The 5 Best Kansas Homeowners Insurance Companies
Kansas’ annual premiums for homeowners insurance are on the higher side — on average $1,431 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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The big, open landscape of Kansas serves as a stage for some harsh weather, including devastating tornadoes, hail, and torrential rains. And lately, there’s also been a concern about earthquakes. Naturally, that makes it a tough state to be a homeowner and insurers. In 2011, a year with a handful of tornadoes, home insurance companies paid out money in claims that was more than twice the national average. The average homeowners insurance premium in Kansas is $1,431, higher than the national average of $1,132.
Prices also fluctuate depending on a number of factors, including your zip code, the age of your home, and sometimes even your occupation. Check out our price comparison tool to get a sense of average prices in your area.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Kansas
To find the best homeowners insurance providers in Kansas, we used our our review on nationwide providers as a blueprint. First, we filled up on data, research papers, expert opinions, and news articles about the state of homeowners insurance in Kansas. We specifically kept an eye out for key coverage types that would affect the way one shops for coverage. We used that legion of facts and figures to inform our next step — reviewing the top five homeowners’ insurance providers in total market share.
We carefully evaluated each company’s claims experience, financial stability, customer satisfaction with trusted independent raters, such as JD Power and Associates, Consumer Reports, and the major credit rating companies. We fiddled around with their website, keeping an eye on their educational resources and site tools. Then we solicited a price quote for a home in Kansas from each company to get a sense of the process, keeping tabs on the customer experience, ease of use, and helpfulness of company representatives.
Kansas Homeowners Insurance Reviews
State Farm is the largest homeowners insurance provider in Kansas by a mile, and convenience is the name of the game. No matter where you live in the state, an agent won’t be far away. The insurer also had the most key optional coverages — including key endorsements for sewer backup (important, as massive Kansas storms can damage your plumbing), earthquake insurance, and for any necessary building code upgrades — which secured it as our top choices for homeowners’ insurance in Kansas.
Several of the companies we evaluated charge multiple deductibles for specific events, with the most common being one “wind and hail” and another “all other perils.” We liked that State Farm simplified the process with just one deductible for all damages.
State Farm made this quoting process easy. After about 5 minutes of plugging in tidbits about our home, we had a ballpark quote for annual insurance. If you want to customize the quote, just click some drop-down boxes and you can adjust the coverages and deductible amount to your liking. You can also take advantage of its Verisk home appraisal tool on the quote page, which lets you input more features for a more specific appraisal.
What about financial backing? State Farm is one of only a dozen companies to receive an A++ rating from A.M. Best, a reputable independent insurance rater. However, it has uneven scores for customer satisfaction. State Farm notched an 82 in overall satisfaction from Consumer Reports readers, but only an average 60 grade from JD Power in overall satisfaction and claims experience.
In all, State Farm is a strong option for its convenience, wealth of resources, and financial strength.
American Family Insurance is our second choice for homeowners’ insurance in Kansas. With the exception of a lack in discounts, its services are on par with State Farm — including add-ons for identity theft and sewer backup. We are also fans of American Family’s site tools and educational resources. Its DreamVault app, for example, helps you document all of your valuables by going room-by-room in your house.
Of the five companies we tested, American Family scored the highest with JD Power and Associates for overall satisfaction (80) and claims experience (80). No competitor we tested even scored more than “average” in claims experience, and it’s arguably the most important moment in any interaction between an insurer and the insured. Amercian Family also rate out well in financial standing with an A+ from A.M. Best, which was second only to State Farm.
One big downside to American Family is that you can’t get a quote online. That being said, our quoting process with an agent was smooth enough. We wrote our information in an online form, and within a few hours our agent contacted us, and he was friendly and to-the-point. Note: In the quoting process, many insurers will ask for your social security number and/or driver’s license number “for a more accurate quote.” You don’t have to give it to them if you don’t want to. The AmFam agent asked for our SSN, and we refused, but he was still gracious afterward.
Iowa Farm Bureau
Iowa Farm Bureau touts its personal service, but for us it was less than pleasant. We filled out a quote form online with our information, saying we prefer to be contacted by email (we just do). We did appreciate that we were asked for consent before being contacted (which no other provider did). However, against our wishes, we received a voicemail from an agent exactly 24 hours later. We swallowed our pride and called the agent back, but didn’t get an answer. (American Family Insurance didn’t have an online quoting system either, but they still contacted us right after we made the request.)
Farm Bureau’s simple outlook on homeowners’ insurance is geared especially toward farmers who want to cover a lot of property in one fell swoop with less fuss. The company has clear policy offerings, and doesn’t throw a bunch of discount offers your way, as it believe they clutter the billing process. However, it does offer a unique coverage for “residential equipment breakdown,” which will pay to replace appliances such as water heaters, air conditioners, and furnaces in your home. Still, we like to have more choice with our insurance products, and Farm Bureau is more one-size-fits-all.
It’s also the only company we tested that hadn’t been rated by JD Power and Consumer Reports. A.M. Best, the insurance credit rater, gave Farm Bureau an “A” or “stable” grade for their financial standing, which was lower than American Family and State Farm. In all, our customer experience made us less than impressed with Farm Bureau.
There are lots of discounts available with Liberty Mutual. For instance, if you’re an alumni of affiliated schools, or part of affiliated business associations, you’re eligible for a percentage off your home insurance bill. Unfortunately, even with discounts applied, Liberty Mutual had the highest premium price of any company we tested — about 25 percent higher than American Family and Farmers. There are a lot of optional coverages you can add to your policy — we liked that it offers earthquake insurance and protection for building code upgrades — but there weren’t enough coverages included in our standard quote to justify the higher prices.
Liberty Mutual doesn’t exactly shine in its satisfaction and credit ratings, either. JD Power and Associates gave LM some of its worst scores across the board in its 2015 survey of Homeowners Insurance providers, including a 60 overall score in customer satisfaction, with a middling 60 score for the claims process (American Family scored 80 in claims). Financial credit raters gave Liberty Mutual a stable rating (A from A.M. Best and A from S&P Global), but the number was less appealing compared to State Farm (A++ from A.M. Best) and American Family (A+ from A.M. Best). In all, Liberty Mutual is an okay option, but not the best we found.
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Location greatly affects your premium.
Your home’s “Fire Protection Class” will affect your premium price.
Insurance analysts have a lot of fancy metrics to figure out your home’s susceptibility to problems. One such metric involves house fires.
It costs fire departments and insurance companies more money to fight fires in certain homes, depending on that community’s access to water, their building codes, and the equipment available to firefighters. In turn, your home is designated with a “fire protection class” number. “Most Kansas addresses fall into fire protection classes ranging from 3 to 10,” says the helpful Kansas Department of Insurance Shoppers’ Guide.
Class-3 homes are in communities with easy access to firefighting resources, and are considered lower risk. Class-10 homes, on the other hand, are considered higher risk. The higher the risk, and class, the higher your premium will be. Rural areas tend to have many homes under the class-9 and class-10 designation.
So how do you find out your home’s class score? It’s not easy to do on your own, unfortunately. Talk to an independent insurance agent in your community. They have tools to help determine your risk. If you already have a homeowners’ plan, it should be easy to find on your policy page.
As you can see in the table below, your home’s protection class and location will affect the premium greatly.
Average Homeowners Quote for a $100,000 home by county
*Rates as of March 2015, based on Kansas Department of Insurance data
As the table shows, a Class-10 home sees about a 50 percent increase in premium over that of a Class-3 home.
In addition, Sedgwick and Shawnee counties face higher premiums because of higher climate risks. Wyandotte County and Johnson county are located near each other in the Kansas City metro area. Johnson County, which contains Overland Park, is set on a bluff above Kansas City, which protects it from periodic flooding. Less risk means lower prices. Larger metro areas also tend to have more competition between insurers, which drives prices down.
Sedgwick and Shawnee have have also been hit harder by tornadoes: Shawnee County has seen 49 tornadoes since 1951, while Sedgwick has seen 90 twisters with about a dozen class-3 or higher, according to the Tornado Project. For comparison, Wyandotte has seen just 10, none above class 2, and Johnson has seen 42, with four of them major.
Is earthquake insurance worth it?
From 2003 to 2012, Kansas had 3 earthquakes. From 2013 through 2015, There were 579 quakes. The U.S. Geological Survey released a report of “hazard maps” that imply Kansas could experience a massive earthquake, and it threw homeowners in a bit of a tailspin of questions on how to prepare. A 5.8 earthquake in northern Oklahoma sent a ripple effect of earthquakes to Wichita and had researchers discussing whether there might be new fault lines previously unknown.
With this being a recent phenomenon, Kansas officials are still trying to understand the implications of the new seismic activity.
“When the geophysicists and geologists look at this data, they simply don’t have enough background to make accurate predictions for a long period of time like they have been doing on the tables on the past,” Richard Meier, the chief building inspector for the city of Wichita, told the Kansas City Star.
Kansas still hasn’t experienced much damage from quakes yet. That hasn’t stopped people from buying earthquake insurance in a “frenzy,” which is still “priced relatively low,” according to Insurance Business. Prices for earthquake insurance vary depending on the property, but they are generally hovering around $50 extra per year for a $100,000 property, with a high deductible around usually 2–10%. In our review, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, and American Family all offered some form of optional earthquake insurance.
Should you get earthquake insurance? It depends, and it’s mostly too early to tell. Some businesses may be required to buy it in order to receive loans from banks.
If you’re interested in earthquake insurance, check with an independent insurance agent in your area — they’ll be able to help you assess unique risks of your property and relevant costs, then help you compare rates. You may also want to check to see if you are located near a fault line.
The Bottom Line
State Farm is our top recommendation in Kansas because of its streamlined damages deductible and affordable septic and earthquake coverage — both of which are incredibly important for the sunflower state. But the best way to find the cheapest coverage that meets your needs is to get quotes for yourself. Use the tool below to get started.
Find the best homeowners insurance in your area.
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