The 5 Best Delaware Homeowners Insurance Companies
Delaware’s annual premiums for homeowners insurance are on the low side — on average $736 per year for an HO-3 policy, compared to the nationwide average of $1,132. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your home’s size, your assets, and your address. Use our tool to find your best rates:
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Delaware ranks seventh in the nation for number of homes that are owner occupied, making homeowners insurance a necessity for over 70 percent of the state’s residents. Though selecting the best homeowners insurance for your needs can often be a daunting task, the good news is that residents have it cheap. As of 2013, the state’s average premium of $736 per year was nearly $400 below the national average of $1,132. That number is all the more impressive when you consider that Delaware was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy the year before.
The state is also susceptible to both tropical storms and severe snowfall, so the best homeowners insurance in Delaware should grant you peace of mind no matter what inclement weather is thrown your way. Though rates vary depending on your zip code and home construction, we recommend using the online quote tool below to start comparing rates.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Delaware
To determine the best home insurance in Delaware, we first selected the five biggest insurance providers based on market share. We applied the methodology established in our review of national companies, analyzing each company’s discounts, endorsements, financial strength, customer service, and claims process. We examined the professional rankings listed in J.D. Power and Associates and evaluated Consumer Reports reviews. Lastly, we assigned a number value to each data point and calculated the scores of each provider. Read on to see how they stacked up.
Delaware Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Allstate’s exceptional online learning center — which is particularly helpful to first-time insurance buyers — inched the company to the top spot just over Nationwide. We’re also big fans of its Common and Costly Claims tool, which allows you to see the dollar average of common claims based on your zip code, to any homeowner. No matter what insurer you end up selecting, the tool helps you understand what sort of additional coverage you may need due to your location.
Allstate also scored high in terms of discounts offered. The company applies a wide variety of discounts, including both those common across the industry, such as multi-policy bundling, and rarer offerings like 10 percent off just for signing up. We were impressed with the percentage of discount, as well: Allstate’s multi-policy will net you 30 percent in savings compared to State Farm’s 22 percent.
There are plenty of positives about Allstate, but it’s important to note that the provider scored lowest among 14 companies in a Consumer Report’s homeowners insurance survey focused on claims management. While this is something to keep in mind, Allstate still ranked relatively high in terms of “timely payment.” This means any issues you might experience with the claims process won’t affect your bank account. What’s more, J.D. Power ranks Allstate in line with the competition in its US Household Insurance Study. The study evaluates policy offerings, pricing, billing, and payment, among other categories.
Nationwide earned silver thanks to excellent claims services, a wide range of endorsements and discounts, and thorough coverage options. The Brand New Belongings program, an add-on that guarantees Nationwide will replace any destroyed or damaged belongings with brand-new equivalents, exemplified Nationwide’s commitment to providing comprehensive coverage for its customers.
What’s more, the Brand New Belongings program is simple and straightforward. After you file a claim, Nationwide sends you funds for the depreciated value of the goods. You then select new items you want and send the company copies of your receipts. Nationwide then pays the difference. The online claims center, available on the Nationwide mobile app, ensures a pain-free claims process. It’s not hard to see why the company earned a 4 out of 5 for Claims Experience in Consumer Reports’ Homeowners Insurance study.
Nationwide’s endorsement and discount offerings also exceed industry standards. You’ll save money for bundling policies, installing protective devices in your home, or simply getting (or being) married. We were also impressed by the educational resources available through its website and mobile app. Should you have any further questions, Nationwide will set you up with a free consultation with an agent to confirm you’re not overpaying for coverage you don’t need.
Liberty Mutual’s dedication to customer support, as evidenced through its unique Emergency Home Repairs service, set it apart from the competitors. The Emergency Home Repairs service, available 24/7, sends a professional out to your home immediately after you report a loss. The company also offers loss forgiveness, meaning your premium won’t increase after your first reported loss. This level of support exceeds industry standards, earning Liberty Mutual a loyal base of customers who’ve come to appreciate the personalized service after an unexpected accident.
Compared to Allstate and Nationwide, Liberty Mutual scored well in terms of online experience, endorsements, and discounts. Coverage options are clearly outlined on the site, though we were unable to complete the quote process online for any of the Delaware zip codes we entered. If you’d prefer a strictly online experience, then Liberty Mutual may not be for you. That being said, the company has strong financial rankings from A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s, which indicates customers are still happy with the claims process overall.
More than 26 percent of Delawareans choose State Farm and it’s not hard to see why. When it comes to claims experience, State Farm trailed just two points behind Nationwide’s high score in the Consumer Reports’ homeowners insurance survey, beating out Liberty Mutual and Allstate. State Farm’s solid marks indicate that customers are satisfied with the financial coverage they receive when filing a claim with State Farm — no small thing.
State Farm’s discount and endorsement offerings meet or exceed industry standards, and its standard policy coverage includes sewer backup, freeze, and damage from snow. This is huge, especially considering Delaware’s most common claim involves water damage. You’ll save up to 22 percent with State Farm’s multi-policy discount — not quite as strong as Allstate’s 30 percent, but nothing to shake your head at either.
State Farm’s robust learning center is worth mentioning here as well. The site includes an online quote tool, a home inventory calculator, and 24/7 customer assistance. For first-time buyers and customers who value ease of communication, this makes State Farm an ideal choice.
A quick disclaimer before we tell you more about USAA: this insurer is only available to current and former members of the US military and their families. Because of this barrier, we weren’t able to obtain specific quotes from USAA (though you can get a rough estimate based on zip code through the Delaware Premium Calculator).
That being said, those who do qualify for USAA’s coverage are generally very happy with it. In fact, the provider ranked 2nd out of 14 companies in the Consumer Reports customer survey. This ranking is due in part to the company’s strong financial stability and its willingness to cover higher replacement costs than other industry leaders.
The potential downsides? USAA’s website is a bit sparse when it comes to educational materials. While USAA does explain discounts offered on its site, we found its outline of different coverage plans unclear. If you’re someone who prefers to talk with your agent over the phone or in person, USAA is still a great option.
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What We Learned
Shopping Around Will Always Pay Off
To illustrate just how much annual premiums can differ across the state, we used a calculator from the Delaware Department of Insurance. These numbers reflect average premiums for an H0-3 policy on a 10-year-old home with a frame construction, a $1,000 deductible, and $250,000 in coverage.
|Allstate||Nationwide||Liberty Mutual||State Farm||USAA|
As you can see, the average state premium from Allstate is $630, a difference of nearly $500 compared to State Farm’s average of $1,125. That’s almost $2,500 in savings over five years. It’s also important to consider price variations based on your location. State Farm’s annual premium is $383 cheaper in Wilmington than Milford, compared to the relatively small difference of $76 between Allstate premiums in Wilmington and Milford. Depending where in Delaware you are, you’ll want to make sure opting for a cheaper premium doesn’t mean sacrificing the specific coverage options your home needs.
Renewing Your Quote Every Few Years Could Save You Big
If you’re a longtime homeowner who hasn’t shopped around in while, there’s a 50 percent chance you’re currently underinsured. Many first-time homeowners insure their property for the amount they paid for it rather than the cost of the materials it would take to replace it. That’s a problem because the price of lumber and other supplies may inflate over time. Make sure you reassess every few years to confirm you’re covered for the rough estimate of the cost of rebuilding your home should your property be entirely destroyed. This may sound extreme, but you want to be prepared should the worst occur. It’s recommended you calculate the estimate by multiplying your home’s square footage with the average cost of rebuilding materials.
Know Your Insurer’s Policy When It Comes to Hurricanes
Delaware is one of 19 hurricane-prone states in which insurers enacted hurricane-duration deductibles, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). This means that you’re required to pay a percentage of your property’s worth, rather than your standard deductible, should your home incur damage from a hurricane. For example, if your home is valued by the insurance company at $250,000 and your hurricane deductible is five percent, you’ll have to pay $12,500 out of pocket for repair costs before insurance kicks in.
This may sound steep, but some home insurance companies will reduce your deductible if you storm-proof your house. Allstate and State Farm will both offer discounts for roofs that have been certified as storm-proof, for example. Given the damage of Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy, all Delaware residents would do well to ask their future insurers about hurricane policies before signing on. It’s also worthwhile to consider additional flood insurance coverage, as the definition of “hurricane” may differ from insurer to insurer.
The Bottom Line
Because of its mid-Atlantic location, Delaware is susceptible to any major weather event occurring along the Atlantic, especially hurricanes. We recommend looking into your insurer’s hurricane policy as well as opting into additional flood coverage. To start shopping around, enter your zip code into the tool below.
Find the best homeowners insurance in your area.
Get a quote by entering your ZIP code and start saving today.