Your home is one of your largest and most meaningful investments you have, so it’s only right to be picky when you want to choose the home insurance near me or about the company you choose to insure it.
Naturally, you’ll want the best price but you also want the right mix of coverage from a company that can afford to pay your claim if disaster strikes. Reliable customer service is a plus, too. Here’s how to take all those factors into account as you choose the best insurance company for your home.
The Best Home Insurance Near Me
These insurers earned the top score of five stars out of five in our ratings of the best homeowners insurance companies in 2021:
- State Farm
*USAA is open only to active military members, veterans and their families.
These ratings, compiled from data for several large home insurance companies, are only a starting point. They’re based on consumer complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or NAIC, financial strength grades from A.M. Best, coverage and discounts available, and the overall consumer experience. However, they don’t consider price, which can vary widely. Smaller, regional insurance companies are also worthy of consideration in many areas.
How to compare homeowners insurance
1: Decide how much coverage you need: Finding the best homeowners insurance company for you starts with making sure you’re shopping for the right coverage. A standard policy covers your house and other structures, but the amount of coverage you need depends on how much it would cost to rebuild your home.
You’ll also have several options to consider, including the amount of your insurance deductible (the amount you pay out of pocket in the event of a claim) and whether you need extra insurance for valuable items. You might also want policy upgrades to cover earthquake damage or to ensure you can replace old belongings with new ones after a loss, rather than being paid for their depreciated value.
By figuring out what you need before you compare home insurance companies, you can be sure each policy you’re considering provides the same level of coverage. You can also eliminate companies that don’t offer the options you want.
2: Compare home insurance quotes: After you outline your coverage needs, you can start shopping for homeowners insurance. You’ll want to compare home insurance quotes from at least three companies to be sure you’re getting the cheapest policy you can.
Homeowners insurance costs an average of about $140 a month in 2020, according to analysis. But rates can vary dramatically because no two houses are the same and each insurer uses its own formula to calculate premiums and discounts.
You can shop for quotes online or by phone, or you can work with an insurance agent or broker to find the cheapest home insurance for you. Whichever route you choose, make sure to compare policies with similar coverage and deductibles.
Also, be aware that a home insurance quote is only an estimate. Your price may change if an insurance company checks out your house and determines you need a different amount of coverage.
3: Research home insurance discounts: Most companies offer a standard set of home insurance discounts, such as savings for having multiple policies with the same insurer (for example, both home and auto insurance), installing safety and security devices in your home and avoiding claims for consecutive years.
Beyond those, you will see differences in both the number and type of discounts available. Matching the discounts your home is eligible to receive will ensure that you not only get the policy you want but also benefit from investments you have made in your home.
4: Check customer satisfaction and complaints: If you choose a home insurance company that’s known for making its customers happy, you can feel more confident that you will have a good experience.
To see whether previous customers have been satisfied, you can look at studies on home insurance and property claims satisfaction from J.D. Power, which surveys thousands of homeowners annually. Consumer Reports also surveys its members about their experiences with homeowners insurance, but comparing the scores requires a paid membership.
The NAIC website is another source of information about how insurance companies have performed. You can find out how many complaints were filed against an insurer with state regulators, the reasons for the complaints and whether there were more complaints than expected for a company of its size.
5: Consider financial strength: You’ll want to buy homeowners insurance from a stable company with enough money to pay claims. Financial strength is one way to evaluate whether an insurer meets that standard. You can check financial strength through a rating firm such as A.M. Best.
InsuranceDiaires.com typically recommends considering insurers with ratings of A- or higher. Any company with an A.M. Best rating of B+ or higher has a “good” ability to meet its obligations, in A.M. Best’s opinion. Companies with ratings below that may not be quite as safe a bet and often have higher rates of complaints relative to their size.
How To Find Affordable Homeowners Insurance Quotes in Your Area
“How can I get cheap home insurance near me?” is one of the most commonly asked questions among homeowners looking to save on their insurance. However, several factors influence your home insurance rates. The most obvious include your home’s location, age and construction type. Newer homes in areas with low risk of natural disasters or crime are the cheapest to insure. Unfortunately, these things are often beyond your control. But there are still several strategies you can use to reduce your home insurance bill. Use the following tips to find a cheap homeowners insurance in your area.
1. Shop around: You’ll need to shop around to find the cheapest home insurance. Online quote tools can help you save a lot of time over calling individual insurers, and some even allow you to compare quotes from several companies at once. Don’t assume a certain provider will be the cheapest home insurance company because it was for your family or friends. Your home and circumstances are different, and your bill will be different too.
2. Don’t over-insure: Insure for what it would cost to rebuild your home, not to rebuy it. This is an important distinction because market value takes into account the location of your home and the value of your land. Your homeowners policy doesn’t pay for any damage to your land.
When it comes to personal property, experts emphasize the importance of taking a home inventory to determine the value of your belongings. You can do this online with the Insurance Information Institute’s free Know Your Stuff inventory tool. You may want to think twice before opting for actual cash value over replacement cost policies. While going with actual cost value will save you money on your premium, it could cost you a lot more in the event of a claim. For example, think about how quickly your new TV depreciates. If you cover it for actual cash value, you may only get a few hundred dollars, if that, to replace it when comparable models are well over $1,000 in stores.
3. Bundle your policies: Your insurer would love to have all of your business. Check to see whether you’ll get a discount for having multiple policies — for instance, home, auto and life — with the same company. Compare whether you’ll actually be paying less overall with the same company than you would with policies elsewhere.
4. Consider a higher deductible: As with most types of insurance, the higher your deductible, the lower your monthly bill. When you make a claim, your deductible is the amount you agree to pay your insurance company before your coverage kicks in. Going as high as you can comfortably afford in the event of a claim can mean major savings. Homeowners who raise their deductible from $500 to $2,500 can save an average of $260 each year. Remember that raising your deductible only makes sense if you have savings to pay the higher amount in the event of a claim. If you save money by raising your deductible amount, put that extra cash into a savings account so that you’ll be prepared for emergencies.
5. Rethink certain risky choices: You can’t move your home out of tornado alley or a crime-ridden city, but you can rethink certain things insurance companies frown upon:
- Swimming pools: Adding a swimming pool will almost certainly boost your bill because of injury and drowning risks.
- Certain types of dogs: Insurers charge more if you own certain breeds they perceive as a potential risk to others, including pit bulls and rottweilers.
- Trampolines: Your kids may adore their trampoline, but your insurance company does not — they will raise your rate to guard against your liability if a neighbor’s child falls off and is injured.
6. Add safety features: The lower your risk of claims, the more you’ll save. Protect your home from fire damage and theft with small improvements. Standard safety features such as deadbolts, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers may earn you a small discount. A security system can let you save even more, depending on your insurer. Fortunately, most of these upgrades are simple DIY tasks.
If your home is in a disaster-prone area, check for special modifications you can make to further reduce your premiums. Adding features such as storm shutters, storm-resistant garage doors, stronger roofs and shatter-proof windows can help you save.
7. Maintain good credit: Unless you live in the few states that prohibit it (California, Maryland and Massachusetts), most insurers consider your credit score when calculating your premium. According to the Federal Trade Commission, your credit score can affect your home insurance rates, sometimes dramatically.
Here’s the reasoning: If you have excellent credit, you’re less likely to file a claim and are rewarded with lower premiums.
If you have bad credit, you’re seen as a greater risk, and that can send your bills higher.
Unfortunately, building good credit can take time, and it won’t be something you can do at the last minute before you buy insurance. However, given the range of financial dealings your credit can impact, it’s worth it for the long haul. Monitor your credit score and don’t wait for your policy to renew in a year if you see a positive change. Ask your insurer to re-evaluate your policy to account for the credit score improvement.
8. Review your coverage every year: Don’t buy a home insurance policy only to forget about it. Take a few minutes to get a couple of online quotes once per year to compare the cost of your current policy to what other insurers are offering. You’ll need to make changes if you make any major purchases or additions that need protection and streamline your coverage if your home or possessions lose value. You should also check for applicable discounts if you make improvements. This will also let you keep tabs on how much your insurance company raises your limits each year because of inflation.
9. Take advantage of other discounts: It’s common for home insurance companies to offer a range of discounts. You may not qualify for all of them, but it never hurts to ask. Seniors, nonsmokers, longtime customers and members of certain alumni or professional associations may qualify for lower premiums. Choosing to receive electronic statements and autopay could knock off at least 5% off your bill. If you don’t see a discount, ask. The insurer may extend it to you.