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. It also provides liability coverage if someone other than the property owner or renter is injured while on the premises. Homeowners policies protect dwellings against what are typically referred to in the industry as "perils." Some commonly covered perils include theft, lightning, windstorms, etc. Perils generally not covered include acts of war and so-called “acts of God,” such as earthquakes, floods, or mudslides. However, supplemental policies for some of these may be purchased separately.
Anyone living in a home should have some form of homeowners insurance. However, it is only technically required by the bank when you are still paying off your mortgage. Those who own their home outright do not need to purchase homeowners insurance. In the U.S., standard homeowners insurance policies are named HO1-HO8, which typically cover most scenarios in which damage may occur. Some homeowners insurance is designed specifically for renters, (HO-4)—this generally only covers possessions inside the home, and isolated events that aren’t included in the property owner’s insurance.
The most important thing to consider when purchasing a policy is how comprehensive you need the coverage to be. Most homeowners insurance policies offer coverage for the main dwelling, additional structures on the property (garages, storage sheds, fences, etc), personal property, and loss of use. Loss of use coverage pays any 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 collapses.
It is also important to remember that your coverage necessities will change with time. Therefore we recommend you assess the value of your possessions on a yearly basis to see if your current coverage is appropriate. Major purchases like appliances can easily change the amount of coverage that you need. Conversely, certain items of value could markedly depreciate over the years leaving you paying more than you need to. It is also important to remember that many high value items like jewelry and works of art may have limited coverage under basic homeowners insurance. These items require additional cost "floaters" that cover them specifically.
Top 10 Companies
- Get Personal Service from a Farmers Agent
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- Paperless Billing, Free App & Integration with Alexa
- Provides Great Coverage and Protection Options
- Flood and Earthquake Insurance Available
- A+ BBB - Over 100 Years of Experience
- Homeowners, Condo, Renters or Umbrella Coverage
- Coverage for your home, belongings & personal liability
- There when you need it: Fast claims & 24/7 reporting
- Bundle & Save with available multi-policy discounts
- Get your quote today & learn how you can save up to 26%!
- 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!
- Rated A+ by the 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
- 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
- Exclusively Insuring Military Personnel, Veterans & Their Families for Over 130 Years
- Comprehensive Coverage Options at Competitive Prices
- Always Retain the Same Agent, Even if you Move
- On-Demand Service With 24/7 Claims Processing
- 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
- Wide Range of Discounts
- Backed by Nationwide Insurance
- Covers Appliance Breakdown
- Customizable Plans/Avoid Coverage You Don't Need
- Living Expenses. Repairs, Debris Removal, etc.
How We Compare Homeowners Insurance
Wildfires can cut wide paths of destruction for hundreds of square miles. Tornadoes can rip through multiple counties and communities. Hurricanes, in terms of dollar amount, can cause the worst and most widespread damage of them all, as recent hurricanes María, Harvey, and Katrina have proven. The point is, while homeowners insurance is usually thought of for 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 once, and their financial strength will be of utmost importance. Since for most people, their home is probably the most permanent and largest investment of their lives, their relationship with their home insurance provider will probably entail a long-lasting commitment.
It is imperative that your home insurance company has both the money and financial stability to meet their obligations in the face of a catastrophic event. After a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, or other disaster, payouts can be absolutely massive. It's important to choose a company with the reputation, history, and overall ability to provide the coverage you need, in order for you to get back to normal life as quickly as possible.
Independent ratings agencies such S&P, Moody's, Weiss, Fitch, and A.M. Best assess insurance companies' financial strength and assign them a grade. Each agency has its own unique ratings scale, standards, and grades. Generally speaking, they rank companies according to different factors, such as their size, claims paying ability, and creditworthiness, among others. We looked at these rating for each of the companies on out list. We also took into consideration time in business, as well 2016 marketshare and premiums written.
We classify life insurance providers into three categories. An underwriter is an insurance company that underwrites its own policies. A subsidiary or partner is a company either owned by an underwriter, or one that has partnered with a single underwriter for all of its policies. Lastly, a marketplace is a company that offers consumers quotes across multiple underwriters.
In order to assess the average customer experience with a given company, we considered multiple factors. Firstly, we looked at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) data on complaint ratios. This compares a company’s total number of registered complaints to the average set by the industry as a whole; it’s essentially a “complaint share.”
Secondly, we took into account the JD Power customer satisfaction survey scores from 2016. This indicates a company's performance across several key areas, including customer satisfaction, billing, claims, and service interactions. On a scale of one to five, the higher a company is rated, the better it averaged within the survey results.
We rounded this out by compiling third-party reviews and scores, specifically examining TrustPilot and the Better Business Bureau. We not only took careful notice of a given company's overall grades, but also the number of positive and negative customer reviews. Sometimes, even a company with a high grade may have a disproportionate number of negative reviews, which we then reflected in our overall appraisal.
NAICS Complaint Ratio 2016
This is a ratio of the number of complaints a company received to the its total premiums written in a calendar year. The median complaint ratio across all companies is 1. A score below 1 means the company received fewer than average complaints. A score above 1 means the company received a higher number of complaints than average.
JD Power Overall Customer Satisfaction Score
JD Power's yearly home insurance study polls an undisclosed number of homeowners and ranks companies in the categories of policy offerings, price, statement and billing, interaction with staff, and claims. Each provider is assigned a score from one to five. A score of five places the company "among the best," four is "better than most," three is "about average," two or one qualifies as "the rest."
The Better Business Bureau has been a standard-bearer for marketplace trust, calling out unethical and subpar market behavior. For homeowners insurance providers, we looked to see if the company was accredited and what grade the BBB had assigned them. We also compiled the number of good, neutral, and negative reviews.
Trust Pilot Rating
TrustPilot is an online review community founded in 2007 in order to help online shoppers make informed decisions, based on a belief that people's voices should be heard. The website averages roughly 500,000 new reviews a month and employs a staff of over 500 people. Companies are searchable by web presence, and Trustpilot compiles reviews to determine a score between 1 and 10.
Pricing & Discounts25%
When researching and reviewing homeowners insurance quotes, we recommend that potential customers make sure to not take the stated premiums at face value. As with other elements within the greater insurance industry, discounts are plentiful, and can have a significant effect on your monthly premium. Depending on the circumstances, these can end up lowering your total cost by as much as 25%.
It's also important to remember that most companies offer at least some discounts, with the most ubiquitous being decreases for smoke alarms, home security systems, or policy bundling. Other possibilities are divided into household- and policy-level discounts. While the former may include discounts for automatic detection devices and storm shutters, the latter often include discounts for automatic payments, taking a higher deductible, and not making claims. If you do a little digging, you'll find that all kinds of options are available.
Price was assessed by again using JD Power's 2016 home insurance study. Respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction level with their policy's premium on a scale of 1 to 5.
Household-level discounts refer to discounts that can be applied because of some physical characteristic of the home itself, usually home safety features. They can also be influenced by the neighborhood in which the dwelling is located. Some household-level discounts include:
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.
Impact Resistant Roofing
Gated Community – Extra layer of security.
Policy-level discounts have to do with your relationship with your insurance provider. Some common policy-level discounts include:
New Policy Discount
Multi-Line Discount: Discounts is you have another policy like auto with the same firm.
Higher Deductibles: Choose very high deductibles for lower premiums.
Loyalty: Get discounts based on sticking with the company.
Claims-Free: 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: Discount when you sign up for automatic payments.
The coverage granted by homeowners insurance protects against potential damages and losses to one's home. Within the confines of the definition, companies tend to vary in their specific coverage terms. In order to differentiate on a broad spectrum, JD Power ranks companies on the basis of policy offerings. On a company-to-company basis, policies are typically tiered, with basic coverage coming cheaper than those with additional coverage options.
Specifically, basic coverage plans will often come with protection for not only the dwelling, but other structures on the property. Moreover, these protections may also extend to personal property and liability, as well as living expenses and medical coverage for guests. Additional coverage options, as the name implies, offer protections above-and-beyond that of a basic policy. These include water backup, scheduled personal property coverage, and a greater variant of dwelling protection.
This score is based on the JD Power's 2016 home insurance study. Homeowners rated their satisfaction with their given provider's coverage options on a scale of 1 to 5.
Basic Coverage Types
Dwelling Protection: Protects policyholders if their home or any connected structures, such as a garage, are damaged from the perils stated in their policy.
Other Structures Protection: Covers the structures on your property that are not attached to the main dwelling, such as fences and sheds.
Personal Property Protection: Covers policyholder's personal belongings.
Liability Protection: Protects homeowners from legal liability if negligence causes injury or property damage to others. Protection also extends to cover legal defense. The most common liability claim is due to dog bites.
Guest Medical Protection: Covers medical bills for anyone injured on your property.
Additional Living Expense Coverage: Pays to relocate policyholders if they are forced to leave their home temporarily due to a covered loss.
Water Backup Coverage: Covers cost of damage from water that comes from the ground, for example, from an overflowing drain.
Enhanced Dwelling Protection: Adds additional coverage for the structure of the building, in the case when original coverage limits aren’t enough.
Scheduled Personal Property Coverage: Covers high-end items whose costs exceed your personal property limits, for example jewelry or fine art.
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. It also includes liability coverage in case you or your property are responsible for accidents and/or bodily injury that occur in connection with your property, such as your usually harmless dog biting the mailman, a tree in your yard toppling onto your neighbor’s new sports car, or a girl scout slipping on your driveway while delivering cookies.
How Much Does Home Insurance Cost?
The average yearly price of homeowners insurance is approximately $1,100. 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 (such as 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 the much higher $2,055 in Florida.
What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
Homeowners insurance covers accidental damage to your home and accidental injuries that occur there. The kinds of damages that are covered include losses from fire, theft, weather, vandalism, systems failures such as broken pipes, and some kinds of natural disasters. Homeowners policies also usually cover some of your personal property even if it is not stolen from or damaged in the home. The covered areas include the interior and exterior of the house, attached buildings such as garages, and outbuildings such as detached garages, fences, and sheds. Coverage for people injured on the property includes payment of their medical bills and insurance against general damages caused by their injuries, such as pain and suffering, loss of wages, disability, scarring, and disfigurement.
How Much Homeowners Insurance Do You Need?
In order to determine how much homeowners insurance you need, first consider the full replacement cost–not the market value–of the house. In other words, the total cost to completely rebuild the house using similar materials, to which should be added the value of your personal property. Most authorities recommend estimating replacement cost of personal property at between 50% and 75% of the coverage for the dwelling itself. For example, if it would cost $150,000 to completely rebuild the house, a homeowner might want to add in at least $75,000 in coverage for personal possessions, for a total coverage of $225,000. Homeowners with more expensive and valuable possessions should consider purchasing additional "floaters."
Am I Required to Have Homeowners Insurance?
Homeowners insurance is not required by law, but if your home is being financed with a mortgage, the lender will likely require that you have a homeowner insurance policy. This will protect both your, 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 that you purchase insurance regardless of whether or not you have a mortgage. And some townhouse communities have group insurance coverage, which only requires 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 potentially cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, making home insurance a worthwhile purchase for most.
Do I Need Homeowners Insurance for a Rental Property?
If you own a house or apartment you rent to other people–even to family members–you should certainly have a landlord policy in place. These policies are similar to homeowners policies in that they cover both damage to the building and owner liability. However, landlord insurance also insures property owners against loss of rental income due to building damage. Liability coverage limits on such policies tend to be higher, since a landlord could potentially be sued for negligence in maintaining the premises, thereby causing damages to the tenants and their property.
What's the Difference Between Homeowners Insurance and a Home Warranty?
The key difference between homeowners insurance and a home warranty is that homeowners insurance protects you against theft and accidental damage to your home and the things in it, while a home warranty simply protects your appliances and home systems against breakdowns caused by age and normal wear and tear. Homeowners insurance also covers you for any liability incurred if a guest is injured on your property. For example, if your house is hit by a falling tree and your air conditioning system is damaged, homeowners insurance covers the cost of repair and replacement. However, if your air conditioning system fails because it’s old and worn out, then the coverage will be under your home warranty.