The Best Hawaii Homeowners Insurance Company
Homeowners insurance in Hawaii costs less on average, but it comes with some unique considerations you won’t find on the mainland, including the need for hurricane insurance and the risk of lava flow on the Big Island.
The age of your home and its specific location in the state can affect your premium, too. That’s why it’s so important to do your research to find a policy that gives you the coverage you need in the event of an emergency at a price you can afford. We’ve already done some of the legwork for you, but to find your best price, you’ll need to compare quotes.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance Providers in Hawaii
We started by taking a careful look at Hawaii’s five largest providers by market share: State Farm, Heritage Insurance, First Insurance Company of Hawaii, USAA, and Allstate. Because of the state’s Pacific location, it wasn’t surprising to see a few names here that don’t show up frequently in other US states.
Then, just as we did for our national homeowners insurance review, we considered financial scores from Moody’s, A.M. Best, and Standard & Poor’s to see which ones can best protect you financially. These third-party agencies assign grades to insurance companies based on their financial stability, and we required an A rating or higher when the information was available (in some localized cases, it was not). We also considered customer satisfaction reports from J.D. Power, a well-respected agency that surveys users about overall satisfaction with an insurer as well as their experience with claims, billing, and more.
Because it can be overwhelming to sort through all of the information and sales pitches when you’re researching homeowners insurance, we prioritized companies that made it easy to find coverage and discount information, too. This also revealed their general commitment to providing a quality experience for their customers, which is important not only during the research phase but also down the line should you need to file a claim.
The 5 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Hawaii
Hawaii Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Allstate just beats out State Farm for our top choice in Hawaii primarily because it has the edge in online materials and offers an additional discount (for new construction) that State Farm does not. Allstate also shines for its excellent website and customer service. No matter your questions or concerns about homeowners insurance, Allstate’s website is likely to give you an answer you can understand.
We especially like Allstate’s Common and Costly Claims tool, which gives you insights into the most common causes of claims in your neighborhood (like wind storms or water issues). This is useful when you’re thinking about your property’s specific location and what kind of extra coverage you might need. For instance, in Oahu County, the most common reason for filing a claim was for wind damage.
Allstate also has an easy-to-use home inventory tool that allows you to catalog your belongings and estimate value and replacement cost. Your homeowners policy includes coverage for personal property loss, and keeping an accurate home inventory is vital so that you have proof of what you owned before it went missing or damaged.
With these great online features already in place, it’s no surprise that Allstate offers an excellent online quote tool. It was the only one to automatically pull public records on the property to account for any past claims you may not know about. Because of this, it was more accurate, and when we called an agent for a quote, we were given one nearly identical to the one we got online.
Our phone call with the Allstate agent was not only useful but pleasant. They were enthusiastic without seeming like they were just giving us a sales pitch, and they offered an immediate quote. This experience, combined with the ease of the online quote process, helped Allstate rise above the rest and grab the top spot for us among homeowners insurance providers in Hawaii.
State Farm is the number one provider of homeowner’s insurance in Hawaii by quite a wide margin, writing a full 31.6% of premiums in the state. Thanks to its long-standing reputation, it’s certainly worth considering in your search.
Its online quote process is straightforward, and it has decent information about assessing your home’s value on its website, such as explaining the difference between the market value and the replacement cost of your home.
And while we found State Farm’s recently redesigned website and app to be useful, it pales in comparison to Allstate’s comprehensive educational materials. Even so, State Farm doesn’t significantly differ from Allstate in its online experience or quote process; the agent we spoke to was just as friendly as the one from Allstate.
First Insurance Company of Hawaii
First Insurance Company of Hawaii (FICOH) is a member of the Tokio Marine Group—one of the world’s largest insurance groups. So, while it’s a local company with deep island roots, it has the backing and resources of a major organization.
FICOH doesn’t have many discounts as Allstate or State Farm, but the discounts it does have go a long way. With its loss-free credit, you can save up to 40 percent on your premium when you go without making a claim — a full 20 percentage points higher than what you’d get with Allstate. It’s also the only provider we found to offer a loyalty discount, which gives you an additional 11 percent off your premiums when you renew your policy.
FICOH doesn’t have the online resources that Allstate and State Farm do. While its website is easy to navigate, it has only a rudimentary blog that isn’t organized by category, so it’s not easy to find detailed information about specific property situations and coverage types. FICOH also doesn’t have a mobile app, so you’ll need to file all claims from a computer.
What’s more, the company’s online payment system is quite rudimentary, and you can’t get a quote online; you must speak to an agent. It’s a minor inconvenience, but it kept them a notch below Allstate and State Farm.
In 2015, Florida-based Heritage Insurance acquired the Zephyr Insurance Company, taking over its spot as number two on the list of writers of homeowners insurance in Hawaii. Yet Heritage only offers a single product: an annual residential windstorm/hurricane insurance policy. Hurricane-related damage is expensive for companies to cover, so it typically has a higher deductible, and is considered separate from wind damage protection in your policy.
Of the providers we evaluated, FICOH offers comprehensive additional hurricane coverage, but only for properties within 300 feet of the water. The other major providers provide hurricane insurance with a separate deductible on a case-by-case basis, but it can be quite expensive, which accounts for the popularity of a specialty company like Heritage.
As hurricane insurance is a specialty product, it’s purchased separately from a standard home insurance policy (more on this below), and so it’s difficult to compare Heritage on a one-to-one basis to the other providers evaluated here.
Note that a Heritage hurricane policy will cover your home only from the time a hurricane watch has been issued by the Pacific Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service up until 72 hours after the warning has been canceled. Nonetheless, because damage can be significant to homes during that window, many homeowners in Hawaii opt for this insurance.
What about USAA?
If you or an immediate relative is a member or former member of the military, then you have access to USAA. It’s a highly popular provided and very well-rated in online reviews.
Since it isn’t available to the general public, we didn’t include a sample quote from them. That said, if you are eligible, it should be on your list. Not only is it one of the highest-rated companies according to JD Power, it’s also the fourth largest provider in the state.
Guide to Hawaii Homeowners Insurance
Don’t forget about hurricane insurance
A typical homeowners insurance policy likely covers certain instances of water and wind damage, but similar to flood insurance, hurricane coverage is a supplemental policy you must buy separately.
Technically, hurricane insurance is not legally required in Hawaii. However, if you have a mortgage on your house, your lender will require hurricane insurance as part of the financial approval process. This explains the popularity of wind-only policies like those from Heritage Insurance.
While a major hurricane has not made landfall on the islands since Hurricane Iniki in 1992, hurricanes pass by the islands frequently enough to be a valid concern that homeowners should prepare for.
Fortunately, the State of Hawaii offers a comprehensive guide on how to help strengthen your home and better prepare for a hurricane. Adding foundation anchors, roof clips, and other wind-resistance devices not only makes your home safer, it also plays a huge role in the cost of your homeowners insurance premium.
Homes in Lava Flow Zones face higher premiums
Volcanic activity is part of life for residents of Hawaii’s Big Island. If you’re a first-time home buyer there, it’s important to find out about your home’s lava zone and how that affects your insurance premium.
Since 1974, the Big Island has been divided into nine lava flow zones. The zones are rated one through nine (one is the most hazardous), based on the location of probable eruption sites, the likely path of lava flows, and the frequency of lava flow over the past several thousand years.
If you live in a high-risk zone, you can still get homeowners insurance, but you’ll likely pay a higher premium. Lava flows are not uncommon on the Big Island. In fact, the most recent Kilauea volcano eruption occurred on May 3, 2018 and and the lava continued to flow for months. Even after the eruption had almost completely subsided in August of 2018, area homeowners and their insurers are still wary, and with good reason. According to the United States Geological Survey National Volcanic Threat Assessment, Kilauea ranks as the most threatening volcano in the country.
Living in a high-risk zone may also bring other insurance challenges. For example, in 2014, the Hawaii Property Insurance Association (which was set up to serve homeowners in high-risk zones on the Big Island), placed a moratorium on home insurance for the Puna community and homeowners were unable to purchase new policies or increase their current coverage.
Fortunately for homeowners, legislation was passed the following year that required HPIA to lift the moratorium giving all homeowners the opportunity to purchase coverage.
The bottom line: Before you buy a home on the Big Island, talk to your insurance agent about how the lava zones might affect your premiums.
Speaking with an agent might yield different results than an online quote
Simply put: online quotes are not set in stone. We found that to be the case when we made calls to individual representatives, who often asked more specific questions about the home’s history and construction than we found in the online quote form. You’ll want to be sure to follow up in person or over the phone after receiving online quotes to determine the exact nature of the coverage and discounts for your particular property location and type.
Hawaii Homeowners Insurance FAQ
How much is homeowners insurance in Hawaii?
We requested a quote from our top providers for a single-family suburban home in the Honolulu area, with the understanding that other types of properties (say, on the Big Island or oceanside) might have significantly different results.
Though our top pick, Allstate, also provided the lowest quote, remember that cheaper isn’t always better. It’s important to consider the amount of coverage you’re getting and the cost of your deductible (what you’ll have to pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in.)
All of our top providers gave us a range of choices for coverage, from least to highest, and we chose a mid-range option from each with a $1000 deductible. Keep in mind that if you have a mortgage, your lender will likely have requirements for minimum coverages and type of coverage for your homeowners policy.
Note that we did not include quotes from Heritage, which is a hurricane insurance provider only, or from USAA, which is only available to military families (though offers some great discounts).
- State Farm: $1,140
- Allstate: $1,080
- First Insurance Company of Hawaii: $1,320
Discounts can make a big difference. For example, Allstate gives you a 5 percent discount for using auto pay and up to 10 percent off for new construction (unlike State Farm). No matter what, you’re likely to qualify for at least one type of discount. For instance, all providers of homeowners insurance we reviewed offer a discount if you have other plans with them, such as car insurance. The 40 percent FICOH discount for multi-policy holders is particularly generous.
Does hurricane insurance also cover flooding?
In most cases, no, according to Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. An additional insurance policy would need to be purchased for flood coverage. First Insurance Company of Hawaii provides flood insurance via the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and both Allstate and USAA offer additional flood coverage policies as well.
Is hurricane insurance mandatory in Hawaii?
No. As we mentioned before, you are not technically required under law to have hurricane insurance in Hawaii. However, most mortgage lenders will require that you have hurricane insurance as part of their approval process.