The 5 Best Michigan Homeowners Insurance Companies
Most Michigan homes were built in the 1950s. These older homes bring a lot of beauty and unique charm to Michigan neighborhoods, but they also often bring outdated plumbing and electrical systems, aging roofs, and other unpleasant surprises to homeowners. Michigan is also known for its unpredictable weather, so even if your home was built more recently, an unexpected freeze or rampant wind gust could still prove problematic. The bottom line: Protecting your home with the right homeowners insurance policy is essential for all Michiganders.
Fortunately, homeowners insurance in Michigan is among the most affordable in the nation, with the average premium coming in at $839 per year (just under $70 per month). That said, premiums will always vary depending on your home, ZIP code, and many other factors. Use the quote tool to shop around and compare rates for your home.
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In order to find the best home insurance in Michigan, we used a similar methodology to what we used in our review on nationwide providers. We identified the five largest providers in Michigan and evaluated their coverage options, endorsements, and discounts. We studied each company’s online resources, reached out to customer service via phone and email, went through the quote process in five different cities across the state, and compared financial strength and customer satisfaction during the claims process. Lastly, we analyzed the data and ranked each provider based on their performance in each category. Here’s how they stack up.
Michigan Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Out of the five providers we looked at, State Farm ranked the highest for claims, endorsements, customer service, discounts, and financial strength. It stands out as the most well-rounded provider we evaluated, and the one we’d recommend for most people. Standard State Farm policies cover sewer backup, freezing, damage from the weight of snow or ice, and other basics important to Michiganders, and it’s one of only two companies in our list that offers an endorsement for building code upgrades. This optional coverage is a nice-to-have especially if you live in an older home — if your place is damaged by a covered peril, you may be responsible for upgrading your property to meet the current local building codes, and this endorsement will help cover the costs.
State Farm also has a decent offering of discounts, including up to 17 percent off when you bundle your homeowners insurance with an auto or life insurance policy. That’s not quite as impressive as the 30 percent bundled discount you might qualify for with Allstate, but it’s just above the 14 percent offered by Auto-Owners and the Auto Club. This discount alone could save you hundreds on your premium each year.
A close runner-up, Allstate was also competitive across the board. Allstate’s educational resources are the best of the Michigan providers we reviewed — and even stand out at the national level. The company’s website is informative, transparent, and full of useful tools to help you make an informed purchasing decision, which is especially helpful if you’re new to homeowners insurance. For example, the appropriately named Common & Costly Claims tool allows you to identify the most frequent and expensive household claims in your area. Simply entering your ZIP code in this tool gives you a list of the claims you’ll want to be sure you prioritize in your policy. For folks in Houghton, physical damage and water damage top the list; while wind and theft/burglary are most common in Lansing. We recommend checking out this tool even if you don’t end up buying insurance with Allstate.
Both State Farm and Auto-Owners outperform Allstate in Consumer Reports’ customer satisfaction survey. Allstate’s underwhelming Reader Score (a metric based on input from more than 90,000 Consumer Reports subscribers) is the main reason it’s not our number one pick. But Allstate still ranks comparatively well for making timely payments, so any deficiencies in the claims process don’t seem to impact the time it takes to compensate your loss.
Auto-Owners Insurance Co
When it comes time to file a claim, Auto-Owners Insurance is the clear leader. In fact, Auto- Owners’ Consumer Reports Reader Score was the third highest among 14 major companies in the survey, more than seven points higher than State Farm and 12 points higher than Allstate. Auto-Owners was also the only company we evaluated to receive the highest rating (5 out of 5) for timely payment, besting both State Farm and Allstate. The biggest drawback to Auto-Owners is the lack of educational resources and super-basic website. Instead of empowering you to make better informed decisions with educational tools and resources provided by Allstate, the only way to learn more about your policy and coverage options is by using your ZIP code to find your local agency. But since the claims process is arguably the most important part of insurance, it’s definitely worth it to spend the 20 minutes on the phone to learn about coverage and get a quote.
Hanover’s Platinum plans cover basics like water backup and sump overflow, but an available extended replacement cost endorsement sets the provider apart from Auto-Owners and the Auto Club. Hanover’s overall educational resources fall well short of Allstate and State Farm, but they do have a decent plan overview page, which allows you to easily compare coverage options. Don’t be fooled by its coverage discovery tool. It’s not a “fast and easy game” — it’s a slow journey through home, auto, boat, and several other types of coverage, which then requires you to enter your email to get your profile report. If you’re interested in Hanover, you’re better off just getting on the phone and speaking directly with a rep.
Auto Club Insurance
The Auto Club Insurance Group is one of the largest AAA clubs in the country, and not surprisingly, the company was the most competitive with its policy discounts. The Auto Club may not have the discount profile of Allstate, but it does provide perks like a multi-policy discount, and reduced rates if you have smoke detectors or other home security features in your home. There are also discounts available if you’ve recently made major upgrades to your roof, plumbing, or electrical systems. Similar to Auto-Owners and Hanover, there are very few resources to help you learn or to better understand your policy. The Auto Club also received an unimpressive rating of 2 out of 5 for Claims in a JD Power consumer survey, which is the lowest score among the five we reviewed.
Did You Know?
Shopping around will always pay off.
Nobody enjoys buying insurance, but unless you’re absolutely committed to a specific provider, it’s worth it to shop around. To illustrate just how much premiums can vary among providers, we went through the quote process for the same $200,000 home in five cities across Michigan. As you can see, the location of the home played a huge role in the overall cost.
Premium / Month
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The average premium from State Farm was $129 per month, $11 cheaper than the average quotes from Allstate. Saving $11 per month may not initially seem significant, but over the course of five years, that’s a difference of $660. Still not convinced? Check out the $37 difference between the two policies in Grand Rapids. Over five years you’d save more than $2,200 by going with State Farm.
That said, even though it’s tempting to focus on finding the lowest possible premium, paying a little extra to make sure you have the right coverage for your home is far more important. For example, personal liability of $100,000 may seem like more than enough coverage, but in one of our quotes, we bumped the personal liability coverage up to $300,000 and the monthly premium only increased by $1 per month. If you have a swimming pool, trampoline, or playground equipment, for example, that nominal modification can give you added peace of mind that you’re covered should an accident occur.
Sudden/accidental water coverage may come in handy.
The unpredictable weather in Michigan can wreak havoc on a home. Wind and heavy snow are a given, but even something as simple as an unexpected cold front can cause major problems for plumbing systems. Frozen pipes are a common source of household flooding that more than 50 million Americans deal with each year. Just two years ago, the harsh winter weather in Kalamazoo resulted in the most cases of frozen pipes in the past 35 years.
Most insurance providers don’t cover damage to frozen pipes themselves, but all five of the providers we reviewed do offer coverage for damage done by the flooding water. According to data from Auto-Owners Insurance, three inches of water in a 1,000-square-foot home would lead to $11,450 worth of damage. If the water rises to six inches, the cost of repairs tops $20,000. When you’re shopping for a policy, keep an eye out for sudden / accidental water coverage.
Double-check if your septic tank is excluded.
For more than a decade, Michigan lawmakers have been working to improve regulations associated with septic systems. Michigan’s septic system regulations are the weakest in the nation, as only 11 of the state’s 83 counties have programs that require septic tank inspections (and the inspection is only required as part of real estate transactions).
There are 1.3 million homes in Michigan with septic tanks or onsite wastewater treatments systems, and Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality reported that roughly 4,300 residential septic tanks failed in 2014. The average cost of replacing a septic tank is just under $5,000, but expenses can easily crest the $10K mark. On septic? Make sure it’s covered with your homeowners insurance. And be certain to properly maintain your septic tank as failure to do so may be a factor if you need to file a claim. This guide from Genesee County provides a great overview of septic tanks, including best practices on how to keep them maintained an operating correctly.