The Best Utah Homeowners Insurance Company
Utah’s average annual premiums for homeowners insurance are on the low side — $673 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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Utah is rich with natural beauty, from its popular ski resorts to the Great Salt Lake. There are some drawbacks to the stunning landscape though. Mainly, natural disasters, including earthquakes and landslides. Both are unlikely to be included in standard homeowners insurance policies, leaving the cost of an HO-3 policy relatively low at $673 compared to the nationwide average of $1,173.
Still, homeowners insurance fluctuates based on several factors, including your home’s geography, age, and construction materials, the value of its contents. That’s why we suggest you obtain price quotes from three or more insurers before making a decision. Our quote tool is a good place to start.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Utah
We employed a method similar to the one we used for our review of national providers to find the best homeowners insurance in Utah. We began by finding the top five homeowners insurance providers in Utah by total market share. Then, we carefully reviewed them based on factors such as standard coverage and endorsements and online educational materials.
From there, we looked at the companies’ financial ratings and customer service scores, and talked to a Utah realtor to get a better idea of local issues. To compare each providers’ coverage and tools, we pulled insurance quotes for cities spanning the state, drawing on data from the Utah Insurance Department. Once we compiled all this data, we ranked the providers based on their performance in each category. We’ll show you how each provider stacks up below.
Utah Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Liberty Mutual’s top-notch claims service and attention to detail made it our top pick. The insurer received the highest scores from Consumer Reports’ homeowners insurance survey (a key rating based on input from 90,000 Consumer Reports subscribers) and the lowest complaint ratio, according to Utah Department of Insurance data.
Liberty Mutual’s website was also one of the best: The site is filled with helpful resources, ranging from an online quote tool and home insurance coverage calculator to step-by-step details on filing and tracking a homeowner’s insurance claim. The insurer further utilizes technology via its RealTime Review offering, whereby claim representatives use FaceTime or Skype to view your property and complete an on-the-spot damage estimate for eligible claims. While we wouldn’t rank it at the top of our list — that honor goes to Allstate — Liberty’s site was not far behind.
We were similarly impressed with Liberty Mutual’s standard and optional coverage. The former includes 24/7 Emergency Home Repairs, something no other Utah home insurer offered. The latter includes inflation protection and Home Protector Plus, which provides additional living expenses if you need to live elsewhere while home repairs are performed and full replacement cost for your possessions, not merely the depreciated value.
Even better: Liberty Mutual offers separate flood insurance policies, which is a good idea for all Utah homeowners, but particularly those who live along the Wasatch Fault line or are highly susceptible to landslides.
Liberty Mutual is not without flaws, though. Primarily, the quotes we received were relatively high, an average of $777 across the state. Still, its premiums were not the most expensive of the bunch, and the insurer offers many options for discounts.
While it wasn’t at the top of our list, State Farm is still an excellent option. It writes the most policies of any insurer in Utah, and with good reason. Of the state’s top five insurers, State Farm received the highest financial ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s.
The company’s customer service ratings were also high. In fact, it received the overall highest customer satisfaction score from JD Power among the big five providers, and next to Liberty Mutual, it had the lowest statewide complaint ratio. In other words, its earned a reputation for happy customers.
We also liked State Farm’s website, home to a useful FAQ section and helpful articles. What really stood out was its online quote tool, which lets you to quickly update your coverage and see the effect on your annual premium.
So, where did State Farm fall short? First, cost. For the same homeowners insurance policy in four locations throughout the state, State Farm’s premiums were by far the highest at an average of $931, nearly $155 higher than Liberty Mutual’s, the second most expensive of the five. Premiums are subjective, sure, but we were surprised at just how much more we’d have to pay for the same coverage.
Second, State Farm does not offer flood insurance, a helpful addition for Utah homeowners. Flood insurance isn’t required for all homeowners, only those with federally backed mortgages in high-risk flood areas. Flooding is still extremely common in low- and medium-risk areas, though — people outside of high-risk flood areas file more than 20 percent of the National Flood Insurance Program’s claims. Plus, homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
Although State Farm doesn’t offer flood insurance, it is the leading provider of earthquake insurance in Utah. It’s also important to note that flood and earthquake coverage are separate policies from homeowners insurance, it is easier to work with the same company for these related policies, especially if you have to file a claim.
Allstate is also an excellent option for Utah homeowners, thanks to its robust website and affordability. It’s also important to note that Allstate offers separate flood insurance policies for its customers, which is helpful for Utahns dealing with landslides and other inclement weather conditions. In fact, of the Utah homeowners insurance companies, Allstate holds the largest market share of flood insurance in the state.
The insurer’s site was the best of the five, as it clearly outlines policy features, optional coverage, discounts, and claims information. Beyond the basics, however, the site offers a few unique tools. Take the Digital Locker, a cloud-based home inventory app, and the Common and Costly Claims tool, which lets you enter their ZIP code to view its most common claims and their average costs.
If you want to get even more granular, check out Allstate’s GoodHome home report, which plays a Google Street View video of your home as it lists potential risks and information on local hazards and prevention tips.
Allstate was also among the most affordable, with an average premium of $733. Keep in mind, that cost doesn’t include the insurer’s discounts — there are nearly a dozen available — including up to 5 percent off when you arrange for automatic payments from their checking or savings account and up to 30 percent off when you bundle your home and auto insurance.
Although Allstate’s financial strength and customer service ratings weren’t as high as Liberty Mutual’s or State Farm’s, they were still strong — just not strong enough to earn the insurer our highest ranking.
Farmers premiums just edged out Bear Mutual as the lowest across the state. Plus, Farmers offers flood insurance as well as earthquake insurance, making it a great one-stop shop for Utah homeowners.
Farmers also has one of the best websites of all five companies. In particular, we liked its an online quote tool, which details three levels of coverage along with the pros and cons of purchasing each.
The site is also home to a wealth of resources, including Clickable House, which guides you through a virtual home where you can click on household items and learn more about potential claims and coverage options. Clicking on the kitchen stove, for example, will inform you that your policy includes coverage for fire and smoke damage, and clicking above the living room curtains tells you that a professionally installed interior sprinkler system may qualify for a discount.
Unfortunately, Farmers customer satisfaction ratings were only average, and the insurer didn’t stack up next to Liberty Mutual, State Farm, or Allstate in terms of financial stability. Specifically, Moody’s gave Farmers a Baa2 rating, meaning it is subject to moderate credit risk. When it comes to insurance, we want as few risks as possible.
Bear River Mutual
If you are looking for a local insurance provider, Bear River Mutual is your best bet. Not only was Bear River founded in Utah, it only insures homes in the Beehive State. Plus, as a mutual company, there are no investors or shareholders seeking company profits. As a result of these factors, Bear River offers some of the lowest rates across the state.
So, why is it at the bottom of our list? Well, being a small regional mutual company can be a double-edged sword. Because of Bear River’s size, there was limited information on its financial strength (A.M Best gave it an A- rating; it wasn’t included in Moody’s and S&P’s ratings). And there was no information on customer satisfaction available from JD Power and Associates or Consumer Reports.
The only customer satisfaction information we did find was Bear River’s complaint ratio, which was the highest of any insurer in the state. And because Bear Mutual does not sell insurance directly, but rather through agents, it simply isn’t possible to obtain an online quote.
Speaking of Bear Mutual’s website, it was by far the most bare bones of the insurers we evaluated. The site offered significantly more information on the company itself than the insurance it provides. We would be remiss, though, if we didn’t note that Bear Mutual was the only website to call out earthquake coverage, further proving its local expertise.
Ultimately, lack of information and stiff competition means we can’t confidently recommend Bear Mutual. Still, it’s worth a look if you’re set on finding the cheapest coverage available.
Make Sure You're Covered Against Utah's Two Biggest Threats
The state is no stranger to landslides — the Utah Geological Survey counted more than two dozen between the years of 2001 and 2013 alone and found that many areas throughout the state are highly susceptible to landslides.
Utah’s combination of steep natural slopes — think of all those ski resorts — and areas in or at the mouths of drainages — canyons such as Flaming Gorge, Horseshoe, and Kingfisher — make it uniquely vulnerable to landslides.
“We’ve had landslides up in Farmington and down in Draper because they’re building on the sides of mountains where there’s no stability,” says Sandy Straley, a 40-year Salt Lake City real estate veteran, “When they’re building too high up on the mountain, it’s gonna slide.”
Sandy is right. Landslides generally occur as a result of heavy precipitation combined with steep slopes. So Utahns should be on the lookout after heavy rainfall and during wet winters and springs, especially if they are located in those steep-sloped and canyon areas.
Utah homeowners should also pay attention to the addition of water due to manmade/superficial forms, like irrigation, roof downspouts, poor drainage, and broken water lines. With this in mind, homeowners can reduce the likelihood of landslides by minimizing these risks using common-sense tactics, such as draining water in areas away from unstable slopes and landslides.
Of course, these natural disasters cannot be prevented entirely, which is why homeowners should obtain insurance coverage for landslides. But that is easier said than done.
Standard homeowners insurance does not cover landslides.
A landslide is considered an “earth movement” event, so it’s excluded from standard homeowners insurance policies. However, as the Insurance Information Institute explains, you can obtain comprehensive landslide insurance coverage through a Difference in Conditions policy, which is sold by surplus lines insurers — companies that insure risks traditional companies may decline or only provide at a high price with many exclusions or a high deductible.
However, mudflow caused by heavy rainfall is covered by flood insurance.
Flood insurance is also a separate policy available through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program as well as some private insurance companies, including Liberty Mutual and Allstate. Homeowners can also obtain earthquake insurance coverage, but those policies are limited to landslides caused by earthquakes.
Utah earthquakes are increasingly likely.
Utah’s Wasatch Fault line may not be as well known as California’s San Andreas, but it still has the potential to wreak havoc on the surrounding area and cause immense damage to your home and personal property. Experts estimate that, in addition to killing and injuring thousands, a magnitude-7 earthquake in Utah would cause $33 billion in damage.
And the likelihood of a Utah earthquake is increasing. A 2016 study estimated there is a 43 percent probability that a magnitude-6.75 or higher earthquake will strike along the Wasatch Front within the next 50 years.
Smaller earthquakes are even more likely. The same study found there is a 93 percent chance of a 5.0-magnitude quake and a 57 percent chance of a 6.0-magnitude quake to occur during the same period.
To protect against the damages resulting from this increasingly likely natural disaster, homeowners should purchase earthquake insurance. While it is rarely advertised, this separate policy is available through most insurance companies and each of our top picks.
The Bottom Line
While landslides and earthquakes are expensive natural disasters, their policies are separate from homeowners insurance. Still, it is important that Utah homeowners seek out an insurer with a strong financial outlook and high levels of customer satisfaction, especially when it comes to the claims process. In addition to these qualities, homeowners should find a well-priced policy. The best way to do that is by comparing coverage options and premiums from multiple providers. Start by entering your ZIP code in the tool below.