The 5 Best Connecticut Homeowners Insurance Companies
Connecticut’s annual premiums for homeowners insurance are on the higher side — on average $1,337 per year for an HO-3 policy, compared to the nationwide average of $1,132. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your home’s size, your assets, and your address. Use our tool to find your best rates:
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According to George Bradner, director of Property and Casualty Division at the Connecticut Insurance Department (CID), Connecticut homeowners have seen a 30 percent increase in the average annual insurance premium over the past five years; at $1,337, it’s now the ninth highest in the nation. “Our average home price is higher than many other states, and that’s one of the things that drives the premiums,” he explains. “People are seeing rates increasing throughout the state, especially along the coast.”
Especially along the coast indeed. Connecticut has $567.8 billion of property insured along its coast, according to the CID, which comes to 65 percent of all the insured property in the state — a ratio second only to Florida. In this market, finding a great home insurance provider can make a big difference to your wallet (and your customer satisfaction). It all starts with getting a quote for your home; we recommend using the quote tool below.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Connecticut
But choosing the best Connecticut homeowners insurance is about more than choosing the company with the cheapest rates. Making sure the coverage options are robust enough for your home also matters — as well as choosing a company that you trust to have your back if you ever need to file a claim.
To help you out, we looked into the five largest (by market share) homeowners insurance providers in the state: Liberty Mutual, Chubb, Travelers, Allstate, and State Farm. Comparing companies required a process similar to our review on nationwide providers, including the collection of customer satisfaction results from Consumer Reports and J.D. Power; financial scores from Moody’s, A.M. Best, and Standard & Poor’s; and discounts, quotes, and website resources from the five providers themselves. Here’s what we found:
Connecticut Homeowners Insurance Reviews
At 12.2 percent, Liberty Mutual is the largest home insurer in the state by market share. The company, along with State Farm, scored better than the other providers we looked at for consumer satisfaction and its website was one of the most informative: Coverage options and discounts are clearly outlined, and it gives you an immediate online quote — no calling an agent, no waiting around for an email. Standout discounts include one for higher education, which we didn’t see in any of the other four providers we reviewed, plus another for LEED-certified green homes, which only Travelers offers. Liberty Mutual’s financial stability ratings fell just below the other four providers, but still remains in the A range. (For context, any A is rated as “excellent” by A.M. Best, so you don’t need to worry so much about your claim falling through.)
One of the things we surprisingly liked best was Liberty Mutual’s easily searchable blog, “The Torch.” It was a small detail that spoke volumes: We searched for many subjects including ice dams, trees, dogs, and pools and found relevant, helpful results each time. State Farm and Allstate also have blogs, but they aren’t searchable — and thus, we discovered, not quite as useful.
Chubb’s niche is a more affluent customer: It will not insure any property for less than $1 million. In a state where the median home value is $239,300, that leaves a lot of people out. The Chubb site was also the least useful for consumers looking for basic home insurance questions or discounts, and it does not have a customer service number available, only an email form for general questions. We called several Connecticut Chubb agents searching for a complete list of discounts and endorsements, but none were able to help without giving an actual property quote — understandable, sure, but less than ideal if you’re just shopping around.
Chubb has some online resources related to typical insurance subjects such as storm and theft protection, but its higher-income audience is clear: Sprinkled throughout are topics including protecting yourself while abroad and the security risks presented by hired staff. J.D. Power gives Chubb high customer satisfaction ratings; it’s slightly lower than State Farm and Liberty Mutual, but equal to Travelers and Allstate. Chubb also garnered the best ratings for financial stability from Moody’s and A.M. Best. All in all, we think Chubb is worth looking into if you have the money (and lots of people in Connecticut do), but it’s definitely not a great fit for everyone.
Travelers stood out by giving us the lowest premium quote for our sample property while also offering a decent set of discounts — as many as Liberty Mutual and Allstate, and more than State Farm. Granted, sample quotes are just that (samples) and yours may differ dramatically, but it definitely piqued our interest.
Its website does as well describing basic coverage options and had a solid list of potential coverage amendments; discounts include LEED certification, which is only available from one of the other providers, Liberty Mutual. It also received slightly higher financial stability ratings from Moody’s, A.M. Best, and Standard & Poor’s than the other providers, just edging out Chubb for the top spot.
Two other standouts: Travelers is currently unique in agreeing to a proposed plan for reimbursing homeowners with crumbling foundations, a hot topic among Connecticut homeowners (more on that later). And, if you own a dog, be aware that it does have a list of objectionable dog breeds on its quote form, which is something we did not see with other providers. If you check the box next to one of those breeds, the quote can’t be completed online. The agent we were referred to said that Travelers will not write policies for owners with those breeds.
After trying to get an online quote from Allstate, we were directed to a local agent who informed us that, even though Allstate is one of the largest providers in the region, it had stopped writing new homeowners policies due to the threat of hurricanes in the state. If contacted, local Allstate agents will provide access to insurance through a network of other local carriers.
This is unfortunate because Allstate has an excellent website, the best we found for first-time home buyers. It goes far beyond just listing discounts and coverage options, with a blog full of articles and tips on subjects like renovations, moving, and maintenance, plus a resources page with articles and videos on everything from trampolines to spoiled food. Even if you cannot get an Allstate policy in Connecticut, its site is worth bookmarking.
State Farm tied Liberty Mutual for the top spot out of our five providers in customer satisfaction rankings from both J.D. Power and Consumer Reports; it also ranked higher on financial stability than the others according to Moody’s, A.M. Best, and J.D. Power. Its website covers the basics and even has some extras we really appreciated, like its section on understanding your home’s value and determining coverage, its home inventory tool, and its refinance and extra payment calculators. State Farm also has a pretty good list of articles on its learning center page, but the site is not as user-friendly or visually appealing as Allstate or Liberty Mutual.
Perhaps most notable of all: State Farm gave us the highest quote for the sample property we used — $387 more than Travelers. It is worth remembering, though, that online tools are not as accurate as getting a quote from a local agent, and that quotes can vary wildly from house to house, ZIP code to ZIP code, and person to person.
Did You Know?
Let’s take a closer look at some of our sample quotes.
Note: Chubb does not insure homes below $1 million and Allstate is not writing new homeowners insurance policies in Connecticut at this time.
We requested an online quote from our five providers for an inland ranch home; results varied by as much as $387 per year, which goes to show that it definitely pays to shop around. Each company asked slightly different questions, but the basic features of our sample property included:
- $1,000 deductible
- 1,890 square feet
- New construction
- Shingle roof
- Non-smoking residents
- Burglar alarms
- A basement
- Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors
- Vinyl siding
- Natural gas fuel
It’s important to remember that online quotes are not set in stone, and speaking to an agent could get different results. Once you find some premium prices you like, double-check that the coverage offered is robust enough for your home and your area.
Nature has big effects on Connecticut’s home insurance landscape.
“We have the coast; we’re densely populated; and we’re heavily forested,” says Donna Tommelleo, communications director for the CID. “Big storms bring down trees, and being densely populated, you get a lot of damage.”
Bradner says that companies analyze losses from past damages along with weather-prediction models to set the premiums the state has today. “We had a really bad winter in 2010,” he explains, “then we had Irene in 2011, an October Nor’easter in 2011. We got hit with Sandy, then we had a quiet year. But 2013 was another really tough winter, with a lot of snow and roofs collapsing.”
Bad weather years are rough on homeowners. High winds can cause structural damage and knock down trees. A deep freeze can burst pipes; ice storms can cause branches to come down on power lines; and heavy snows can cause ice damming. “Ice damming can cause a lot of damage to the interior of the house when the water freezes underneath the roof shingles,” Bradner says. “It freezes and thaws, freezes and thaws, and that water starts running into the attics and down the walls.”
Make sure you cover all these potential insurance threats with your agent when you’re getting your quote. Questions to ask:
- What are the discounts for storm shutters, new roofs, and resilient building certification?
- Is burst pipe damage included or available as an endorsement?
- Is damage from ice damming covered or extra?
- In the event of an ice storm, do you cover losses for spoiled food?
Crumbling foundations are a man-made insurance issue.
According to Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection, over 220 homeowners have filed complaints alleging their concrete foundations are failing and insurance companies have been denying costly repair claims. “It’s a devastating issue for homeowners in the eastern area of our state,” Bradner says.
As of July 2016, the DCP says that investigators believe the mineral pyrrhotite, present in the concrete aggregate used for the foundations, is partly to blame. Attorney General George Jepsen’s office has reached a preliminary deal with four insurance providers to help finance a program meant to compensate homeowners. As of this writing, Travelers is the only provider from the five we reviewed to publicly confirm participation. This is an ongoing investigation and updates can be found on the DCP website.
But all is not bleak for the future of Connecticut’s insurance industry.
“I think there are a couple really good things happening here in Connecticut,” Bradner says. “Our governor has issued two executive orders. Executive Order 50 created a group of state agencies working together on how to help the state and residents and communities become more resilient. Executive Order 53 is another multi-agency initiative working with the Department of Building Services to come up with stronger code requirements for coastal properties.” (Information on both orders can be found here.)
In addition, Bradner says, legislation passed in the last session aims to make the process of adopting international building codes less “onerous,” which would allow Connecticut to catch up on current building standards.
The Bottom Line
The five biggest providers are a great jumping-off point, but finding the best homeowners insurance in Connecticut really comes down to getting quotes, making sure the coverage fits your home’s needs, and double-checking customer satisfaction and financial stability. Ready to get started? Use the quote tool below.
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