The Best Montana Homeowners Insurance
Whether you are cradled in the monumental Yellowstone Valley or find yourself sheltered deep within the Rocky Mountains, you know that Montana offers no end to its beauty and diversity. Choosing a home here can be an overwhelming experience of excellent choices, and with the local housing market on a steady rise, your investment will likely see growth in value and popularity. Just as important as choosing your home is protecting your home with the best homeowners insurance. In 2017, Missoula experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, and Billings was branded a “high-risk area” after a handful of heavy hail storms and the infamous Father’s Day Tornado occurred within just a few years of each other. The best homeowners insurance will mitigate the cost of repair — whether you’re dealing with a broken pipe or hail damage — and has the resources and customer support to make your recovery as smooth as possible.
How We Found the Best Montana Homeowners Insurance
To find the best homeowners insurance companies in Montana, we started looking at the state’s insurance market and identifying the largest insurers by market share. Next, we honed in on companies that specialize in insurance for residential homeowners. Then, we investigated each of Montana’s top homeowners insurance companies for their strengths and weaknesses in customer satisfaction, claims fulfillment, financial stability, and adaptability. In particular, we used quality statistics from top business evaluators like J. D. Power, Consumer Reports, and A.M Best, to ascertain how each company fares against its competitors. We pulled directly from our methodology and metrics in finding the best national homeowners insurance providers to evaluate each company’s coverage options and customer service.
Even so, there are a multitude of factors that play into each individual situation and quote. That means our best price or top choice might not be yours — the best thing to do is gather as many quotes as possible while including as much detail about your home as possible. Our quote tool can help get you started on finding the best homeowners insurance for you.
The 6 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Montana
Montana Homeowners Insurance Company Reviews
Noticeably, Nationwide doesn’t offer a lot of discounts, and we consistently found it more expensive in our review of the best homeowners insurance. However, it quickly makes up for that with its quality endorsements. Since homes in Montana are most commonly threatened by damage from wind, hail, and water, Nationwide steps up to the plate with coverage for accidental/sudden discharge, sewer backup, and a rider for flood insurance. It also offers a Better Roof Replacement coverage that takes care of a hail-battered roof and replaces it with stronger, more durable materials.
Backing up its first class service, Nationwide ranks highest among our surveyed providers for financial stability across the board. An excellent claims experience is nothing without the ability to back it up, and a timely payment is just as important as a kind voice in times of trouble. Consumer Reports awards Nationwide with its highest ranking for timely payments and promptness of response. With these kinds of credentials, Nationwide is an excellent partner to have at your side when disaster—large or small—strikes.
With high-quality tools, like an explorable home and extensive FAQ sheets, Farmers earns high marks for insurance education. Before diving into an expensive policy or choosing from a wide range of optional coverages, it’s important to understand exactly what protections you’re buying. Farmers answers a huge inventory of frequently asked questions and offers detailed guides. One of our favorites is “How Much Do I Need?,” an orderly process evaluating your home and your specific needs, including an easy-to-understand breakdown of how home insurance coverages are calculated.
Farmers also claims the most available discounts out of the top home insurers we evaluated in Montana. Offering breaks on your premium for a multitude of actions, like taking the simple step of adding strong deadbolts to your doors, eliminating any type of indoor smoking, and renovation discounts for updating electrical or HVAC systems. Farmers also stands at the forefront of environmental-based discounts, with innovative options for LEED-certified materials and green homes—a rare offer in the insurance world. Unfortunately, you may need all of the discounts together in order to get a competitive quote. Out of the providers we retrieved quotes from, Farmers estimated the highest premium for the lowest suggested dwelling coverages.
Liberty Mutual is another excellent contender for homeowners insurance in Montana, especially for extensive coverage. With the highest number of optional endorsements, you can customize a policy that truly meets your individual needs and covers nearly all the major issues Montanans may face like flood damage from a variety of sources and loss of individual valuables likely to result from fires. Liberty Mutual is the only insurance agency we found with a unique Inflation Guard protection that automatically adjusts your coverage limits based upon inflation and includes a discount on your premium to match.
Liberty Mutual recently partnered with the inquisitive minds at HowStuffWorks to build a comprehensive and user-friendly how-to guide called MasterThis™. Each section, such as “Increasing your Home Value”, contains a handful of short three or five minute reads which outline tasks or steps you can take to improve your home, bolster its protections, or lower your premiums.
The Hartford is another top performer in claims experience. It is the only provider alongside Nationwide to receive a rating of “Excellent” for timely payouts as well as “Very Good” for the simplicity of its claims process. J. D. Power also ranks The Hartford as a top insurance company in its 2018 Property Claims Satisfaction Study. Outside of the claims experience however, The Hartford lacks the extensive resources of Farmers or the beautifully curated guides from Liberty Mutual. If you would like clarification about some of the language in your policy, The Hartford does have a detailed glossary to define the most important terms in insurance. It also publishes some articles focused on homeowners, but a quick look reveals that this resource is focused on a more mature demographic — great for those of us in retirement, but not so great for most first-time homeowners.
The Hartford’s mobile app also lacks features for home insurance customers and focuses mostly on auto insurance policies. Also be forewarned: for most Montana zip codes, there isn’t the option of obtaining an online quote, so you’ll need to call a local agent to compare The Hartford’s prices against those of our other top picks.
In our quote analysis, Travelers offered us our most affordable options for home insurance. Our quote was substantially lower than those from our other top picks, the dwelling coverage Travelers offered was nearly $50,000 greater than the Farmers quote, and Travelers offered the lowest deductible.
Travelers’ homeowners insurance is lacking in a couple of areas, though. Like The Hartford, Travelers doesn’t have a comprehensive resource center. A light collection of articles on homeownership and insurance 101 makes up the bulk of its educational materials. Furthermore, the mobile app from Travelers sits at a not-so great rating in the iTunes store, with few features related to homeowners insurance. In fact, the app is mostly directed to auto insurance customers anyway, so it’s probably worth skipping the app altogether if you’re not looking to bundle your insurance coverages.
When it comes to the claims experience, financial stability, and customer satisfaction, USAA is the best of the best. Customers gave the company the highest possible ratings from the ease of reaching an agent all the way down to how long it took for payment to be received. And, on the topic of payments, USAA had the highest possible A.M. Best financial strength rating of A++, which means you don’t have to worry about them having the necessary funds to settle your claim.
USAA also boasts some great coverage options for homeowners, including liability coverage, identity theft, fire, theft, and vandalism coverages, and a broader protection against most-weather-related events. The only downside is that USAA is exclusive to active duty service members or veterans with an honorable discharge, and their families. However, if you fall into any of these categories, USAA is definitely worth considering.
Guide to Montana Homeowners Insurance
Montana may be its own best resource
The Office of the Montana State Auditor, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (CSIMT) has one of the most complete and well-crafted resource centers available from a state organization. Montanans can take advantage of thorough guides and helpful questions, written specifically with your needs in mind. If you choose an insurance company that doesn’t offer a property scheduling service within its app, we recommend you use the Commission’s handy Home Inventory Checklist to build out your inventory. If you’re at the beginning your journey into homeowners insurance, we highly recommend delving into the Consumer’s Guide. Or, if you’re having trouble with your insurance company, then the CSIMT makes it easy to file a formal complaint.
We secured quotes from a few of our recommended insurance providers to give a price estimate for homeowners insurance in Montana. We calculated our quotes based on a Montana median home price of around $200,000, with an average square footage of 2000 sq ft. in Billings. Each insurer’s online quote tool offers its own estimate of coverage limits and deductibles based on its assumptions of the most appropriate plan for our home. We found the differences to be quite interesting.
|Dwelling Coverage||Personal Property||Deductible||Total Year Premium|
*Nationwide and The Hartford both require phone interviews to complete a quote, which takes a bit more personal and sensitive information than we can replicate. We certainly advise giving them each a call before making your final purchasing decision. USAA only provides quotes to eligible military personnel.
In our test scenario, Travelers came out on top for price with a triple win of highest coverage for dwelling and personal property and the lowest deductible. However, these results don’t necessarily mean that Travelers will be the best homeowners insurance company for you. Policy premiums are calculated differently based on everything from credit score to location to building materials, and discounts vary between insurers. To find the best price, we recommend getting a quote from all of your available providers by searching for your specific needs and asking about applicable discounts.
For an even more in-depth report on estimated costs, we direct you to the Montana Insurance Commission’s Homeowners, Condominium, and Renters Insurance 2019 Rates Guide. It compares ten home insurers, digging into detailed estimates for nine ultra-specific examples, across nine urban and rural areas spread throughout the entire state.
Montana Homeowners Insurance FAQ
How much does homeowners insurance cost in Montana?
Your annual premiums will be affected by a variety of factors, including your address, the age of your home, and more. On average, though, Montana homeowners pay $1,081 per year for an HO-3 policy, which is right in line with the nationwide average. Always check with multiple providers to ensure the best chance of finding a good rate.
Is homeowners insurance required in Montana?
Technically, no, you’re not required to have homeowners insurance in order to own a home in Montana. However, most mortgage companies and lenders are going to require that you have some form of homeowners insurance in order to pass their approvals process.