Whether you are cradled in the monumental Yellowstone Valley or find yourself sheltered deep within the Rocky Mountains, you know that Montana offers no end to its beauty and diversity. Choosing a home here can be an overwhelming experience of excellent choices, and with the local housing market on a steady rise, your investment will likely see growth in value and popularity.

Just as important as choosing your home is protecting your home with the best homeowners insurance. Last year Missoula experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, and Billings was branded a “high-risk area” after a handful of heavy hail storms and the infamous Father’s Day Tornado occured within just a few years of each other. The best homeowners insurance will mitigate the cost of repair — whether you’re dealing with a broken pipe or hail damage — and has the resources and customer support to make your recovery as smooth as possible.

Montana Homeowners Insurance Reviews

Nationwide

After a close race, Nationwide wins our title for best homeowners insurance company in Montana Ultimately, Nationwide earns the top spot for its standout claims service. If an incident occurs, a hassle-free claims experience means that your settlement, estimation, and repair processes are quick and your interactions with your insurer are pleasant. Of our top five, Nationwide is the only company to score a perfect 5/5 rating from J. D. Power in claims satisfaction, and receive a grade of “excellent” from Consumer Reports for timely payouts.

Noticeably, Nationwide doesn’t offer a lot of discounts, and we consistently found it more expensive in our review of the best homeowners insurance. However, it quickly makes up for that with its quality endorsements. Since homes in Montana are most commonly threatened by damage from wind, hail, and water, Nationwide steps up to the plate with coverages for accidental/sudden discharge, sewer backup, and a rider for flood insurance. It also offers a Better Roof Replacement coverage that takes care of a hail battered roof and replaces it with stronger, more durable materials.

Backing up its first class service, Nationwide ranks highest among our surveyed providers for financial stability across the board. An excellent claims experience is nothing without the ability to back it up, and a timely payment is just as important as a kind voice in times of trouble. Consumer Reports awards Nationwide with its highest ranking for timely payments and promptness of response. With these kinds of credentials, Nationwide is an excellent partner to have at your side when disaster — large or small — strikes.

Farmers Insurance

Farmers Insurance is the third largest personal lines insurer in the nation, and its size brings a lot of useful tools to the table. With high quality tools like an explorable home, detailed mapping of earthquake prone areas (looking at you western Montana), and extensive FAQ sheets, Farmers earns high marks for insurance education. Before diving into an expensive policy or choosing from a wide range of optional coverages, it’s important to understand exactly what you are protected from. Farmers answers a huge inventory of frequently asked questions and offers detailed guides. One of our favorites is “How Much Do I Need,” an orderly process evaluating your home and your specific needs, including an easy to understand breakdown of how home insurance coverages are calculated.

Farmers also claims the most available discounts out of the top five home insurers in Montana. Offering breaks on your premium for a multitude of actions like taking the simple step of adding strong deadbolts to your doors, eliminating any type of indoor smoking, and renovation discounts for those who have updated their electrical or HVAC systems. Farmers also stands at the forefront of environmental-based discounts with innovative options for LEED-certified materials and green homes — a rare offer in the insurance world. Unfortunately, you may need all of the discounts together in order to get a competitive quote. Out of the providers we retrieved quotes from, Farmers estimated the highest premium for the lowest suggested dwelling coverages.

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual is another excellent contender for homeowners insurance in Montana, especially for extensive coverage. With the highest number of optional endorsements, you can customize a policy that truly meets your individual needs and covers nearly all the major issues Montanans may face like flood damage from a variety of sources and loss of individual valuables likely to result from fires. Liberty Mutual is the only insurance agency we found with a unique Inflation Guard protection that automatically adjusts your coverage limits based upon inflation and includes a discount on your premium to match.

Liberty Mutual recently partnered with the inquisitive minds at HowStuffWorks to build a comprehensive and user-friendly how-to guide called MasterThis™. Each section, such as “Increasing your Home Value”, contains a handful of short three or five minute reads which outline tasks or steps you can take to improve your home, bolster its protections, or lower your premiums.

The Hartford

The Hartford is another top performer in claims experience. It is the only provider alongside Nationwide to receive a rating of “Excellent” for timely payouts as well as “Very Good” for the simplicity of its claims process. J. D. Power also ranks The Hartford as a top insurance company in its 2017 Property Claims Satisfaction Study. Outside of the claims experience however, The Hartford lacks the extensive resources of Farmers or the beautifully curated guides from Liberty Mutual. If you would like clarification about some of the language in your policy, The Hartford does have a detailed glossary to define the most important terms in insurance. It also publishes some articles focused on homeowners, but a quick look reveals that this resource is focused on a more mature demographic — great for those of us in retirement, but not so great for most first-time homeowners.

The Hartford’s mobile app also lacks features for home insurance customers and focuses mostly on auto insurance policies. Also be forewarned: for most Montana zip codes, there isn’t the option of obtaining an online quote, so you'll need to call a local agent to compare The Hartford’s prices against those of our other top picks.

Travelers

Travelers Insurance represents the third largest market share of Property and Casualty insurance in Montana, and for good reason. In our quote analysis, Travelers offered us our most affordable options for home insurance. Our quote was substantially lower than those of our other top picks, the dwelling coverage Travelers offered was nearly $50,000 greater than Farmers quote, and Travelers offered the lowest deductible.

Travelers Insurance is lacking in a couple of areas, though. Like The Hartford, Travelers doesn’t have a deep resource center. A light collection of articles on homeownership and insurance 101 makes up the bulk of its educational materials and not much more. Worse yet is Travelers’ mobile app — it has a low rating in the iTunes store, and its own page for its mobile app is outdated with some broken features. Touting compatibility with “iPhone 3g” and Android “OS 2.1”, this page is a hold out from the days of blackberrys and flip phones. The app is mostly directed to auto insurance customers anyway, so it’s probably worth skipping if you’re not looking to bundle your insurance coverages.

Montana May Be Its Own Best Resource

Montana’s Commission of Securities, Insurances, and Office of State Auditor has one of the most complete and well-crafted resource centers available from a state organization. Montanans can take advantage of thorough guides and helpful questions, written specifically with their needs in mind. If you choose an insurance company that doesn’t offer a property scheduling service within its app, we recommend you use the Commission’s handy Home Inventory Checklist to build out your inventory. If you are at the beginning your journey into homeowners insurance, we highly recommend delving into the Consumer’s Guide. Or, if you’re having trouble with your insurance company, then the CSIMT makes it easy to file a formal complaint.

Quote Analysis

We secured quotes from a few of our recommended insurance providers to give a price estimate for homeowners insurance in Montana. We calculated our quotes based on a Montana median home price of around $200,000, with an average square footage of 2000 sq ft. in Billings. Each insurer’s online quote tool offers its own estimate of coverage limits and deductibles based on its assumptions of the most appropriate plan for our home. We found the differences to be quite interesting.

Homeowners Insurance Dwelling Coverage Personal Property Deductible Total Year Premium
Travelers $254,000 $127,000 $1,000 $1,276
Liberty Mutual $226,900 $113,450 $2,500 $1,776
Farmers $205,000 $82,000 $1,500 $1,892

*Nationwide and The Hartford both require phone interviews to complete a quote, which takes a bit more personal and sensitive information than we can replicate. We certainly advise giving them each a call before making your final purchasing decision.

In our test scenario, Travelers came out on top for price with a triple win of highest coverage for dwelling and personal property and the lowest deductible. However, these results don’t necessarily mean that Travelers will the best homeowners insurance company for you. Policy premiums are calculated differently based on everything from credit score to location to building materials, and discounts vary between insurers. To find the best price, we recommend getting a quote from all of your available providers by searching for your specific needs, and asking what discounts you can get.

For an even more in-depth report on estimated costs, we direct you to the Montana Insurance Commission’s Homeowners, Condominium, and Renters Insurance 2017 Rates Guide. It compares ten home insurers, digging into detailed estimates for nine ultra-specific examples, across nine urban and rural areas spread throughout the entire state.