The 5 Best Utah Homeowners Insurance Companies
If you’ve purchased a home in Utah, congratulations: Not only do you have a gorgeous state to live in, but you also have the third cheapest homeowners insurance rates in the country. Residents can rest a bit easier paying an average $580 a year compared to $952 on average nationwide. The low rates are due largely to the relative safety of the Utah from natural disasters — it has not experienced a federally declared disaster since 2012.
Though the threat of a Great Utah Earthquake looms larger than geologists may have previously thought (more on that later), a property owner in Utah should be prepared to shell out for standard risks such as replacement costs, medical liability, and the occasional wildfire — but that’s about all. We know that doesn’t make the process of surveying and choosing among homeowners insurance options any less daunting.
Amica Mutual was our top pick among national providers, but we took a closer look at Utah and its top five providers by market share and then ranked them to determine the best. We investigated right through the process of getting quotes for an existing property in Salt Lake City.
Quotes in general can vary a lot from home to home, depending on many different factors such as the precise location, when it was built, and so on. Use the quote tool below to get more accurate info on insuring your own little slice of Utah.
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Utah Homeowners Insurance Reviews
A heavy-hitter in every category we considered, Allstate is our all-around favorite for homeowners insurance in Utah. Allstate dominated in the customer service arena with a fabulous website, chock full of helpful resources and clear explanations of coverage and plenty of discounts. It also has solid ratings for processing claims from J.D. Power and an excellent financial reputation: “stable” according to Moody’s and “A+” according to A.M. Best.
Also of note is that Allstate is now offering coverage for homesharing in a few states including Utah, so if you’re renting out your ski chalet on Airbnb and some of your taxidermy is vandalized, it can be covered. This forward-thinking is still rare in homeowners insurance policies, so take advantage if it fits your property.
The only major drawback was that we couldn’t get finish getting a quote online- because our home was too old. It was built in the 1890s, and we knew it was going to require some upkeep but it was just so cute, and the location was so ideal and the schools are good… you get the idea. If you also have an old yet charming bungalow in the heart of Salt Lake City, you may need to muscle up and call a local agent yourself – but they will already have your information from the online form, and we think you’ll be satisfied with the final product.
Farmers is another great option, with solid claims processing ratings from Consumer Reports and J.D. Power to prove it. Providing a likewise clear and informative internet shopping experience, Farmers and Allstate actually tied for the greatest number of endorsements offered. This makes for a wide range of possible coverage options to get what you need in Utah’s varied locales.
Farmers is undoubtedly strong financially, but when rated next to our #1 Allstate, Farmers fell a step behind with a “A” rather than “A+” from A.M. Best and “A+” rather than “AA-“ from Standard and Poor’s. It’s a small but noticeable difference that could matter when push comes to large-scale earthquake (see below).
Farmers is also our most costly option: It had the highest premium quotes for our Salt Lake City hideaway, between $811 and $1057 annually (compared to just $565 from State Farm.) On the plus side, these options were laid out nicely in three tiers, and we could adjust amounts of coverage within each of three three tiers and see the changes immediately reflected in the estimate – very sophisticated and technologically way beyond our lowest ranked option, Bear River Mutual.
Ironically, though the quotes were highest, Farmers had the most discounts available, with twenty-seven ways to save mentioned on their website for everything from being smoke-free to LEED certified. The quote process even offered a previously unmentioned discount for “scientists.” We were advised that proper documentation would be required, but overall, Farmers gets points for customer service and affordability on account of all the support available to work with customers in Utah and beyond.
Coming in for the bronze, State Farm had the best in reputation for claims processing in our top five. It had the best scores from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports including the highest reader score of 82, compared to 78 for Farmers and 77 for Allstate. State Farm also rocked the financial stability portion with the strongest ratings of all. In addition, State Farm gave us the lowest quote – $565 annually or $47 a month. At less than your Utah ski pass and coupled with seventeen discounts mentioned throughout the website, that all seemed very affordable to us.
There were fewer discounts available than our top two choices, and fewer endorsements, which took State Farm down a peg. The online resources were way less appealing as well, featuring just a few basic videos and little other helpful information – not even a FAQ section. Though Utah may not be a hot spot for homeowners insurance, we still want to be proactive and informed, and we would appreciate a bit more guidance in that regard. That said, State Farm is not messing around when it comes to processing claims and being a national financial powerhouse, and that could be what our bungalow needs.
America National (ANPAC)
Also known as American National Property and Casualty or “ANPAC,” American National is definitely a smaller player in terms of homeowners insurance providers by marketshare. So small, in fact, that groups like J.D. Power and Consumer Reports did not care to mention it in their studies on claims processing and customer satisfaction. As a result, we cannot vouch for those categories, but an “A” from both A.M. Best and Standard and Poor’s leads us to believe it is financially stable.
It also has a unique “cash back” discount program: after three claim-free years, you can get twenty-five percent of your first year premium back. In Utah, where natural disasters are on your side, chances are you could benefit from this. And with a quote of just $698 annually, the up-front investment is not too demanding.
Like Farmers, the quote tool features the ability to change amounts in categories like “personal liability” and see the readjusted quote, which is deliciously transparent. However, American National’s overall online resources leave something to be desired – namely, information. The FAQ page is worthless, there’s little else by way of customer education, and their quote form asks you point blank for the replacement cost of your home. Um, what? Was that somewhere in the papers we signed?
Most other online quoting processes such as Allstate’s will ask questions to determine this number or get comparable information from you, but having to guess a number on the spot made us feel less confident about our quote. (In case you were wondering, replacement cost is the cost to rebuild your home with similar materials if it is destroyed. It is not the same as the market value or what you purchased the home for. The replacement cost estimate is usually made by professional builders or certain software. Ask your provider how they recommend determining this value.) In conclusion, more investigation is warranted if you want to put in the time and make ANPAC your provider.
Bear River Mutual
Bear River Mutual is a different animal entirely (no pun intended), and this may be refreshing to those of you who moved out west to get away from suffocating skylines and corporate America. As a mutual, there are no private investors driving decisions and demanding profits, so the rates can be kept lower. Because Bear River Mutual serves Utah only, the coverage is drawn up from local concerns exclusively, which as we know are rather minimal and thus also helps keep premiums low.
The flipside of all this is a lower public profile for comparison (no ratings from J.D. Power or Consumer Reports) and potentially less financial strength, though no ratings were available from the big rating agencies such as J.D. Power and Moody’s. While this could spell suspicion for some, others may find it freeing. Their website, though technologically as sparse as a backwoods cabin, espouses all of the service that the company does for the community and deep Utah pride.
Bear River was also the only provider we looked at to explicitly mention earthquakes, and that reflects the localism that we could be into. Also, ten authorized agents within just seven miles of our address in Salt Lake City seems pretty darn convenient, and the hilarious Jedi bear that came up with a 404 message and “This is not the web page you’re looking for” almost makes up for the lack of an online quoting system… almost. If you’re as fiercely local as Bear River Mutual, it would love to have you, and your home would likely benefit. Again, check the quote tool below for a full report on your options.
Earthquakes in Utah: The Big One?
Utah has historically rested safe and sound from natural disasters, but that could all change in an instant – and pretty dramatically too. According to a recent report, the probability of a major earthquake in Salt Lake was raised to forty-three percent, which double what experts had previously thought.
The areas around the Sierra-front faults can expect earthquakes of magnitude-6.5 every thirty years or so, but it’s been sixty years since the last one of those. The current projections are for a magnitude-6.75 or higher quake within the next fifty years, and experts say a magnitude-7 in the Salt Lake area would be enough to kill and seriously injure over eleven thousand people and take out $33 billion of property.
And a smaller quake in the meantime is even more likely: The State of Utah Department of Insurance cites data from the same report pointing to a ninety-three percent chance (read: highly likely) that a magnitude-5.0 quake will strike within the next fifty years.
Enough to make you shaky at the knees? If you want to invest in earthquake coverage, here’s what you need to know:
Earthquakes aren’t covered in regular homeowners policies.
That’s probably why only fifteen to twenty percent of homeowners in Utah are covered. Earthquakes can be added as an endorsement or written as a separate policy. Either way, it’s going to cost you more money.
The good news is that most homeowners insurance providers in Utah carry earthquake coverage even though few advertise it. State Farm and Farmers are the two most popular for earthquake coverage in Utah, but ask your agent at your current provider for options.
Don’t wait until an earthquake happens to add coverage.
Most people usually rush to get earthquake coverage after any small tremor and then cancel it quickly when nothing else happens. Providers are wise to this, and so most do not write new earthquake coverage immediately after there has been seismic activity in a given area.
Also, there’s typically a wait period of up to 30 days before newly added earthquake coverage becomes binding, i.e. takes effect. Since the exact timing and strength of earthquakes are notoriously hard to predict, you should probably get on it sooner rather than later.
Preparedness is key.
The Bottom Line
Allstate is your best bet for the perfect policy in Utah, but don’t let our recommendation stop you from getting a wide variety of quotes. Premiums vary greatly from zip code to zip code, and you could wind up with better, cheaper coverage from another one of our recommendations, like Farmers, State Farm, or Bear River Mutual. And when you do apply for a policy, don’t forget to investigate earthquake coverage!
Find the best homeowners insurance in your area.
Get a quote by entering your ZIP code and start saving today.