Like most things in New York, the price of homeowners insurance tends to be steep. But because insurance does such a big business in the state (New York employs the second highest number of insurance staff in the country), you have a competitive market to choose from. Your premium will depend on the age and construction of your home, the rating tier your community falls in (every borough of the city and area of the state claims its own), the incidence of crime and vandalism there, and, of course, the likelihood of catastrophic weather.

In the past decade, Northeastern weather has been extreme. In addition to the usual cycles of snowmageddon and heat waves, coastal states have been wracked by the likes of Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. Since 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared a disaster nine times (the national average: five).

Whether you’re tucked away on an upstate farm, or living in the city, finding a great home insurance policy to see you through the extremes of New York is a must.

The average homeowners insurance premium in New York comes in at $1,287 per year, which is a few hundred dollars higher than the nationwide average of $1,173. Higher premiums in New York City drive the statewide average up, though, so if you’re not in the city don’t let that price tag scare you. Compare rates for your area using the quote tool below. (The best way to get a good rate is simply to shop around.)

New York Homeowners Insurance Reviews

State Farm

Customer satisfaction is higher with State Farm than any other top homeowners insurance provider in New York. With a stellar spread of available policies and superior claims management, a homeowners insurance with State Farm will do exactly what it should — give you peace of mind.

In Consumer Reports’ homeowners insurance survey, State Farm’s reader score (a key rating based on input from 90,000 Consumer Reports’ subscribers) sat on the high end, on par or edging out all but Liberty Mutual (Chubb was not included in the study).

Because homeowners insurance is a complex topic (and the less you know about coverage, the more likely it is you’ll pay more than you should), we were really impressed with State Farm’s educational materials. First-time homeowners, or those shopping around for home insurance for the first time, will need these online resources to get familiar with coverage options and make informed policy-buying decisions. Besides a quick and sophisticated quote tool, State Farm offers a home inventory calculator and a helpful learning center.

Allstate

For educational resources, Allstate truly leads the pack. Apart from general interest topics, the really useful Common & Costly Claims tool helps you determine which coverage options you should prioritize based on your zip code. Allstate’s discounts are something to brag about, too.

All five providers we evaluated offer basic discounts for things like remaining claims free or signing up for multiple policies, but Allstate distinguishes itself by being the only provider with a welcome discount. This unique discount gives you 10 percent off your premium for the first two years just for signing up with Allstate. And if you’re over 55 and retired, you qualify for an additional 10 percent deduction, another discount unmatched by any of the other top providers. Allstate’s multi-policy discount alone can reach up to 30 percent — 8 percent higher than State Farm’s.

Allstate’s reputation for claims management is fair, but it scored lowest of all our top picks in Consumer Reports’ homeowners insurance survey. This chink in Allstate’s armor comes from consumers’ general dissatisfaction with damage amounts. Exceptional discounts and customer resources go a long way to make up for the flaw.

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual is one of the most competitive all-around providers. That’s why it came out on top in Consumer Report’s survey, scratching out an extra point over State Farm. It falls behind State Farm and Allstate in J.D. Power’s estimation, and in claims management, but still is one of the most well-rounded providers we evaluated.

The company’s unique benefits really set it apart. For example, Liberty Mutual’s Emergency Home Repairs service is available 24/7; if you suffer a covered loss, call and the company will immediately send professionals to begin repairs. If a major storm puts a hole in your roof or fills your basement with water, it’s nice to know you can get on the phone and get help quickly. All of the home insurance providers we evaluated have a 24/7 claims management service, but only Liberty Mutual offers immediate repairs service.

Liberty Mutual’s exclusive group discounts also mean that if you’re part of participating groups, associations, or work for one of the 14,000 employers that participate in the program — including the New York Public Employees Federation Membership Benefit Program, and many SUNY alumni groups — the coverage may be even cheaper.

Travelers

Similar to Allstate, Travelers stood out for its wide variety of discounts. Though not as competitive as the 30 percent multi-policy discount offered by Allstate, bundling your home insurance with an auto, umbrella, boat, or personal articles policy can save you up to 15 percent. In addition, you’ll save another 5 percent for signing up for auto-pay, a deduction only offered by Travelers and Allstate. Travelers is also the only company with discounts for certified green homes. If you boast solar panels or energy-saving appliances, you could save as much as 5 percent.

But if you live in an older home, take note that Travelers doesn’t offer ordinance and law coverage for residential homes with a replacement cost of less than $1 million. That’s an endorsement both State Farm and Allstate offer, and it may be required if you need to upgrade electrical, plumbing or other systems to meet new ordinances and laws after an incident. Without it, you’d be on the hook for any upgrade expenses.

Chubb

Looking for white-glove service and extended coverage options? Chubb is the provider for you. Chubb offered many of the same endorsements as the other four providers we evaluated, plus several distinguishable extended coverage options. For example, with Chubb’s Masterpiece plan an appraiser will personally visit your home, estimate your home’s replacement cost, and help you determine how much coverage you need.

It also looks at the smaller items of value in your home. While standard policies from Allstate or Liberty Mutual may not come with jewelry protection, the standard policy with Chubb includes $5,000.

And it casts its net a touch wider than most. The majority of homeowners insurance policies don’t comprehend flood damage, and those that do are written by the National Flood Insurance Program with a low standard dwelling coverage of $250,000 and personal belongings coverage of $100,000. Chubb not only offers flood coverage but can provide up to $15 million in total property coverage. With the Northeastern states flood risk, these extra levels of protection could be a lifesaver.

Chubb scored the lowest of the five providers we examined on J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction list, but actually came out on top for their claims management.

Save money by comparing quotes from multiple home insurance providers

One of the best ways to save money on homeowners insurance is to get quotes from more than one provider. To demonstrate why this is important, we went through the online quote process with three different home insurance companies in cities across the state. The thought of going through the purchasing process with multiple providers may not be very appealing, but as you can see in the chart below, the same $200,000 home in each city received different quotes from each provider.

Liberty Mutual Allstate Travelers
Premium / Mo. Premium / Mo. Premium / Mo.
Albany $72 $73 $61
Buffalo $66 $58 $57
Ithaca $64 $66 $52

Our biggest savings — $14 a month — may not sound like much, but over the course of five years, it adds up to a sizable $840. In some cases, as with Liberty Mutual and Allstate in Albany, the quotes may end up being pretty similar, but it’s still worth it to get a few quotes and see what’s out there. A little extra effort up front can result in legitimate savings down the road.

But what if you live in the city? State Farm was the only company of those we evaluated that offered online quotes for residents of New York City, so we got a quote from State Farm for a $550,000 home in three of the five boroughs. A home’s location and value a major role in the cost of the premium, and as you might expect, you can expect to pay more in the city.

State Farm
Premium / Mo.
Brooklyn $118
Queens $127
Bronx $128

Use the quote tool below to connect with agents and compare rates from multiple providers in your area.

If you live near the coast, you’ll want to be prepared for future storm surges

Catastrophic claims in New York have been on the rise over the past several years. From 2010–2013, catastrophe-related claims accounted for 35 percent of all claims in New York (to provide a little context, catastrophic claims accounted for just 12 percent of all claims in the previous 13 years combined). Superstorm Sandy’s record storm surge in 2012 is responsible for a lot of that damage: it destroyed 305,000 homes in New York and caused an estimated $19 billion worth of damage. But that doesn’t mean we’re in the clear for the foreseeable future; a study from 2014 found that a storm surge could overtop Manhattan’s seawall once every 4 to 5 years, a major increase compared to the 19th century rate of once every 100 to 400 years.

In order to better prepare for major storms, New York City has outlined a comprehensive waterfront plan, but it’s still important for all homeowners near the coast to pay special attention to their wind- and water-related coverage. With most companies, including our top five, flood insurance needs to be added as an additional policy. If you have a multi-million dollar home, the alternative flood coverage offered by Chubb is definitely worth exploring. In the event of a major storm, you can take some solace knowing that all five companies we evaluated have catastrophe response services, to help resolve your claim quickly.

Flood insurance? Check. What else should you prioritize?

We recommend using Allstate’s Common & Costly Claims tool, which, as you might suspect, specifies the most common and costly claims in each zip code. We looked at the most frequent claims using zip codes from cities across the state.

Comparison of Cities throughout New York

Top 3 Most Common Claims #1 #2 #3
Niagara Falls Wind Theft / burglary Water damage
Syracuse Wind Water damage Physical damage
Albany Water damage Wind Theft / burglary
Utica Wind Weight of ice or snow Water damage
White Plains Wind Water damage Physical damage

Comparison of New York City Boroughs

Top 3 Most Common Claims #1 #2 #3
Manhattan Water damage Theft / Burglary Physical damge
The Bronx Wind Water damage Fire
Brooklyn Wind Water damage Hail
Queens Water damage Wind Physical damage
Staten Island Wind Water damage Physical damage

A few key observations:

  • Wind and water damage are by far the most common claims. Standard policies from all five providers we evaluated include coverage for wind damage, but you’ll still want to be sure you’re protected there. It’s also important to note that water damage claims refer to leaks from burst pipes, clogged drain, or other accidents, not flood damage. Remember, you’ll need to pick up a separate policy for flood protection.
  • Physical damage, which Allstate defines as “loss or damage to personal property not described or listed elsewhere in the homeowner’s policy,” showed up in 50 percent of the zip codes we sampled. Allstate, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual all provide a home inventory tool, so you really have no excuse to not catalog your belongings. If you ever need to file a claim, you’ll be happy you did.
  • Even though weight of ice or snow only shows up once in these ten cities, don’t let that fool you. The fact that this seasonal claim still shows up among perils that happen year-round speaks to how frequently it actually occurs.

Don’t base your whole policy on the Common & Costly Claims tool, but it’s a great starting point. Speak to your local agent, your neighbor, or do some additional online research if you’re still uncertain about which coverage you need.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of whether you live in the heart of Harlem or the outskirts of Syracuse, as a homeowner in New York, you’ve got to be prepared for inclement weather. If you’ve settled on the coast, protecting your home with flood insurance is a must. Finding the best homeowners insurance starts with getting quotes from multiple providers. Enter your zip code in the tool below to start shopping around and comparing your coverage options.