The Best Georgia Homeowners Insurance Companies
Georgia’s average annual premiums for homeowners insurance are right in line with the national average — $1,152 per year for an HO-3 policy, compared to $1,173 nationwide. 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:
Enter your ZIP code to see the best rates in your area:
From the historic ports and balmy beaches of the coastland to to the rolling hills of the northern part of the state, Georgia is a study in contrasts. That goes for finding the best homeowners insurance, too. Many variables can affect the price of insuring your home in Georgia, but location is one of the biggest. Coverage for a $200,000 house in southwestern Randolph County, for example, could run you more than twice as much as the same house in Gwinnett County in the Atlanta region.
Even if you never need to make a claim on your homeowners insurance, you’ll want to know that your coverage will fully meet your needs and protect your investment if the worst happens. Whether you experience wind damage to your roof (the most common claim nationwide) or find three feet of water in your basement due to a ruptured pipe, the time to explore the fine print and talk to your agent about coverage is before you sign up for a policy. Use our quote tool to start looking for the best options for you.
The average cost of homeowners insurance in Georgia is $1,152 a year, just a bit under the national average of $1,173. Look for that rate — or better — from a company that is financially sound, with solid coverage options and terrific customer service.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Georgia
We’re here to help you untangle that fine print and score a winning policy. We used the same methodology as our nationwide review of the best homeowners insurance, but because every state has different rules and regulations, we zeroed in on the top companies in Georgia to see what they can offer you. We found a cute, three-bedroom, single-story house in Doraville, not too far from Atlanta, for $125K and sent the specs to these companies to see what they quoted us.
Georgia Homeowners Insurance Reviews
With 28 percent of the market, State Farm is Georgia's biggest provider of homeowners insurance. Getting an online quote from the company’s website is simple, although it does ask for your social security number right at the start of the process. It’s an optional step, though, and experts generally recommended that you avoid sharing your number unless necessary.
One thing that makes State Farm’s quote tool a cut above the rest is a feature called 360Value, which you access as part of the quote process. This program helps you determine the replacement value of your home — an important piece of information to keep in mind. Replacement value isn’t the same as the sale price or your mortgage rate, but instead is the estimated cost to rebuild your house at today’s prices. For “our” house, 360Value estimated a replacement cost of $136K. We recommend insuring your home for the replacement cost, not the cost you paid for it, so you don’t come up short if you need to rebuild.
State Farm earns an 82 — “very good” — from the readers of Consumer Reports for customer service and timely payment, and a four out of five rank from J.D. Power as well. Financial rating organizations like Moody’s and A.M. Best give State Farm an “A” grade, so you know they’re financially sound and have the resources to support you if a catastrophe hits your region. Its website is well-designed and easy to use, with a blog, “Simple Insights,” that offers tips and other information for homeowners.
Allstate offers a great range of discounts — our quote netted us nine, for a savings of $336 a year. This makes it a solid choice for anyone who’s pinching pennies after buying a house. The company’s Consumer Reports reader score was 80, which was the lowest of our top four, but still in the “very good” range. Like State Farm, Allstate is financially sound, as evidenced by rankings in the “A” level with Moody’s, A.M. Best, and S&P Global.
The website has a few small quirks, however, that we didn’t like. For example, Allstate is the only one of our four companies who won’t give you a quote without having your phone number and email — no stealth quoting. The website also asked far fewer questions about the house than State Farm, leading us to wonder just how accurate the online quote was.
We did like the live chat function, which could help you refine your quote depending on your needs. And for comparison’s sake, Allstate offer you three quote options: standard, choice, and premium, which you can edit yourself to customize your coverage. The premium prices were quite reasonable, ranging from $440 to $693 a year, depending on differences in your deductible as well as property and liability coverage.
Serving those who serve.USAA only insures members of the military and their families, but the company offers policies geared toward those in service (they specifically cover military uniforms, for example) and customer service that is well-versed in the particular needs of those who serve our country.
One of Liberty Mutual’s strengths is customer service. It came in second place, behind USAA, in the Consumer Report Reader Score, and offers services that set it apart, like 24-hour emergency repair service and and a catastrophe rapid response unit that can help you find alternative housing and settle your claim quickly.
However, Liberty Mutual fell a little short on price. Liberty’s quote on our Doraville house was the most expensive we received, At $1407 a year, it was almost $300 more than the nearest competitor, State Farm. This price included four discounts, including claim free, recent home buyer, and insured to value (i.e., replacement cost rather than purchase price). It also included something called “Home Protector Plus,” which comes standard with Liberty's homeowner policies and which beefs up the amount you’re paid for belongings and for loss of use coverage; when we opted out of this additional coverage, it saved us about $120. The quote tool lets you edit your coverage, so we’d suggest you try it both ways to see which version gives you coverage that you’re comfortable with.
Liberty Mutual’s website includes a simple and not terribly impressive home insurance coverage calculator, and a far more interesting “Master This” blog, with info to help you with home repairs, moving tips, and gearing up for bad weather. You can also download an app for iPhone or Android to file and track a claim electronically.
Travelers offers the online shopper two quotes: basic and better. Both were among the lowest we received. Basic coverage is just that: a bare-bones policy that covers replacement value on the house, personal property and liability, loss of use, and with an all peril deductible of $1,000. The “better” coverage increased the personal property coverage and included replacement cost for personal property. If you’re really stretched for cash, the basic option may suffice for you, but the better coverage was more in line with what our other companies offered, and since even that option was fairly inexpensive, we’d recommend that you consider it to give you just a bit more padding in your coverage. One option might be to increase your deductible from the standard $1,000 to $2,000 or more (whatever you think you can handle), but stay with the better coverage. When we tried that option, it decreased our annual cost to a low $460.
Their website doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles: The answer to many questions in the FAQ section is “call an agent,” which really doesn’t tell us anything. The site told us that we “may be eligible” for 15 discounts, but their discount page only lists five available.
Travelers scores a solid 82 (‘very good”) on Consumer Report’s Reader Score and its three out of five ranking with J.D. Power puts it in a middle-of-the-pack tie with Allstate and Liberty Mutual. Travelers’ financial stability rank with Moody’s, A.M. Best, and S&P Global was in the “A” spectrum, meaning you shouldn’t have to worry about their ability to meet claims in the event of a catastrophe.
Other Considerations for Georgia Homeowners Insurance
Location is Key
You know the old business adage: The three most important things to consider are location, location, and location. The same is true when you’re looking for the best homeowners’ insurance in Georgia. Want to see what we mean? The Georgia Office of insurance has a nifty feature that can help you out. Its Homeowners Insurance Rate Comparison lets you pick a building frame type (masonry veneer or wood frame), choose between an HO-3, HO-4, and HO-6 policy, and get comparison quotes for any one of 14 regions in the state.
When we tried it out, the premiums for a $200,000 HO-3 policy with a $1,000 deductible bounced all over the place depending on location. Sample quotes ranged from a low of $505 annually in Macon County to the skyscraper-high $1,341 for the same house in Chatham County. Obviously, the numbers are samples, and don’t take discounts and your actual coverage into account, so we recommend only using this tool for general comparisons. But it may give you a good heads-up on whether your area will offer premiums that are budget-wise or wallet-busting.
Of course, the next question is: Why are policy premiums all over the board in Georgia? There are a number of reasons, but weather conditions throughout the state are a major factor. Georgia’s coastline in the southeastern part of the state is prone to hurricanes and tropical storms, and an average of 30 tornadoes touch down each year in the state. The type of weather you get depends on your latitude, your proximity to the coast, and your altitude — and will probably play a part in determining your insurance premiums.
Raining Cats and Dogs
The majority of Georgia has a humid subtropical climate. What does that mean for you as a homeowner? One thing it means is rain, lots of it. In fact, Georgia ranks as the seventh rainiest state in the U.S. It stands to reason, then, that water-related disasters, from floods to roof leaks, are going to play into your insurance policy.
But, as with most things in life, there’s a catch: Your regular homeowner policy probably doesn’t cover flooding from a storm or the mold and mildew damage that proliferates when the waters recede. In fact, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution did an in-depth article on flood insurance as Georgia prepared for Hurricane Irma last September, urging residents to take a good hard look at their policies.
One thing you can do to prepare, the article noted, is to find out if your home is located in a flood plain. Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources has created a flood map viewer that can help you out. We were able to type in the address of our test house in the Atlanta suburbs and find out that, although we weren’t in a floodplain, there was a culvert nearby that could possibly overflow during torrential rains.
So what do you do to protect yourself from flooding and rain damage? The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a good place to start. Administered by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), the program pays out an average of $26,700 per claim in Georgia — that could be a lot of debt to be saddled with if you didn’t have flood insurance. Its interactive flood zone map shows which regions are most likely to experience floods, which includes all the area around Atlanta. The FEMA site also includes a flood map viewer as well as other links and information to help you understand potential risks to your home.
An Alternative for High-Risk Homeowners
What do you do if you can’t get coverage from a private insurance agency? If you’ve made too many claims in the past, or live in an area that is considered at high risk of a claim, your insurance may be cancelled, leaving you vulnerable to home disasters. If that’s your situation, take a look into the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan, mandated by the Georgia legislature and administered by an association of licensed property and casualty insurance companies called the Georgia Underwriting Association (GUA).
Your home may be high risk if you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters such as tornadoes, or where there are many hurricanes or windstorms. Living in an urban high-crime or high-vandalism area would also qualify, and you may even find yourself in this situation if you buy a house that is derelict and needs a complete rehab.
Using the FAIR Plan should never be your first resort. If your initial queries to insurance companies for quotes come up dry, look for an insurance broker in your area who works with many companies to see if they can help you find a policy that you’re comfortable with.
A FAIR Plan isn’t going to be your cheapest option, and there may be conditions, such as repairing your heating or plumbing system or installing storm shutters on your windows or a security system. But as a last resort, they are considerably better than going without any insurance at all.