Your home is your refuge and filled with your personal treasures. So it isn’t such a big leap if you ensure that you’ll never be without it. Unfortunately, some consider it as money down the drain… until disaster strikes. If you haven’t bought home insurance yet, the best time to do so is now. It’s never a wise thing to leave your house unprotected and potential liabilities not covered. But which one should you choose? It definitely shouldn’t be the cheapest one? Of course, doing comparisons between the different providers will yield you the right answer but only if you have enough time to research. We made it easier for you with our top list of 7 homeowners insurance providers as your starting point.
*Please note that while we do everything in our power to provide accurate information with recommendations that we came up with during or research, this article does not constitute financial advice. As of now we do not earn any revenue from you clicking and buying insurance from any of these companies, however we do plan to add that feature.
Top 7 Homeowners Insurance Providers of 2018 Reviewed
- Top 7 Homeowners Insurance Providers of 2018 Reviewed
- Homeowners Insurance Buying Guide
1. Amica InsuranceBest Homeowners Insurance for Claims
One thing that stands out with Amica is its level of customer service. In fact, it was recognized J.D. Power as the provider with the highest customer satisfaction among national homeowner insurers 16 years in a row. This is because Amica goes out of its way to ensure you’re taken cared of. They’ll even take the time to find the contractors you need for that rebuild or upgrade for free through its Contractor Connection program. Any repairs or upgrade done through this program comes with a three-year workmanship warranty.
Of course, customers also love Amica’s very affordable rates, around $600 less than the most expensive providers on average. And then there the discounts. Insurers who have stayed with Amica for at least 2 years can get more savings.
Multi-line policies may save you up to 15% and if you’ve been claim-free for 3 years, you’ll get a discount then too. Automatic payments will also earn you a discount as well as when you opt to go paperless and get your policy information and bills electronically. You also get discounts for automatic detection devices (gas leak detection system) and alarm systems. Last but not the least, you get a credit for ensuring a new or renovated home.
Another perk of going with this provider is the additional coverage they provide – credit card coverage which means that you can get reimbursed for unauthorized use of your credit cards. This isn’t something you see with most other providers.
Amica isn’t just about protecting you from possible financial loss. It can also help you earn money. The company is a mutual insurance company which means policyholders get a share of the profits through dividends.
You will need to purchase a dividend policy and Amica does not make guarantees that you’ll receive dividends (5 to 20% of the annual rate) but the company does have a strong track record of being able to provide this. In fact, the company is in great financial health, receiving A+ from A.M. Best Rating Services, an organization that rates providers according to their ability to meet their financial obligations.
In comparison to other insurers, the discounts really aren’t that unique. And they don’t provide a lot of online educational resources. But with its affordable rates and level of customer service, it’s definitely hard to beat.
2. AllstateBest Homeowners Insurance for First-time Buyers
Anyone buying a new home knows how stressful it can be. From finding that perfect house to getting the right asking price and then there’s all that stress from moving in. But, like any property owner, you have to protect your investment, hence, the need for homeowners insurance. And the best provider for people like you is Allstate. Allstate offers the most and the best-in-class educational resources you’ll ever find.
They have videos, infographics, and the very informative Common and Costly Claims tool. This tool allows you to see the most common claims in your new home’s region plus how much the average amount was. You can also use their GoodHome Report which shows you potential risks of your new home and local hazard data. It also provides you with prevention tips as well as personalized insurance tips. With this tool, you’re more able to accurately evaluate what you need in terms of coverage and, if necessary, what endorsements you’ll need to add.
Speaking of endorsements, you’ll find that Allstate has an extensive number of endorsements, more than most providers have. They include water backup coverage, identity theft restoration, coverage for expensive sports equipment, and coverage for musical instruments.
The most notable one is the green improvement reimbursement. It will cover the additional cost of replacing damaged or destroyed covered items with more energy-efficient ones. However, they don’t mention other endorsements that may interest some homeowners such as theft of other property such as trailers and watercraft. You’ll need to look over your policy to see if it’s included.
Another great thing about Allstate is their discounts. They have the most, compared to any of the providers on our list. They offer the standard ones like an installed burglar and smoke alarms. But they also have discounts for new customers. They can give you a discount for the first two years. They also offer a discount if you sign up with them before the expiration date of your current policy. Plus, just in case you’re wondering, Allstate was rated as A+ by rating agency A.M. Best which means that their financial strength is “superior.” In short, they have the capability to pay all their claims.
However, Allstate’s customer service is just ok. They aren’t going to wow you with it. According to J.D. Power, they only rate a 3/5.
3. USAABest Homeowners Insurance for Military If you or a member of your family is or was part of the U.S. Military, then USAA should be the only provider for you. This insurance company provides features that are specifically designed to make life easier for our soldiers. For example, USAA will pay for replacing a lost or damaged uniform that was caused by a covered loss. Another is that their replacement cost coverage for damaged personal items and home is set at today’s value, no depreciation factored in. And if you need to live elsewhere while your home is being rebuilt, USAA covers your additional living expenses without limit, neither time nor dollar amount.
The problem with USAA is that you’ll need to have ties with the military to be eligible. Also, their customer service is only available during business hours through their claims center is open 24/7. They also don’t have local agents or branch offices. So if you prefer face-to-face interaction, USAA may not be for you.
4. State Farm
Best Homeowners Insurance Estimate Calculator If you want a more personalized quote, whether it’s offline or on, State Farm is one of the best, in our opinion. Compared to other online quotes, this provider requires you to answer a lot of details regarding your home such as the construction of your home, how many corners are there in the house’s frame, and even what percentage of your floors is covered with carpet. In short, you’ll need to be aware of all the little details of your home and your personal belongings.
While it may seem inconvenient, especially if you’re just shopping around, you’ll be sure to get a more accurate quote compared to what the other providers will be giving you. In addition to their very customized quote, you can make use of State Farm’s extensive resources allows you to learn more than just insurance tips. Their blog gives you tips on house shopping, fire prevention, and home security.
Another benefit from signing up with State Farm is that they do not have a limit on how much reimbursement you’ll receive for lost, stolen, or damaged electronics – up to the limit of your personal property coverage, of course. Jewelry gets a replacement limit of $5000 while lost or stolen firearms can have up to $2500. In comparison, your electronics get a hefty bonus. If you’re a techie, you’ll definitely benefit from this type of coverage. And that’s not all. The loss-of-use coverage or additional living expense coverage of State Farm is one of the best we’ve seen.
Not only will it cover the expenses of living away from home due to its uninhabitability, State Farm will help you up to a year after the disaster. And you can quickly get help from them if a large-scale disaster ever hits your area. The company has mobile catastrophe units that it sends out if such a thing occurs. They can set up operations within 48 hours and help handle questions, claims, etc.
One thing that we don’t like about State Farm is their lack of unique discounts. They do offer the standard discounts that you’ll get with every other provider. But they do not offer discounts for new homeowners or those that have newly renovated homes. Not unless you renovated your roof with impact-resistant materials. If that’s the case, you can get a unique discount but only for that. Also, the company does have slightly higher premiums and their coverage for home replacement was not as high as other quotes provided by other insurance companies.
5. Nationwide InsuranceBest Homeowners Insurance For Older Homes If you want the ultimate protection package, then the provider you’re looking for is Nationwide Insurance. It has the most endorsements out of all of our picks including some very unique ones. Aside from the additional umbrella liability, earthquake, and flood coverage that is offered by most (if not all) providers, Nationwide also offers coverage for brand new belongings, better roof replacement, water backup sewer, and ordinance or law insurance.
Well, the brand new belongings coverage means that Nationwide will reimburse you the full cost of buying brand-new items instead of using the value of your old stuff that got damaged, stolen, or destroyed. What’s so great about this endorsement is that Nationwide actually gives you a partial amount upfront, the actual depreciated amount of your lost/damaged/destroyed item. Once you’ve bought the replacement or had it repaired, you can send the receipt to Nationwide and you get the difference reimbursed to you. Also, you get to use the full limit of your policy for replacing/repairing lost/damaged electronics.
What about the others? Well, with the Better Roof Replacement, Nationwide will reimburse you for the cost of having your damaged roof (provided it is covered and substandard) rebuilt using stronger and safer materials. Water backup of the sewer is self-explanatory. Valuables Plus is an endorsement for your high-ticket items such as jewelry. Ordinance or law insurance ensures that you’re covered for the cost of rebuilding your damaged house according to the current building codes. This last endorsement if perfect for older homes.
However, Nationwide typically offers one of the most expensive policies. Also, their loss of use coverage is only for those who purchased the premium plan whereas most providers already include some form of compensation for alternative living expenses. With Nationwide’s premium plan, you do get ALE coverage for an entire year so if your house is located in an area that is prone to natural disasters, you may need to sign up for the premium plan.
One of the things that a lot of consumers complained about with Metcalf was that you couldn’t get an online quote at all. You’ll need to take the time to call someone. Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Human contact is good for you. However, for some people, that was just plain inconvenient. The good news is that that is no longer the case. At least for some states. If you belong to one of the states listed below, you can now have the option of getting a quote online. Not only that, you can also buy your homeowners insurance policy, make changes to it, and file a claim all online.
The company claims that because this is completely self-service (no agent with a commission), they are able to pass more savings to you. While we can’t be sure of that, it certainly bodes well for people living in the following states:
Another benefit to signing up with Metcalf is if you also get your auto insurance from them. Bundling the two will give you savings and that’s not anything new. But it also means that you only have one deductible for your home and auto. This means that if your car and home are somehow damaged/destroyed in the same accident or disaster (covered, of course), you only have to pay one deductible instead of two.
Also, Metcalf provides guaranteed replacement cost coverage for your home and personal belongings. If both are completely destroyed, you are guaranteed reimbursement for the full cost of replacing your home and personal items, without factoring depreciation.
One of the drawbacks of signing up with Metcalf is the availability of discounts. You can get savings if you bundle your policies or install burglar alarms, smoke alarms, etc. You can even get a discount if you’re an employee of a certain company or a member of a certain organization (though we don’t really know which ones will get you that).
However, you don’t get any of the really good ones such as loyalty, claim-free, or new homeowner discounts. These aren’t, by any means, unique. They are pretty standard for most other providers. Also, Metcalf only works with contractors who belong to the Crawford Contractor Connection network. The network itself is great, filled with highly skilled workers and provides a 2-year warranty on materials and labor as well as worker’s comp. insurance protection for the contractors. However, if you have a preferred contractor, you might want to get coverage somewhere else.
If you own a green home, the best provider for you may be Travelers. This is because it offers a 5 percent discount to homeowners whose homes have been certified by the Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) organization as “green.” It’s actually one of the few that offer this discount. In addition to that, it offers excellent coverage for green homes. With this endorsement, Travelers will pay more to help ensure that the materials used to repair your home are sustainable building materials.
Another thing we like about Travelers is their mobile apps and website. You can basically do everything on the go with these two. You can look over your policy documents, pay your bills, and even file a claim using the website or the mobile app. Also, Travelers has an impressive financial strength rating – A++.
Travelers also offer other endorsements such as Valuable Items Plus (for jewelry, etc.), Contents Replacement Cost, Water Backup Coverage, and Identity Fraud. Its other discounts, however, are a bit too few. Aside from the usual and the green home discount, Travelers also offer the Home Buyer Discount. Not really unique but still not a regular offering with some providers.
One thing that Travelers is not known for is their customer service. They don’t have a great rating from J.D. Power (3/5) and Consumer Reports (82/100). They have also been reports of poor claims handling. While we aren’t saying that there is any truth in these reports, it is something that you should know about when making your choice.
Homeowners Insurance Buying Guide
When you’re buying homeowners insurance or any insurance for that matter, you need to make sure that you get the right coverage at a price you are comfortable with. Of course, figuring that out will take some time and quite a bit of knowledge. If you need help in navigating the world of home insurance AND avoiding the sharks, our in-depth how-to is for you.
What is homeowners insurance?
Your homeowner’s insurance, also called property insurance, should provide you with financial protection in the event that you incur damages or losses involving your home. It should have four types of coverage:
- the structure of your home
- your personal belongings
- liability protection
- additional living expenses
What do these types of coverage mean for me?
Structure of your home
Your policy covers the expense of repairing or rebuilding your home if it was damaged by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning, and any other disaster listed in your policy. Most home insurance does not cover damage caused by earthquake or flooding. All of them would not cover damage caused by routine wear and tear. When buying coverage for the structure of your home, always make sure that the amount is enough to pay for rebuilding your home. Not the market value or actual cash value. Metlife is one of the few who guarantee that they’ll cover the replacement cost of your home even if it costs more than your coverage should it become completely destroyed.
Your clothes, furniture, appliances, personal items, and anything else you have inside your home are covered by your insurance in case they are stolen or damaged/destroyed by a hurricane, fire, or other disasters stated in your policy. Generally, the coverage is 50 to 70 percent of the insurance for the structure of the house. However, this amount may not be enough to cover all the things inside your home. Personal belongings that have a high value such as jewelry, fur, silverware, and antiques may not get fully covered due to the coverage limits. You may have to buy a special personal property endorsement or “floater” so that you can ensure these items at their full value. An endorsement is an addition to your homeowner’s insurance while a floater is a separate insurance that covers valuable items. Nationwide Insurance provides a Brand New Belongings Coverage which is an endorsement that promises to reimburse you for the full cost of a brand new item, not the value of your old one.
To ensure that your policy covers the replacement cost of your personal belongings, it’s best to make an inventory of everything you own inside your home. For major items, make sure to get all the valuable information such as serial number, purchase price, date of purchase, make and model of the item, etc. Take photos or videos. Store the inventory as well as receipts and any visual records you have away from your home such as in a safe deposit box.
If you or one of the members of your family (including your pet) causes property damage or bodily injury to other people, your homeowner’s insurance will pay for the cost of replacing/repairing the damage as well as the cost of defending you in court and any award you have to pay.
Liability protection also provides no-fault medical coverage which means that anyone injured on your property can submit their medical bills to your insurance company. This enables you to avoid a liability claim from being filed. Like with personal belongings, there is a limit to the coverage provided. Typically, the limit starts at $100,000 and goes all the way to $300,000. If you need a higher limit, you can consider an excess liability policy or an umbrella. Keep in mind that liability protection does not cover for medical bills for any member of your property AND for any damage on your property caused by one of you.
Additional Living Expenses (ALE)
ALE covers the cost of living away from home while your home is uninhabitable because of damage caused by an insured disaster. It should include the cost of hotel bills, meals at restaurants, and other expenses that you will incur while your home is being repaired or rebuilt. Some insurance companies do not include this automatically but offer it as optional coverage. Others will include a time limitation. In general, your policy will have daily and total overall limits for your ALE. USAA has one of the best ALE coverages. It will cover your living expenses without a time or dollar limit so you can rest easy while your destroyed home is being rebuilt.
What is NOT covered?
Yes, home insurance is your financial protection for disaster-related damage. However, certain disasters, namely flood, and earthquakes, are not covered. These have separate insurance policies.
Also, maintenance problems are not covered by your policy. Sewer backup, construction work damage, and termite infestation are also not covered by your policy.
How much does homeowners insurance cost?
There are several factors that will affect the cost as well as policy renewal. Mostly, it will depend on the value of your home and how much coverage you want. But the insurance company will also consider other factors such as the crime rate in your area, the likelihood of damage due to a disaster, how much time it would take for a fire in your house to get extinguished, the current condition of your heating and electrical systems, your credit history, and the number of claims you’ve filed in the past. The cost of your insurance will also depend on the state you live in. For example, Florida’s average cost of insurance is $2,055 while Oregon averages $574. Generally, an annual premium ranges from $400 to $1500.
How do I get the best rates and coverage?
Well, focusing on cost alone can be dangerous because you run the risk of being underinsured. This means that your coverage may only pay for around 78% of the costs after a disaster damages your home. The first thing you’ll need to do is to take stock of the value of your home and personal belongings. These will help determine how much you’ll need for the amount of coverage.
Then, research multiple options. Get quotes from different companies so you can compare the rates and coverage provided by each policy. Keep in mind that there are no apples to apple comparison on your policy vs your neighbor’s or relative. Due to the different factors involved, you won’t be able to get a true comparison between your coverages.
You can also ask which insurance providers offer discounts and what they are. Some insurance companies provide a discount if you bundle your policies. This means that you buy multiple insurance policies from a single insurance company such as your home and auto insurance. By doing so, you can decrease the cost of your premiums per policy. Doing this will also make it convenient for you when paying all of your policies. Instead of making different payments, you can combine it all into one monthly payment.
In fact, Metlife allows you to only pay one deductible for your home and auto insurance if you bundle them together and both are involved in the same accident/event. Some insurance companies also provide anti-theft discounts that you can avail of if your house has deadbolts, barred windows and/or and burglar alarms.
Another type of discount offered by some providers is for reduced risk of fire damage. House fires can cause extensive AND expensive property damage. This is why most providers will offer savings to homeowners who take initiative in reducing their losses to fire damage such as the presence of fire extinguishers, a sprinkler system, and smoke alarms.
Another way to lower your premium is to raise your deductible. The deductible is the amount that you’ll pay before the insurance coverage kicks in. Instead of $250, raise it to $500 or even $1000. This way, you are also discouraged from making small claims which may affect your chances of getting a renewal from your provider.
Keep in mind that what’s best for one person doesn’t mean it’s also best for you. You’ll need to evaluate what you need and how much you can afford when you’re looking for the best provider for you.
It’s not all about the money
The best rate and coverage are certainly going to factor largely in your decision, but you also need to include the following considerations:
Customer reviews: this allows you to see what you can expect when it’s your turn to file a claim. You need to check how easy it is to reach an agent, how polite and courteous they are, how promptly do they respond to your claim, how much effort you need to put in going through the claims process, and how much time do you need to wait before that check comes in. In short, make sure to choose a company that will make the experience as smooth as possible for you. According to consumers, Amica Insurance has the best customer service ever.
Financial strength: you’ll want to get a provider that has the ability to pay out the claims filed by their customers. All of our picks have a financial strength of A and above according to A.M. Best Rating Services.