The 5 Best Louisiana Homeowners Insurance Companies
At $1,822 per year, Louisiana has the third-highest home insurance premiums in the nation, well above the national average of $1,096. And that doesn’t include costs for flood insurance — most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flooding — which may now be a necessity for many residents. Think about the August 2016 flooding around Baton Rouge and the tragic after-effects of Hurricane Katrina. Many insurers won’t even bother giving a quote for coastal homes, as we experienced firsthand.
That said, costs will vary considerably depending on your home, your region, and many other factors. While shopping for coverage, it’s especially important to pick a homeowners insurance company that can quickly come to your aid and actually pay you in the event of a catastrophe. Check out our price comparison tool to get a sense of typical insurance premium prices in your area.
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To find the best homeowners insurance providers in Louisiana, we used a similar methodology to our 2016 review of national home insurers. To guide our research, we pored over reams of articles, government data, and pdfs full of legal jargon to distill the key factors that distinguish homeownership and insurance in Louisiana from other states. Then we looked at the top five largest homeowners insurance providers in Louisiana, carefully evaluating their coverage options and discounts offered. We made sure each of them was covered by the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (LIGA), a private non-profit that, during a major disaster, protects homeowners in case their insurer becomes insolvent and cannot cover your home damages. It’s similar to the FDIC, but for insurance companies..
We got price quotes on a home to get a sense of each company’s process and policies, paying special attention to fair pricing on hurricane deductibles and comprehensive coverage in the event of a disaster. We also checked out each company’s reputation with financial raters and consumers to make sure they followed through where they said they would. Companies with superior educational tools and resources on their websites and exceptional service got bonus points with us, too.
Louisiana Homeowners Insurance Reviews
State Farm has the second-best financial stability of the five companies we tested, next to USAA (A++ from A.M. Best, AA from S&P Global). It also gets respectable marks from customers. Of the five companies we tested, it had the second-highest satisfaction rate from Consumer Reports readers next to USAA, and tied USAA for the highest rating on “claims process” from JD Power. State Farm also have a considerable amount of educational resources, and a no-nonsense quoting process that clearly outlines the coverages.
That said, we were less impressed with some of State Farm’s coverage options in Louisiana. For a house near the shore, like Allstate and Liberty Mutual, State Farm wouldn’t even bother giving us a quote. For a house we quoted in Northern Louisiana — further removed from storm threats — it passes off a 5 percent hurricane deductible to the customer that is non-negotiable. In other words, in the less-likely event that a hurricane hit Shreveport, if you have a homeowners policy covering $150,000 of your home, you’d pay 5 percent of that ($7,500) before State Farm pays for any damages to your home from the hurricane. This deductible is a new normal for many homeowners in coastal areas, but we would’ve appreciated more flexibility in adjusting our coverage options. Allstate at least let us make the hurricane deductible optional.
You can offset your costs by bundling your home insurance with auto insurance, which brought our premium down about 40 percent, and State Farm offers many optional coverages, such as one for identity theft. In all, we like State Farm for its convenience and reputation, but is isn’t our top choice for Louisiana homeowners.
In our review of nationwide providers, we called Allstate a solid choice for first-time homebuyers. We stand by that assessment for most Louisiana homebuyers, too, with a few reservations.
One caveat is that Allstate wouldn’t give us a quote on a coastal property. The company is looking to lessen its risks in Louisiana, so homeowners considered too close to the Gulf will have to look elsewhere.
Homes further inland had favorable coverages. For a house in Caddo Parish, we were pleased with reasonably priced deductibles ($1,000–$2,000 for wind and hail, ditto for standard all-peril) that were easy to edit depending on your needs. A hurricane deductible was optional, unlike State Farm. In the quote process, we also liked how Allstate let us easily see how much our quote will go up or down as we adjusted the deductible.
One caveat: Don’t get tantalized by Allstate’s cheapest rates — its Standard option removes many key coverages. In a state as prone to weather problems as Louisiana, we’d highly recommend going for Allstate’s premium option, which has a cheaper deductible ($1,000), extended replacement costs for your home, and coverages for scheduled valuables and identity theft. Even for being “premium,” its price was still on par with the standard prices of other carriers we reviewed.
Best about Allstate are its educational resources and tools for customers, such as the Common Costly Claims tool. We plugged in our ZIP code and it told us the risks to look out for as a homeowner in our area.
Liberty Mutual had fair, clear coverage options and competitive rates. Like State Farm, it required us to choose a hurricane deductible for a property in Northern Louisiana, where Allstate and USAA didn’t. Unlike State Farm, though, Liberty Mutual allowed us to choose between a two- or five-percent hurricane deductible. Liberty Mutual also offers a wealth of optional coverages, including key endorsements for extended replacement cost and building code upgrades. These are recommended for older homes, which are often more costly to repair than their quoted value. Surprisingly, though, our quote did not include coverage for scheduled valuables, which was a standard offering in all other companies we tested.
We like Liberty Mutual’s vast array of discounts, too, and it isn’t shy about offering them. By our count, it had more than any of the other four companies we examined. At your discretion, you can tell LM where you are employed or alma mater; a phone representative said the company offers many discounts depending on where you work or went to school. Anyone who enrolls in the autopay bill program will get a discount, as will customers who beef up their fire alarms and security systems, buy a new home, or insure their home to 100 percent of its value.
In other areas, Liberty Mutual is less impressive. Consumer Reports readers and JD Power lamented the company’s so-so claims experience (3 out of 5 and 2 out of 4, respectively). Financial raters give LM stable grades all around (A from S&P, A from A.M. Best), but these looked less shiny next to USAA (AA+ / A++), State Farm (AA / A++), and Allstate (AA- / A+). In all, Liberty Mutual is a solid choice, if not a standout.
LA Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co.
Former NFL star Brett Favre is the spokesperson for LA Farm Bureau Insurance, a regional insurer in Louisiana. The company’s luster pretty much ended there. Its website was an unwelcoming introduction to its homeowners insurance offerings. We had to wade through large, blocky bits of legalese, and there were no details on coverages, the types of deductibles they offer, or any details on possible rates and discounts.
At the bottom of the treatise, it directed us to talk to a local LA Farm agent for more information. There’s no online quote process with LA Farm Bureau; you have to ask for one through a contact form online. It’s standard practice now for most companies to have thorough online quote processes, where you can get a sense of coverages without the frustrations of waiting to talk to a salesperson over the phone or by email.
After about 48 hours, a agent contacted us by email. He was polite, but the quote had a blocky, uninviting feel, like an accounting spreadsheet. Few terms were explained. This system was rigid compared to the ease of Allstate’s quoting system, where you can compare coverages and their differences side-by-side and edit them to your liking without having to email or call an agent.
There are virtually no educational materials or tools to help homeowners. Allstate, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual were all very forthcoming with the coverages it offers to new users, whether or not they talk to an agent.
In addition, LA Farm Bureau scored lower than competitors in financial stability (A- and “Stable” from A.M. Best, compared with A++ for State Farm and USAA and A+ for Allstate).
In all, LA Farm Bureau scored low with us for its unfriendly user experience and lower financial stability.
Of the five companies we tested, USAA was the only insurer to offer us coverage for a coastal home. It was a very high rate — $5,091 without discounts on a $289,000 home — but won us over anyway. It speaks somewhat to the company’s stability.
Now, USAA is only available to families with someone active or retired from the military. If you qualify, we recommend its services. USAA has a sterling reputation among customers. Out of the five companies we reviewed, USAA scored highest overall for satisfaction among Consumer Reports readers (92), doing especially well when it comes to claims (above average from JD Power and Consumer Reports) and timely payments (100 from Consumer Reports). You can be sure USAA will have your back financially, too — it had the highest stability rating of all the companies we tested (Aaa from Moody’s, which is the highest possible score).
Optional coverages abound with USAA, and they are easy to change. We were impressed with the Home Protector endorsement, which will “provide additional coverage if the amount of a covered loss exceeds your Dwelling coverage limit because of increased building costs, building code changes, inflationary effects from material shortages or additional debris removal expenses.” This comprehensive endorsement essentially includes optional endorsements that other companies offer a la carte, but we’d highly recommend it for customers looking for extra peace of mind.
USAA doesn’t have a flashy web presence like Allstate, and the educational resources are lacking. But its excellent reputation with customers and high financial stability make them our favorite choice of the insurers we reviewed in Louisiana.
Did You Know?
Many home insurers won’t cover anyone near the coast. But there are still backup options.
When we tried to get price quotes to insure a property in New Orleans, most insurers we tested — except USAA — said “no thanks.” They had no problem giving us a quote for properties in Shreveport or in the northern parts of the state, but coastal properties aren’t worth the risk for many companies. Any area south of the Intercoastal Waterway is in particular danger during a Category 1 or 2 storm, according to the state evacuation guide, as they are outside of the levee protection system.
So what should you do if you can’t get private insurance? For these situations, Louisiana has an “insurer of last resort” called Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. The non-profit, state-run group is more costly than most private insurers, but it is certainly better than nothing. Independent insurance agents can help you get on track for a policy with LCPIC. For many post-Katrina homeowners, says the Times-Picayune, LCPIC became the only option for insurance.
LIGA is your friend.
Whichever insurer you choose, make sure the company is covered by the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association (LIGA). In the event of a major catastrophe — a risk which Louisiana faces more than other states — insurers are at risk of running out of money and becoming insolvent. LIGA, like the FDIC, hedges against the possibility of a company becoming insolvent. If your insurance company goes under, and it has LIGA affiliation, you will be covered up to $500,000 in damages.
You can find the company’s insolvency list here, along with more information about how to file a claim.
Should I get flood insurance?
It was well-documented that many victims of the August 2016 flooding in Baton Rouge and beyond didn’t have flood insurance. As much as 80 percent of homeowners. In light of the tragedy, it bears repeating: homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flooding. You must purchase flood insurance separately, from FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program, NFIP.
So, should you get flood insurance?
“Everyone in Louisiana should have flood insurance,” said Melissa Becker, a flood-plains manager for the Rapides Area Planning Commission, to Town Talk Online.
Unfortunately, many houses in the 2016 flood weren’t seen to be in high-risk flood areas, so they didn’t see the need for flood insurance. The torrential downpours that affected Southern Louisiana could just as well have happened in Central Louisiana, says Becker.
If you live in a flood-prone area, insurance can get expensive, but if you can afford it, you should get it. Homeowners who live in a high-risk area who don’t carry flood insurance “are gambling, there’s no doubt about it,” says David LaCombe, of UDB Insurance in Alexandria. Talk to a local independent agent about your flood risk and how to obtain flood insurance, or read more on the Louisiana NFIP page. NFIP has neat calculators where you can determine your risk and estimate your annual flood insurance premium costs.
What’s the difference between “flood insurance” and “water damage?”
Now, most homeowners insurance policies cover “water damage.” How does that differ from flood damage?
Insurers define water damage as “damage caused by water that affects your house before it touches the ground,” says the San Francisco Gate. This can include damage caused by rain pumping through a hole in your roof, or a busted pipe leaking onto your home. Flood damage is “caused by water that has been on the ground at some point before damaging your home,” says Jim Kinmartin, a California independent insurance agent.
That doesn’t make your policy completely useless in a flood, however. If your home floods and looters steal valuables from your home, says the SF Gate, you are usually covered by in your insurance for the theft. It goes to show that your HO-3 policy is still worth its money in the event of a flood.
The Bottom Line
If you live north of the Intercoastal Waterway, our recommendation is State Farm. But remember: Premiums are based on a variety of factors, and the best way to find the policy that’s right for you is to compare multiple quotes. If you live in the southernmost part of the state, you will probably have trouble finding coverage from major insurers. In that situation, the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation may be your only option.
Find the best homeowners insurance in your area.
Get a quote by entering your ZIP code and start saving today.