The Best Homeowners Insurance

More than just a low premium

If you own a home (or are about to buy one), congratulations! It’s an undeniable accomplishment, a major financial asset, and unless you’ve also got an eye on a luxury yacht, it will likely be your single biggest investment ever. That last part is an intimidating fact when so much that could go wrong is out of your control — storms, earthquakes, floods — but that’s why there’s insurance. The best homeowners insurance providers will have the perfect mix of financial strength, coverage options, and customer service to keep you satisfied no matter where in the claims-filing process you are. Our top pick, Amica Mutual, impressed us across the board, but we encourage you to compare multiple rates to find the best fit for you by using our tool below:

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Our Picks for Best Homeowners Insurance Companies

  • Amica

    Best Overall
  • Allstate

    Best for First-Time Homeowners
  • State Farm

    Most Well-Rounded
  • Travelers

    Best for Green Homes
  • MetLife

    Highest Standard Coverage

If you’re new to home insurance, you might be surprised to learn it’s not just protection for the physical structure of your home, or even everything in it. Homeowners insurance policies also include liability coverage if you’re sued for damages or injuries to someone else — say your dog bit your neighbor, or someone slipped on your front steps. Between these two coverage types there are tons of options: You can raise or lower the dollar limits, choose how to set the replacement value of your possessions, and add on coverages.

If it’s starting to sound like you won’t know where to start, you’re not alone: 60 percent of US homes are underinsured, a 2013 study by Marshall & Swift/Boeckh found. That means the majority of homeowners don’t know what kind of coverage they should get and are actually at a greater financial risk than they need to be.

So in our quest to find the best home insurance companies, we paid close attention to the providers whose websites and customer service reps really break it down. We also looked for carriers whose financial strength is beyond a doubt, compared policy types, and dug into the single most important factor: customer satisfaction during the inherently unpleasant process of filing a claim.

Our Picks for the Best Homeowners Insurance Companies

Best Overall - Amica

Amica has consistently been ranked among the top homeowners carriers by J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, due to its sky-high customer satisfaction with the all-important claims process. None of our other four finalists came anywhere close to Amica’s claims score.

Not only are Amica customers generally happy with the amounts they receive to cover losses, but also they report the most hassle-free claims experience of all the carriers who made our final cut. To top it off, Amica was the only insurer on our list to earn the highest possible financial strength rating from both A.M. Best (A++) and Standard & Poor’s (AAA), an elite marker to give policyholders added peace of mind.

Unlike Allstate and State Farm, Amica uses “direct writers” rather than agents to sell its products. This means that customers don’t have a one-on-one relationship with “their” insurance agent, but instead deal with a different Amica rep anytime they have a question, claim, or want to make changes to their policy (just like when you call your cellphone carrier). While this may be a drawback for customers who value a personal relationship with their agent, it’s really a matter of preference. Our phone calls to Amica were always answered promptly, by a courteous, knowledgeable rep, as were our Live Chats — a service only Amica offered among our finalists.

Amica was the clear winner for customer satisfaction and the only finalist with live online chat.

Best for First-Time Homeowners - Allstate

When it comes to educating prospective buyers about the intricacies of homeowners insurance, Allstate stands out. Its website has the most comprehensive education materials of any of our finalists — particularly impressive was an online “Common and Costly Claims” tool that lets shoppers type in their ZIP code to see the most common claims in their region, complete with average dollar amounts. It even has a startlingly realistic GoodHome home report that plays a Google Street View video of your home (or potential home) as it enumerates its risks.

Allstate also offered the most discounts, a full slate of available endorsements, and its phone reps clearly answered our specific coverage questions. In terms of claims satisfaction, it was a runner-up only to Amica, matching Travelers and State Farm and barely edging out MetLife.

Allstate’s helpful common claims tool lists the most common and most expensive claims in your ZIP code.

Most Well-Rounded - State Farm

State Farm tied for second in financial strength, claims satisfaction, and customer service, and would’ve ranked second overall if not for Allstate’s dazzling online education materials. State Farm’s excellent financial strength ratings (A++ from A.M. Best; AA from S&P) were second only to claims powerhouse Amica, and its open perils coverage had some of the best standard features we saw, including built-in provisions for water backup and building code upgrades. State Farm writes more homeowners insurance than any other carrier in America — worth noting if only because that speaks to its exceptional customer retention.

Other Carriers to Consider

Travelers tied with State Farm in every measure except the J.D. Power claims experience rating, and even there it was only one “power circle” behind. This is a very slight difference, and who knows — it could conceivably move up next year. Travelers is still a very solid option for home insurance, with superb Financial Strength Ratings from A.M. Best (A++) and S&P (AA), comprehensive coverage, and customer service that makes buying the right policy easier.

MetLife’s customer service left something to be desired, particularly its website, which devotes little more than a page to homeowners insurance. But it redeemed itself with a standard coverage offering that’s exceedingly rare in today’s market: guaranteed replacement cost coverage for both structure and contents. This means that if your home and everything inside are completely destroyed, your MetLife policy guarantees the cost of replacing them. Not many insurers even offer guaranteed replacement cost these days, much less as a standard coverage. We like it because it directly addresses the core principle of homeowners insurance: total protection against catastrophe. That said, there isn’t much difference between guaranteed replacement cost coverage and extended replacement cost coverage — which is available as an endorsement from all our other finalists.

Find the best homeowner insurance in your area.

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

Did You Know?

Homeowners insurance protects more than just your home.

One of the biggest misconceptions about homeowners insurance is that it covers only the physical structure of your home. In fact, a standard policy should cover all six of the following:

Dwelling (also called Coverage A). This includes the main building, and its plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems, against damage from outside forces.
Other structures (or Coverage B). This pays for damage to fences, sheds, garages, guest cottages, and any other structure not connected to your house.
Personal property (or Coverage C). This reimburses you for lost, stolen, or ruined possessions such as furniture, electronics, and clothing, even when they aren’t on your property. You can choose to insure them for their actual cash value (the original value, less depreciation) or their replacement value (what it costs to buy a replacement in similar condition).
Loss of use (or Coverage D). This pays for your living expenses during the time you’re unable to live in your damaged home.
Liability (or Coverage E). This covers your financial loss if you or anyone in your family is sued for damages or injuries to someone else. The event does not have to happen on your property. Increased limits for liability coverage — important if you own valuable assets that could be targeted in a lawsuit — can be added on as “umbrella coverage.”
Medical payments to others (or Coverage F). This is intended to pay for relatively minor medical bills resulting from an injury, like if a friend cuts their finger while helping you make dinner.

You’re probably underinsured.

If you already have homeowners insurance, there’s a 50-50 chance you’re underinsured. Many people mistakenly insure their home based on the amount they paid for it, when the true cost of rebuilding is significantly higher. “If you have a mortgage, your lender may only require you to purchase a policy with enough coverage to protect their interest — particularly if you have a low balance,” says Christina Moore, a compliance and risk management VP at SWBC. “But in the event of a substantial or total loss, the cost of rebuilding your property could be much more, leaving you with potentially large out-of-pocket expenses.”

Your coverage should be enough to rebuild the structure in the event that it’s totally destroyed, even if prices for supplies go up following a disaster. To get a rough idea of what you need, multiply your home’s square footage by the prevailing cost of building materials in your area.

Very valuable items need their own special endorsements.

Everything in your home – including your fine furs, your original art, and your heirloom jewelry — is covered by your standard policy only up to a specific dollar amount. To insure your most valuable possessions for their full replacement value, you’ll need to purchase a special endorsement for their official appraised value. In insurance-speak this is called “scheduling” valuables.

Flood insurance isn’t part of a standard homeowners policy.

Insurance for flooding that happens as a result of a storm and not from a pipe bursting or sewage backup is not covered by your homeowners insurance. Instead, it’s available in a separate policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The financial risk is carried by the federal government, so it sets the price for your area. Even if you don’t live in a floodplain, it’s a good idea to consider flood insurance: The Insurance Information Institute cites it as the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States.

Homeowners insurance covers disasters; home warranties cover mechanical breakdowns.

Homeowners insurance is there to protect you from financial ruin in the event of a disaster, not to cover normal wear and tear. A home warranty, by contrast, covers the mechanical breakdown of systems in the home like plumbing and electricity. Sound like something you want? We’ve done a home warranty review too.

The Bottom Line

Amica Mutual earned our “Best Overall” badge by excelling in every major area: financial strength, customer service, and claims experience. The most important aspects of homeowners insurance are getting the right amount of coverage followed by a painless claims experience. A cheap premium isn’t worth much if you have to beg for your coverage when you need it.

Best Homeowners Insurance: Summed Up

Take Action

Calculate your home’s reconstruction cost. In the event of a disaster, it’s vital that the amount of coverage you have is right — that’s what is going to pay for your repairs and/or a full rebuild. Your coverage limits for personal belongings and other structures are related to the amount of coverage on your dwelling, so you’ll have better protection for all your property if you lift your dwelling limit.

Catalogue your belongings. “I recommend that people create video evidence of all their belongings, as well as the inside and outside of their home,” says Jeffrey D. Diamond, adjunct professor of insurance law at Georgia State University College of Law. The Insurance Information Institute also offers a free online tool that makes it easy to remember everything you need to catalog, and then keep it stored online. “The more ways in which you can establish and prove the features of your home, as well as the quality and quantity of your personal property before a loss occurs,” Diamond adds, “the better your homeowners insurance coverage will serve you at the time of need, if and when the need arises.”

Get a few quotes by phone. “Calling around to obtain quotes will take some time, but it is worth it to compare coverage and rates,” says Moore. Unlike auto insurance quotes, homeowners insurance quotes are more accurate when you call. The online tools are attractive because they make it appear easy to compare quotes from multiple carriers at once, but they often oversimplify in their information collection. For instance, you might be eligible for a discount from a certain carrier that wasn’t factored into the comparison, or you might want a specific endorsement it didn’t ask about. Call, go through each carrier’s specific questions, and then you’ll receive quotes that are worth comparing.

Find the best homeowner insurance in your area.

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

The Best Homeowners Insurance by State

Every state has different insurance providers, as well as unique circumstances that affect policies and coverage. We’ll be reviewing the five largest providers in every state using a methodology similar to the one for this review on nationwide providers. Check back soon to see if your state has been reviewed yet.

More Homeowners Insurance Reviews

We’ve been digging deep into homeowners insurance for several years now, and have published additional reviews. However, we haven’t finished updating them to be consistent with our latest round of research. Be on the lookout for updates in the upcoming weeks.