Homeowners Insurance for Older Homes
October 18, 2023 by Brad Davis, CIC
Owning an older home in Myrtle Beach brings a sense of connection to the region's past. However, insuring older homes in the coastal area comes with unique considerations. In this guide tailored for Myrtle Beach homeowners, we'll explore the intricacies of insuring older homes, offering insights to protect your cherished coastal residence.
Understanding Coastal Risks for Older Homes in Myrtle Beach
Older homes in Myrtle Beach come with charm but may also face specific risks associated with the coastal environment:
- Salt Exposure: Coastal air can accelerate wear and tear on building materials, potentially impacting the structure's integrity over time.
- Storm Preparedness: Given the hurricane-prone nature of the region, it's crucial to assess your home's ability to withstand strong winds and heavy rain.
- Flood Risk: Myrtle Beach is no stranger to flooding, and older homes may need specialized coverage to address the increased risk of water damage.
Want to get a Quote on Your Old Home from Davis Insurance Associates? Start here.
Some Challenges You May See When Getting an Insurance Quote for an Older Home
Most insurance companies are going to want more information about the home to be insured before a policy will be issued or even a quote is given. Here are some things that a company will inquire about. They will most likely perform an inspection to verify these things as well! (This can apply to coastal houses as well as inland properties.)
- ROOF: This is a biggie. The roof should be in good to great shape. Older roofs are increasingly hard to insure.
- HVAC: Insurance companies look to see the condition and age of the heating and cooling systems.
- Electrical: Insurance companies like the electrical system to be up to date and in good shape. Wiring over 50 years (varies by company) or aluminum wiring is pretty universally not liked by insurance companies.
- Plumbing: The same with plumbing, including water heater and pipes. Old pipes are a big risk. Insurance companies look for updated pipes, plumbing connections, and do not want to see signs of leaking or other problems. Many companies also do not like PEX plumbing as it has caused many claims in the past.
- In general, the insurance agent (because we do not like placing a risk that will be cancelled after an inspection) and company will look at the whole picture. The condition of the foundation, detached structures, vegetation growing on or close to a structure, mold or mildew present, or just about anything that does not show a pride of ownership can cause a company to not issue or cancel a policy.
IF THERE IS AN ISSUE WITH ONE OR MORE OF THESE FACTORS, ONE OF THREE THINGS WILL PROBABLY HAPPEN. Either you pay a much higher premium, get a substandard policy, or are completely uninsurable.
*Side note about Historic Homes - if a home is on a Historic Registry, it brings on even more challenges. It's best to talk to an agent about this.*
Steps to Insure Your Older Coastal Home Effectively
- Tailored Home Insurance Policies: Review your home insurance policy with a focus on coastal risks. Ensure it adequately covers potential damages unique to Myrtle Beach, such as those caused by salt exposure or hurricane-related events.
- Specialized Coverage for Coastal Elements: Consider additional coverage for specific coastal risks, such as flood insurance, to protect your home from water damage associated with storms and rising tides.
- Regular Maintenance and Storm Preparedness: Given Myrtle Beach's climate, implement a robust maintenance routine and prepare your home for storms. Regular inspections can help identify vulnerabilities that might be exacerbated by coastal conditions.
- Consult a Local Expert: Work with an insurance agent familiar with the Myrtle Beach area and the challenges posed by coastal living. They can provide insights into the specific risks your older home might face and help you find the right coverage.
Tips for Lowering Insurance Costs in Myrtle Beach
- Hurricane Shutters and Wind-Resistant Features: Installing hurricane shutters and wind-resistant features may qualify you for insurance discounts, reflecting a commitment to storm preparedness.
- Local Security Measures: Emphasize local security measures in your home, such as local alarm systems, which may contribute to reduced insurance premiums.
- Community Discounts: Inquire about any community or neighborhood-specific insurance programs or discounts that may be available for Myrtle Beach homeowners.
Additional Information about Insuring an Old Home in Coastal Carolina Areas
- Older homes are more expensive to insure than newer homes. You can easily see a premium double compared to a similar home that was recently built. Some say older homes were built better (and I don't disagree), but claims data tells us old homes have more frequent and worse claims.
- Depending on the age and company you are insuring with, you may have to purchase a different type of policy. Seeing an HO8 (less comprehensive policy compared to the widely used HO3) or a policy with Functional Replacement Cost (instead of the typical Replacement Cost) on an old home is pretty common. Read your policy and speak to your agent with questions.
- Some companies look at homes built over 30 years ago as old. Some use 50 years and some use 100 years. I would say you normally start seeing these challenges once a home is around 30-50 years old.
Preserving the historic charm of your older home in Myrtle Beach involves not only maintaining its unique features but also securing comprehensive insurance coverage. By understanding the coastal risks and taking proactive steps, homeowners can ensure their cherished properties are safeguarded against the elements. A partnership with a knowledgeable insurance provider, one attuned to the specific challenges of Myrtle Beach, will help protect your coastal legacy for generations to come.
Care to see what we can do for your home insurance? Please visit ThinkDavisInsurance.com or call (843) 213-0000.
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