The Best Washington Homeowners Insurance Companies
Washington’s annual premiums for homeowners insurance are on the lower side — on average $811 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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Washington files fewer home insurance claims than most states, so it’s no surprise that its premiums are among the lowest in the nation. But don’t let that lull you into complacency. It’s important to make sure that you have adequate coverage before you need it, and not after it’s too late.
Prices vary significantly depending on the size and age of your home, previous claims filed and your credit history, and it’s not uncommon to find one or two companies that deviate significantly from the average. That’s why it’s important to do your research to ensure you’re getting the best possible value. You can start by reading our reviews of the five best homeowners insurance companies in Washington, and getting quotes from each.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Washington
We found the best homeowners insurance in Washington using the same methodology that we applied to our review of national homeowners insurance providers. We determined which companies had the largest market shares in Washington, and then we verified their financial stability by checking ratings from independent agencies like Moody’s and A.M. Best. Strong financial stability ensures that your provider will be able to pay out on your claim, if you ever need to file one. Next, we dove into specifics: What coverage options did each provider offer? Can you get protection for things like water backup, or for your valuables, for example? We also compared deductible options: We wanted to find companies that gave their customers ample opportunity to save on premiums. Finally, we looked into each company’s customer service track record by comparing rates from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, hopping on the phone with local agents, and testing the quote process for ourselves.
Washington Homeowners Insurance Reviews
State Farm is the best place to start you’re looking for a straightforward, headache-free homeowners policy. It outperformed all of its competitors in J.D. Power’s survey, which measures customer satisfaction over things like pricing and claims handling, earning a four out of five overall. Consumer Reports also gave it above-average ratings. Adding to the lack of hassle, State Farm is the only company on our list that lets you purchase a homeowners policy without speaking to an agent: The company’s 360Value Tool provides you an accurate online quote once you fill in a series of questions about your home’s construction.
State Farm gave us our most expensive quote in Seattle, but expect rates to vary based on your personal circumstances. You may be able to secure a much lower rate if you qualify for some of its homeowners discounts. It offers nine discounts — a lower number than the other companies on our list — but those nine are fairly easy to achieve. You can save by bundling home and auto, remaining claim-free and installing protective devices like deadbolt locks and sprinkler systems, for instance. If you update your utilities or install an impact-resistant roof, you will receive a discount as well.
For homeowners worried about wind and hail damage, State Farm is the only one of our picks that doesn’t require you to have a separate wind/hail deductible. This may be a draw if you only want to keep track of one deductible — but if you go this route, note that State Farm requires you to choose your deductible based on a percentage of your home’s value, which often ends up being more expensive than paying for a separate wind/hail deductible.
Liberty Mutual is the largest insurer in the state and stands out for unique endorsements that maximize your home’s protection. Its Home Protector Plus option pays for unforeseen costs while you’re rebuilding your home, like renting a place to stay or replacing your personal property. The Inflation Guard endorsement continually increases your policy limits to keep pace with inflation, so you’re always getting the same level of coverage that you initially signed up for. Liberty Mutual also offers extended replacement cost coverage, which helps you cover the cost of replacing personal items if they are damaged or stolen.
The company is also popular because it consistently offers affordable rates. Of our five providers, it offered the second cheapest quote, coming in just at $37 more per month than Farmers. And you may be able to narrow that gap by taking advantage of Liberty Mutual’s discounts: You can lower your premium if you’re a new homeowner, if you’re renovating your home, or if you install protective devices like fire and burglar alarms. If you’re a member of one of Liberty Mutual’s affiliate groups, you can also earn additional savings.
Liberty Mutual received the highest customer satisfaction rating in the Consumer Reports survey by a single point (83 versus State Farm’s 82), but its overall rating from J.D. Power was less impressive lower, at just three out of five.
Farmers was far and away our most affordable option at just $42 per month. It keeps its rates low with 13 homeowners discounts — just one less than Allstate, the industry leader. In addition to the standard multi-policy, claim-free and protective device discounts, you can also save by owning a new home, renovating an existing one and being a non-smoker. Members of Farmers affinity groups are eligible for special discounts as well.
Farmers is your best option if you’re looking for a very low or high deductible. Unlike the limited range of deductibles offered by providers like Liberty Mutual (which limits you to $500, $1,000 or $2,500), you can choose standard dollar-value deductibles ranging from $500 to $10,000, or a percentage-based deductibles ranging from 0.5 percent to 5 percent of your home’s value.
It’s also worth getting a quote from Farmers if you’re looking to purchase coverage for rare homeowners situations. For example, if you have a green home, you will want to consider Farmers’ Eco-Rebuild option, which pays to repair your home with eco-friendly building materials following a claim. And if you have expensive landscaping, you should consider adding tree and shrub coverage. These options aren’t available with any other company on our list.
Allstate offers the most homeowners discounts of any company listed here (14 of 'em, to be precise), but the company quoted us slightly above-average rates. This may not be the case for you, though, depending on what savings you qualify for: You can earn discounts for being smoke-free, bundling home and auto, installing fire and burglar alarms and enrolling in autopay. New homeowners and new Allstate customers can also save.
The company also offers several endorsements to help you save money over the long-term. Its Claim RateGuard option works like accident forgiveness for your home, preventing your rates from going up after your first claim. There’s also Claim-Free Rewards, similar to Allstate’s Safe Driving Bonus Check for auto insurance: Every year you go without filing a homeowners claim, Allstate will give you a check, essentially refunding part of your annual premium.
In terms of its claims handling, Allstate fell slightly behind the other companies listed here. It only received a three out of five overall from J.D. Power, and Consumer Reports rated it behind State Farm, Liberty Mutual and Farmers. Customers noted that they weren’t always satisfied with the amount they received after filing a claim. This isn’t a guarantee that you’ll run into problems if you choose to go with Allstate, but if you’re concerned, you may feel more comfortable with a company like State Farm that is known for excellent customer service.
Geico doesn’t sell homeowners insurance policies directly. Instead, it partners with home insurance providers to offer deals to its customers. For this reason, it’s a difficult company to actually rank when it comes to things like customer satisfaction or number of discounts: Your experience will largely depend on which company actually underwrites your homeowners policy.
You can contact Geico by phone to get information about their homeowners policies, but they won’t tell you much unless you’re ready to hand over all of your personal information. If you need to file a claim, Geico will assist you in getting in touch with your underwriter, but it doesn’t handle your claim itself.
Don’t let that scare you off, though. Geico is still one of the largest home insurers in Washington, and it partners with strong, reliable providers that generally have a track record of good customer service. If you already have another insurance policy through Geico (like auto insurance), you’ll be eligible for a multi-policy discount when you sign up for homeowners. It’s worth getting a quote to see what they can offer you.
USAA offers homeowners insurance policies to current and former military members and their families. If you fall into one of these groups, it’s definitely worth getting a quote, since the company is known for offering affordable rates and excellent customer service. However, since its policies aren’t available to the general public, we aren’t able to provide a comprehensive overview of their offerings.
Washington premiums are low, but claim severity is rising.
The number of homeowners claims in Washington has been on the decline since 2007. The Insurance Research Council reports that in 2013, insurance companies paid just $277 per insured home in Washington — 37 percent less than the national average of $442 per insured home. This has helped keep Washington’s typical home insurance premiums far below average.
However, this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to skimp on coverage. Claim severity is rising at a rate of about 7.4 percent per year. This is due in part to the larger, more expensive homes being built in areas like Seattle, coupled with the rising cost of building materials and the increased severity of storms in the area.
If you do need to file a claim, don’t be surprised if your homeowners premium increases significantly afterward. Unfortunately, there’s little you can do about this, although Allstate’s Claim RateGuard endorsement does prevent your rates from going up following your first homeowners claim. You may want to look into this option if you’re concerned about rate hikes.
Earthquakes and hailstorms will cost you extra.
Earthquakes and hailstorms are among some of the most costly natural disasters to hit the state of Washington. They often affect hundreds of homes in a single area, and this puts a serious strain on insurers, so they’ve changed the way they approach these situations.
Most insurers now charge a separate deductible for wind and hail damage. This may either be a standard dollar-value amount or a percentage of your home’s value. In either case, it usually ends up being more expensive than your all-perils deductible. State Farm is the only company listed above that doesn’t charge a separate wind/hail deductible, so it’s worth a closer look if you’d rather stick to a single deductible.
A traditional homeowners policy also doesn’t cover earthquakes. This coverage must be purchased as an optional endorsement. Washington is ranked among the top 10 states in the nation for earthquake risk, so this is something you’ll want to consider. It will cost extra, but it could be the difference between a damaged home and a total loss.
Renting out your WA home? Look into additional coverage.
The Insurance Information Institute reports that nearly 40 percent of Washington homes are occupied by renters. Renting out your home can be a great way to earn some extra cash, but it’s important to make sure your home is well-protected.
A traditional homeowners policy does not cover renters. You will have to purchase landlord coverage in this situation. This protects your home against any damage your renters might do in addition to any natural disasters that may occur. It does not protect your renters belongings, as these are usually covered in a renters insurance policy. You can purchase a landlord insurance policy from State Farm, Liberty Mutual or Allstate.