The Best Homeowners Insurance 2018: Reviews and Comparison of Companies
- June 8, 2018
- Posted by: Jeff Gitlen
- Category: Insurance
A home isn’t just an asset that we buy in the hopes that it will appreciate, it’s also the place where we raise our children, live our lives, and store our photographs and other keepsakes. That’s why it’s so important to protect the home you own with insurance. But what does homeowners insurance cover, and what do you need to look for to ensure you have the coverage you need at a great price?
The first thing you need to know about homeowners insurance is what it covers. One well-known aspect of homeowners insurance is that it covers your dwelling and its contents if there’s a fire or other event that causes damage – or if your stuff is stolen or vandalized. Policies typically cover certain kinds of weather or extreme events like hail, lightning, or damage from wind, but not others. Floods and earthquakes, for example, are often excluded from most base plans. You have to buy additional coverage if you want to protect yourself in case of those events.
When it comes to dwelling and property coverage there are two types. The first is cash value coverage, which only will pay you the amount that your property is currently worth or the depreciated value of the property. The second kind is replacement value coverage, which will give you as much as you need to replace an item at its current market value. Certain types of property or property with values that are over a certain dollar amount can’t be insured in some circumstances. For that reason, you might also need a special insurance rider or include these items in a schedule.
But homeowners insurance doesn’t just help you repair or replace your things, it also provides liability coverage. This covers you against liability if anyone is injured on your property or if you damage their property. It also often covers you in case someone is injured because of your dog. Usually these liability coverage policies have low coverage amounts and offer just $100,000 in total coverage.
After that, different home insurance companies offer different types of additional coverages in their base policies. Some include things like medical payments coverage in the event someone gets injured on your property. It can offer a certain dollar amount to cover medical bills without having to go to court or reach a settlement. There are also home insurance companies that offer things like “loss of use” coverage, which pays for a hotel and food if you can’t return to your home, identity fraud coverage, additional liability coverage, and other types of special riders.
Are you wondering what type of coverage is best for you and what company you should buy it from? We look at the best homeowners insurance companies to help you decide.
Here are LendEDU's best homeowners insurance companies (click a company to read their full review):
Best Homeowners Insurance Comparison
at Allstate's secure website
at Amica's secure website
at State Farm's secure website
at Nationwide's secure website
at MetLife's secure website
at Travelers' secure website
at Safeco's secure website
at Progressive's secure website
Reviews of the 8 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies
Allstate is an insurance provider that offers homeowners insurance across the U.S. It offers dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, liability coverage, and guest medical coverage.
It also allows you to choose between actual cash value coverage, which provides you with the amount your items are currently worth with depreciation factored in, and replacement cost coverage, which provides you with the amount you need to fix or place your items new.
It covers you in events of fire, smoke, lightning, wind, hail, frozen plumbing, theft, explosion, and vandalism as well as other events. It requires that you insure certain personal property items that exceed your policy limits using a special schedule. For example, the policies don’t cover jewelry over $1,500. When it comes to their liability coverage, they allow you to purchase additional coverage and often suggest getting personal umbrella insurance to increase your liability coverage above their standard offered on base policies.
They also offer specialty coverages that you can add onto your policy including water backup coverage, business property coverage, identity theft restoration, sports improvement equipment, green improvement reimbursement (that allows you to replace items with more expensive, but energy-efficient options), yard and garden coverage to protect your landscaping and lawnmowers, electronic data recovery coverage, flood insurance, and musical instruments coverage.
How much you’ll pay will depend on various factors like how much insurance you’re buying and where you live. However, Allstate provides a number of different discounts including a multi-policy discount of up to 30 percent if you get an auto insurance policy with Allstate, a claim-free discount of up to 20 percent of your premium, and a 10 percent discount if you buy a newly constructed home.
You can also get a discount up to 10 percent if you’re a new customer, a 5 percent discount if you sign up for automatic payments, and 15 percent discount if you have additional protection against fire or theft like a home alarm system. You can take advantage of an up to 10 percent discount if you are over 55 and retired, and an early signing discount if you sign up for a new policy before your current policy expires.
When it comes to customer service, Allstate was rated ‘about average’ in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Home Insurance Study, and ‘about average’ in the 2018 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study.
Allstate offers a number of options and discounts to help you get coverage at a reasonable price. It also offers special kinds of coverage and custom options.
Amica is an insurance company that provides homeowners insurance across the U.S. Amica’s homeowners insurance policy protects you in case of loss or damage in the event of a fire, smoke, theft, vandalism, and other events. It offers dwelling coverage that also protects detached garages or sheds, living expenses coverage that gives you funds if you have to stay in a hotel, coverage if you’re traveling and someone steals your belongings, coverage in case of unauthorized use of your credit card, and liability coverage that protects you when you travel.
You can get optional coverage added to your existing coverage. For example, you can increase your dwelling coverage if the cost to rebuild or repair your home exceeds the market value, you can get full replacement value coverage on your personal property, and you can also insure more expensive valuables like jewelry, furs, and fine art via a schedule. Finally, Amica also offers earthquake and flood insurance.
How much you’ll pay for coverage will depend on your personal situation and factors like how much coverage you want, where you live, and your credit score. However, there are many opportunities for discounts. For example, if you bundle your home insurance with your auto insurance, you can save up to 15 percent. You can also get a discount for being a loyal customer or if you have a security alarm system installed. You can also get discounts for auto-pay and e-bills, if you have had no claims for three years, for automatic detection devices, or a new or remodeled home.
The best news about Amica is that it has consistently led the industry in customer satisfaction. Amica was rated best overall in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Home Insurance Study and 2018 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study. The fact that they have a number of different kinds of coverage options and discounts is also a good reason to look into their coverage.
State Farm is an insurance company that offers homeowners insurance that is available to people all across the U.S. It provides coverage that can replace or repair your property in case of damage from storms, fire, wind, hail, lightning, ice, snow, sleet, theft, vandalism, riots, aircraft, and vehicles. It also provides coverage in case of water damage from plumbing, electricity problems, and tearing of heating or cooling systems.
They do exclude certain types of coverages like business property that you store at your home. To cover that, you would have to get a separate business policy. You can choose between covering your belongings and home at replacement cost or market value. If you want to cover expensive items, you will have to get them insured via a special schedule.
While the amount that you’ll pay will depend on your personal home insurance needs and situation, you can get a discount from State Farm if you bundle your auto and home insurance. You can also get a discount if you have fire, smoke, or burglar alarms installed, if you have recently replaced your roof with impact-resistant roofing products, or if you choose higher deductibles.
State Farm is known for treating their customers well. They were rated ‘better than most’ in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Home Insurance Study and in the 2018 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study.
While State Farm offers fairly standard homeowners insurance coverage, its better-than-average customer satisfaction rating might make you consider their offerings to see if they have what you need within your budget.
If you’re looking for homeowners insurance that will cover you no matter which state you call home, Nationwide might be a good option for you. It offers coverage across the U.S. that can protect you against theft, water backup, personal injury and other types of losses. It can also cover your home, your belongings, and your family.
You can get coverage for the contents of your home and other possessions. Nationwide will also cover personal liability if someone is injured in your home, as well as coverage for medical and funeral expenses in those cases.
In addition, it offers loss of use coverage in case you’re unable to live in your home after a loss, and unauthorized credit card usage coverage in case your credit card or ATM card or someone forges checks. They can also provide replacement value coverage for your belongings.
If you want additional kinds of coverage, it offers schedules to protect valuables like jewelry and fine art. You can also get an add-on policy that gives you an additional 20 percent of your dwelling coverage if your home needs to be rebuilt, plus water backup coverage and earthquake coverage.
How much you will pay depends on your personal needs and home, but there are ways to save with Nationwide. You can get a discount if you bundle your home and auto policies or manage your account online.
When it comes to customer support and satisfaction, Nationwide was ranked ‘about average’ in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Home Insurance Study and ‘about average’ in customer satisfaction in the 2018 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study.
Nationwide’s great base insurance coverage and policy add-ons can offer flexibility when choosing your homeowners insurance. However, it doesn’t offer as many discounts as other insurance providers.
MetLife offers home insurance policies to people across the U.S. for events like hail, fire, tornadoes, theft, vandalism, and other situations in which you might experience losses. You can purchase a policy online if you live in certain states, but otherwise MetLife only sells policies over the phone or in person.
You can choose whether to get full replacement cost coverage or cash value coverage. MetLife will also allow you to purchase additional coverage that will help you pay for the full cost of rebuilding your home, even if the cost is more than the amount that your house is insured for.
It offers dwelling coverage, property coverage, liability coverage. Is also offers identity protection coverage with every policy that will protect you in case your identity is stolen. Liability coverage is up to $100,000, so you might need to purchase additional coverage since that might not be enough to protect you. There is also offer extra coverage for people who have personal property that is more expensive such as sports equipment, jewelry, and electronics. You must insure these items separately.
Your insurance premium will depend on your personal needs and situation, but you can potentially save money by bundling your home and auto insurance, or if your employer or an association you belong to offers discounts on MetLife insurance. You can get discounts if you have fire or theft prevention systems. You can also choose a higher deductible to save money on your policy.
MetLife has 24/7 customer service and claims staff available to help you. It was ranked as having ‘about average’ customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Home Insurance Study and 2018 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study.
Being able to choose whether you get full replacement cost coverage or cash value coverage is a great perk of MetLife’s homeowners insurance. And if you can get discounts by belonging to the right membership association, you might get an even better deal.
Travelers offers a number of different types of homeowners insurance options to customers across the U.S. The standard plan includes things like dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, other structure coverage, loss of use coverage, and personal liability coverage.
The company insures in the event of house fires, severe weather, falling trees, vandalism, and theft. It also offers the option to choose whether to get coverage for the full replacement cost or for the cash value of your items.
How much you’ll pay will depend on your personal situation, where you live, and how much coverage you want. However, Travelers does offer a few discounts that can help save you money. For example, you can get a discount if you have smoke detectors or fire alarms, interior sprinkler systems, home security systems, and smart or connected home technology that alerts you if there is a fire or burglary.
You can get a discount of up to 15 percent if you bundle your homeowners insurance with an auto, umbrella, or boat insurance policy. Other discounts are possible if your home is a certified ‘green’ home, if you purchased your home within the past 12 months, or if you haven’t made claims within a particular period of time.
Travelers customer service is average. It was found to have ‘about average’ customer satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Home Insurance Study and in the 2018 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study.
Travelers insurance offers some noteworthy coverages and discounts. If you have a green home or you’re a new homebuyer, you might save big.
Safeco is an insurance company that offers a number of homeowners insurance options to customers across the U.S. The standard homeowners insurance policy includes dwelling coverage, personal property coverage that also protects you while you travel, medical expenses, liability coverage, and loss of use coverage.
Safeco also provides additional coverage for things like identity recovery if you’re the victim of an identity theft, valuable articles coverage for protecting high-value personal property, equipment breakdown coverage to cover your appliances, and coverage that will allow you to pay only one deductible if you suffer multiple losses, such as to your car, motorcycle, boat, RV, and your home. Safeco also provides customers with the choice of replacement cost coverage for an extra fee.
How much you will pay depends on your personal situation and insurance needs, but there are discounts available to help make the coverage more affordable. You can save up to 15 percent if you bundle your services with auto insurance, and there’s a multiple-policy discount if you have a motorcycle, boat, or RV. If your home is less than 10 years old, you’ll also save money. Want to pay your bill in full? You’ll pay less in that situation, too.
Safeco’s customer service is rated as ‘about average’ in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Home Insurance Study and in the 2018 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study.
Safeco is less well known than some of the other insurance providers on this list, but it could be worth considering. It offers valuable extra coverage options and a great base policy at a low price.
Progressive is an insurance company that offers homeowners insurance policies to consumers across the U.S. It claims on its website that it’s No. 1 in online home insurance quotes, according to comScore.
Insurance policies offer coverage for your dwelling, other structures on your property, and your belongings. It also offers loss of use coverage and liability protection. It covers risks such as fire, wind, hail, tornadoes, falling tree limbs, theft, and other risks stated in the policies.
The cost of your homeowners insurance policy with Progressive will depend on your home, the insurance coverage you’re looking for, your location, if you smoke or not, your credit history, and your claims history. You can save money if you are a nonsmoker or if you have burglar alarms, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, indoor sprinklers, and deadbolt locks.
Progressive allows you to contact them online or via the phone for customer service. However, one downside of Progressive is that its customer service isn’t highly rated by the Better Business Bureau, and the company has had a significant number of customer complaints. But it does offer some good coverage options and great discounts.
How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?
Just like with any kind of insurance, there are several factors that impact how much you’ll pay for homeowners insurance. One of the most important things that could affect the cost is what company you buy insurance from – which is why it’s critical to compare your options. You could find that you’ll pay significantly more at one insurer because certain insurers calculate the risk of insuring your home differently.
There are many factors that affect the cost of your policy, but the biggest factors are what kind of coverage you want, where you live, and how much you’re willing to pay in a deductible.
Types of Coverage
When it comes to the cost of homeowners insurance, the type of insurance coverage you want will have a huge impact on price. If you have a number of pricey possessions like expensive jewelry or a valuable art collection that require you to get extra policy riders or schedules in order to insure, that will also add to the cost of your policy.
In addition, it will also be more expensive if you opt to get a policy that will cover your possessions up to full replacement value rather than just the actual cash value of your stuff. Some policies might also offer more coverage for liability, identity theft, loss of use, or medical payment to people who are injured on your property; that can also increase the total cost of your policy.
If you need to cover a home-based business or business-related items that you store in your home, you might even need to buy a secondary business policy to make sure all your stuff is covered.
You wouldn’t think where you live matters that much when it comes to homeowners insurance, but it actually can make a big difference. That’s because where you live determines how likely your home is to be broken into and how likely you’ll be the victim of theft or vandalism.
In addition, how close you live to a fire department or to a fire hydrant can be critical in determining the risk of damage to your home in case of a fire. If you live in a state where there are often extreme weather events that would be covered under your policy, that can also increase your costs. The same thing can be said if you live in a city that has frequent sewer backups if those are covered in your policy.
Like with all types of insurance, your deductible plays a big role in the costs of your homeowners insurance. The higher your deductible is, the cheaper your premium will be because you’re less likely to make a claim if you have a high deductible. This is partly because you’ll pay more out of pocket for small claims and, when you do make a claim, a larger deductible means the insurer gets to pay out less.
However, if you don’t have the cash on hand to pay out of pocket for a larger deductible, then getting a higher deductible might not be worthwhile. Just how much more you’ll pay for a lower deductible will depend on the insurer so be sure to shop around.
What Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover?
Homeowners insurance can cover your belongings in the event of things like theft, vandalism, a tree falling on your home, wind damage, rain damage, and other types of harms. But there are certain types of risks that most insurance typically doesn’t cover.
If you live along a fault line, you might be disappointed to find out that your basic homeowners insurance policy typically doesn’t cover earthquakes. While some companies offer policies to add on this coverage, you can also seek out specialized companies that focus on earthquake coverage or buy it via the government, which offers this type of insurance to consumers.
Landslides and Mudslides
There are many ways that a landslide or a mudslide could damage your home – none of which you’d want to experience. In fact, a landslide or a mudslide could completely sweep away your home and everything in it.
Most insurance companies do not offer this kind of coverage, but there are companies that offer specialized policies if these types of events happen often where you live and you want to insure against them.
Floods are much more common than either earthquakes or landslides, and that means that many insurance companies aren’t willing to provide coverage. But it also means that you’re more likely to need this type of coverage and one day use it. While some insurance companies offer it for an additional fee, you might have to get it from a secondary provider or from the federal government.
How to Tell if You’re Underinsured
Wondering if you have enough homeowners insurance? Not everyone does. The first area where people tend not to have enough coverage is for their property. Sure, your home might be covered, but do you have full replacement cost coverage or market value coverage? If you have the later, you might not be able to afford to rebuild your home if the replacement cost is more expensive.
Also, what about your other possessions? If you don’t have replacement cost insurance and something happens to your things, you might struggle to repurchase them with the payout that you’ll get from cash value insurance.
In addition, if you haven’t calculated the value of your possessions accurately, you’ll have bought less insurance that you need to begin with, which means that you’ll only be able to replace some of your things.
Finally, if you have items that are particularly expensive or are in certain categories like electronics or jewelry, your policy might not cover them without a special rider or schedule specifically insuring them. That’s why it’s really important to make sure that you read your policy closely so you know what’s covered and where you might need extra coverage.
Another way you might not have enough coverage is when it comes to liability. Most homeowner plans come with around $100,000 in liability coverage. This will cover you in the event that someone is injured on your property or by your dog. But consider the costs if, for example, someone incurs a severe injury on your property and becomes paralyzed. With just $100,000 in liability coverage, you don’t have nearly enough insurance to cover the expenses they’ll face over their lifetime.
For that reason, many people buy additional liability coverage. Some people do this through their homeowners insurance policies, but others decide to take out umbrella insurance policies. Those are liability insurance policies that give you blanket liability coverage in a number of different ways. You can often get $1 million or more in coverage for very low rates.
Can You Get Cheap Homeowners Insurance?
There are a lot of tricks when it comes to getting cheap homeowners insurance, but the most important tip is to shop around. Coverage and risk pricing will vary among insurance companies. For that reason, you might be better able to tailor your policy to exactly what you need at one insurer over another. You might also be able to get better discounts at one insurer over another based on your personal situation and the types of discounts they offer.
Can You Get Homeowners Insurance Discounts?
Think homeowners insurance is expensive? Lucky for you, there are ways to reduce your costs and save money by taking advantage of discounts that some of the best homeowners insurance providers might extend. Not all insurance companies offer these types of discounts, but many do. The amount you save with each type of discount generally varies from insurer to insurer.
Most insurers don’t just want to sell you homeowners insurance – they also want to sell you auto insurance, life insurance, umbrella insurance, and disability insurance if they offer those products. For that reason, almost all insurers will give you some kind of discount if you take out multiple kinds of policies from their company. These discounts can be as little as 5 percent or as much as 20 percent. Shop around to see which company will give you the best discount.
Protective Device Discount
Do you have a fire alarm? Great! How about a security system? If you have devices that help protect your home from fire or from theft, then you will often receive a discount on your homeowners insurance. Other types of devices that can help you save include an indoor sprinkler system and home devices that connect to apps in order to help protect your home. If you have a security system, you could also save more if it is monitored.
Another thing that might help you save money is if you live in a condo that has 24-hour security or concierge services, or a gated community where access is restricted or monitored. All of these things are supposed to decrease the risk of making a claim or reduce the amount of a claim – and that’s why insurance companies will give you a discount.
Exclusive Group Savings Available
Before you go and buy insurance, consider your affiliations. If you’re a member of certain large groups, you might qualify for savings on insurance. For example, sororities and fraternities often have insurance partners that offer members a discount. The same thing goes for alumni associations, trade associations, large employers, and other membership organizations. So, before you look into buying insurance, think about your affiliations and check to see if they offer discounts to their members or employees.
Newly Purchased Home
If your home is brand new, you’re in luck! You might have just splurged on a countertop upgrade, but you could save big on your home insurance. Many insurers offer special discounts to those with new homes because they’re often better equipped to deal with fire and less likely to experience theft.
Renovated Home Discounts
Renovating your home is expensive, but if you have done so recently, some of the best homeowners insurance companies will give you a discount. Also, if you’ve added safety features during your renovation or done something that will reduce the risk of water damage, like get a new roof, you might also qualify for a discount.
Early Shopper Discount
If you want to get a new insurance policy, it might pay to start shopping before your current policy expires. That’s because some insurance companies offer an early shopper discount that could give you up to 10 percent off if you switch to their company before your current policy is done. Don’t worry about not getting the money back on the current policy if you prepaid it – your current insurance company will refund you what’s left on your policy.
Insured to Value Discount
When it comes to insuring your home, you can choose to insure it for its market value or cash value, which is what it is currently worth, or for your replacement value. If you insure your home up to your replacement value, it can be more expensive. But insurance companies also see it as a sign of responsible home ownership and so sometimes will give you a discount for that up to 10 percent.
Homeowners Insurance for a Secondary or Vacation Home
Some homeowners insurance policies will also cover your secondary home or vacation home in their policy – but not all of them do. That’s why it’s important to read the fine print of your policy and also to see if there are any exclusions. For example, some policies will cover a secondary home but only if you don’t rent it out.
Rental homes have more risks, so it could increase your coverage to add a rental home to your primary insurance policy. It might just make sense to get a secondary policy so you can get the best rate for secondary homeowners policies. That’s because vacation homes often sit empty, which could increase the likelihood of them getting broken in to.
If you do rent out your secondary home, you might need to get special business coverage or you might have a hard time finding coverage. Finally, you might want to get special coverages for your secondary home like umbrella insurance to cover yourself, and coverage to protect your rental income if you’re renting your secondary home out.
Additional Considerations When Looking for the Best Homeowners Insurance
How Do Pets Affect Your Policy?
If you have a pet, even if they’re incredibly docile, you’re likely going to want to ensure that you have coverage in case something happens and they bite, injure someone, or damage their property.
Many homeowners insurance companies extend their liability coverage to cover your dog. But be sure to read the fine print because not all companies cover all breeds and they might have limitations on the types of coverage they offer. If your breed is not covered or if your dog isn’t covered, you can get additional coverage for your dog from another company that sells dog owner liability insurance.
How Do Swimming Pools Affect Your Policy?
Homeowners insurance policies typically cover your pool in two different ways. If your pool is damaged by one of the covered risks in your policy, then the insurance coverage will pay for it to be fixed. This typically excludes damage caused by water freezing because you did not drain your pool. Coverage for your pool typically falls under the personal property section if you have an above-ground pool, and if you have an in-ground pool it is usually covered by the other structures section of your coverage.
In addition, your pool is also insured if someone is injured while using it via your liability coverage. Since pools do tend to increase the likelihood of someone getting injured on your property, you might want to buy additional liability coverage since most homeowners policies typically only cover $100,000. In that case, you can buy an umbrella insurance policy that will provide you with the coverage that you need.
Depending on the insurer, you might also have to pay more for your insurance if you have a pool since it will increase the likelihood that you might need to make a claim.
How Do Trampolines Typically Affect Your Policy?
If you have a trampoline or if you’re considering buying one, you might wonder whether it’s covered under your homeowners insurance policy. The answer is that it depends on your insurer. That’s because some insurers believe there is too much liability risk if you own a trampoline and so won’t cover it at all. In that case, you’ll have to get a different homeowners insurance policy if you want it to cover your trampoline. One other option is to get a personal umbrella policy that provides you with additional liability coverage over and above your homeowners insurance policy.
Insurers tend to fall under a few categories when it comes to trampolines. The first covers them without any restriction. If you have a trampoline – it’s covered completely no matter what happens. There is another group of insurers that will cover your trampoline but only if you have certain safety precautions in place. These include having netting around your trampoline and having a fenced in yard. The third group of insurers will not cover trampolines at all under any circumstances.
How Does Bad Credit Affect Your Policy?
One factor that could affect your insurance is your credit score. While you might think your credit score only matters when you’re applying for a loan or a new credit card, that’s not necessarily the case. That’s because consumers who have better credit are less likely to make insurance claims and that means that you’ll get a lower rate if you have a good credit score.
What’s more, if you have a very low credit score, you might struggle to get an insurance company that will provide you with homeowners insurance. In that case, your best bet is to shop around to find a company that is willing to offer you insurance despite your credit score. Once you find a company, it might give you a higher rate than it might give to others because it’s pricing the risk of insuring you into the cost of the policy.
You also might not have the option to finance your payments over 12 months, but might be required to pay your homeowners insurance costs in a lump sum. If the company does let you finance it over 12 months, it might charge you more interest than it might to other, more creditworthy clients.