The Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Maryland
Maryland has taken several steps to protect its homeowners, including banning insurers from reviewing credit history and requiring companies to offer water damage endorsements. The result is an average yearly premium of $942 — about $200 below the national average. That’s a pretty good deal considering the many hurricanes and winter storms Maryland has endured in recent years. But, if you don’t purchase the right coverage, you could still end up paying hundreds or even thousands more in the event of a claim.
Choosing the best homeowners insurance in Maryland starts with choosing the right company. Each one offers different policy options and discounts, and there’s no way to know how much it’ll cost you without getting a quote. Check out our online quote tool to start exploring which insurer offers you the best deal on the most coverage.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Maryland
We used a similar methodology to our national homeowners insurance review in order to find the best home insurance providers in Maryland. We began by selecting the top Maryland home insurers by market share. Then, we explored their coverage options, endorsements, and discounts to make sure they had everything Maryland homeowners need to keep themselves fully protected against anything Mother Nature or human nature (looking at you, thieves) can dish up. Next, we compared the companies’ online resources, financial strength ratings, and customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports. Finally, we hopped on the phone to test their people and prices for ourselves.
The 6 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Maryland
Maryland Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Erie Insurance was the runaway favorite in terms of customer service. It’s the only company on the list to score a 90 from Consumer Reports, and J.D. Power also rated it about average. It’s sold through a network of independent agents, which comes with certain advantages and some pitfalls. You get to work with a local agent and compare multiple insurers, but it can also be more difficult to get the help you need right away. We called five Erie agents before we could get someone who had the time to give us a quote, and then we had to wait for them to call back with the cost. Our agent was friendly and knowledgeable, though, which helped make up for the delay.
Erie also impressed us with its comprehensive coverage. It’s the only company listed here to offer guaranteed replacement cost coverage, which pays the full cost of replacing any damaged or stolen items instead of just the depreciated value. Its endorsements are equally impressive, covering everything from floods to firearms. There are also unique options for service line and rental income protection.
How much will an Erie policy cost you? That’s difficult to say. In our analysis, Erie displayed the greatest variability in quoted prices, sometimes coming in the cheapest and other times, the most expensive. It doesn’t offer much in the way of discounts, but it does promise up to 30 percent off when you bundle home and auto. Sprinklers, fire alarms, and security systems will also net you some savings.
Liberty Mutual is a great choice if you’re looking to customize your home insurance policy with optional coverage. It offers a huge selection of endorsements, including its unique Inflation Guard option, which keeps adjusting the value of your policy to keep up with inflation. It also offers loss forgiveness to keep your rates from going up following your first claim. All of its coverage options are clearly listed on its website, and if there’s something you don’t understand, one of their agents will be happy to assist you — and they’re not too pushy for a sale either.
You can get a quote for a Liberty Mutual home insurance policy online or over the phone. But you can’t proceed without giving out your Social Security Number, even though Maryland bans the use of credit history in quoting insurance premiums. Liberty Mutual is the only other company apart from State Farm that enables its customers to purchase a homeowners insurance policy online without speaking to an agent. But an agent may be able to help you find a better deal, so it’s often worth it to hop on the phone.
Like Erie Insurance, Liberty Mutual’s rates varied significantly. Within the same town, it came out as the cheapest of the five companies for one home and the most expensive for another. The good news is, there are plenty of discounts you can take advantage of to secure a better rate. You can save by installing protective devices, remaining claim-free, and belonging to certain affiliate groups.
All of our top picks did well in terms of financial strength, but Travelers outdid them all with an A++ from A.M. Best and an Aa2 from Moody’s. This is a good indication that Travelers won’t have any trouble paying out your claim if the time comes.
Travelers consistently offered some of the most affordable rates in our quote analysis. While we don’t recommend choosing a home insurer based on price alone, Travelers is a good place to begin if your budget is tight. It offers all the key coverage options and most popular endorsements, including water backup, replacement cost, and scheduled valuables coverage. One thing it doesn’t have is building ordinance coverage. This optional protection pays for any unexpected costs required to bring your home up to the new building codes following a claim. If you’re interested in this endorsement, you may want to check out Allstate or Liberty Mutual.
Green homeowners can’t do better than Travelers, though. Not only is there a special endorsement that covers the cost of repairing your home with environmentally friendly materials, you also earn a 5 percent discount if your home is LEED-certified.
State Farm is another company worth considering if you’re new to home insurance. It has a number of online resources to help you figure out what level of coverage you need and what to do in the event of a claim. It also offers a home inventory tool so you can keep track of your possessions and easily report them damaged or stolen if needed.
You can purchase your home insurance policy online if you use State Farm’s 360Value Tool. It asks you detailed questions about your home’s construction, and you’ll need to know specifics like when the roof was last replaced and the percentage of carpet in your home. It’s time-consuming, but ultimately, you’ll end up with a more accurate quote. When it comes time to file a claim, you’ll be glad you took the time to ensure you purchased the right amount of coverage.
State Farm consistently quoted us the highest rates in our analysis, but the difference varied from city to city and home to home. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many discounts to bring the cost down, but you could save if you bundle home and auto, remain claim-free, install protective devices, or update your utilities.
USAA earns an honorable mention because of its fantastic customer service, which has won just about every insurance award you can think of. However, it’s only open to active and former military members and their immediate families. If you fall into this category, we definitely recommend taking a closer look at USAA. Otherwise, stick to the five companies listed above.
Guide to Maryland Homeowners Insurance
Beware of water damage
Whether it’s burst pipes in the middle of a cold snap, hurricane storm surges, or a freak event like the 2016 Ellicott City flood, water can wreak havoc on your home, and the worst part is, your average homeowners policy isn’t going to do anything about it. Because these claims are so costly — averaging about $39,000 per incident — insurers exempt themselves from paying for them unless consumers buy extra coverage, and some insurers avoid offering water damage coverage at all.
Fortunately, the Maryland Insurance Association mandates that all insurers offer a water and sewer backup endorsement to homeowners. It costs extra, but it has the potential to save you a lot in the long term. Allstate offers $50,000 of water and sewer backup coverage for $120 per year. That’s $10 more per month. You likely won’t even notice the price difference, and you’ll be grateful for the extra protection if you wake up one morning to find your basement ankle-deep in water.
You should look into flood insurance as well. These policies are offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) instead of through traditional home insurers, and there is no way to bundle them together. With the recent upswing in severe storms and hurricanes in Maryland, this coverage is especially important to those who live near the coast, but everyone is at some risk for flood. Be proactive and look into adding a flood insurance policy to your home’s protection.
Your credit score doesn’t affect your homeowners premium
Maryland is one of three states (alongside California and Massachusetts) that prohibits home insurers from factoring credit history into their premium calculations. The idea is to protect those with poor or fair credit from unfair discrimination because a lower credit score doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re at a higher risk of filing a home insurance claim. Many insurance providers would argue differently, however, and credit history still plays a central role in determining insurance premiums in the other 47 states.
But it’s still a good idea to keep your credit score high, even if it doesn’t factor into home insurance quotes. This is especially true if you’re in the market for a new home. After all, banks can still use this information to approve or deny your loan.
Maryland homeowners may be better off not filing a claim.
According to a recent study, the average Maryland homeowner sees their premium rise a whopping 19 percent after filing a claim — that’s the third-highest rate in the nation. It translates into an increase of a few hundred dollars per year, and that’s before you factor in the loss of your claim-free discount.
If this concerns you, you may want to look into a company like Allstate or Liberty Mutual that offers protection against rate increases following your first claim. This is an optional coverage, so you will pay extra for it, but it won’t cost you as much as a rate hike would. It was only an extra $100 per year to add Claim RateGuard to our Allstate quote.
Should a claim arise, take some time to do the math before you make any decisions. Get a repair estimate, and compare it to the increased costs you will pay out in home insurance premiums. Keep in mind that homeowners claims can remain on your record for up to seven years, and because they’re public record, there’s no way to hide them from other prospective insurers.
Maryland Homeowners Insurance FAQ
Do I need a high credit score to get a good home insurance rate in Maryland?
No, not if you’re living in Maryland, Massachusetts, or California. If you are a Maryland resident, you’ll be happy to know that your credit score will not impact your homeowners premium. This approach is meant to protect those with not-so-great credit from unfair discrimination from home insurers.
How much is home insurance in Maryland?
When we put together this article, we found the average home insurance premium to be around $942. Of course, that’s no guarantee of what you’ll get when you go shopping for quotes in Maryland. There’s a lot that can impact the amount from the age of your home to where it’s located and even as far as what it’s made out of. The best advice we can give you is to shop around and get as many quotes as you can. Our top picks are a great place to start, but may not be the best for you and your home.
Is homeowners insurance required in Maryland?
No. However, certain financial institutions and lenders may require you to have some form of homeowners insurance in order to be approved for a mortgage.