The Best Idaho Homeowners Insurance Companies
In spite of recent wildfires that have ravaged the state, Idaho’s homeowners insurance premiums remain among the lowest in the nation with an average of $692. That’s about $480 cheaper than the national average. And though claims are relatively rare in Idaho, the cost of those individual claims is increasing, making it more important than ever to ensure that your home is adequately protected against disaster. After all, a cheap policy isn’t worth very much if it doesn’t pay the bills when you need it to.
The first step to finding coverage that suits your needs and your budget is to get quotes from several companies. We recommend starting with the five listed below. When you’re ready to begin, enter your ZIP code into our quote tool and start exploring.
How We Found the Best Idaho Homeowners Insurance Companies
We found the best home insurers in Idaho by using a methodology similar to our review of nationwide homeowners insurance. We gathered a list of the top home insurers in the state by market share. Then we checked with financial strength rating agencies like A.M. Best and Moody’s to ensure that they were financially solvent. After that, we looked at available coverage options, endorsements, number and type of discounts, and online tools. Customer satisfaction also played a big role, and we looked to the most recent J.D. Power and Consumer Reports ratings to give us some insights into which companies consumers liked best. Finally, we tried their services out for ourselves by getting quotes and speaking to representatives.
The 5 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Idaho
Consumers have spoken, and State Farm is their favorite company on this list. Of the most popular insurers in Idaho, it scored the highest in the J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, earning an 825 out of 1,000. Consumer Reports also gave it an 82 out of 100, with high scores for customer service, simplicity of its claims process, and fairness of the payout. Hopefully you won’t need to file a claim, but if you do, State Farm’s straightforward claims handling will come as a welcome relief.
But that kind of customer service comes at a price. State Farm consistently scored the second-highest, after Farmers, in our quote analysis. And its rates ($75) were often double those of Allstate’s ($36) and Liberty Mutual’s ($37). That said, there are a number of discounts that can offset those high rates. You can save by bundling your home and auto insurance, installing fire and burglar alarms, or updating your utilities. You can also opt for a higher deductible to get lower premiums. State Farm offers standard deductibles beginning at $2,000 or percentage-based deductibles ranging from 1% to 5% of your home’s value.
We also appreciated that State Farm enables you to purchase your policy entirely online. In order to do this, you must know the specific details of your home’s construction and any renovations or claims. But if you run into questions at any step along the way, you can always call a State Farm agent and ask for help.
Liberty Mutual provided the second-lowest rates in our evaluation. It fell short only of Allstate, and the difference between the two was rarely more than a few dollars. Like Allstate, much of this affordability comes down to its numerous discounts. It offers all the standard ones for early shoppers and remaining claim free. Uniquely, Liberty Mutual will also discount your price if you insure your home up to 100% of its value. And if you don’t want high out-of-pocket costs, you’ll be pleased to know Liberty Mutual’s deductibles start at as low as $500.
The company also stands out for its policy endorsements, which include scheduled valuables coverage, replacement cost, water backup, and ordinance and law coverage to pay for building code upgrades. Liberty Mutual is the only company to offer Inflation Protection, too. This increases the value of your policy over time to keep pace with inflation, so you’re always fully protected.
Like State Farm, Liberty Mutual enables you to buy your policy online. You’ll have to enter detailed information about your home’s construction, like the age of your roof and the percentage of hardwood flooring in your home. If you aren’t sure of this information or you have any questions about the policy, you’re better off picking up the phone and speaking to an agent.
Allstate consistently produced our most affordable quotes. Even its Premium coverage came out to be cheaper than State Farm’s standard coverage. In Meridian, we were able to get a policy for as little as $334 per year, a bargain in comparison to Farmers’ $1,290. Allstate’s affordability largely stems from its eight discounts. You can save by enrolling in autopay, being a new customer, and remaining claim-free. It also has discounts for bundling home and auto insurance and installing safety devices like sprinklers or deadbolt locks.
Allstate is a great place to start looking if your budget is tight, but its claims payouts aren’t quite as generous as those from State Farm or Liberty Mutual. J.D. Power gave Allstate a three out of five for claims experience, and it earned a score of “good” for the amount paid for damages from Consumer Reports readers. This isn’t a guarantee that you’ll run into problems, but it may be worth paying a little more in premiums for larger payouts when you really need it.
Allstate’s website is a great place to begin if you’re new to homeowners insurance and aren’t sure what you need. It walks you through the basic coverages and answers dozens of common questions. It also has a Common and Costly Claims Tool to show you what the most common claims are in your area. When you’re ready, you can get a quote online, but you’ll have to speak to an agent in order to purchase it.
Farmers Insurance appeals with its comprehensive coverage and endorsements, but the price gave us pause. Its policies were easily the most expensive, in one case almost $850 more than Allstate’s quote. And that’s just for the standard protection, which doesn’t include ordinance and law coverage, which pays for any unforeseen repair expenses necessary to bring your home up to new building codes.
You may be able to lower your costs significantly if you qualify for any of Farmers’ 11 discounts. Multi-policy and autopay discounts are available to everyone, and there’s opportunity for additional savings for nonsmokers and those who haven’t filed a claim recently. If you’ve updated your utilities or roof in the last few years, you’ll earn discounts for that, too.
As for the claims process, you shouldn’t have to worry about any unforeseen complications. Consumer Reports gave Farmers and State Farm identical scores for claims handling, with “very good” scores for both damage amount and simplicity of the process. It’s worth getting a quote from Farmers just to see what it can offer you, but most people will be better off going with the company that offers you the cheaper rate, as the difference in claims satisfaction is minimal.
Farm Bureau Mutual of Idaho
Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance of Idaho is offered through the Idaho Farm Bureau. Its policies are only open to members, but any Idaho resident can sign up for an annual fee of $50. In addition to its insurance, members also gain access to a variety of benefits, including discounts on a number of goods and services.
The company’s website has little information about its homeowners policies, apart from a single page listing its basic coverages. If you want to know more, you’ll have to call your local Farm Bureau Mutual agent. You can get a quote if you’re not a Farm Bureau member, but you have to be willing to give up your Social Security Number. Most other companies require this information, ultimately, but they’ll still give you an estimate if you don’t feel comfortable giving it out.
Because Farm Bureau Mutual of Idaho is a smaller company, it didn’t make it into Consumer Reports’ or J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction surveys. This makes it difficult to gauge how well it measures up to the other companies on the list. That said, our own experience wasn’t entirely positive. Our agent promised to get back to us with more information about its policies, but he never did. Still, Farm Bureau Mutual is one of the largest insurers in the state, so we’d expect that it treats its customers well overall.
We didn’t originally include USAA because it fell just below our list of the top homeowners insurers in Idaho, coming in at number six. USAA is also exclusive to active and former members of the military.
That said, if you happen to be eligible, you should definitely consider getting a quote. USAA excels in nearly every metric we looked at. It got the second-highest Consumer Reports score with a 92 out of 100, earning “excellent” grades across the board. Likewise, J.D. Power awarded it 891 out of 1,000 — 30 points higher than any other company — and a full five out of five for customer satisfaction.
A USAA homeowners insurance policy covers a variety of things, including fire, theft, vandalism, and most weather-related events. Spring floods can also be a common occurrence in Idaho, making USAA even more valuable to service members in the Gem State with its flood insurance coverage.
Guide to Idaho Homeowners Insurance
Take spring floods into consideration
Seasonal snowmelt brings regular floods to select parts of Idaho every April and May. If you live near the Snake River or in the Kootenai River Valley, you probably know what we’re talking about. The Southeast and North Central portions of the state have also been known to suffer flash floods on occasion.
Unfortunately, due to the costly nature of flood insurance claims, your traditional homeowners policy doesn’t protect against this type of damage. If you want this coverage, you’ll have to purchase a separate flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This government-led program offers flood insurance nationwide through a network of independent agents. When you’re looking for a new homeowners policy, ask your agent if they offer flood insurance as well.
The average flood insurance policy is $700 per year, though your premium will vary depending on the flood risk in your area. There is a separate deductible for this. They start at $1,000 and go as high as $10,000. Choose the amount that you’re most comfortable paying, but keep in mind that the higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be.
Watch out for wildfires
According to the Insurance Information Institute, over 171,000 Idaho homes are at risk of wildfires. In 2016 alone, over 361,000 acres of forest burned, and 2017 was even worse. It remains to be seen how this will affect home insurance premiums, but if insurers sense that the risk for wildfires in Idaho is increasing, premiums could rise accordingly.
You don’t have to purchase special insurance coverage for wildfires. It is one of the standard perils every HO-3 policy protects against. But given the destructive nature, it’s crucial if you live near a wildfire-prone area to make sure you insure for 100% of your home’s value.
You should also take steps to protect your home from wildfire damage during dry seasons. Clear vegetation and debris around your home, keep your yard well-groomed, and make sure you’re familiar with emergency procedures. If you have any questions about wildfires or how they affect your homeowners insurance, reach out to the Idaho Department of Natural Resources or the Department of Insurance for more information.
Keep an eye on state trends
Idaho’s home insurance premiums have long been among the lowest in the nation, and are poised to stay there as the frequency of homeowners claims in the state continues to decline. It’s already well below the national average of five claims per 100 insured homes, coming in at just 3.6 claims per 100 homes. And while this is great news, you don’t want to get too lax about your home insurance coverage. That same study found that claim severity has risen pretty consistently over the last few decades, with an average claim in 2013 (the most recent year of the study) costing $7,360.
Review your policy regularly
Repairing your home after a claim is likely to become more expensive with time, and if you haven’t updated your policy in a few years, you may find that you’re not as protected as you thought. You should regularly review your homeowners insurance policy to ensure that its coverage is still adequate for your needs and the current economy. Hopefully you’ll never need to use your insurance, but if you do, you’ll be glad you took the time to make sure you were fully protected.
Idaho Homeowners Insurance FAQ
When we got our quotes, Allstate provided the cheapest rates at around $334 per year. Granted, that quote was obtained using our individual profile; your experience may vary based on your location, the condition of your home, and more. You might also discover that paying more is worth it when you take into account the discounts provided by the insurer you’re researching. That’s why we urge you to shop around and get as many quotes as you can to find the cheapest and best-suited provider for your needs.
Most homeowners insurance companies protect against the damage caused by fires, but you’ll want to look at each provider’s list of coverages. For example, Allstate lists fire and smoke under its covered hazards, but delving deeper reveals dwelling coverage (i.e., “your Idaho home”), coverage for detached structures (that white picket fence), and personal property coverage (all your stuff). As long as fire is a covered hazard in your policy, you should be protected from the damage wildfires can cause, but you should speak with an agent to learn the specifics.
It would be prudent to consider flood insurance if you’re moving to Idaho, as the Southeast and North Central portions of the state have been known to suffer flash floods. Be aware that most homeowners insurance companies do not include flood coverage; you will need to purchase a separate policy or get coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Of the companies we covered, the following insurers offer flood coverage policies: