The 5 Best Arkansas Homeowners Insurance Companies
If you own a home in Arkansas, you are no stranger to the joys of pretty hills, friendly folks, and low mortgage payments. But if you’ve ever considered homeowners insurance for that lovely little abode of yours, you also know the sticker shock of high premiums. The average cost of homeowners insurance in Arkansas is $1,060 per year, a good bit more than the national average of $952. When we looked at quotes for a three-bedroom home in Eureka Springs, we got estimates all the way up to $6,000 per year. What gives?
Arkansas does not have a great track record for natural disasters or access to homeowners insurance coverage. Its geography puts it right in the path of tornadoes, hailstorms, and other extreme weather sweeping through the region. This, combined with higher poverty rates and other factors such as old homes and high risk areas that are difficult to insure make for some serious challenges for providers and customers. In fact, though Arkansas is the tenth in the nation for tornado frequency, it is fourth in the number of uninsured homes. All of this contributes to the higher-than-average premiums in Arkansas that may make you think twice about investing in homeowners insurance in spite of the risks.
Premiums can vary a lot depending on your exact location, construction of your home, and other specific factors. Use the quote tool below to see what you can expect.
Find the best homeowners insurance in your area.
Get a quote by entering your ZIP code and start saving today.
Among national providers, we liked Amica Mutual best, but we took a closer look at Arkansas and the five top homeowners insurance providers by market share. We researched, navigated, and investigated to ultimately bring you the best of the best. We looked for:
Reliability. Is the company financially stable and able pay claims easily? What’s covered?
Affordability. Are there discounts? How do the quotes compare?
Customer Service. Is information clear and readily available? Are there helpful resources?
We even got quotes for that genuine home in Eureka Springs to test the process. In the end, this is how we ranked the best homeowners insurance providers in Arkansas:
- Shelter Mutual
- State Farm
- Farm Bureau Mutual
Arkansas Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Allstate had what we were looking for across the board. Right off the batt, Allstate’s fabulous website made for a very positive customer experience. (The company’s Digital Locker app also makes it really easy to log personal belongings and value.) There are also clear lists for coverage and discount options and pleasing aesthetics, but there are also brains behind that beauty; Allstate has a solid reputation for processing claims quickly and overall customer satisfaction according to J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, and “A+” from A.M. Best and “AA-” from Standard and Poor’s mean financial stability too. Allstate also has the most endorsements available of any Arkansas provider we looked at (tied with our number two choice, Farmers) including wind and hail which are our biggest worries.
We were able to secure a quote online, which always the more convenient and less intimidating option. At $2,631 to $4,042 to insure our Eureka Springs spot, we were a bit stung, but this seemed much more reasonable that our number two choice, Farmers, which was almost double.
Also, the specifics of the coverage seemed like the best deal: we could get a slightly higher wind and hail deductible than Farmers ($2,000 instead of $1,500) AND our quote included a “Roof Surfaces Extended Coverage” Endorsement with the standard package. This is the best deal we saw.
So if you have to pay a lot for homeowners insurance in Arkansas, Allstate will at least make sure you’re getting a decent product for your money.
Farmers also scored high in the customer education arena with helpful online resources, though notably lacking a personal property app like fancy pants Allstate. Farmers has more discounts available though — including one for librarians?! Yes, please. In terms of coverage, Farmers specifically mentioned wind and hail in addition to the standard all peril coverage, and we like the sound of that, too.
Now the quote: a whopping $4,846 to $6,799 annually for our three-bedroom in Eureka Springs. Of course, we could play with the coverage options to adjust that premium, and a cool feature of the quote process is just that: you can adjust amounts within options and see changes reflected in your online quote. For example, when we upped the wind and hail deductible from $1,500 to $2,500, we got $100 less in premium.
Farmers also comes with plenty of financial stability, “A” from A.M. Best and “A+” from Standard and Poor’s, just a step lower than Allstate on each. Farmers also ranks highest with Allstate on the number of endorsements offered, so it’s worth reaching out to an agent in person if you think this coverage may be right for you.
Another great choice is Shelter Mutual, with their very helpful website featuring impressively clear and transparent information, such as a nice layout comparing dwelling insurance with homeowners insurance so you can decide what’s best for you. There is also more locally-relevant homeowners advice, for example, on how to avoid getting scammed by contractors in post-disaster situations (more on that below.) Shelter was also the clearest of all our top picks in terms of listing and explaining what’s included in coverage, what can be added as an endorsement, and how to discount your rates.
The coverage itself includes wind and hail, but also some unique features we didn’t see anywhere else, such as debris removal coverage which pays for removing debris following a covered loss. This was paired with some unique endorsements to add on as well, such as coverage for watercraft activities and associated liability and medical bills. Because our home is so close to Beaver Lake, we would appreciate having that option.
So what brought Shelter down to number three for us? A smaller share of the market and thus less national presence made information on the company a bit harder to come by. For example, though Shelter had the best overall score from J.D. Power (4 out of 5) for claims processing, it had no ratings from Consumer Reports to balance with. Even with an “A” from A.M. Best, no score from Standard and Poor’s makes us less certain on what we’re paying for.
A bigger drawback was the quote process: We couldn’t get an actual quote online like we could with Allstate and Farmers. The form we filled out with our contact info in simply sent it to a local agent, and it didn’t even include structural information about our sweet spot in Eureka Springs. We don’t want to wait around for a Shelter Mutual agent to call — we’ve got a home to insure before tornado season. If you have the time, though, Shelter Mutual would surely be a pleasant option with a more local feel.
In our evaluation, State Farm came in second in reputation for processing claims (just behind Shelter) and best in financial stability. An “A++” from A.M. Best and “AA” from Standard and Poor’s carry serious weight, and in an area where the next tornado is just around the corner, these features make a great homeowners insurance option in the event of catastrophe.
What knocked State Farm down to fourth place is that its website is a bit of a bummer. There are very few learning resources except for some basic videos, and there’s not even an FAQ section. Basically, the site is not nearly as informative or confidence-building as any of our top three choices. Also, State Farm had the second lowest number of available discounts (above only Farm Bureau Mutual, with zero), and with Arkansas premiums being so high, we’d appreciate more deals.
More frustrating was the fact that our quote couldn’t be completed online. We went through all the work of filling out the entire form only to get a message that we had to contact an agent. We thought maybe it was related to how we’re more than ten miles away from a fire station, but who knows? A little more info would have been helpful — like, can we get coverage with your company or not? The nature of massive national insurance companies, though, is that they have plenty of money and manpower to pay out claims when you need them most, so State Farm may still be your go-to.
Farm Bureau Mutual
Farm Bureau Mutual was a solid number five in our rankings. It definitely has more of a small-town vibe, but compared to our other top four, it doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. The website is largely unhelpful, with no mention of discounts anywhere and very little by way of coverage information and other stuff we’d really like to know as potential customers.
Like Shelter Mutual, less national presence than the big dogs in town means that there’s less information to be had – no ratings for claims processing or customer satisfaction from J.D. Power or Consumer Reports, and only one financial stability rating from A.M. Best, which is “B++.”
It might go without saying, but there’s also no way to get a quote online, but furthermore, there aren’t even any agents in our town of Eureka Springs. We’d have to go over the hills and thirteen miles away to sit down and discuss our homeowners coverage, and that seems unappealing when we could just stay on our porch and watch the sun set on Beaver Lake. That said, maybe we’d have a better experience if we moseyed on into the office in person, but that’s for you to check out. In the meantime, use the quote tool below to see if there are any other options for your area.
Did You Know?
After The Storm
Consider the following scenario. You made the hard choice, you invested the time and money to get your home covered and whaddya know, a tornado sweeps through your town. While you’re really glad you listened to us, you’re also overwhelmed with what to do next.
Given the increasing severity of weather events, this scenario is more likely than ever to occur, and more so in Arkansas. Increasingly, claims in the state tend to be mainly catastrophe-related: In 2008, sixty-one percent of all homeowners claims paid were due to catastrophes like hail and tornadoes, in 2011, it was forty-nine percent. Gulp.
It’s good to know what to expect so that you can mentally prepare and use that shiny new homeowners policy effectively. Then Arkansas Department of Insurance has some good advice on how to handle recovering from a disaster immediately after it occurs. Here are some things you may not know.
Your first impulse may be to immediately start clearing the rubble and rebuilding — not so fast.
It’s important to record the damages for your claim filing. Take photos and videos and keep damaged items aside to show the claims adjuster who will come to assess – but also take reasonable steps to protect your home from further harm as needed.
It’s common for contractors to pour into post-disaster areas to take advantage of desperate people who are confused and helpless.
These individuals can range from independent claims adjusters offering to assess your property for your insurance to construction crews willing to strike a deal to help you rebuild quickly.
Be careful: independent or “public” claims adjusters are not allowed in the state of Arkansas, unlike some other states.
Any third party wanting to help you in the claims process is not properly licensed or authorized, so file your claim and then wait for an adjuster from your own provider to arrive on the scene.
As for contractors going door-to-door with construction deals that sound too good to be true, take Shelter’s advice and be wary.
Scams are common in the area, so always notify your insurance provider first after any damages to your home, and do your homework to find legitimate contractors for hire. The Arkansas Department of Insurance has other great tips for avoiding scams and getting you and your home back on solid ground.
The Bottom Line
Allstate is the most well-rounded homeowners insurance company in Arkansas, but don’t be afraid to get quotes from our other top picks as well. Premiums vary greatly depending upon where you live, and you might be able to find a carbon-copy policy elsewhere for less money. Use our quote tool to get started!
Find the best homeowners insurance in your area.
Get a quote by entering your ZIP code and start saving today.