South Carolina Safe Home Program Offers Homeowners Retrofit Incentives

Free money is always good. When free money makes your home safer, that is even better.
The South Carolina Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program, also known as the South Carolina Safe Home Grant Program, provides grants to homeowners who reinforce their homes against high winds from serious storms and hurricanes.

History of the Safe Home Grant Program

The State Legislature of South Carolina established the program under the Omnibus Coastal Property Insurance Reform Act of 2007. This act helped to resolve issues of homeowners insurance affordability and availability among South Carolina’s coastal residents. Because homes retrofitted to withstand hurricane force winds suffer less hurricane damage than unreinforced homes, legislators hoped to help lower homeowners insurance premiums for all South Carolina homeowners.

What the Safe Home Grant Program Provides

The Safe Home Program provides funding to qualifying residents for many types of residential improvements. Here are a few of the ways you can strengthen your home’s construction and reduce your chances of a storm related homeowners insurance loss.

    Roof deck attachments

  • Secondary water barriers
  • Roof coverings
  • Bracing gable ends
  • Reinforcement of roof-to-wall connections
  • Window and door opening protection
  • Exterior doors, including garage doors
  • Tie downs
  • Problems associated with weakened trusses, studs and other structural components
  • Repair or replacement of manufactured home piers, anchors and tie downs

These grants help ensure homes stand up to South Carolina’s hurricane force winds. The program matches the homeowners investment dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000. For example, if your anticipated home retrofit will cost $8,000, the state would pay $4,000. If your repair will cost $12,000, the state’s contribution would not exceed $5,000. You would pay the $7,000 difference.

There are some exceptions for low-income homeowners, so check the program’s official website for those limitations.

A few limitations on grants

In order to qualify for the grant, your home must be a single-family residence and owner-occupied. Additionally, South Carolina homeowners must use the funds only for retrofitting, not remodeling or normal home repair. Mobile homes are eligible only for funding for tie-downs. The assessed building value must not exceed $300,000.

The homeowner must obtain local permits and inspections as set forth by your municipality or county. The owner must complete the improvements by the grant reimbursement deadline or within six months of the date of the award notification letter. Finally, applicants must obtain a wind certification inspection. This inspection outlines a list of the improvements the homeowner would complete to retrofit the house. Submit that inspection report with your grant application.

Retrofitting your home can save you thousands of dollars in losses and make your home a more attractive risk for homeowners insurers. To learn more about these grant opportunities, visit scsafehome.sc.gov to check qualification requirements and obtain a grant application.

Please remember that the comments contained in this blog are general in nature and that coverage under any specific policy of insurance will depend upon the terms and conditions of such policy.

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