The Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in California
There are many insurance companies out there, but not all of them will give you the right coverage for your home. Using top ratings from industry experts like J.D. Power, A.M. Best, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB), we have done the research and have found the six best homeowners insurance companies in California. Topping our list are USAA and State Farm for their flexible coverage, affordable premiums, and expansive consumer resources to help you live your best life.
Since 2013, Reviews.com has helped millions of people find the best of the best when it comes to all sorts of products and services, including the best auto insurance companies in California. We’ve analyzed the auto insurance market in California, compared the top providers based on market share, consulted with financial professionals and insurance experts, and updated this review regularly in order to bring you the most current information in the Golden State. The author of this review does not own stock in any of the products or companies mentioned.
The Best California Homeowners Insurance Companies: Summed Up
|Allstate||Liberty Mutual||State Farm||AAA||Farmers||USAA|
|Our review||Our review||Our review||Our review||Our review||Our review|
|Compare rates||Compare rates||Compare rates||Compare rates||Compare rates||Compare rates|
Source: J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Home Insurance Study score
*Rating for Auto Club of Southern California, one of AAA’s local clubs.
The 6 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in California
Allstate returned to the California insurance market in 2016 after a nine-year hiatus, and we’re glad to see it back on the list because it’s at the top of ours. It earns an A+ from A.M. Best for financial stability, and “very good” scores for claims processing by Consumer Reports with average customer satisfaction reported by J.D. Power.
In addition to high ratings, Allstate has some of the best homeowners insurance policies on the market. If you’re looking for extra coverage, you can add on things like water and sewer damage, identity theft protection, and umbrella liability coverage. We also love Allstate’s long list of discounts, including multi-policy, autopay, and smoke-free home discounts. Allstate even lowers premiums for certain homes.
Allstate also offers a unique claims tool that automatically accounts for special risks in your area, such as theft in Los Angeles’ 90004 ZIP code or wind in Ojai (ZIP code 93023). You can use this tool to determine which types of coverage you might need.
Liberty Mutual received an A rating from A.M. Best. Like Allstate, Liberty Mutual received “Very Good” ratings from Consumer Reports and two out of five points from J.D. Power. While these are somewhat lackluster scores, it does not necessarily mean you will have a bad experience. We ultimately gave Allstate the edge for California homeowners because Liberty Mutual advertises slightly fewer discount options. There’s no incentive for people who autopay their premiums, for example, which is a standard discount with most providers.
However, Liberty Mutual surpasses Allstate with its resources and educational tools. The company’s MasterThis educational mini-courses were developed in partnership with HowStuffWorks to teach you everything you need to know about homeowners insurance. It also offers an amazing app that lets you manage your policy and file claims.
State Farm dominates the ratings pool. It carries an A++ from A.M. Best, which is the highest of any provider on our list. It also received a “Very Good” ranking from Consumer Reports, and J.D. Power gave the company four out of five points for both its claims process and its overall satisfaction. If you purchase a policy through State Farm, you can expect exceptional customer service and financial stability.
However, we rank State Farm third for one big reason: It doesn’t advertise as many discounts as Allstate or Liberty Mutual, meaning there are fewer opportunities to lower the price of your policy if you’re hit with a high quote.
One of the biggest homeowners insurance providers in California is better known for its auto insurance. AAA is unique in that it operates multiple clubs — and the club you’re paired with depends on where in California you live. As such, it’s hard to evaluate AAA as a whole; each club offers its own discounts and coverage options and earns different satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power.
That said, when we compared quotes using some of AAA’s clubs, the company quoted us the most affordable premiums, with sample prices as low as $517 per year (our highest quotes, from Farmers, rang in above $1,500). However, while AAA might be the cheapest, the other insurers on our list typically offer more comprehensive coverage packages and more consistent customer service scores, so keep that in mind as you compare options.
Farmers is highly rated by A.M. Best, J.D. Power, and Consumer Reports, so the company is solid — but you might be able to find better options from another provider. It’s near the bottom of our list primarily because of its high rates; when we compared insurers, Farmers’ premiums were consistently higher than those of the competition. Farmers does offer discounts for people who open multi-line policies, install burglar or fire alarms, or replace their roof, but it still has fewer total discounts than Allstate or Liberty Mutual.
We were also less than thrilled with Farmers’ website and app. Its website isn’t as informative as Allstate’s or Liberty Mutual’s, and its app doesn’t include nearly as many features. You won’t be able to create a home inventory or upload claim damage photos, for instance; companies that offer these features take a little stress out of the claims process, and we’re disappointed to see Farmers leave them out.
Special mention goes to USAA, which caters exclusively to active military service members and veterans, as well as their families. The Golden State is home to almost 160,000 active-duty military personnel — more than anywhere else in the country. If you’ve served or know someone who has, the company is definitely worth checking out.
USAA provides homeowners insurance that covers fire, theft, vandalism, and most weather-related events. The company is the second-highest-rated homeowners insurance provider on Consumer Reports, with the highest marks in all categories, including the claims process and the turnaround on claims settlement. USAA also holds a superior A++ score on A.M. Best, which means the company is financially stable enough to settle your claims.
How We Found the Best California Homeowners Insurance Companies
We found the top six homeowners insurance providers in California by market share and evaluated them using a similar methodology as in our review of nationwide homeowners insurance companies. First, we checked each provider’s financial stability and customer service rankings from agencies like A.M. Best and J.D. Power. Then, we looked for a wide variety of coverage options and discounts, so that you can customize your policy to your specific needs. We even compared typical rates for different types of homes; you’ll still have to request individual quotes to find the best price for you, but these estimates can help you understand which provider offers the right package for your situation.
Guide to California Homeowners Insurance
Average Cost of Homeowners Insurance in California
The average annual insurance premium is $793 in California, about 35% lower than the national average of $1,228. This is based on a $200,000 home with a $1,000 deductible and $100,000 liability. For a $400,000 home with a $1,000 deductible and $300,000 liability, you can expect to pay around $1,605 for your annual policy, about 29% lower than the national average. However, pricing for your homeowners insurance will depend on a number of variables including where you live, the size of your home, and the type of its construction.
Home Insurance add-ons that will further protect you
California is unlike any other state, requiring unique coverage to keep you and your family safe. Special coverage in the Golden State includes protection against wildfires and earthquakes that are especially common in the state. Floods are also a common occurrence, in addition to the resulting landslides, so you want to find coverage that is appropriate for your specific area.
California residents experience the greatest percentage of annual loss damage, roughly 61% according to a 2017 study by FEMA. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in November 2019 that State programs are beefing up their coverage too, with the California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plan doubling loss coverage from $1.5 million to $3 million for fire damages. Water damage and personal liability are expected to be added by June 2020.
With so many natural perils threatening the average California resident, you cannot afford to go without home insurance.
Helpful Resources for California Homeowners
To receive an accurate quote, there is certain information you will need to provide to ensure a policy can be customized to you. This often includes your home address, social security number, and birthday. You may also need to provide details regarding your home, including building materials, renovations, and repairs, as well as its current condition.
There are several tools available to help you shop and purchase homeowners insurance. In addition to our detailed home insurance reviews and various company-specific tools, we recommend consulting the following resources for help in your search:
- California Department of Insurance
- Insurance Information Institute
- National Flood Insurance
- FEMA, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- California Earthquake Authority
- CAL FIRE, a division of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
While you’ll still need to reach out to insurers for individual quotes, you can get an idea of how their rates stack up by using the California Department of Insurance Homeowners Insurance Comparison Tool. This tool lets you select your city and county, your home’s age, and the amount of insurance you need. Then it shows you estimated rates by provider and deductible.
Here are the rates it gave us for a new home in Altadena with $500,000 worth of coverage and a $1,000 deductible:
Take some time to explore this tool; along with rates, it lets you view insurers’ optional coverages, discounts, and credits. You can also use it to search for earthquake coverage rates, which you’ll probably need to purchase in addition to your primary homeowners insurance policy.
If you can’t find coverage, try the California FAIR Plan
“Many California homeowners who live in areas with moderate or high wildfire risk won’t be eligible for homeowners insurance from most companies,” according to Sean Harper, CEO and co-founder of Kin Insurance. “In fact, more than 42% of residences in the Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego metropolitan areas alone have high-to-extreme risk. Additionally, some customers aren’t eligible to renew their policies with their existing insurance company due to wildfire risk.”
Some insurers have stopped writing policies in areas prone to wildfires or other risks. If your home isn’t covered by another provider, you still might be able to get a policy under the California FAIR Plan. This state-sponsored program provides insurance as a last resort, and only after you’ve made a good-faith effort to seek other insurers — but it’s there if you need it. You’ll get basic dwelling and property coverage (including fire), and you can also add on coverage for windstorms and other perils.
If you want to access the FAIR Plan, you’ll need to apply through an authorized broker and make an annual effort to find other providers; even though you might not have any private insurers in your area this year, that could change in the future.
Review before you renew
Review your policy every time you renew it to make sure you’re getting the best rates and coverage. California insurers sometimes change the terms of their insurance policies, so stay on top of your coverage and don’t be afraid to switch insurers if you don’t like what you have. It’s worth it to shop around for the best rates and the best providers.
California Homeowners Insurance FAQ
In our run-down, Allstate is the best choice for homeowners looking for homeowners insurance in California. The company gave us the second-lowest rates in the state when we ran our home through the California Department of Insurance Homeowners Insurance Comparison Tool. On top of that, Allstate has excellent financial strength and a wide variety of resources and tools that help you determine just how much coverage you need. Of course, what we considered the best homeowners insurance may not be the best for you. It’s important to shop around and gather as many quotes as possible in order to find the best homeowners insurance for your home.
No. However, it is highly recommended. Unlike driving a car, you do not legally need to first have homeowners insurance before you can own a home. That being said, you’ll definitely want to look into it when living in a state known for so many natural disasters, including earthquakes, mudslides, and wildfires.
The cheapest homeowners insurance is different for everyone, even if you do live in California. Certain areas may be more susceptible to certain risks, like L.A. with theft or Ojai’s wind damages. The type of home you have will also determine your quote, to include things like the size of your home and the type of its construction. It is always best to shop around and obtain as many quotes as possible, because all companies do not provide the same coverage.
According to the California Department of Insurance, California homeowners are not required to carry coverage for earthquakes. You may have coverage for others risks such as fire or wind, but earthquake insurance is an add-on policy you will need to purchase separately. The California Earthquake Authority provides information regarding several forms of earthquake insurance that you can buy.
Wildfire coverage is somewhat of an anomaly, as not all home insurance policies include it within basic coverage. For many, it is additional coverage that must be purchased separately. Wildfire insurance includes several different areas, such as dwelling, personal property, landscaping, and additional living expense coverage.
Though beautiful, California is not without its own risks — home to earthquakes, wildfires, and severe windstorms. Homeowners insurance is not required for Californians, but given these risks, it is always highly recommended.