The 5 Best New York Homeowners Insurance Companies

As a homeowner in New York it’s hard to avoid extremes. There’s snowmageddon in the winter; heat waves in the summer; and just when you have things figured out, the extremes get, well, more extreme. Since 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared a disaster nine times in New York, nearly twice as many as the national average of five. Whether you’re tucked away on an upstate farm, or living in the city, finding the right home insurance policy is a must.

The average homeowners insurance premium in New York comes in at $1,213 per year, which is a few hundred dollars higher than the nationwide average of $1,034. Higher premiums in New York City drive the statewide average up, though, so if you’re not in the city, don’t let that price tag scare you. Compare rates for your area using the quote tool below. (The best way to get a good rate is simply to shop around.)

Find the best homeowners insurance in your area.

Get a quote by entering your ZIP code and start saving today.

When we set out to find the best homeowners insurance in New York, we followed an approach similar to the one used in our review on nationwide companies. We started by identifying the largest home insurance companies in New York, and then we evaluated their coverage options and discounts, and compared their financial strength, claims management, and customer service. We went through the quote process, read the fine print, and tested all their online tools. And finally, we gathered up all the data and ranked each provider based on their overall performance in each category. Here’s how they measure up.

New York Homeowners Insurance Reviews

State Farm

State Farm topped our list because it has better claims management than any other provider we evaluated. In Consumer Reportshomeowners insurance survey, State Farm’s reader score (a key rating based on input from 90,000 Consumer Reports subscribers) was an astonishing 15 points higher than Allstate, and edged out both Liberty Mutual and Travelers by two points (Chubb was not included in the study). In addition, it was the only provider among those we evaluated to receive a 4 out 5 for damage amount, an indication that customers are happy with State Farm’s damage estimates, which ultimately impacts the amount of money you receive when you file a claim.

State Farm fared well in our evaluation of its educational materials. (If you’re a first-time homeowner or are new to home insurance, these online educational materials can help you get more familiar with your coverage options and make more informed policy decisions.) State Farm’s resources include a quote tool, a home inventory calculator, and a decent learning center that’s good, but isn’t the industry leader. That prize goes to Allstate; it’s website has better versions of all these resources and a really useful Common & Costly Claims tool to help you determine which coverage options you should prioritize based on your ZIP code.

Allstate

Allstate doesn’t just lead the pack with its learning center; when it comes to discounts, Allstate is most impressive, too. All five providers we evaluated offer basic discounts for things like remaining claims free or signing up for multiple policies, but Allstate distinguishes itself right off the bat — it’s the only provider that offers a welcome discount. This unique discount gives you 10 percent off your premium for the first two years just for signing up with Allstate. If you’re over 55 and retired, you qualify for an additional 10 percent deduction, another discount unmatched by any of the other top providers. Allstate’s multi-policy discount can even reach up to 30 percent, which is 8 percentage points higher than State Farm’s.

Allstate’s reputation for claims management isn’t so perfect. In Consumer Reportshomeowners insurance survey, Allstate’s reader score was the lowest of the 14 providers included in the survey. However, Allstate is on par with the competition in J.D. Power’s more comprehensive US Household Insurance Study, which takes into consideration policy offerings, pricing, billing, payment, and contacting the insurer, in addition to claims. Allstate makes up for the flaws in its claims process with strengths in these other areas.

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual is one of the most competitive all-around providers. It came in a close second to State Farm for claims management and just behind Allstate for customer service. Liberty Mutual was one of the most well-rounded providers we evaluated, but the company’s unique benefits really set it apart. For example, Liberty Mutual’s Emergency Home Repairs service is available 24/7; if you suffer a covered loss, call and the company will immediately send professionals to begin repairs. If a major storm puts a hole in your roof or fills your basement with water, it’s nice to know you can get on the phone and get help quickly. All of the home insurance providers we evaluated have a 24/7 claims management service, but only Liberty Mutual offers immediate repairs service.

Liberty Mutual’s exclusive group discounts also mean that if you’re part of participating groups, associations, or work for one of the 14,000 employers that take part in the program — including the New York Public Employees Federation Membership Benefit Program, and many SUNY alumni groups — the coverage may be even cheaper. And it’s not offered by either State Farm or Chubb.

Travelers

Similar to Allstate, Travelers stood out for its wide variety of discounts. Though not as competitive as the 30 percent multi-policy discount offered by Allstate, bundling your home insurance with an auto, umbrella, boat, or personal articles policy can save you up to 15 percent. In addition, you’ll save another 5 percent for signing up for auto-pay, a deduction only offered by Travelers and Allstate. And, Travelers is the only company that offers a discount for certified green homes, that’ll save you as much as another 5 percent.

We’d caution anyone with older homes to take note that Travelers doesn’t offer ordinance and law coverage for residential homes with a replacement cost of less than $1 million, an endorsement both State Farm and Allstate offer. Ordinance and law coverage is particularly important for older homes that may be required to upgrade electrical, plumbing, or other systems to meet new ordinances and laws after an incident. That $1 million floor may be totally reasonable if you live in NYC, but considering the statewide median home price in residential counties is $128,000, that $1 million benchmark is pretty steep. Without ordinance and law coverage, you’d be on the hook for any upgrade expenses.

Chubb

If you’re looking for white-glove service and extended coverage options, Chubb is the provider for you. Chubb offered many of the same endorsements as the other four providers we evaluated, plus several distinguishable extended coverage options. For example, with Chubb’s Masterpiece plan, an appraiser will personally visit your home, estimate your home’s replacement cost, and help you determine how much coverage you need. Standard policies from Allstate or Liberty Mutual may not even come with jewelry protection; the standard policy with Chubb includes $5,000. Most flood insurance policies are written by the National Flood Insurance Program, with standard dwelling coverage of $250,000 and personal belongings coverage of $100,000, but Chubb offers an alternative flood plan that can provide up to $15 million in total property coverage. You get the point.

Did You Know?

Save money by comparing quotes from multiple home insurance providers.

One of the best ways to save money on homeowners insurance is to get quotes from more than one provider. To demonstrate why this is important, we went through the online quote process with three different home insurance companies in cities across the state. The thought of going through the purchasing process with multiple providers may not be very appealing, but as you can see in the chart below, the same $200,000 home in each city received different quotes from each provider.

Liberty Mutual

Allstate

Travelers

Premium / Mo.

Premium / Mo.

Premium / Mo.

Albany

$72
$73
$61

Buffalo

$66
$58
$57

Ithaca

$64
$66
$52

Our biggest savings — $14 a month! — may not sound like much, but over the course of five years that’s $840 that won’t leave your pocket. In some cases, like with Liberty Mutual and Allstate in Albany, the quotes may end up being pretty similar, but it’s still worth it to get a few quotes and see what’s out there, as a little extra effort up front can result in some legitimate savings.

But what if you live in the city? State Farm was the only company of those we evaluated that offered online quotes for residents of New York City, so we got a quote from State Farm for a $550,000 home in three of the five boroughs. A home’s location and value play major roles in the cost of the premium, and as you might expect, you can expect to pay more in the city.

State Farm

Premium / Mo.

Brooklyn

$118

Queens

$127

Bronx

$128

Use the quote tool below to connect with agents and compare rates from multiple providers in your area.

Find the best homeowners insurance in your area.

Get a quote by entering your ZIP code and start saving today.

If you live near the coast, you’ll want to be prepared for future storm surges.

Catastrophic claims in New York have been on the rise over the past several years. From 2010–2013, catastrophe-related claims accounted for 35 percent of all claims in New York (to provide a little context, catastrophic claims accounted for just 12 percent of all claims in the previous 13 years combined). Hurricane Sandy’s record storm surge in 2012 is responsible for a lot of that damage: It destroyed 305,000 homes in New York and caused an estimated $19 billion worth of damage. But that doesn’t mean we’re in the clear for the foreseeable future; a study from 2014 found that a storm surge could overtop Manhattan’s seawall once every four to five years, a major increase compared to the 19th century rate of once every 100 to 400 years.

In order to better prepare for major storms, New York City has outlined a comprehensive waterfront plan, but it’s still important for all homeowners near the coast to pay special attention to their wind- and water-related coverage. With most companies, including our top five, flood insurance needs to be added as an additional policy. If you have a multimillion dollar home, the alternative flood coverage offered by Chubb is definitely worth exploring. In the event of a major storm, you can take some solace knowing that all five companies we evaluated have catastrophe response services to help resolve your claim quickly.

Flood insurance? Check. What else should you prioritize?

We recommend using Allstate’s Common & Costly Claims tool, which, as you might suspect, specifies the most common and costly claims in each ZIP code. We looked at the most frequent claims using ZIP codes from cities across the state.

Comparison of Cities Throughout New York

Top 3 Most Common Claims

#1

#2

#3

Niagara Falls

Wind

Theft / Burglary

Water Damage

Syracuse

Wind

Water Damage

Physical Damage

Albany

Water Damage

Wind

Theft / Burglary

Utica

Wind

Weight of Ice or Snow

Water Damage

White Plains

Wind

Water Damage

Physical Damage

Comparison of New York City Boroughs

Top 3 Most Common Claims

#1

#2

#3

Manhattan

Water Damage

Theft / Burglary

Physical Damage

The Bronx

Wind

Water Damage

Fire

Brooklyn

Wind

Water Damage

Hail

Queens

Water Damage

Wind

Physical Damage

Staten Island

Wind

Water Damage

Physical Damage

A few key observations:

  • Wind and water damage are by far the most common claims. Standard policies from all five providers we evaluated include coverage for wind damage, but you’ll still want to be sure you’re protected there. It’s also important to note that water damage claims refer to leaks from burst pipes, clogged drain, or other accidents, not flood damage. Remember, you’ll need to pick up a separate policy for flood protection.
  • Physical damage, which Allstate defines as “loss or damage to personal property not described or listed elsewhere in the homeowner’s policy,” showed up in 50 percent of the ZIP codes we sampled. Allstate, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual all provide a home inventory tool, so you really have no excuse to not catalog your belongings. If you ever need to file a claim, you’ll be happy you did.
  • Even though the weight of ice or snow only shows up once in these 10 areas, don’t let that fool you. The fact that this seasonal claim still appears among the perils that happen year-round speaks to how frequently it actually occurs.

Don’t base your whole policy on the Common & Costly Claims tool, but it’s a great starting point. Speak to your local agent, your neighbor, or do some additional online research if you’re still uncertain about which coverage you need.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of whether you live in the heart of Harlem or the outskirts of Syracuse, as a homeowner in New York, you’ve got to be prepared for inclement weather. If you’ve settled on the coast, protecting your home with flood insurance is a must. Finding the best homeowners insurance starts with getting quotes from multiple providers. Enter your ZIP code in the tool below to start shopping around and comparing your coverage options.

Find the best homeowners insurance in your area.

Get a quote by entering your ZIP code and start saving today.