The Best Michigan Homeowners Insurance Company
Michigan’s homeowners insurance rates are some of the lowest in the nation, averaging just $908 per year, versus a national average of $1173. Of course, exact costs will vary depending on your home and your coverage needs. Use our tool to find your best rates:
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Most Michigan homes were built in the 1950s. Older homes bring beauty and unique charm to Michigan neighborhoods, but they can also bring outdated plumbing and electrical systems, aging roofs, and other unpleasant surprises to homeowners. And even if you’re in a modern home, Michigan’s unpredictable weather brings unexpected freezes and powerful wind gusts that can cause serious damage. Especially if you live in the Upper Peninsula or Lake Michigan snowbelt — that heavy lake-effect snowfall from the Great Lakes is no joke. The bottom line: Protecting your home with the right homeowners insurance policy is essential for all Michiganders.
Fortunately, homeowners insurance in Michigan is among the most affordable out there, with the average premium for an HO-3 homeowners insurance policy coming in at $908 per year (according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners). That said, premiums will always vary depending on your home, ZIP code, and many other factors.
To find the best homeowners insurance in Michigan, we used a similar strategy to what we used in our review of nationwide providers. We identified the five largest providers (by market share) in Michigan and evaluated their coverage options, endorsements, and discounts. We studied each company’s online resources, reached out to customer service via phone and email, went through the quote process in five different cities across the state, and compared financial strength and customer satisfaction during the claims process. Lastly, we analyzed the data and ranked each provider based on their performance in each category. Here’s how they stack up.
Michigan Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Out of the five providers we looked at, State Farm ranked the highest for endorsements, customer service, discounts, and financial strength. It stands out as the most well-rounded provider we evaluated, and the one we’d recommend you get a quote from first. Standard State Farm policies cover sewer backup, freezing, damage from the weight of snow or ice, and other basics important to Michiganders, and it’s one of only two companies in our list that offers an endorsement for building code upgrades. This optional coverage is a nice-to-have, especially if you live in an older home — if your place is damaged by a covered peril, you may be responsible for upgrading your property to meet the current local building codes. This endorsement will help cover those costs.
State Farm also has an impressive offering of discounts, including up to 17 percent off when you bundle your homeowners insurance with an auto or life insurance policy. That’s not quite as impressive as the 30 percent bundled discount you might qualify for with Allstate, but it’s well above the 14 percent offered by Auto-Owners and the Auto Club. This discount alone could save you hundreds on your premium each year.
A close runner-up, Allstate was also competitive across the board. Allstate’s educational resources are the best of the Michigan providers we reviewed, too, and even stand out at the national level. The company’s website is informative, transparent, and full of useful tools to help you make an informed purchasing decision, which is especially helpful if you’re new to homeowners insurance. For example, the appropriately named Common & Costly Claims tool allows you to identify the most frequent and expensive household claims in your area. Simply entering your ZIP code in this tool gives you a list of the claims you’ll want to be sure you prioritize in your policy. For folks in Houghton, physical damage and water damage top the list; while water and theft/burglary are most common in Detroit.
We recommend checking out the Common & Costly Claims tool, even if you don’t end up buying insurance with Allstate.
Both State Farm and Auto-Owners outperform Allstate in Consumer Reports’ overall customer satisfaction survey. That slightly lower Reader Score (a metric based on input from more than 90,000 Consumer Reports subscribers) is the main reason it’s not our number one pick. But it still ranks well for making timely payments, so any deficiencies in the claims process don’t seem to impact the time it takes to compensate your loss.
Auto-Owners Insurance Co
When it comes time to file a claim, Auto-Owners Insurance is the clear leader. In fact, Auto- Owners’ Consumer Reports Reader Score was the fourth highest among 15 major companies in the survey. It came in seven points higher than State Farm and nine points higher than Allstate. The biggest drawback to Auto-Owners is the lack of online resources. Instead of empowering you to make better-informed decisions with educational tools and resources provided by Allstate, the only way to learn more about your policy and coverage options is by using your ZIP code to find your local agency.
That being said, the claims process is arguably the most important part of insurance, and Auto-Owners is clearly exceptional in that area. It’s definitely worth it to spend the 20 minutes on the phone to learn about coverage and get a quote.
Auto Club Insurance
The Auto Club Insurance Group is one of the largest AAA clubs in the country, and not surprisingly, the company was the most competitive with its policy discounts. The Auto Club may not have the discount profile of Allstate or State Farm, but it does provide perks like a multi-policy discount, and reduced rates if you have smoke detectors or other home security features in your home. There are also discounts available if you’ve recently made major upgrades to your roof, plumbing, or electrical systems. Similar to Auto-Owners and Hanover, there are very few resources to help you learn or to better understand your policy. The Auto Club also received a somewhat unimpressive rating of 3 out of 5 for claims satisfaction in the 2017 J.D. Power consumer survey, which is “average” — above Hanover, but below the other three options.
Hanover was the only company out of the ones we looked at to earn a perfect score on J.D. Power for claims satisfaction — but it got a dismal two out of five overall, so we can't recommend going for it over the others on that alone.
Platinum plans cover basics like lock replacements, but an available extended replacement cost endorsement sets the provider apart from Auto-Owners and the Auto Club. One place Hanover falls short of other providers is in overall educational resources. They do have a decent plan overview page, which allows you to easily compare coverage options, but don’t be fooled by its coverage discovery tool. It’s not a “fast and easy game” — it’s a slow journey through home, auto, boat, and several other types of coverage, which then requires you to enter your email to get your profile report. If you’re interested in Hanover, you’re better off just getting on the phone and speaking directly with a rep.
Tips for Finding the Right Policy
Shopping around will always pay off.
Nobody enjoys buying insurance, but unless you’re absolutely committed to a specific provider, it’s worth it to shop around. To illustrate just how much premiums can vary among providers, we went through the quote process for the same $200,000 home in five cities across Michigan when we originally published this review (in 2016). As you can see, the location of the home played a huge role in the overall cost.
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The average premium from State Farm was $129 per month, $11 cheaper than the average quotes from Allstate. Saving $11 per month may not initially seem significant, but over the course of five years, that’s a difference of $660. Still not convinced? Check out the $37 difference between the two policies in Grand Rapids. Over five years you’d save more than $2,200 by going with State Farm.
That said, even though it’s tempting to focus on finding the lowest possible premium, paying a little extra to make sure you have the right coverage for your home is far more important. For example, personal liability of $100,000 may seem like more than enough coverage, but in one of our quotes, we bumped the personal liability coverage up to $300,000 and the monthly premium only increased by $1 per month. If you have a swimming pool, trampoline, or playground equipment, for example, that nominal modification can give you added peace of mind that you're covered should an accident occur.
Sudden/accidental water coverage may come in handy.
The unpredictable weather in Michigan can wreak havoc on a home. Wind and heavy snow are a given, but even something as simple as an unexpected cold front can cause major problems for plumbing systems. Frozen pipes are a common source of household flooding. In 2014, the harsh winter weather in Kalamazoo resulted in the most cases of frozen pipes in the past 35 years.
Most insurance providers don’t cover damage to frozen pipes themselves, but all five of the providers we reviewed do offer coverage for damage done by the flooding water. According to data from Auto-Owners Insurance, “the average cost of property damage caused by a flood is $39,000 and it can take less than 1 foot of water to cause it.” When you’re shopping for a policy, keep an eye out for sudden/accidental water coverage.
Double-check if your septic tank is excluded.
For more than a decade, Michigan lawmakers have been working to improve regulations associated with septic systems. Michigan’s septic system regulations are the weakest in the nation, as the only state that doesn’t apply a standard sanitary code to its whole population.
As of 2013, there were 1.3 million homes in Michigan with septic tanks or onsite wastewater treatments systems. Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality reported that roughly 4,200 residential septic tanks failed in 2015. The average cost of replacing a septic tank in Michigan is just under $5,000, but expenses can easily crest the $10K mark.
On septic? Make sure it’s covered with your homeowners insurance. And be certain to properly maintain your septic tank as failure to do so may be a factor if you need to file a claim. This guide from Genesee County provides a great overview of septic tanks, including best practices on how to keep them maintained an operating correctly.