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- 1 What Does Your Home Insurance Cover?
- 2 What Isn’t Covered By Home Insurance?
- 3 What Affects Home Insurance Rates?
- 4 Home Insurance Discounts
- 5 Best Home Insurance Providers
- 5.1 Biggest Financial Powerhouse: State Farm
- 5.2 Best Discounts: Erie Insurance
- 5.3 Highest Customer Satisfaction: Amica Mutual
- 5.4 Best for Large Policy Limits: Farmers
- 5.5 Best for Expensive Homes: Chubb
- 5.6 Best for Rural Homeowners: Nationwide
- 5.7 Best for Military Members: USAA
- 5.8 Best for Retirees: The Hartford
- 5.9 Best for AirBNB Hosts: Allstate
A home is a massive investment, and if you own one, you’ll want to protect it. With homeowners insurance, you’re covered in the event of an accident or disaster involving your house. There are plenty of providers to choose from, so how do you find the best policy with the best coverage at the best price?
In this review, we’ll cover what standard policies cover, what they don’t cover, factors that influence insurance rates, discounts, and last but not least, our list of the best home insurance providers.
Click here for the best auto insurance providers
What Does Your Home Insurance Cover?
The meat of an insurance policy is the coverage it provides. Excellent home insurance policies will include:
- Dwelling coverage. This helps to pay for repairs/rebuilds to your home in the event of damage by a covered loss, such as fire. It includes all of your home’s attached structures, as well as built in appliances and critical home components.
- “Other structures” coverage. This is like dwelling coverage, but for detached garages, sheds, and other similar structures.
- Liability insurance. In the event of a lawsuit, this helps cover the costs and protects your assets when you or a family member are responsible for injuring another person, or if someone is injured on your property. You’re also covered if you or a family member causes damage to someone else’s property.
- Personal property coverage. This is a type of insurance that can help protect personal items in your home, like clothing, electronics and furniture. Good insurance companies will provide checklists, personal property calculators, and other resources to help you document your personal belongings.
- Loss of use insurance. If your home is so damaged that you have to move out while it’s being repaired, this insurance will help pay for your housing and living expenses.
- Guest medical insurance. This covers medical bills and related expenses when someone is injured on your property, and they’re not going to sue you.
What Isn’t Covered By Home Insurance?
Unfortunately, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover everything under the sun. Our advice is for you to plan for the things that your insurance policy does not cover. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you file for a claim, then realize you’re liable for the high cost of damage yourself.
Below are the most common situations that aren’t covered by most insurance companies:
- Flooding. Many companies will offer special coverage or water damage endorsements, but they’re limited to accidents that happen inside your home or on your property. If your home is at risk of flooding from heavy rain or overflowing rivers, you might have better peace of mind by adding protection through the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Earth movement. For earthquakes, you can purchase special endorsements for an extra fee in all states except California. Some companies may offer landslide and sinkhole damage endorsements, but they aren’t legally required to (except the state of Florida).
- Wind damage. If your home is located in an area prone to hurricanes, like the Atlantic or Gulf coasts, you’ll want to purchase endorsements to add to your policy so the increased risk is covered.
- Simultaneous events. The most common simultaneous event scenario for United States homeowners is a big storm which causes both wind and flood damage. If you’re endorsed for one, but not the other, the insurance adjuster could attribute all the damage to the uncovered cause. You’ll then be liable for the cost of damages from both.
- Maintenance neglect. Home insurance companies expect you to carry out routine and preventative work on your home to keep it properly maintained. Because of this, there’s a long list of maintenance-related issues which are not covered by standard policies, including burst pipes, sewer backups, mold, termites, and ordinance changes.
- Certain dog breeds. Many policies will cover medical costs incurred if your dog bites a guest or neighbor. However, some breeds that have aggressive reputations may be charged a higher premium or not covered at all. We recommend reporting your dog to your insurer to make sure there are no gaps in coverage.
- Nuclear accidents. Damage caused by an accident at a nuclear power plant close to your home is not covered by standard home insurance policies. Keep in mind, however, federal law requires nuclear power companies to contribute to an insurance pool that will cover damage incurred by a nuclear accident.
- Acts of war. Home insurance companies do not cover any terror attacks, including those using nuclear, biological, chemical or radioactive weapons. However, most insurance policies will cover damages caused by explosions, smoke and fire.
What Affects Home Insurance Rates?
Like any insurance, there are many variables that influence your policy rate, including things that are not in your control. By minimizing the risks that are within your power, you can help keep your home insurance premiums down. The most common factors that can influence your policy rate include:
- Home age & type of construction. If your home is older, there’s a higher chance you’ll have problems with major components. Older homes often come with higher rates than newer homes.
- Home location. Home insurance premiums vary dramatically from place to place. If you live in an area with relatively high crime, prone to natural disasters or far from emergency services, expect to pay more for your policy.
- Home risk factors. If your home has characteristics that deem it risky – an aggressive dog, trampoline or swimming pool – your premium will probably be on the higher end.
- Your claims history. If you filed several claims within a year, you’ll likely have to pay a higher premium.
- Your credit score. As with any insurance, your credit score plays a role in the price of your insurance.
- Insurance deductible. If you choose a high deductible, that means you’ll have to pay more out-of-pocket when an incident occurs. It also means you’ll pay a lower premium.
- Insurance coverage amount. The amount your insurance covers also plays a part in the price of your policy.
Home Insurance Discounts
The best home insurance providers offer a range of discounts to help you save on premiums, including:
- Multiple-policy discounts are available if you have an auto, life or other type of insurance policy with the same provider.
- Protective device discounts are available if you have a home security system, sprinkler system, fire alarm or other security devices in your home.
- Claim-free discounts are available if you haven’t filed a claim over a certain amount of time.
- Group savings are available if you have membership or affiliation with certain businesses or organizations.
- Newly-purchased home discounts are available if you recently purchased your home.
- Renovated home discounts are available if you recently renovated your home.
- Early shopper discounts are available if you request a quote before your current policy expires.
- Insured to value discounts are available when you insure up to 100% of the cost to replace your home.
If you’re not happy with your current policy, or you feel like you’re paying too much for your insurance, you can always shop around and get a quote from new providers that offer discounts and are a better match for your profile.
Best Home Insurance Providers
When choosing the right homeowners insurance, there are a handful of criteria to consider, including coverage details, discounts offered, value for price, claims satisfaction, and overall customer satisfaction. With consideration to these different factors, we’ve rounded up our top picks below.
Biggest Financial Powerhouse: State Farm
With State Farm, you won’t have to worry if the company is capable of paying the claims you present. That’s because its financial strength is one of the highest in the home insurance industry. The provider offers a range of coverage along with add-on and discount options, convenient online quoting, and 24/7 claims reporting service.
Best Discounts: Erie Insurance
Although better known for its auto insurance, Erie also offers excellent home insurance, with the average homeowner saving 20% in discounts, up to 30% in some states. You can choose between three policies: Advantage, Plus, and Select, all offering guaranteed replacement costs that will leave you more protected, especially if your home has more expensive features.
Highest Customer Satisfaction: Amica Mutual
If customer service is a priority for you, then you have to check out Amica Mutual. The company was named best home insurance company for overall customer satisfaction by J.D. Power 16 years in a row!
The provider’s high satisfaction score is intrinsically tied to Amica’s Contractor Connection program, which helps policyholders find contractors for home repairs and upgrades at no cost. Plus, any renovation or repair made through the program comes with a three-year workmanship warranty.
Amica is also a mutual insurance company. Owned by its customers, the company distributes dividends to its policyholders, instead of stockholders like other home insurance providers. In order to reap the rewards, which can be as much as 20% of your annual home insurance costs, you must purchase a dividend policy.
Best for Large Policy Limits: Farmers
Looking to purchase a policy for an expensive home? Or maybe one that is rapidly increasing in value? You should look into getting homeowners insurance with Farmers. The company offers great rates for policies with high limits, along with a handful of upkeep discounts.
Best for Expensive Homes: Chubb
Chubb gives you the option for extended replacement cost, which means if the cost to rebuild your home after an incident exceeds your policy limits, you’re still covered. This feature should be music to your ears if you’ve got a new, expensive or historic home.
Endorsement options include wildfire defense services, identity fraud prevention, and property restoration claim referrals. You can also take advantage of complimentary home appraisals during the insurance process and several discounts, including multi-policy, home security systems, new or renovated home, loss-free, and gated community patrol service.
Best for Rural Homeowners: Nationwide
If you’ve got some acreage and you live in a rural area, you may need specific coverage for things like outbuildings, barns, tractors and other equipment. Nationwide offers insurance packages for homeowners like you. There are plenty of ways to customize your policy and a variety of discounts you might qualify for.
Best for Military Members: USAA
If you’re a current or former military member, or have close familial ties to one, you should look into getting your home insurance with USAA. Although known for its low rates, the company doesn’t offer a lot of additional discounts. That’s because many are already written right into your policy.
Best for Retirees: The Hartford
In partnership with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), The Hartford offers heavy discounts for multiple policies and Lifetime Renewability in most states. The latter lets you renew coverage as long as you meet a few simple requirements.
The company also provides full replacement cost, sometimes up to 125% of coverage limits, and an option for “ProtectorPLUS Zero Deductible” which waives up to $5,000 of your deductible if your home suffers major damage from a catastrophic event.
Best for AirBNB Hosts: Allstate
The first major insurer to offer add-on coverage for home-sharing hosts, Allstate’s HostAdvantage policy gets you covered as an AirBNB or HomeAway (and more) host to help protect your belongings in the event that they’re stolen or damaged. Allstate also provides a variety of coverage options and discounts along with a highly-rated mobile app.