The Best Ohio Homeowners Insurance Company
Ohio’s average annual premiums for homeowners insurance are right in line with the national average — $819 per year for an HO-3 policy, compared to $1,173 nationwide. 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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If you live in the Buckeye State, you already know you’re lucky. A land of moderate weather and few natural calamities like earthquakes or tornadoes, Ohio homeowner insurance is quite a bit cheaper than the national average. That $819 average, in fact, places it in 43rd place — near the bottom of the list — in the state rankings of insurance premium costs.
But just because your premium is relatively reasonable doesn’t mean that you’re getting the best coverage for your home. To find the best homeowner insurance in Ohio, you’ll need to ask questions, study the numbers, and read the fine print. The good news? We’ve a lot of the work for you.
We’ll show you how the state’s top insurers stack up in our review below. But to find your best price, you'll need to compare rates. Our quote tool is a good place to start.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Ohio
We decided to focus on the top five home insurers in Ohio — together, these five write more than half of the policies in the state. Using the techniques from our national review of the best homeowners insurance companies, we looked at our five under a microscope: We studied what consumer organizations like J.D. Power and Consumer Reports had to say about them, as well as A.M. Best, Moody’s, and S&P Global, which measure financial stability.
Next, we looked at each company’s website. Was it well organized? Did it answer our basic questions? How hard was it to get an online quote? Getting quotes is the easiest way to initiate your search for the best homeowners insurance in Ohio. One smaller company on our list, Grange Mutual, doesn’t offer online quotes, but it was the exception, not the rule.
To help us assess each company’s pricing structure and standard coverage, we found a average-sized ranch house in suburban Columbus selling for $150K on Zillow. Then, using its specs, we asked each of our companies for a quote.
We noted what that standard coverage included, and how many discounts were offered (you can save hundreds of dollars with discounts). We also took a look at available endorsements, or add-ons, like coverage for sewer backup, which are generally not part of the standard policy.
Finally, we talked to an agent either by phone or email to evaluate customer service. This is a subjective measure, of course, and the actions of a single agent might not be indicative of the customer service policies of the entire company, but we wanted some first-person contact just to get a sense of how each company treats its customers. Here’s what we discovered.
Ohio Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Allstate scored the lowest of our five on Consumer Reports reader poll, with an 80, which still kept it in the “very good” range. J.D. Power gave it a three out of five — again, not at the top of the heap, but acceptable, and similar to the ranking awarded to our other contenders (only State Farm, with a four out of five, and Nationwide, with five out of five, scored higher). Allstate also earned “A” scores from financial agencies like Moody’s and A.M. Best. This score tells us that the company is financially sound enough that be able to pay out multiple claims in the event of a catastrophic event in your area.
One place where Allstate does excel is in its terrific website. It is packed full of educational information, and the quote tool is a dream. We had a quote within 10 minutes, and it was the only company that gave us a range of three pricing options, for standard, choice, and premium coverage.
The site lets you compare all three on one page, so you can really see what you’re paying for at each level. At the highest option, you get identity theft coverage and reimbursement for green improvements, as well as lower deductibles and higher levels of protection for both dwelling and personal property.
Allstate also excels in the number of discounts offered, with our quote netting us six, for a savings of $356 at the choice level, which was the middle of the three plan options we were given. Bundling our car policy in would have given us another discount of $252, and choosing the automatic payment option would be another $34 in our pocket annually. The $747 per year quote wasn’t the cheapest one we got (that would be Liberty Mutual, at $648), but it was in line with all the others except State Farm, which was over $1,000.
Even if you go with another insurer, we suggest that you check out Allstate’s website purely for its educational value. The site’s common and costly claims feature, for example, will give you a good idea of what sort of claim you’re most likely to make on your home, and how much is usually paid out for that claim. For that and for the many other informative features of the website, we think Allstate is a great place to start your search for homeowner insurance in Ohio.
Consumer Report’s Reader Score for Nationwide is 86, which is the highest of any of our top five. That reflects the overall experience as rated by nearly 8,000 CR readers. Its J.D. Power Claim Claim Satisfaction Rank was five out of five (you can’t get better than that). Financial stability ratings from Moody’s, A.M. Best, and S&P Global were all in the “A” range, so no red flags there.
Its online quote tool starts out with some caveats, asking a range of questions to determine if, say, you have an un-fenced-in trampoline or you own a pit bull. If you answer yes to any of the questions, you’ll need to call an agent for your quote. If you pass that hurdle, though, it’s a simple matter of answering questions about yourself and the house you want to insure.
Our quote came out to a reasonable $63 per month, or $760 a year. This was based on Nationwide’s assessed value of our house at $185K, which seemed a bit low. The site does note that you can add replacement cost to your quote, and the quote tool allows you to edit your numbers to accomplish that.
Replacement cost, rather than the price you paid for the house or its assessed value, is what you should base your coverage on. As the name suggests, it’s an estimate of what it would cost you in today’s dollars to replace your home with a similar one if it was destroyed. It’s usually a higher number than what you paid for your home, and is something you can obtain from a home assessor or your insurance agent.
Nationwide doesn’t offer a lot of discounts. We qualified for two, which saved us about $40, and the discount page lists only four, which is far less than most of our others (Liberty Mutual is on top there, with ten). The website includes a learning center, featuring posts on insurance matters, buying and selling a home, safety and protection, care and maintenance, and other topics of interest to homeowners. It’s not as comprehensive as Allstate’s, but does feature information of value anyone who owns a home.
State Farm is the largest writer of homeowner policies in Ohio, with nearly 22 percent of the market. And for good reason. The consumer rating agencies, J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, both like it. J.D. Power gives State Farm a four out of five overall, and its CR Reader Score is 82 — which falls into the “very good” category, although it’s a shade lower than Liberty Mutual and Nationwide.
State Farm is at the top of the heap with financial stability as well, with scores like Aa1 from Moody’s and A++ from A.M. Best. That means, among other things, that in the event of a catastrophic disaster, it would have the necessary funds to meet all valid claims.
Its online quote tool is simple and effective, with a feature that we liked very much: Embedded in the quote software is a tool called 360Value, which allows you to find out the replacement value of your home. No other company we looked at had this feature.
Our quote from State Farm, based on a replacement value of $242K, was the highest of our five, at $1,192 a year. Bundling it with your car insurance, however, would bring your premium down to $775 a year, saving you more than $400. You can tweak those numbers online if, for example, the replacement value seems high to you or you want to change your deductible from the one percent that the company suggests.
Liberty Mutual is a solid company, with financial rankings in the “A” range, a Consumer Reports Reader Score of 83 (“very good”) and three out of five ratings from J.D. Power. It also leads the field in number of potential discounts available, and number of potential endorsements you can add on to your policy, from sewer backup to identify theft.
That said, Liberty Mutual didn’t wow us like Allstate did with a great website. It didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, but it didn’t stand out either. Liberty Mutual’s online quote tool is fairly standard.
The quote it gave us was a low $648 annually, based on a dwelling replacement value of $190K — which was also low compared to what the other insurers offered. You can edit your quote to include additional endorsements such as sump pump overflow coverage and earthquake coverage.
Liberty Mutual does offer some nice features that set it apart, like 24 hour emergency repair service, 24 hour claim assistance, and a catastrophe rapid response unit that can help you find alternative housing and get your claim settled quickly. But its website earned them a solid “meh,” with limited resources, an unimaginative blog, and a coverage calculator that told us next to nothing.
We weren’t expecting much from this smaller regional insurer, but were pleasantly surprised in a number of ways. Grange works a little differently from the other companies we looked at: Instead of dedicated agents who just sell one brand, Grange sells policies through independent agents. There’s some benefit in going with an independent agent: They’re not tied down to one company and can really work to find you the best coverage across the board.
Grange holds its own against the big names in some ways. Despite not having an online quote tool, its website is just as helpful, with excellent educational information. We especially love its Interactive Home feature, which allows you to “walk” through a typical house, gathering info and suggestions along the way. The Tips and Resources section offers blog postings with great ideas and the answers to common insurance questions. One minor quibble: There’s no search window, which was just annoying when we wanted to search for something we’d seen there earlier.
Grange isn’t big enough to be rated by Consumer Reports or J.D. Power, and only A.M. Best offered a score for its financial stability, but that score was an “A,” so you can be sure that Grange has the financial resources on hand to pay your claim along with numerous others in the case of a catastrophic event in your area.
Our big concern with Grange was related to the difficulty we had getting a quote. We contacted several independent agents, and dutifully sent them our personal info and the specs on our house. And then we waited. And waited. It was several days before we had numbers in hand — something that takes ten minutes with the other four companies.
Although there are benefits to going with an independent agent, in the end, we had to put Grange at the bottom of our list because of its questionable customer service.
Ohio Homeowners Insurance 101
A home inventory checklist makes it much easier to file a claim.
Insurance is a complicated topic, but if you want to geek out by learning more, the Ohio Department of Insurance website is a good place to start. We like its Severe Weather Toolkit, which has a wealth of info on flood safety, windstorms and other natural disasters, water pipe damage, and it has a home inventory checklist that would be great to have handy in the case of a disaster.
It’s worth noting that you can also find variations on this checklist at some of our top insurance companies. Allstate, for example, offers a digital locker — an online tool that lets you create a home inventory list that can be easily sent to your agent if the need arises.
Whether you use a high-tech list like Allstate’s app or a paper-based inventory, we do recommend that you inventory your possessions, and keep a copy of the list at a remote location (like a bank safety deposit box, or a friend’s house) so that in the chaos following a home emergency, you would have easy access to a list of your furniture, electronics, jewelry, and other possessions.
Know that Fido might affect your premium.
Ohio is one of the top ten states in the U.S. for dog bite claims, most recently earning the number three spot in 2016. Dog bites are covered under the liability portion of your homeowner insurance, and it’s important to ensure that you’re adequately covered if you own a canine.
Fortunately, Ohio is breed neutral: Your beloved Staffordshire terrier or rotty is welcome in the state, although there may be city or town restrictions that you’ll need to obey. But even if your furry friend is a teacup chihuahua (which, incidentally, top the list for dog bites in the U.S.), make sure your insurance coverage will protect you if the mail carrier — or a visiting child — is bitten.
Your standard HO-3 insurance policy may provide adequate liability to cover your dog. Keep in mind that the average claim paid out in Ohio for dog bite was $34,265, and check the fine print — or better yet, talk to your agent — to find out how much your policy covers.
If dog bites are excluded, an umbrella policy might make sense. Or if you have a dog that is considered high-risk because it has already bitten someone, there are special canine liability policies that can help, though at a cost.
Ohio wants you to be prepared.
Another resource available to all Ohioans is the ReadyOhio website. The ReadyOhio program is a product of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Preparedness Month. It’s designed to inform Ohio residents about what they should do in the event of a major incident. From a flu pandemic to a catastrophic tornado or an extended power outage, it hosts a slew of resources on preparing a disaster plan practicing safety drills. We also love its kids section, which has child-friendly games and info that will help your young ones prep for emergencies, without scaring them.
The Bottom Line
Ohioans are lucky: the state isn’t prone to earthquakes, tornadoes, or other natural disasters. But that doesn’t mean a calamity can’t strike your home. Be prepared by scoping out our reviews, using our quote tool, and making sure you talk to an agent who will explain the fine print to you before you sign up for a policy.