Homeowners insurance in Hawaii costs less on average. However, Hawaiian living comes with some unique considerations in the search for homeowners insurance, including the necessity of hurricane insurance and the risk of lava flow on the Big Island.

The age of your home and its specific location in the state can affect your premium, too. That’s why it's so important to do your research to find a policy that gives you the coverage you need in the event of an emergency at a price you can afford. We’ve already done some of the legwork for you, but to find your best price, you’ll need to compare quotes.

Hawaii Homeowners Insurance Reviews

Allstate

Allstate just beats out State Farm for our top choice in Hawaii primarily because it has the edge in online materials and offers an additional discount (for new construction) that State Farm does not.

Allstate shines for its excellent website and customer service. No matter your question or concern about homeowners insurance, Allstate’s website is likely to give you an answer you can understand.

We especially like Allstate’s Common and Costly Claims tool, which gives you insights into the most common causes of claims in your neighborhood (like wind storms or water issues.) This is useful when you’re thinking about your property’s specific location and what kind of extra coverage you might need. For instance, in Oahu County, the most common reason for filing a claim was for wind damage.

Allstate also has a really easy-to-use home inventory tool that allows you to catalog your belongings and estimate value and replacement cost. Your homeowners policy includes coverage for personal property loss (and theft / burglary is a common claim). Keeping an accurate home inventory is vital so that you have proof of what exactly you owned before it went missing or damaged.

With these great online features already in place, it’s no surprise that Allstate offers an excellent online quote tool. It was the only one to automatically pull public records on the property to account for any past claims you may not know about. Because of this, it was more accurate, and when we called an agent for a quote, we were given one nearly identical to the one we got online.

Our phone call with the Allstate agent was not only useful but pleasant. They were enthusiastic without seeming like they were just giving us a sales pitch, and they offered an immediate quote. This experience, combined with the ease of the online quote process, helped Allstate rise above the rest and grab the top spot for us among homeowners insurance providers in Hawaii.

State Farm

This national standby is the number one provider of homeowner’s insurance in Hawaii by quite a bit, writing a full 32% of premiums in the state. Thanks to its long-standing reputation, it’s certainly worth considering in your search.

State Farm ranks well in consumer satisfaction from JD Power and Consumer Reports, and it earned an A++ financial stability rating from A.M. Best, edging out Allstate.

Its online quote process is straightforward, and it has decent information about assessing your home’s value on its website, such as explaining the difference between the market value and the replacement cost of your home.

State Farm’s recently redesigned website and app are of standard quality but pales in comparison Allstate’s comprehensive educational materials. Even so, State Farm doesn’t significantly differ from Allstate in its online experience or quote process; the agent we spoke to was just as friendly as the one from Allstate.

First Insurance Company of Hawaii

First Insurance Company of Hawaii (FICOH) is a member of the Tokio Marine Group — one of the world’s largest insurance groups. So, while it’s a local company with deep island roots, it has the backing and resources of a major organization.

FICOH doesn’t have many discounts as Allstate, but the discounts it does have help it stand out. With its multi-policy discount, you can save up to 40 percent on your premium when you bundle your home and auto insurance — which is a full 10 percentage points higher than what you’d get with Allstate.

It’s also the only provider we found to offer a loyalty discount, which gives you an additional 11 percent off when you renew your policy.

FICOH doesn’t have the online resources or depth that Allstate and State Farm do. While its website is easy to navigate, it has only a rudimentary blog that isn’t organized by category, so it’s not easy to find detailed information about specific property situations and coverage types. FICOH also doesn’t have an app.

What’s more, the company’s online payment system looks quite rudimentary after you click through, and you can’t get an online quote; you must speak to an agent. It’s a minor inconvenience, but it kept them a notch below Allstate and State Farm.

Heritage Insurance

In 2015, Florida-based Heritage Insurance acquired the Zephyr Insurance Company, taking over its spot as number two on the list of writers of homeowners insurance in Hawaii. Yet Heritage only offers a single product: an annual residential windstorm / hurricane insurance policy. Hurricane-related damage is expensive for companies to cover, so it typically has a higher deductible, and is considered separate from wind damage protection in your policy.

Of the providers we evaluated, FICOH offers comprehensive additional hurricane coverage, but only for properties within 300 feet of the water. The other major providers provide hurricane insurance with a separate deductible on a case-by-case basis, but it can be quite expensive, which accounts for the popularity of a specialty company like Heritage.

As hurricane insurance is a specialty product purchased separately from a standard home insurance policy (more on this below), and so it’s difficult to compare Heritage on a one-to-one basis to the other providers evaluated here.

Note that a Heritage hurricane policy will cover your home only from the time a hurricane watch has been issued by the Pacific Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service up until 72 hours after the warning has been canceled. Nonetheless, because damage can be significant to homes during that window, many homeowners in Hawaii opt for this insurance.

What about USAA?

If you or an immediate relative is a member or former member of the military, then you have access to USAA. It’s a highly popular provided and very well-rated in online reviews.

Since it isn’t available to the general public, we didn’t include a sample quote from them. That said, if you are eligible, it should be on your list. Not only is it one of the highest-rated companies according to JD Power, it’s also the fourth largest provider in the state.

A Closer Look at Premiums

We requested a quote from our top providers for a single-family suburban home in the Honolulu area, with the understanding that other types of properties (say, on the Big Island or oceanside) might have significantly different results.

Though our top pick, Allstate, also provided the lowest quote, remember that cheaper isn’t always better. It’s important to consider the amount of coverage you’re getting and the cost of your deductible (what you’ll have to pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in.)

All of our top providers gave us a range of choices for coverage, from least to highest, and we chose a mid-range option from each with a $1000 deductible. Keep in mind that if you have a mortgage, your lender will likely have requirements for minimum coverages and type of coverage for your homeowners policy.

Our sample home specs:

The home that we used for our sample quote has wood construction, was built in 2004, and features standard fire safety features but not a monitored alarm system. Our sample home is valued at about $495,000, which is under the median in Honolulu (where property values are relatively high thanks to luxury construction and beachside living).

Note that we did not include quotes from Heritage, which is a hurricane insurance provider only, or from USAA, which is only available to military families (though offers some great discounts).

  • State Farm: $1,140
  • Allstate: $1,080
  • First Insurance Company of Hawaii: $1,320

Discounts can make a big difference. For example, Allstate gives you a 5% discount for using auto pay and up to 10% off for new construction (unlike State Farm). No matter what, you’re likely to qualify for at least one type of discount. For instance, all providers of homeowners insurance we reviewed offer a discount if you have other plans with them, such as car insurance. The 40% FICOH discount for multi-policy holders is particularly good.

Remember: Online quotes are not set in stone, and speaking to an agent could yield different results.

We found that to be the case when we made calls to individual representatives, who often asked more specific questions about the home’s history and construction than we found in the online quote form. You’ll want to be sure to follow up after receiving quotes you like to determine the exact nature of the coverage and discounts for your particular property location and type.

Don't Forget about Hurricane Insurance

A typical homeowners insurance policy likely covers certain instances of water and wind damage, but similar to flood insurance, hurricane coverage is a supplemental policy you must buy separately.

Technically, hurricane insurance is not legally required in Hawaii. However, if you have a mortgage on your house, your lender will require hurricane insurance as part of the financial approval process. This explains the popularity of wind-only policies like those from Heritage Insurance.

While a major hurricane has not made landfall on the islands since Hurricane Iniki in 1992, hurricanes pass by the islands frequently enough to be a valid concern that homeowners should prepare for.

Fortunately, the State of Hawaii offers a comprehensive guide on how to help strengthen your home and better prepare for a hurricane. Adding foundation anchors, roof clips, and other wind-resistance devices not only makes your home safer, it also plays a huge role in the cost of your homeowners insurance premium.

Homes in Lava Flow Zones Face Higher Premiums

Volcanic activity is part of life for residents of Hawaii’s Big Island. If you’re a first-time home buyer there, it’s important to find out about your home’s lava zone and how that affects your insurance premium.

Since 1974 the Big Island has been divided into nine lava flow zones. The zones are rated one through nine (one is the most hazardous), based on the location of probable eruption sites, the likely path of lava flows, and the frequency of lava flow over the past several thousand years.

If you live in a high-risk zone, you can still get homeowners insurance, but you’ll likely pay a higher premium. Lava flows are not uncommon on the Big Island. In fact, the Kilauea volcano erupted in May 2016 and continues to flow today.

Living in a high-risk zone may also bring other insurance challenges. For example, in 2014, the Hawaii Property Insurance Association (which was set up to serve homeowners in high-risk zones on the Big Island), placed a moratorium on home insurance for the Puna community and homeowners were unable to purchase new policies or increase their current coverage.

Fortunately for homeowners, legislation was passed the following year that required HPIA to lift the moratorium giving all homeowners the opportunity to purchase coverage.

The bottom line: Before you buy a home on the Big Island, talk to your insurance agent about how the lava zones might affect your premiums.