-free.

Contact our experienced insurance advisors today to find out how safe driving behaviors can be rewarded. Depending on your individual insurance needs, multicar or multi-policy discounts, in addition to safe driver discounts, can be applied to help you save money too!

South Carolina Earthquakes

South Carolina has experienced nearly 50 earthquakes since January 20211. Although only a few of these have been felt, this is a significant increase over our normal average – just 10 to 15 per year2.

Despite the fact that approximately 70% of earthquakes in South Carolina occur in the Coastal Plain and most are centered around three areas west and north of Charleston (Ravenel-Adams Run-Hollywood, Middleton Place-Summerville, and Bowman), a major earthquake anywhere in the eastern United States could adversely affect us3.

While purchasing earthquake insurance might not be at the top of your to-do list, it might be time to start researching your options. At South Carolina Federal Insurance Solutions, we have carriers with deductibles as low as 2 – 5%. Some carriers will include earthquake coverage as part of your homeowners insurance, and others offer standalone policies. Interested in learning more about earthquake insurance? Give us a call at 833-359-0725 or email us.

1 https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/search/
2 https://www.scemd.org/prepare/types-of-disasters/earthquakes/
3 https://www.dnr.sc.gov/geology/earthquake-info.html 

Insurance Premiums on the Rise

Our team of insurance advisors keeps a close eye on what is trending in our industry. This insight helps us stay on top of items that may impact our clients and allows us to take a proactive approach in getting you the right amount of coverage at the greatest value.

This year, we are seeing increases in insurance premiums across the board. Increases can happen for a number of reasons, oftentimes for circumstances outside of your control. When carriers suffer losses due to an increase in claims, they typically increase premiums to offset the costs.

For example, 2020 was the deadliest year for auto accidents in a decade, despite many carriers offering discounts for limited driving1. In 2021, the auto industry experienced a spike in used car prices and felt pressure from computer chip supply issues. We also saw a historical increase in lumber prices and an uptick in natural disasters across the country.

While we proactively shop our clients’ policies when we see abnormal rate increases, it’s important to inform us of any updates to your home and/or auto(s), as it may help lower your premiums. For example, did you recently install a new roof or windows? Have you taken a defensive driving course within the last year? Would you consider utilizing a telematics device to track your driving habits for a period of time? Have you bundled all of your insurance policies with us? (As an Insurance Solutions client, you may be eligible for a multi-policy discount, even if your policies are with different carriers.)

We are here to help you find the right amount of insurance coverage at the best value.
Have a question about your policies? Give us a call at 833-359-0725 or email us to learn more.

1 https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/2020-fatality-data-show-increased-traffic-fatalities-during-pandemic

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