Delaware may be the second smallest state in the country, but it packs a lot into the space it has, from picturesque beaches and state parks to historic estates and gardens. But the First State’s geography also means residents have inclement weather to contend with, including northeasters and hurricanes — both of which are important to consider when purchasing homeowners insurance.

While homeowners insurance provides financial protection in the event of a disaster or accident involving your home, we suggest obtaining price quotes from various companies before you buy. After all, everything from the age and location of your home to its construction materials and contents have an effect on your premiums. Shopping around can help you find the best coverage and rate. Our quote tool can help you start.

Delaware Homeowners Insurance Reviews

Nationwide

With excellent customer satisfaction ratings, Nationwide is our top choice. Put simply, the company outperforms the competition when it comes to the claims experience — arguably the most important aspect of customer service. More specifically, the Consumer Reports homeowners insurance survey rates Nationwide as excellent for timely claims payment, and J.D. Power and Associates rates Nationwide as one of the best insurers in the country.

In addition to its top-notch claims service, Nationwide offers coverage options that go above and beyond the competition. For example, the company offers coverage for brand new belongings and even roof replacements. If your roof needs to be replaced, due to a covered event, Nationwide will cover the cost of materials that can better withstand rain and strong winds — two issues that go hand in hand with the strong wind and storm conditions of Delaware’s Northeasters. In other words, Nationwide not only offers thorough protection but will help to keep your home safe in the future.

Of course, Nationwide isn’t perfect. Most notably, the insurer does not offer flood insurance. Flood insurance is a separate policy that is often required of homeowners in high-risk flood areas. While Delaware does not require flood insurance, the state’s heavy rain makes it susceptible to flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program reports that more than 20 percent of flood claims come from people outside of high-risk flood areas. That means Nationwide customers will want to invest in flood insurance elsewhere, which is a bit of a hassle.

That said, Nationwide provides a wide range of online tools and discounts that make up for the inconvenience. The Nationwide website even provides a helpful glossary of homeowners insurance terms, and its online quote tool features detailed descriptions of your coverage. In short, Nationwide is a reliable provider that will prepare you for common types of inclement weather.

Allstate

Allstate is the only one of the five Delaware insurers to offer both flood insurance and roofing discounts, making it an excellent choice for Delaware homeowners. Affordability also makes Allstate a great pick: It was the most affordable of the five insurers during our comparisons, with an average premium of $633.

The insurer’s financial ratings are also solid, and it holds above average customer satisfaction ratings from both JD Power and Associates and Consumer Reports. However, the scores are not as strong as those of the other four Delaware insurers. Financial strength and customer satisfaction during the claims experience are crucial aspects of a great homeowners insurance company, so Allstate didn't take top spot.

Still, the insurer is no slouch in several other important categories. For example, the Allstate website is our favorite. It provides clearly outlined policy features including coverage options and claims information. The site also provides several educational tools, such as the Common and Costly Claims tool, which allows you to enter your ZIP code to view the average costs of the most common claims in your area. For even more detail, Allstate’s GoodHome home report will play a Google Street View video of your home while listing potential risks as well as tips on how to prevent and mitigate them. Aside from providing a close-up look at your current or potential home, this tool can help you guard against common claims and find a policy that saves you money.

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual proves that preparedness is key when it comes to homeowners insurance providers. For example, a standard coverage plan with the company includes 24/7 emergency home repairs which means you can expect assistance day or night in the event of a natural disaster or accident at your home. In addition, the company has high financial strength ratings with agencies like A.M. Best. In other words the company is prepared to handle the details and costs of your claims at all times.

If you do have to file a claim, Liberty makes the process as seamless as possible with step-by-step instructions. Thanks to the company’s RealTime Review, claim representatives can even use FaceTime or Skype to view your property and complete a damage estimate on the spot — a nice touch that ensures you receive an accurate estimate and coverage quickly. Speaking of coverage, you can expect options such as inflation protection and what Liberty Mutual calls Home Protector Plus. The latter provides living expenses if you need lodging during repairs and replaces the full cost of your possessions, not just the depreciated value. In short, your claim will be speedy but also thorough.

Fair warning, Liberty Mutual’s online quote process is a bit intensive. You’ll need to know the percentage of carpet, tile, and wood flooring in your home, among other specifics. Fortunately, that effort is likely to pay off: Based on data from the Delaware Department of insurance, Liberty Mutual’s premiums are among the most affordable at an average of $885 — and that doesn’t include its many discount options. The actual cost of your plan will depend on your home, so we recommend using our quote tool for an estimate. In any case, Liberty Mutual is worth a look.

State Farm

According to the Insurance Information Institute, State Farm writes 26 percent of the Delaware’s homeowners insurance policies — and for good reason. The company received some of the highest financial ratings from Moody’s, A.M. Best, and Standard & Poor’s, as well as excellent customer satisfaction ratings from Consumer Reports and JD Power and Associates.

State Farm’s discount and endorsement offerings are equally impressive. Its multi-policy savings are standard, but what really stood out were State Farm’s home safety discounts. By installing items such as smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, and certified weatherproof roofs, homeowners will not only reap the benefits of a safer home but financial savings too. If damage does occur, State Farm’s coverage options will offer additional financial protection with coverage for everything from sewer backup to damage from snow. Considering Delaware’s most common claims involve water damage, this is an important point to keep in mind when shopping around.

There were a few areas, however, where State Farm didn’t stack up. Its website includes an intuitive quote tool as well as informative articles and infographics, but it still wasn’t as robust as Allstate, Liberty Mutual, or Nationwide’s sites. The insurer’s premiums were also among the highest in the state averaging around $1,270 — and that’s without add-ons such as flood insurance, which State Farm also doesn’t offer. While it didn’t take our top spot, getting a quote from State Farm is worth the time.

USAA

It’s important to note that USAA is only available to current and former members of the US military and their families. If you qualify, however, you should definitely consider purchasing homeowners insurance with USAA.

For starters, USAA earned the highest financial strength ratings of all five insurers. The provider also excels with customer service, and its satisfaction score of 92 from Consumer Reports is the highest out of the insurers we compared. The J.D. Power and Associates 2017 Property Claims Satisfaction Study confirmed and also reported a high level of satisfaction with water-related claims, which are common in Delaware.

Speaking of water-related claims, USAA also offers flood insurance policies — a coverage option that even our top pick lacks. But even without flood insurance, the provider’s standard coverage is exemplary. For example, up to $5,000 of identity theft coverage is automatically included with each policy, and USAA’s replacement cost coverage includes your home and personal belongings with no depreciation factored in.

There were a few important factors, however, that bumped USAA down from the top spot. It is simply too exclusive, and although USAA offers 24/7 claims access, it does not have any Delaware locations where you can meet with a representative in person. The price you pay for USAA’s coverage is also likely to be high. Based on premiums from the state insurance department, a USAA policy comes in as the second most expensive with costs slightly below State Farm’s. That said, USAA is considered a gold standard in the insurance industry, and if you’re in or related to a member of the military, a comparative quote can never hurt.

Premiums vary widely throughout the state

To show just how much annual premiums differ across the First State, we used the Delaware Department of Insurance rate calculator. The numbers below reflect average premiums (rounded to the nearest multiple of 5) across five locations for an H0-3 policy on a 10-year-old home with a frame construction, a $1,000 deductible, and $250,000 in coverage — the average characteristics of a relatively new home.

Average Premiums Across Five Locations

Location
Nationwide
Allstate
Liberty Mutual
State Farm
Wilmington, 19801
$425
$590
$640
$1,115
$985
Dover, 19901
$530
$625
$790
$1,065
$1,190
Bethany Beach, 19930
$1,600
$920
$1,170
$1,400
$1,255
Georgetown, 19947
$660
$660
$945
$1,430
$1,090
Milford, 19963
$590
$660
$880
$1,355
$1,040

The results show that State Farm and USAA have the most expensive premiums, while Nationwide and Allstate have the cheapest. That said, the cost of premiums varies widely across Delaware’s 2,489 square miles. For example, northern locations like Wilmington have low premiums that average around $750. Premiums jump up slightly as you move farther south to Dover and Georgetown to averages of $840 and $960, respectively. The general trend? The closer you are to the south or coastline, the higher the prices will be. But we recommend using our quote tool for an accurate estimate of premiums in your specific location.

Delaware homeowners will want to invest in flood insurance

Few homeowners have flood insurance. In fact, a 2016 poll by the Insurance Information Institute found that just 13 percent of homeowners in the Northeast had a flood insurance policy. That doesn’t mean flood insurance isn’t a wise investment.

But is flood insurance absolutely necessary? Yes and no. Delaware does not require flood insurance, but a policy will protect you from hurricanes, northeasters, and inland flooding — three of the state’s most common natural disasters. While a hurricane has not made direct landfall in Delaware since 1851, the storms can cause damage even when located 50 miles away. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Delaware was affected by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricanes Ivan and Irene — three of the top 10 most significant flood events by National Flood Insurance Program payouts.

In any case, flood insurance also protects you from more common storms like a northeaster (or nor’easter). These cyclones produce heavy rains which can cause significant erosion and coastal flooding. Passing on flood insurance means there is a chance you will have to foot a large bill — the average flood insurance claim is $43,000. Rather than worry about a large financial risk, signing up for flood insurance will offer peace of mind throughout the year.

The Bottom Line

The prevalence of severe weather, including northeasters makes homeowners insurance a crucial investment for Delaware residents. With this in mind, you should look for an insurer with a strong financial outlook and high levels of customer satisfaction, particularly when it comes to the claims process. They should also be sure their policy includes coverage for wind and water damage and consider purchasing a flood insurance policy. And before deciding on an insurer, they should shop around, comparing coverage options and premiums from multiple providers. You can start by entering your ZIP code in our quote tool.