Counties in top three for highest insurance rates

  • Friday, August 1, 2014

It's a good bet that if someone in coastal South Carolina saw a homeowners insurance rate at less than $2,500 a year, he'd snap it up.

Yet two of the four counties with the highest insurance rates in the state are along the Grand Strand.

Georgetown County ranks second behind Charleston County and Horry is third, just ahead of Beaufort County, according to a study that lists the average homeowners insurance cost for every county in the state.

ValuePenguin, which analyzes information to assess “whether the return of a particular purchase or decision is worth the cost or risk of that option, and how this stacks up with the other possible choices you may have,” according to its “about” section on its web page,

The company compared rates for a single family, owner occupied home with $150,000 of insurance written on Form HO-3 or equivalent with full replacement costs.

The hypothetical owners also have a five-year loss history that is claim free.

The policy has a $500 deductible and the insured home was built in 2005.

Georgetown County's $2,399 average annual cost – Charleston County's rate was $2,410 – does not include wind coverage.

Wind coverage is strongly recommended for homes along the coast – which can easily add another $2,000 annually to the cost of insurance, said LeAnn Bourgeois of Waccamaw Insurance.

And, she added, that's before you add fire coverage.

“We know it's more costly to live along the coast,” said Georgetown County spokeswoman Jackie Broach. “That's going to push the county average up.”

Plus, it's unlikely that someone would find a home in Zone 1 on which they would carry just $150,000 replacement cost – if they could even get it.

“The premiums vary tremendously. It's almost on a case by case basis,” said Bourgeois.

“There's just no way to ballpark insurance in a coastal area.”

Even so, Horry County's average is $2,294 and Beaufort's average, according to the ValuePenguin study is $2,106, a far cry from rates in Greenville County ($702 annually), York County ($708) and Spartanburg and Oconee counties ($715).

Read the study here: www.valuepenguin.com/best-cheap-homeowners-insurance-south-carolina

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