A South Carolina program for coastal homeowners who have taken steps to shield their homes against hurricane winds has awarded more than 1,000 grants in two years.
Scott Richardson, director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance, said that the SC Safe Home Program has awarded a total of 1,018 grants worth about $4.6 million to South Carolina homeowners.
According to Richardson, structures retrofitted through Safe Home are more attractive risks to insurance companies. He said that homeowners that completed mitigation projects have reported premium reduction savings of up to 24 percent on their property insurance.
Grants of up to $5,000 are available for owner-occupied homes and may be awarded on a matching or non-matching basis. To date, SC Safe Home has awarded grants to homeowners located in the following coastal counties: Beaufort, Berkeley, Colleton, Charleston, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, Marion and Williamsburg.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), society saves $4 in possible losses and the resulting reconstruction costs for every dollar spent on mitigation. Based on this information, Richardson said Safe Home has reduced the potential loss and future reconstruction costs from a hurricane or severe wind event by more than $18.2 million.
Officials said that the single most effective mitigation measure a homeowner can make is the replacement of the roof with a stronger, safer roofing system. Seventy-six percent of the grant recipients have selected to retrofit their roof systems through Safe Home. Homeowners that have selected to replace their windows with impact resistant systems and hurricane shutters have reported on average a 29 percent savings in their energy costs.
Richardson said South Carolina’s Safe Home has also created jobs in the construction and home improvement industries. To date, 81 certified inspectors and 58 certified contractors are working with the program.
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