Homeowners insurance is an important topic to think about, especially if you've found your dream home and believe that you'll be spending the next few decades residing in it. When shopping around for the best home insurance, don't forget to canvass the local insurance offices and brokers.
Choosing the right policy is important. The average result of filing a claim is a 9% increase in your monthly premium. So for that reason, it's important to find an insurer that works for you. I've put together a list of the best-rated homeowners' insurance providers that offer excellence in the most important categories.
The Best Homeowners Insurance: Our Top Picks
Liberty Mutual Home Insurance
- Informative website
- Policy has helpful add-ons
- You save money by purchasing multiple policies
- Discounts if you install home-security devices
- The company has a great financial rating
- Premiums can be pricey
- Can be inflexible with premium payments
Liberty Mutual is one of the most trusted names in the industry of homeowners insurance, and they make every effort possible to secure your investments; from your home itself to the valuables inside. In addition to your standard policy, Liberty Mutual includes Home Insurance Benefits as a part of all policies, which are a range of different perks that add up to major conveniences and time-savers, at no extra charge. It's also important to note that Liberty Mutual also makes every effort to remain competitive in the market, and they offer a variety of different options that can make your homeowners insurance fit within your specific budget.
USAA Home Insurance
- Claims processing is fast and easy to initiate
- Customer service reps are very helpful
- Affordable premiums, good value for price
- The company has a strong financial rating
- Account opening can be done online
- Only available to members of the U.S. military and their families.
USAA offers insurance for homeowners that is exceptional in every way. The only unfortunate aspect is that it is highly exclusive, and unless you are an active military member, or have a family member who is, you're not eligible for this coverage. One of the most attractive features from USAA is their full replacement cost coverage, which takes care of the cost of rebuilding your home at the current value of construction in the event of destruction. Other areas of coverage include your possessions and identity theft protection.
Progressive Home Insurance
- Handy online quote tool
- You can manage your policy/account online
- Mobile apps available for account mobile tracking
- Premium payment and billing process are flexible
- The website is informative, easy to use
- Lacking online help chat functionality
- Claims processing can be tedious and lengthy
Progressive aims to take a progressive approach to handling the needs of homeowners and their service offers a variety of options other companies do not, such as the option of flood insurance if you live in a flood zone. They focus on individual circumstances and place lots of emphasis on offering an exceptional level of service. Completely in line with the modern homeowner, Progressive offers their customers plenty of ways to get in touch with them. In addition to communicating via standard phone lines, email, and through their online chat option, you can even contact Progressive on Twitter.
Key Considerations When Choosing Home Insurance
You should visit the websites of the best homeowners insurance companies, who have demonstrated a superior level of service and have a proven track record readily available. The five best home insurance reviews here are known industry-wide for their exceptional operational ability, stellar customer service departments, and commitment to helping policyholders throughout the claims process.
Home and Auto Insurance Bundle
Some companies like to offer the "home and auto insurance" combo, and I suggest you opt for it if you are in the market for both car and home coverage. That way, you save money because insurers typically give you discounts on premiums if you purchase an insurance bundle. Don't even hesitate to add more coverage types, such as life and health, if you are also in the market for those coverage options.
Compare the Market
Compare, compare, and compare. When it comes to home insurance, you should figure out how each insurer stacks up against another. Don't limit yourself to state boundaries; most insurers generally have national coverage, so it makes sense for you to shop around within the U.S. to see what's out there in terms of home insurance, types of coverage, and premiums quoted. Contact your state's Insurance Commissioner's office to get more information about reputable insurance companies in your residence area.
Customer Home Insurance Reviews
Consumer homeowners insurance reviews, like this one, for instance, provide an abundance of data. You can use this to understand trends in the home insurance industry, how much insurers are charging, who offers the cheapest home insurance option and who is pricier and why. The different property types are also included in a typical home insurance policy.
Home and Contents
Read your home insurance contract intently to understand the fine print as well as terms and conditions. Pay attention to the "Home and Contents" section, which specifies essential elements that your policy covers. The thing is, some insurers like to sell home insurance separately from content coverage, so talk to your insurance agent to learn more about each option and what a combo would cost.
In insurance lingo, "home" covers your house's structural integrity for the main insured events, ranging from cyclone and storm to fire and flood. "Contents" refers to what is inside your house, that is, your personal belongings, cars, TV sets, computers, and tools.
Who Needs Home Insurance?
Anyone who owns a home should automatically consider homeowners insurance a necessity. Typically, if you financed your home, the lender will require homeowner's insurance coverage. Having legitimate protection on your home and all of your possession and belongings, in the event of the unexpected occurring, such as a fire, theft, an occurrence of vandalism, or a weather-related catastrophe, at least you can rebuild with the peace of mind knowing the financial brunt of the damages are covered.
In the event of a major emergency, having the backup of insurance is a well-spent security blanket that can make recovering much easier. And considering the financial investment of accumulating your possessions, why risk them to chance unnecessarily?
What Kinds of Coverage Do You Need?
While individual needs vary, home insurance should cover your basic needs, extending to the structure of the building itself and the items held within it, in the event of a natural disaster, weather-related incidents, theft, vandalism, etc.
The best homeowners insurance company will cover these basics types of coverage:
Covers damage and/or destruction of your house plus any separate structures and buildings like garages, storage sheds, and fences.
2. Personal Property
This takes care of your possessions within your house, and it includes your clothing, furniture, and appliances, should they be stolen, damaged, or destroyed.
This coverage will protect you financially if you find yourself in a situation where you are sued and found to be legally responsible for injury or property damage to someone else.
4. Medical Coverage
This covers the medical bills in the event someone gets hurt on your property. Medical Payment coverage can also pay for injuries in some cases that may occur away from your home, i.e; if your dog bites someone.
5. Loss of Use
This covers the cost of additional living expenses that can arise if your home is unlivable during repairs. The general coverage on standard home insurance will pay 10% - 20% of the amount of coverage on your dwelling.
6. What Isn't Typically Covered
General homeowners insurance policies most likely will not cover natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, windstorms, and hail. In addition, nuclear accidents and destruction that comes on account of war are typically not covered. For such uncontrollable circumstances, purchasing hazard insurance may be to your benefit.
How to Choose the Best Home Insurance Company for You
This is a highly individual predicament, as the needs of homeowners change from one to the next. One of the most important factors is finding an insurance company that fits your budget while covering everything necessary. It is so important to be an informed shopper and homeowner, and it is highly advisable to learn as much about the market, your area, the current trends, and what the majority of insurance companies are offering.
How to Navigate the Home Insurance Marketplace
While Homeowners Insurance is not the most thrilling product in your financial life, no homeowner should neglect it. Mortgage lenders require it, and if the worst happens you don't want to be literally left out in the cold.
1. Homeowners Coverage Checklist
Items covered in Homeowners insurance vary by policy and how much coverage you need to feel secure. Here are some of the typical items included in a policy. The premiums run higher as you add more protection.
Damage to both the exterior and interior of the house is covered in case of hurricane, fire, lighting, and other events as defined in the policy. Compensation includes replacement cost, for repair or rebuilding of your house. Damages due to earthquakes and floods are not covered unless you add riders to your policy for these specific events at additional expense.
There are distinct levels of coverage available for rebuilding a house. Actual Cash Value refers to the value of your house after deducting depreciation. Replacement Cost is the actual cash value of the house without deducting depreciation, allowing for a house rebuilt to its original value. Extended replacement cost is a higher level of rebuild insurance that covers rebuilding to the original cash value taking inflation into account.
Of course, the higher level of insurance you go for, the more you pay in annual premiums. While Liberty Mutual provides excellent homeowners insurance, their rates are on the pricey side, but they offer discounts should you purchase multiple policies. Amica offers decent customer support and affordable premiums.
3. Personal Property
Personal property damages to items such as furniture, clothing, and appliances as well as other contents of your home are covered should they be ruined or destroyed in a disaster covered in your policy. Some valuables such as jewelry may also be covered, as per the language of the policy.
The policy defines the amount and limits of reimbursement for personal items, usually up to 50 – 70% of the amount your house itself is insured for. As the insured, you make a list of your personal possessions and their value known as a "home inventory".
4. Liability Coverage
Should anyone sustain an injury on your property, or property damage or loss, liability coverage protects you against damages and lawsuits.
5. Living Expenses During Rebuild or Repair
The cost of rental property and living expenses while your house is being rebuilt or repaired may also be covered, depending on how much insurance you opt to buy.
6. Shopping Homeowners Insurance
Premiums vary widely depending on how much insurance coverage you purchase, your zip code, crime in your area, and condition and size of your house. Do some comparison on rates with several insurance companies for the same level of coverage. Ask for rates including replacement costs, personal property damage, liability coverage, and living expenses.
You may qualify for discounts through your job, credit union or other association. For example, top rated USAA Homeowners Insurance is available to members of the U.S. Military and their families. Check out the solvency and service reputation of each company. Read consumer review for a frank assessment of performance. Solicit recommendations from friends and family. You will be prepared to make an informed decision on a homeowners policy.
Tips & Advice
There are a lot of different companies in this market and it is highly advisable to know about those in your price range and what your options are. A company that offers knowledge, insight, and one that presents information readily to keep you informed are extremely helpful; staying on top of your coverage and understanding how you are covered is so important.
Individual circumstances, such as where you live and what kinds of risk factors involved will be taken into account to get you the best and most appropriate coverage.
1. Choosing the Right Premium for Your Budget
There are multitudes of ways to find a quote for homeowners insurance that will meet your budget. You should plan accordingly and be diligent in conducting your research to get an idea of the best companies, which are popular in your area and why, and what your particular needs are.
Some aspects to consider regarding how much and what kinds of coverage for you may need for your home:
- Actual Cash Value: Covers the cost of valuables lost and damaged property at their depreciated current market value.
- Replacement Cost: Covers the cost of valuable items without considering depreciation, limited to a capped maximum dollar amount.
- Guaranteed Replacement Cost: Not available in all states, this coverage will take care of the full cost of replacing damaged property, with no deduction on depreciation and no maximum dollar amount. Most of the top home insurance companies limit this type of coverage to 120% of the rebuilding cost.
2. Are Your Needs Being Met?
Your needs are ultimately what's at play here. Don't ever sell yourself short opting for a cheap quote. Some of the big things to look for when searching for the top rated home insurance company that will give an indication as to how they will handle an emergency include offering easy access to your account online, having 24/7 telephone assistance, and the ability to customize your needs into your policy.
Insurance companies that allow for flexibility enable you to tailor your plan precisely, give the option of adding on additional coverages are those who are showing that they are capable of handling your needs.
3. Discount Bundles
Loyalty can save you; many companies are quick to offer bundled services for the best home insurance rates. This can easily get overlooked, but again, your business is really valuable. To an insurance company who specializes in a range of different services, customers who opt to purchase multiple policies for different levels of coverage (such as auto, home, renters, etc.) will often be eligible for bundled packages and discounts for being repeat customers.
If a company offers to give you lower rates for multiple services and their coverage meets your needs and expectations, by all means, take advantage of it!
4. Support Offered
Customer service is beyond necessary. If you are in a situation that requires urgent attention, a clear path to communication for support is essential. If an insurance company cannot be reached when you need attention, how can you trust they will be able to take care of your needs in an emergency, without a hassle?
The top home insurance company needs to offer reliable 24/7 telephone support, with backup options as well. Email support and a reliable website with easy to find information should be on your list of priorities.
It can be tempting, to grab the first cheap quote you see, but it's important to learn as much as you can about the industry before buying. Even if it seems within your budget, and doesn't seem outrageous, still search around a bit. Get to know what other companies in the same market are offering. It really does pay to shop around a bit, because your business is truly valuable.
Companies are often willing to compete for it, so make sure you go with a company who not only fits your price range but takes care of your needs as well. Read through our advice section to learn more about home insurance.
When it comes to home insurance, you have a multitude of different choices, but just remember that your best option may not be your local insurance company. Cast a wider net in your search and consider companies that operate nationally and have a good financial rating. Another thing to consider is claims processing, especially how long it takes your insurer to review, investigate, and reimburse you for any claim you file.
The best home insurance company will typically have excellent customer service, an informative website, the best home insurance quotes, and effective account management options.
If you are looking for other types of insurance protection, take a look at our reviews of the best car insurance companies and the best term life insurance providers. Taking a close look at the top insurance providers can help you get the coverage you need at a price that doesn't break the bank.