Best Homeowners Insurance 2017
There are a lot of options when it comes to homeowners insurance. We'll help you find the one that's right for you.
Homeowners insurance is meant to protect your home from damages to the house itself, or to possessions within the home. It can also provide liability coverage if someone other than the property owner or renter is injured while on the property, and decides to sue. Exceptions to most policies include acts of war and so-called “acts of God”, such as earthquakes, floods or mudslides. Additional policies for some of these may be purchased separately.
In the U.S. there are seven forms of homeowners insurance that have become standardized in the industry, ranging from HO1-HO8, which typically cover most scenarios in which damage may occur. Some homeowner’s insurance is designed specifically for renters, (HO-4)—this typically only covers possessions inside the home, and isolated events that aren’t included in the owner’s insurance.
Most homeowner’s insurance policies offer coverage for the main dwelling, other structures (garages, storage sheds, fences, etc), personal property, and loss of use, which typically covers living expenses over and above your regular ones, if you are forced to leave while repairs are being made, or are denied access by a government order. Additional property coverage may provide for fire-department service charges, debris removal, property removal, theft or illegal use of credit cards, and building collapse.
Another factor to consider when choosing a homeowners insurance policy are endorsements. For an additional cost, endorsements provide extra protection in case of theft, a second property or credit card forgery. Other examples of endorsement can help you pay for the cost of rebuilding your home, keep up with inflation, or insure your house for a specific value and add a 20-25% extended limit if reconstruction costs run over.
Top 6 Companies
- Exceptional customer service experience, based on numerous reports
- Provides financial protection for your home, both inside and out
- Bundle your home & auto policies & save even more
- Condo & townhouse policies available
- Choose from various add-on protection options
- Wide selection of home insurance discounts
- Covers common occurrences like Fire or Theft, Also accidents, or if your dog bites the repairman
- Protect Your Valuable Items (Electronics, Jewelery)
- A Wide Range of Excellent Coverage Options
- Online Quotes in Minutes!
- No obligation home insurance quotes
- Select from a wide variety of home insurance policies
- Disaster proof coverage
- Deal directly with leading home insurance carriers
- Special discounts and policy bundling
- Rated A+ by BBB
- Represents 16 of the nation’s leading carriers
- Multiple rates and coverage options provided
- Get help from licensed home insurance professionals
- Personalized insurance quotes in just minutes
How We Compare Homeowners Insurance
Wildfires can cut paths of destruction for hundreds of square miles. Tornados can rip through multiple counties and communities. Hurricanes, in terms of dollar amount, can cause the most and widespread damage of them all. The point is, although homeowners insurance can cover one-off, localized accidents, you will also have to depend on it in the case of a natural disaster. In these situations, companies have to respond to the needs of thousands of their clients at a time. Think Hurricane Andrew, or Katrina. Also, since your house is probably the most permanent and largest investment of your life, you’re going to be in a relationship with your home insurance provider for a very long time.
It is imperative the company has the money and financial stability to meet these obligations should catastrophe strike. In the wake of a hurricane or other such calamity payouts can be absolutely massive. You’re going to want a company with the reputation, history and ability to provide the coverage you need and get you back to normal life as quickly as possible.
Independent ratings agencies such S&P, Moody's, Weiss, Fitch, and A.M. Best assess a given insurance company’s financial strength and assign them a grade. Each has its own unique ratings scale, standards and grades. Generally speaking, they are ranking companies according to their size, claims paying ability, creditworthiness, etc.
We look at a given company’s financial ratings by these institutions, taking into consideration that in the field of home insurance it is rare one company is ranked by all of them. We also look at how many states in which a company is able to operate.
We used three different items to assess the average customer experience with a given company. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) compiles its own data on complaint ratios. This compares a company’s complaints to the industry as a whole; it’s essentially a “complaint share.”
We also took into account JD Power satisfaction scores from 2015 where applicable, and results from insure.com’s 2015 customer satisfaction survey of 4,500 policyholders which ranked companies according to claims processing, customer service, etc.
Pricing & Discounts10%
Discounts can have a significant effect on your monthly premium, sometimes lowering the cost by as much as 25%. Most companies offer at least some discounts. The most ubiquitous being decreases for smoke alarms, or if you’ve bundled your home insurance with another line of insurance offered by the company. There are also all kinds of other discounts you will be able to find if you do a little digging.
- Multi-Line Discount: Discounts is you have another policy like auto with the same firm.
- Higher Deductibles: Choose very high deductibles for lower premiums
- Alarm System: Credits for burglar alarm, sprinklers, and fire alarms
- New/Remodeled Home Credit: A credit available for new and remodeled homes.
- Automatic Detection Devices: temperature monitoring, water or gas leak detector
- Loyalty: get discounts based on sticking with the company
- Claims-Free: We'll lower your premium if you have no claims on your policy.
- E-discount: A discount applies when you sign up for e-policy and e-bill.
- Automatic Payment Plan: We'll give you a discount when you sign up for automatic payments.
- Gated Community – Extra layer of security
- New Wiring
- Impact Resistant Roofing
- Community Watch
Nowadays a robust online presence is essential for nearly every kind of business. Some homeowners insurance companies offer online tools that allow you to determine how much coverage you need and get an actual quote in minutes. Other things we consider are the option to manage your account online, and education materials aimed at helping the consumer understand what life insurance products fit their personal situation (articles, blogs, advice, research tools, etc.).
Don’t just pick an insurance provider for that has a great sales team, but also one that has a reputation for great customer service once you become a customer. We look for companies that make it easy for customers to contact them, make changes to their policies or payment plans, and who make claim submission and payment simple and straight forward. Anyone can say they’ll be there for you, but the insurance providers that back up their promise with action will score well in this section.
Customer Questions & Answers
What is homeowners insurance?
Home insurance (also referred to as homeowners insurance) protects your home, property and personal belongings from damage resulting from accidents such as fire, natural disaster, theft and vandalism. Additionally, it also includes liability coverage in case you or your property are responsible for accidents and bodily injury that occur in connection with your property. For instance, if your usually harmless dog bites the mailman, a tree in your yard falls on your neighbor’s new sports car, or a girl scout falls on your driveway while delivering cookies.
How much does home insurance cost?
The average price of homeowners insurance is about $1,100 per year. The actual cost is based on a number of factors including your home’s value, age, quality of construction and materials used, location, risk factors, your credit score, preventative measures taken (like smoke detectors or home security systems), and your desired coverage limits and deductible. Homeowners insurance costs also vary significantly by state, ranging from a low of $574 per year in Oregon to high of $2,055 in Florida.
Am I required to have homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance is not required by law, but if your home is being financed by a mortgage, chances are the lender will require you to have a homeowner insurance policy. This will protect you (and their financial interest in your home) against any unforeseen damage.
If you buy a condominium or co-op, your housing association may also require you to purchase insurance regardless as to whether or not you have a mortgage. And some townhome communities have group insurance coverage, which only requires you to have renters insurance, so it’s worth looking into before making any purchases.
Even if you aren’t required to have homeowners insurance, many people still choose to cover themselves. The cost of repair after a natural disaster or accident can cost tens of thousands of dollars, making home insurance a worthwhile purchase for most.