The 5 Best Ohio Homeowners Insurance Companies
Ohio's annual premiums for homeowners insurance are on the low side — on average $797 per year for an HO-3 policy, compared to the nationwide average of $1,132. 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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Despite being one of the top 10 most populated states in the country, Ohio has the ninth lowest homeowners insurance rates. Thanks to relatively mild year-round weather and infrequent natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, average insurance premiums are just $797 annually — $335 less than the national average, according to the Insurance Information Institute. (And here you thought that buckeyes were the best reason to stick around Ohio…) That said, premiums will vary based on your home’s size and location. Our advice: Use this quote tool to find and compare quotes for your home.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Ohio
The five largest insurance providers in Ohio are State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, and Grange Mutual — they own 54.1 percent of Ohio’s market share. To see how they stack up, we used a methodology similar to how we found the best nationwide homeowners insurance provider: We got sample quotes, compared coverage, and dug into customer service satisfaction from both J.D. Power and Consumer Reports. We also looked at their financial strength ratings to evaluate how well the companies would be able to handle paying out claims to customers in the event of a large-scale emergency. Here’s what we found:
Ohio Homeowners Insurance Reviews
State Farm is an excellent choice for homeowner’s insurance. It not only commands the highest market share at 21.8 percent (far more than the next highest, Allstate, which holds only 10.6 percent), but also has an admirable financial strength rating (FSR) with an A++ from A.M. Best — the highest possible. J.D. Power rates State Farm only 3 out of 5 for overall customer satisfaction, but 4 out of 5 for claims satisfaction. Why the discrepancy, when claims are arguably the most important part of insurance? We looked at reviews, and several customers mentioned their dissatisfaction with the time it took an adjuster to reach their property after a storm. (However, it should be noted that no other company on the list scored higher than a 3 out of 5, either.)
For a sample Cincinnati home with $115,000 in coverage, State Farm quoted $69 per month or $828 annually — the second-lowest of the five, beaten only by Nationwide. Granted, that’s just one quote, and the one you get may very well be higher, but it definitely suggests State Farm is one of the providers to shop around with. It was also one of the easiest insurers to get a quote from; the form was self-explanatory and the process was entirely online (many providers require you to get on the phone with someone).
Consumer Reports creates its ratings through surveys of its 90,000-plus subscribers to get an ear-to-the-ground feel for what consumers think. Unfortunately, Allstate scores only a 77 out of 100 in customer satisfaction — the lowest of the five companies we reviewed. However, the fact that it owns the second-highest percentage of the market share says something about the loyalty of the customer base. Allstate holds a slightly lower (but still good) A+ rating from A.M. Best and an AA- rating from S&P.
We caught Allstate at an interesting time. When we attempted to get a quote for our sample Cincinnati home, the online quote system was down for maintenance. A few days later, it was back up — and better than ever. It’s beautiful and user-friendly with only one downside; without entering your phone number and email address, you’re unable to proceed beyond the third page. If you do not wish to provide this information, the form provides a number you can call to finish the quote.
If you’re a new Allstate member, you can save as much as 10 percent on your monthly premiums for the first two years, with an additional 5 percent if you set it up to automatically deduct from your bank. Allstate is the only insurer we’ve found that offers a new customer discount, although Liberty Mutual has a similar offer in its “Early Shopper” discount.
With 8.4 percent of the market share, Nationwide has a smaller customer base than both State Farm and Allstate, but, at a whopping 84, it owns the highest Consumer Reports reader score of any of the five providers we looked at. Combined with its 4-star J.D. Power claims rating and an A+ FSR from A.M. Best, Nationwide is a solid competitor in the homeowner’s insurance market.
Nationwide provided the lowest quoted rates for our sample home at $65.72 per month ($788 annually). In addition, its online quote process was one of the easiest we encountered. There are potential downsides to that quick-’n’-easy quote process, though: It went so fast, the quote ended up not as comprehensive as it could have been (Nationwide did not ask for the age of our roof, for example). We felt that Nationwide’s online form — and State Farm’s, too, for that matter — was a great way to get a rough quote, but a more personalized version could potentially vary greatly. Our suggestion: If you like your ballpark number, call an agent to get a “real” one.
Contrasted with the higher FSR scores of the other companies, Liberty Mutual’s A rating from A.M. Best and A- from S&P may raise eyebrows. However, Liberty Mutual’s outlook is stable according to Moody’s, and the 4-star rating in claims satisfaction from J.D. Power is a testament to its customer service. Combine this with its unique 24-hour emergency home repair service, and Liberty Mutual is a great choice for homeowners insurance, especially if your home is older or in an area that sees a higher frequency of severe weather.
That said, Liberty Mutual provided the highest estimated premiums for our quote at $85 per month or $1,020 annually. If you’re considering Liberty Mutual, keep potential discounts like the Liberty Mutual affinity program (you can save on your premiums if you work for one of the 14,000 companies that are part of the program) or the Early Shopper (obtain a quote for a new policy before your current one expires) in mind.
Grange Mutual is a standout on this list for one simple reason: it’s the only regional provider on a list dominated by national names. With 5.7 percent of the market share, Grange Mutual is the highest-earning regional insurance company in Ohio, and scored a solid A rating from A.M. Best in terms of financial strength. It’s too small a player to be ranked with the big boys by J.D. Power, but the Better Business Bureau rates Grange Mutual 3.8 stars with an A+ rating. The company does not provide online quotes, but a quick call to a friendly representative provided us with a quote of $863 annually, or $72 per month. Although Grange’s site doesn’t explicitly list available discounts, a footnote at the bottom of the page recommends customers to speak with an agent about discounts, as they vary state-by-state and home-by-home.
Did You Know?
Ohio homeowners have great insurance rates — but they are on the rise.
According to a report released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Ohio residents pay $333 per year less than the national average — a 30 percent savings. Despite this, insurance rates have been on the rise every year since 2012 (although the reported 3.3 percent hike from 2015 to 2016 is, fortunately, the smallest one in recent years).
Blame the weather. In insurance terms, a catastrophe is an event which results in insured losses of more than $25 million — and the total number of catastrophes in Ohio between 2011 and 2015 is equal to the number of catastrophes for the previous decade. In 2015 alone, Ohio suffered three catastrophes and one event that fell just under that threshold, totaling a loss of $155.2 million. The loss-to-date in 2016 is an estimated $2.5 million in insured properties.
Beware wind, fire… and sinkholes.
In Ohio, the most frequent claims are related to wind and hail damage (the costliest, in case you are interested, are those related to fire and lightning).
As a homeowner, you should ensure your policy has endorsements against wind and hail; the majority of policies offer this, but often carry a slightly higher deductible. In addition, staying on top of potential threats with regular home maintenance, impact-resistant roofing, and regular inspections can reduce your risk of serious damage — and therefore more serious claims.
Another source of loss is sinkage. Because Ohio is home to a huge number of abandoned coal mines, certain areas are more prone to sinkholes and other unexpected threats. Some counties, like Lake Country and Eaton County, offer an optional mine subsidence coverage; this fund will pay the value of your home or $300,000, whichever is less.
Make sure your dog is covered too.
On another note, Ohio ranks number two in the nation for dog bites. As a homeowner, the liability coverage that is part of your insurance will pay for any damages. However, you should be aware of whether your specific breed of dog is covered. Although Ohio does not discriminate based on dog breed (the state became ‘breed neutral’ in 2013), some insurance companies exclude coverage for specific breeds. Allstate excludes pit bulls, Dobermans, and rottweilers, while Liberty Mutual examines the dog’s temperament before coming to a decision. In addition, certain neighborhoods may deem a breed too dangerous, so it is important to check local laws when moving to a new area; for example, Akron restricts pit bulls.
The Bottom Line
Because Ohio is home to more than 1,000 insurance agencies, the competition is fierce — another thing that helps keep premiums low. Always shop around to find better rates for the same coverage. Start by using the quote tool below.
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