The Best Virginia Homeowners Insurance Company
Virginia’s annual premiums for homeowners insurance are on the lower side — on average $946 per year for an HO-3 policy, compared to the nationwide average of $1,173. 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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The Best Virginia Homeowners Insurance Company
As one of the original 13 colonies, Virginia is home to a lot of history, including a timeline punctuated with natural disasters. From costly hurricanes and a 5.8 earthquake in 2011 (the strongest east of the Mississippi since 1944) to Snowmageddon and super-charged thunderstorms, it’s hard to know what to expect in Old Dominion. Or, more importantly, how those potential perils might impact your homeowners insurance.
Worried? Don’t be. This guide to the top five best homeowners insurance providers in Virginia makes finding the right policy for your home a cinch. For starters, use the quote tool above to compare rates in your area. Then, pat yourself on the back — Virginia’s average homeowners insurance premium is $946 a year, more than $200 cheaper than the national average of $1,173.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Virginia
To find the best for Virginia, we mirrored the approach in our review on nationwide homeowners insurance companies. First, we determined the largest providers in Virginia by market share. Then, we took note of their claims ratings, coverage options, available discounts, and financial fitness — comparing scores from reputable financial research companies like Standard & Poor’s, A.M. Best, and Moody’s. We called up their agents, poured over their websites, and used all their online tools to get a sense of the real user experience. Here’s how they ranked.
Virginia Homeowners Insurance Reviews
There’s a reason State Farm is the leading underwriter for homeowners insurance policies in Virginia and our top pick: they’re reliable.
State Farm’s finances are rock solid. Moody’s awarded them the second highest distinction (Aa1), meaning they are “of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.” They also got high marks from A.M. Best, with a top-tier score of A++, and Standard & Poor’s, with an AA.
Their customer service is also exceptional — JD Power awarded them a 4/5 in overall claims experience, and they received an 82 from Consumer Reports’ national homeowners insurance survey. Whenever we called, wait time was minimal and their agents were friendly, knowledgeable, and able to answer any question. Getting an online quote was easy and their website walked us through determining coverage needs and the difference between replacement cost and market value.
On paper, State Farm’s available discounts are average (the biggest savings come from bundling your home and auto insurance policies), and Allstate, Nationwide, and Liberty Mutual all had more to offer. But none of that mattered when we saw how State Farm’s quotes were consistently lower. In fact, they beat the average in all six localities we looked at. In Charlotte County, for example, our quote from State Farm just over a third of the cost of a quote from Allstate, the company with the most discounts. The takeaway? Don’t base your decision on the number of discounts listed on the website. Get a quote and see for yourself. It’s the final number that counts.
Travelers and State Farm are similar in a lot of ways. They tied in Consumer Reports’ national homeowners insurance survey with a score of 82. They offer the same number of endorsements, and like State Farm, they have an average number of discounts, but offer above-average savings. Travelers consistently beat out competitors (including, in some cases, State Farm) to offer the lowest annual premiums.
So, why are they in second? State Farm had a better overall financial rating and higher customer claims satisfaction. The difference wasn’t huge — we’re talking a rating of Aa2 from Moody’s compared to State Farm’s score of Aa1 and a 3/5 from JD Power versus State Farm’s 4/5 — but it was a noticeable difference nonetheless.
Our second pick’s stand-out features include their OpenHouse tool, which generates free home history reports — like CARFAX, but for your house — and provides information on neighborhood trends, past repairs, and even how much the house sold for previously. If your home is eco-friendly, you’ll also benefit from Travelers’ 5% discount for LEED-certified homes. More green for going green? That’s an idea we can get behind.
Liberty Mutual is a reliable provider with solid customer service and quality coverage. Customers love them because they settle claims quickly and provide an accurate estimate of damages incurred. As a result, they received an 83 in Consumer Reports’ national homeowners insurance survey ( just behind Nationwide’s 86).
Tailing Allstate, Liberty Mutual has the second highest number of discounts. You can save when you install a burglar alarm, set your bill to auto pay, or install a new roof. There’s even a discount for alumni from the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, and James Madison University. But what sets Liberty Mutual apart is its emergency home repairs service. If something unexpected happens, like a tree falls on the garage or your sewer system backs up (yuck), they’re on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They’ll send someone out immediately — even in the middle of the night — so you can sleep soundly knowing they’ll be there in a pinch.
The downside to choosing Liberty Mutual is that they’re not quite as financially sound as their competitors (they received an “excellent” rating from A.M. Best, while our other four companies are considered “superior.”) Also, their online quote process could be improved. Currently, you have to enter your social security number just to receive an estimate, which isn’t ideal for privacy reasons.
Nationwide is number one in claims satisfaction, but average in just about everything else. Let’s start with the good: JD Power gave them an almost unheard of claims score of 5/5 and Consumer Reports’ national homeowners insurance survey came out to an impressive score of 86. If this review was based solely on the claims process, Nationwide would take the cake. But we weighed cost and customer service, too.
Except for a gated community discount, nothing stood out about their efforts to save customers money and they were middle-of-the-road when it came to their premiums. Their website was aesthetically pleasing, but information could be hard to find and wasn’t as detailed as some of the other sites we looked at. More than anything, we were frustrated by how difficult it was to get a simple quote online. We attempted to fill out the form three times but kept being redirected and told to call an agent. If you don’t mind working things out over the phone (the average wait time was about 20 minutes), give Nationwide a call.
Allstate is a leader with its library of online resources. Their not-so-secret weapon is the Common & Costly Claims tool (also available to non-customers, so be sure to check it out regardless of which company you choose). Within seconds of entering your zip code, it provides an analysis of the top five most common claims and perils in your area— think anything from theft to water damage — and breaks down the average cost per claim so you’ll know how much something like frozen pipes could run you. For example, in downtown Richmond, you’re looking at upwards of $6,000 — yikes. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a great starting point to help you determine your coverage needs. It’s also unique to Allstate, as no other company provided this kind of regional assessment.
We also love Allstate for their transparency. They’re upfront about the number of discounts they offer (18 all up) and how much you could save with each (as much as 30%). If you’re a new customer, your wallet will love the welcome discount — 10% off your premium for your first two years. There’s a discount for retirees, one for folks that buy a brand-new home, and even an early shopper discount (save an extra 10% off your premium when you sign up for a new Allstate policy before your current one expires). Sadly, those discounts weren’t enough to make the company competitive for Virginians — Allstate was often the most expensive choice in Virginia when compared to the other four providers. Still, it’s worth getting a personalized quote. Everyone’s situation (and home) is different.
If you’re a military family, USAA could be a perfect fit.
Home to the Pentagon and numerous military bases, it’s no surprise Virginia has a large military population. It’s also no surprise that those members of the Armed Forces (and their families) overwhelmingly choose USAA for their insurance needs. We didn’t include the company in our top five because of the exclusive membership requirements (your family has to include an active or retired member of the US military), but if we had, USAA would easily top the list. They boast the second highest consumer rating in the industry (earning a 92 in Consumer Reports’ national homeowners insurance survey) and incredibly sound financials (Moody’s and A.M. Best gave USAA the highest rating possible with an A++ and Aaa, respectively). Plus, they understand the military lifestyle — and the frequent moves it can entail — and strive to make transitions as easy as possible. If you qualify, USAA is an excellent choice for homeowners insurance.
A lot of factors affect your premium, including type of home and location.
|State Farm Premium for...||Masonry Build||Frame Build|
Based on a 2017 Virginia Bureau of Insurance survey of premiums for the top 25 home insurers.
Breaking down State Farm’s average HO-3 premiums (the most common policy, usually the minimum required by mortgage providers) for a $125,000 home, the difference in price can be distilled down to one thing: risk.
It costs around $200 more to insure a frame home (wood construction) than a masonry home (brick-based construction) because of the associated risks that could bring about an insurance claim. Fire and high winds pose more of a threat to a home built out of wood. Wooden homes often require more upkeep (staining, waterproofing, etc.) and are susceptible to damage caused by pests like termites. In earthquake-prone areas, like California, the rigidity of brick construction can pose a problem, and therefore a masonry home may be more expensive to insure. Because earthquakes are uncommon in Virginia (but not impossible—remember that 2011 quake we mentioned earlier), that brick colonial-style home will likely be cheaper to insure than, say, a farmhouse cottage.
Location is another factor that insurance companies consider. For example, insuring a home in the coastal area of Virginia Beach could be about $500 more a year than one in in-land Alexandria. Due to its location near the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach is more likely to experience hurricanes, flooding, or even just common decay due to high humidity and the corrosive properties of salt water. Real estate is all about location, location, location and the effect of your home’s spot on your insurance premiums is a good thing to keep in mind when budgeting for the costs of owning a home.
Virginia state law handles liability differently.
Virginia is one of five states with a “pure contributory negligence” or “comparative negligence” law on the books. This means that if someone is injured on your property, but a court finds that they are in any way responsible for the injury, you could be off the hook for a claim. This law doesn’t have any bearing on your homeowner’s premium, but it’s important to keep in mind in the event of an accident. It’s also a good reminder to make sure you have an adequate amount of liability coverage in case you do have to take care of a claim. Most homeowners insurance policies come with at least $100,000 in liability insurance, but the Insurance Information Institute recommends purchasing between $300,000-$500,000, depending on your assets.