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November 13, 2015

Homeowners Insurance Reviews

The Best Homeowners Insurance

There are a lot of homeowners insurance providers out there with even more types of coverages. So we went through the work of narrowing our list of 105 down to 14 of the best. In the end, Liberty Mutual topped them all with its commitment to customer service and user experience. Even though we liked Liberty Mutual best, we always recommend getting a quote from a number of insurance providers in your area as rates can change drastically based on location.

Liberty Mutual

Easy-to-use online tools, excellent customer assistance, and multiple home insurance discounts are just a few among many features that lead us to award Liberty Mutual as the best homeowners insurance. Liberty Mutual makes the entire process easily accessible and stress-free starting with its online quote tools and discounts, especially for those hunting for a bargain. The company offers 24/7 emergency repairs if your home has sustained covered damage, and its agents are ready to talk to you at any time of the day. Liberty Mutual’s versatile mobile app allows you to do anything from paying your bill to initiating claims and documentation with pictures and voice notes.

Best Cheap Homeowners Insurance Provider

Farmers Insurance

Farmers Insurance is definitely the best option for those trying to insure a home within a budget. From the 12 different discounts offered, Farmers makes sure you are able to save some bucks on your premium. Additionally, it offers HO8 policies so you can insure your older home too.

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Compare rates from top home insurance providers in your area.

Other Top Picks

State Farm

Progressive

Nationwide Insurance

The Hartford

Country Financial

Erie Financial

American Modern

How We Chose the Best Homeowners Insurance Providers

We gathered a list of 105 homeowners insurance companies and then selected 14 top companies to review using 88 homeowners insurance features.

What Homeowners Insurance Features Matter and Why

Home Insurance Coverage

Home Insurance Coverage references the common insurance forms and the types of dwellings covered by the insurance company. A standard HO3 or an enhanced HO5 policy are appropriate for most homes and will be offered by the top insurance companies. For non-homeowners, making sure the company offers renters insurance will be important.

In addition to these common types of coverage, the best insurance providers will offer dedicated coverage for condominiums, mobile homes, and farms as well as coverage for rental property owners. Home Insurance Coverage is important because homeowners must be sure that the insurance company they choose covers their specific dwelling.

Most Important Home Insurance Coverages
  • Condominium Insurance (HO6) — The insurance provider offers HO6 coverage for condos.
  • Farm/Ranch — You can buy insurance to protect your farm or ranch.
  • Mobile Home — You can buy insurance to protect your mobile home.
  • Older Homes (HO8) — The insurance provider offers HO8 coverage for older homes.
  • Premier Policy (HO5) — The insurance provider offers HO5 coverage that includes open perils coverage on personal property.
  • Rental Property Insurance — You can buy insurance to protect your rental property.
  • Renters (HO4) — The insurance provider offers renters insurance.
  • Special Form (HO3) — The insurance provider offers HO3, open perils coverage.

Discounts

Discounts addresses the types of discounts offered by the insurance company that help reduce the policyholders premium. Common homeowner discounts include having multiple insurance policies with the same insurance company and reductions for remaining claims-free for an extended period of time.

The best insurance companies will also offer discounts for newly purchased or renovated homes, or if the home has protective devices like smoke detectors or burglar alarms. Homeowner Discounts is a reasonably important category because it outlines specific ways policyholders can lower insurance premiums.

Most Important Discounts
  • Age of Construction Discount — Discounts based on the age of your home are available.
  • Age of Insured Discount — Discounts based on the homeowner's age are available.
  • Claim-Free Discount — You can receive a discount for remaining claim-free for a certain period of time.
  • Multiple-Policy Discount — You can receive a discount for having multiple insurance policies with the same company.
  • Newly Purchased Home — You can receive a discount if you recently purchased your home.
  • New/Renovated Home — You can receive a discount if your home is new or recently renovated.
  • Protective Device Discount — You can receive a discount if you have smoke detectors, fire alarms, burglar alarms, or other protective devices.

Perils Coverage

Perils Coverage refers to the types of perils that the insurance company covers. Perils that are covered by a typical insurance policy include things like fire, smoke damage, water damage, lightning, wind, theft, and more. Although most of the top insurance companies will cover the same set of fundamental perils, a potential policyholder should still take the time to ensure that incidents most common to their geographical location are included in the policy.

Most Important Perils Coverages
  • Aircraft — Damage to your home caused by an aircraft is covered.
  • Explosion — Damage to your home caused by an explosion is covered.
  • Fire — Damage to your home caused by fire is covered.
  • Ice/Snow/Sleet — Damage to your home caused by ice, snow, or sleet is covered.
  • Lightning — Damage to your home caused by lightning is covered.
  • Plumbing — Damage to your home caused by a frozen, burst, or damaged water pipe is covered.
  • Riot/Civil Commotion — Damage to your home caused by a riot or civil commotion is covered.
  • Smoke — Damage to your home caused by smoke is covered.
  • Theft — Any loss or damage to your home due to theft is covered.
  • Tornado — Damage to your home caused by a tornado is covered.
  • Vandalism — Damage to your home caused by vandalism is covered.
  • Water — Damage to your home caused by water is covered.
  • Wildfire — Damage to your home caused by a wildfire is covered.
  • Wind — Damage to your home caused by wind is covered.

Policy Coverage

Policy Coverage addresses the types of property and personal protection offered by the insurance company and whether the coverage is offered in at least 48 states. This includes coverage for dwellings, other structures like garages or sheds, personal property, liability, and medical payments.

The best homeowners insurance companies will provide coverage for each of these features and will have national availability. Making sure the appropriate types of insurance are offered is an important factor when purchasing insurance, making Policy Coverage an important category.

Most Important Policy Coverages
  • Dwelling — Coverage for the cost of rebuilding/repairing your home if it is damaged by a covered peril is available.
  • Loss of Use — If your home is damaged or destroyed, the insurance company will cover living expenses while repairs are made.
  • Medical Payments — Coverage for medical payments is available.
  • Nationwide Availability — The insurance company is available in at least 48 states.
  • Other Structures — Coverage for detached garages, sheds, or other structures on your property is available.
  • Personal Liability — Coverage for lawsuits associated with bodily injury or property damage that you may be responsible for is available.
  • Personal Property — The insurance company covers the cost of replacing your possessions if they are destroyed by a covered peril.

Additional Policy Protection

Additional Policy Protection includes the supplementary insurance options that can be added to a standard insurance policy. Examples include flood insurance, earthquake insurance, and scheduled personal property. The best insurance companies also provide a comprehensive umbrella policy option, as well as coverage for things like landslides, sump overflow, computer coverage, and identity theft.

Many of these additional coverage options can be added as endorsements to the homeowners policy. However, depending on the insurance company and the state of residency, some coverage options may have to be added as an additional, independent policy. For those looking for a little extra insurance protection, Addition Policy Protection will be an important category.

Most Important Additional Policy Protections
  • Computer Coverage — You can add computer coverage to your insurance as an additional policy or as an endorsement.
  • Earthquake Insurance — You can add earthquake coverage to your insurance as an additional policy or as an endorsement.
  • Flood Insurance — You can add flood coverage to your insurance as an additional policy or as an endorsement.
  • Identity Fraud Expenses — You can add identity fraud expense coverage to your insurance as an additional policy or as an endorsement.
  • Landslide Insurance — You can add landslide coverage to your insurance as an additional policy or as an endorsement.
  • Personal Umbrella Policy — You can add personal umbrella coverage to your insurance as an additional policy or as an endorsement.
  • Scheduled Personal Property — You can add scheduled personal property coverage to your insurance as an additional policy or as an endorsement.
  • Water Backup and Sump Overflow — You can add water backup or sump overflow coverage to your insurance as an additional policy or as an endorsement.

Claims

Claims refers to the tools and resources that assist a policyholder with filing a claim. Most of the top insurance companies will provide access to a 24/7 claims center or allow you to work directly with an agent. Depending on the complexity of the claim, many insurance companies enable policyholders to file a claim entirely online.

The best insurance companies provide an online resource that allows policyholders to upload a photo inventory of personal property, allowing possession to be documented, which helps facilitate the claim process. The circumstances that warrant an insurance claim can be stressful, but solid claims tools and resources can help make the process much more manageable.

Most Important Claim Features
  • 24/7 Claims Center — You can contact a claims center 24/7.
  • Agent Claim Filing — You can contact an agent to file a claim.
  • Deductibles — Flexible deductibles are available.
  • Mobile Claim Filing — You can file a claim through a mobile app.
  • Online Claim Filing — You can file a claim online.
  • Online Photo Inventory — You can upload images of your personal property to an online location to document your property and help facilitate the claims process.
  • Photo Upload — You can upload photos of damaged property to assist with the claims process.
  • Telephone Claim Filing — You can file a claim via telephone.

Online Tools

Online Tools covers the features and capabilities the insurance company makes available via the internet. Having the ability to receive a quote and purchase a homeowners policy online is a great convenience. For those that prefer to work directly with an agent, most of the top insurance companies also provide a tool to help locate a local agent.

The best homeowners insurance companies also provide a dynamic online account that allows the policyholder to view and modify the policy. Online Tools is not the most important category, but it will still be valued by those who prefer to get work done online.

Most Important Online Tools
  • Locate an Agent — A tool is available online to help you locate an agent.
  • Manage Your Policy — You can manage your insurance policy online.
  • Online Policy Purchase — You can purchase a policy entirely online.
  • Online Rate Quotes — You can get a quote on the company's website.

Payment Options

Payment Options addresses the different ways insurance policyholders can make a payment. Having the ability to pay by mail and online is a must. Many of the top providers allow policyholders to schedule automatic payments, make a payment with a debit/credit card, or have the payment amount debited directly from a checking or savings bank account.

The best homeowners providers also offer flexible payment options, allowing policyholders to pay up front in full or make payments based on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis.

Most Important Payment Options
  • Automatic Payments — Payments can be scheduled automatically.
  • Credit Card Payments — You can make a payment with your credit card.
  • Flexible Payment Options — Flexible payment terms over different periods of time are offered.
  • Mail Payments — Payments can be mailed.
  • Online Payments — Payments can be made online.
  • Pay by Bank Account — You can make a payment directly from your bank account.
  • Phone Payments — Payments can be made over the phone.
  • Prepayment — Policies can be prepaid in full, often at a discount.

Support

Support identifies the different ways policyholders can contact the insurance company and get questions answered, or address any problems or concerns. Phone and an email/ticket system are the most common options, but the best homeowners insurance companies also offer a live chat option, a quick and easy way for customers to reach out and get questions answered. Although these resources are typically accessed infrequently, Support is particularly important during the purchasing process or when filing a claim.

Most Important Support Features
  • Email/Ticket — An email or ticket system dedicated to support is available.
  • Live Chat — You can contact the company through live chat.
  • Phone — You can contact the company by phone to get support.
  • Social Media — You can contact the homeowners insurance company with questions through social media websites.

Financial Strength

Financial Strength utilizes ratings from popular economic and investor service organizations to indicate the overall financial health of the insurance company. Financial strength ratings are drawn from A.M. Best, Moody's, and S&P, providing a clear picture of how financially stable the insurance company is perceived to be. A home is a large and important investment and it is crucial to ensure the insurance company protecting this investment is financially stable.

Most Important Financial Factors
  • A.M. Best Excellent or Better — The company has an A.M. Best rating of "A" or better.
  • ICR Rating Stable — The company has an A.M. Best Credit Rating of "Stable" or better.
  • Moody's Rated Very Strong — The company has a Moody's rating of "Aa3" or better.
  • S&P Rated Very Strong — The company has an S&P FSR rating of "AA-" or better.

Learning Materials

Learning Materials refers to the resources provided by the insurance company that assist interested and existing policyholders in learning more about the industry. Many insurance companies provide blogs, FAQs, forums, and extensive industry glossaries that help policyholders make better-informed home insurance decisions. Learning Materials is a less important category, but when it comes to getting questions answered and gaining a better understanding of insurance, these resources can be very useful.

Most Important Learning Materials
  • Blog — The company provides a blog with relevant insurance information.
  • FAQs — The company provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Forum — The company provides an interactive forum where users can post questions and answers.
  • Glossary — The company provides a glossary of common industry terms.
  • Knowledge Base — The company provides a knowledge base of detailed help articles.
  • Video Tutorials — The company provides video tutorials.

Mobile

Mobile addresses whether the insurance company provides a mobile application and discusses the features and functionality included in the app. Forward-thinking companies provide applications for Apple- and Android-based devices that allow the policyholder to access their account, file a claim, and make a payment.

The best homeowners insurance companies also provide access to websites that are designed specifically for mobile phones and tablets. Mobile is a less important category, but for those who are always on the go, having the ability to manage a homeowners policy on a mobile device is a great bonus.

Most Important Mobile Features
  • Android — An Android app that allows you to access your home insurance policy is available.
  • Claim Details — You can update your home insurance claim details through a mobile app.
  • Connect with an Agent — You can connect directly with an agent through a mobile app.
  • Edit Policy — You can edit or change your policy details with a mobile app.
  • Favorable Mobile App Store Reviews — The company has a combined 3.5 stars or greater for their iOS and Android apps.
  • File a Claim — You can initiate or file a new claim through a mobile app.
  • iPhone — An iPhone app that allows you to access your home insurance policy is available.
  • Mobile Website — A mobile-specific website is available.
  • Pay Premium — You can pay your premium through your mobile app.
  • Tablet — A tablet-based app is available.

Choosing the Right Homeowners Insurance for You

Selecting the best homeowners insurance company ultimately comes down to price for most people, and that includes getting the best discounts. National companies can generally offer more insurance-bundling options in addition to comprehensive coverage, opening up the opportunity to save more. The top homeowners insurance companies also offer renters insurance, which is a separate policy that continues to increase in demand as renting becomes more popular.

Cheap Homeowners Insurance Companies

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Best Renters Insurance Companies

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