Kansas is associated with plenty of monikers. Breadbasket of the World and the Sunflower State are both nods to the state’s lush agriculture. Then there’s Tornado Alley, which conjures up a less attractive (but no less realistic) image of the destructive cyclones that tear through the area each year.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only severe weather condition residents face. They must also contend with wildfires, which burned upwards of 700,000 acres of land across Kansas in 2017 alone. Both events cause costly damage and contribute to the state’s high homeowner’s insurance premiums.

Insurance premiums do, however, fluctuate based on numerous factors, including your home’s geography, age, construction materials, and the value of its contents. That’s why we suggest reaching out to several insurance companies for price quotes before you make a decision. Not sure where to start? Check out the quote tool above to compare rates for your home.

Kansas Homeowners Insurance Reviews

State Farm

State Farm writes the lion’s share of homeowner’s insurance policies in the Sunflower State, and with good reason. Of the state’s top five insurers, State Farm received the highest positive financial ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s. But it was the company’s customer service that really solidified its top spot. In addition to receiving the highest customer satisfaction score from JD Power and Associates among the five, State Farm received a high score in Consumer Reports’ homeowners insurance survey (a key rating based on input from 90,000 Consumer Reports subscribers), plus above average claims experience ratings across the board, from ease of reaching an agent to timely payment.

Additionally, State Farm offers an easy-to-edit online quote tool that allows you to quickly update your coverage and see the effect on your annual premium. Beyond receiving an online quote, the website is replete with helpful articles and infographics such as “The United States of Severe Weather,” which rounds up of the most common inclement weather conditions by region and how to protect your home against them.

And State Farm does more than inform policyholders about protection against inclement weather. It rewards customers with discounts, including savings for smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, and new and certified roofs that can better withstand strong Kansas winds.

While we appreciated these discounts, State Farm didn’t offer the most discounts or endorsements. Those went to Liberty Mutual and Farmers, respectively. However, what State Farm lacks in savings and optional coverage it makes up for in customer service and economic stability — factors that are more important for customers in the long term.

Liberty Mutual

Although State Farm was our top choice, Liberty Mutual was a close second. While its financial strength ratings aren’t as high as State Farm’s, Liberty Mutual boasts above average customer satisfaction scores from JD Power Associates and Consumer Reports alike.

Furthermore, the Kansas Insurance Department shows that Liberty Mutual has a statewide complaint ratio of 0.25 — the lowest of any major provider in the state. That low complaint ratio may be due in part to the insurer’s website, which clearly spells out the coverage available and provides step-by-step details on how to file and track a homeowner’s insurance claim.

Liberty Mutual makes claims easier in other ways, too. For example, through RealTime Review, claim representatives utilize FaceTime or Skype to view your property and complete an on-the-spot damage estimate for eligible claims. Likewise, its 24/7 Emergency Home Repairs service means that if a tornado hits overnight — which is all too common in Tornado Alley — you can receive assistance quickly.

Farmers

Farmers website is by far our favorite, and not just because of its Hall of Claims which details the insurer’s most outlandish claims. The Clickable House walks you through a virtual home where you can click on common household items for information on potential insurance claims and coverage options.

The website also includes an online quote tool, which offers details on three levels of coverage — Standard, Enhanced, and Premier — along with the pros and cons of purchasing each.

Homeowners can also purchase unique endorsements, including coverage for trees and shrubs and an Eco-Rebuild endorsement, which provides policyholders with up to $25,000 coverage for extra costs to repair, replace, or rebuild with eco-friendly contents and materials.

Farmers’ emphasis on eco-friendliness also extends to many of its discounts. However, it was the Underwriters Laboratories discount for approved roofing materials, fire-protection sprinkler systems and discounts for other weather defenses that caught our eye for Kansas homeowners.

Despite these benefits, Farmers fell from the top of our list due to a number of economic issues. Of the five insurers we examined, Farmers had the lowest financial strength ratings of the companies we compared.

While these ratings were still adequate, they didn’t stack up next to the other four insurance companies. Similarly, when examining premiums across the state (see below), Farmers’ were significantly more expensive — in some cases upwards of $1,000 higher — than policies from other Kansas insurers.

American Family

American Family Insurance had some of the lowest premiums across the state, as well as several opportunities for discounts. It’s by no means out top pick, but it’s still a good insurance option compare quotes with. Why? The insurer received average customer satisfaction ratings nationwide, but statistics from the Kansas Insurance Department show American Family has one of the higher complaint ratios of home insurance providers in the state at 5.1.

American Family’s online offerings are above average, just not our favorite. We appreciate that the site includes lots of educational information and tools, such as its DreamVault app, which helps you create a home inventory.

But the site doesn’t offer the most important service when it comes to home insurance: an online quote tool. Instead, you’re required to speak to an agent before receiving a quote. Likewise, the site’s FAQ section is a misnomer, as it directs you to call a local agent. By comparison, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, and Farmers all provided us with online quotes.

Iowa Farm Bureau

The lack of information on Iowa Farm Bureau’s financial strength and customer satisfaction dropped the insurer to the bottom of our list. Iowa Farm Bureau is still worth looking into, though. Because of its small, regional presence, the insurer may provide a better local perspective than the larger insurers above.

There’s a good chance this is the case, as evidenced by the bureau’s guaranteed replacement cost coverage, which pays up to 125 percent of the insured value of your home. Regardless of the claim, this coverage is exemplary. It is particularly useful, however, in the aftermath of a tornado, storm, or other natural disaster, when extensive damage increases the costs of labor and materials.

Iowa Farm Bureau’s optional residential equipment insurance is also worth noting, especially if you skimp on extended warranties or avoid calling the repair company until your furnace breaks down. Sometimes called appliance insurance, this endorsement covers mechanical failure for everything from air conditioners and furnaces to computers, TVs, and stereo systems.

A Closer Look at Premiums

Premiums Are Higher in Rural Areas

“Geographically, Kansas has a very wide variety of homes throughout the state,” says Clint Turley of McCausland Barrett & Bartalos P.C. At more than 80,000 square miles, the state’s land runs the gamut from urban areas to sprawling farms, and those variations factor into premiums for homeowners insurance.

Generally, because homeowners insurance coverage is based on a home’s value, premiums are higher in heavily populated areas, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Kansas, however, bucks this trend.

American Family Farmers Liberty Mutual Average Premium
Cherokee (Southeast) $1,519 $2,596 $2,185 $2,100
Finney (West) $2,261 $3,774 $2,496 $2,843
Johnson $1,687 $2,280 $2,012 $1,993
Saline (North Central) $1,913 $3,206 $2,618 $2,579
Sedgwick (Wichita, Central) $2,092 $3,659 $2,404 $2,718
Wyandotte (KC, Northeast) $1,711 $2,703 $1,836 $2,083

Kansas’ most populous county — Johnson County, located just outside Kansas City — is the only one with an average premium under $2,000.

Meanwhile, rural areas throughout the state, including southeast Kansas’ Finney County, and Saline County, located about 100 miles north of Wichita, have some of the highest premiums. Why? Well, even though they have a smaller population, the rural counties are more susceptible to catastrophic weather conditions.

Exposure to Severe Weather Increases Premiums

The NAIC also notes that the degree of exposure to catastrophe affects the cost of insurance. And Kansas isn’t lacking in that arena. To begin with the state is part of Tornado Alley and experiences roughly 100 tornadoes annually. While tornadoes of all intensities occur throughout Kansas, it’s important to note that central and eastern Kansas — composed of predominantly rural areas — see the most tornadoes. That means the region also sees the most damage and thus increased premiums.

Tornadoes aren’t the only weather concern in Kansas, though. Residents also have to contend with wildfires, which are a growing trend. In 2017 alone, wildfires burned more than 700,000 acres across 21 counties, according to the Kansas Farm Bureau. However, the most damage occured in southwest Kansas, which is also a mostly rural area. In fact, those wildfires set a state record, breaking the previous year’s.

Although homeowners in central and eastern Kansas should be prepared to pay a higher premium than their western counterparts, claims throughout the state are high. The Kansas Insurance Department estimates that an average of nearly $330 million is spent annually on windstorm, tornado, and hail damage or other weather-related claim losses.

Likewise, the Insurance Research Council found that the severity of Kansas homeowner’s insurance claims grew from $2,290 in 1997 to $8,426 in 2013. Because those weather-related claims can be so expensive, it may be worth looking into umbrella coverage — optional insurance available from all five of our picks.

“Umbrella policies are very economical and provide good peace of mind should a claim arise,” Turley says. For example, homeowners insurance generally pays the medical bills for those injured while on your property. In the event of a natural catastrophe, however, those medical expenses may be higher than the liability limits of your homeowners insurance. That’s where umbrella policies kick in.

The Bottom Line

The prevalence of tornadoes and other severe weather make homeowner’s insurance a crucial, albeit expensive, investment for residents. With this in mind, they should look for an insurer with both a strong financial outlook and high levels of customer satisfaction, particularly when it comes to the claims process. Ultimately, however, finding the best homeowners insurance means comparing coverage options and premiums from multiple providers. Start by entering your ZIP code in the tool below.