The Best New Hampshire Homeowners Insurance
Home to the White Mountain National Forest, a segment of the Appalachian Trail, and stately granite formations, New Hampshire is a beautiful state. That picturesque geography also means that there are unique environmental factors — winter storms, ice dams, and elevated radon levels among them — that New Hampshire residents must consider when purchasing homeowners insurance.
Of course, premiums fluctuate based on numerous factors, including your home’s age, location, construction materials, and the value of its contents, as well as what discounts you qualify for and your deductible amount, so shopping around is crucial.
How We Found the Best New Hampshire Homeowners Insurance
We began by selecting the five largest insurance providers based on market share. From there, we applied the methodology established in our review of national companies. That meant talking to local real estate agents as well as analyzing each company’s discounts, endorsements, financial strength, customer service, and claims process. Finally, we requested sample quotes for homes throughout the Granite State and examined them to see how they stacked up.
The 5 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in New Hampshire
New Hampshire Homeowners Insurance Company Reviews
When it comes to homeowner’s insurance, details are crucial. As evidenced by its customized coverage and 24-hour emergency home repairs, attention to detail is a hallmark of Liberty Mutual. That extends to Liberty’s online quote process, which is detailed: The company requests the percentage of carpet, tile, and wood flooring in your home, along with other specifics. In other words, grab floor plans, your home’s history, and a detailed home inventory before sitting down for a quote. All that work should lead to a more accurate quote. And, based on data from the New Hampshire Insurance Department, Liberty Mutual’s premiums are some of the most affordable among the state’s insurers.
On top of low premiums, Liberty boasts numerous discounts, including premium reductions for University of New Hampshire and Southern New Hampshire University alums as well as other New Hampshire groups. For the most part, Allstate’s discounts are easier to qualify for, but Liberty alone offers a radon detector discount, which is a nice benefit (we’ve got more to say about radon further on in this review).
Allstate’s website is a dream to navigate. Others insurers’ sites required extensive searching to get a complete picture of available coverage, discounts, and endorsements. But Allstate’s site was upfront, with policy features, optional coverage, discounts, and claims information clearly outlined in one location. With this site, it’s easy to get in, get key information on coverage, and get out.
Consider sticking around a bit longer, though, because the site has some useful features. The most notable of these is the Common and Costly Claims tool, which lets shoppers type in their ZIP code to see the most common claims that are made in their region, complete with average dollar amounts for those claims. Spoiler alert: Water and physical damage were near the top in zip codes throughout New Hampshire. For an even closer look, the GoodHome home report is particularly helpful, (even if it is a little creepy), as it plays a Google Street View video of your home while listing potential risks, local hazard data, and prevention tips.
Beyond its best-in-class website, Allstate offers a substantial number of discounts (we counted eleven), including many options that aren’t hard to qualify for, such as a 10 percent discount during your first two years with the company, and up to 5 percent off when you arrange for automatic payments from your checking or savings account. Other discounts, like the multi-policy one, require only slightly more effort, but they come with bigger savings — for example, bundling your home and auto insurance can save you significantly, up to 30 percent.
Generally, you’ll find USAA at the top of any list you check. J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Property Claims Satisfaction Study found that USAA has a high level of satisfaction among customers, particularly for water-related claims, which are common in New Hampshire. Consumer Reports gave USAA a score of 92, at least nine points above New Hampshire’s other top insurers and only two points below its top national choice, Amica.
USAA’s standard coverage goes above and beyond other insurers — another reason it’s so well-regarded by both its customers and the industry. For example, up to $5,000 of identity theft coverage is automatically included with each policy, and USAA’s replacement cost coverage includes your home and personal belongings with no depreciation factored in.
There were a few important factors, however, that bumped USAA down from the top spot. First and foremost, USAA is only available to current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. And although USAA offers 24/7 claims access, it doesn’t have any New Hampshire locations where you can meet with a representative in person.
State Farm is a well-respected, well-rounded insurer, but we weren’t happy with it on a few fronts. The company has positive financial ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s, as well as above average customer satisfaction scores on Consumer Reports’ homeowners insurance survey (a key rating based on input from 90,000 Consumer Reports subscribers). However, when we looked closer at the claims process via J.D. Power’s 2017 study property claims satisfaction study, State Farm’s customer service satisfaction was a bit lower.
At the same time, State Farm’s website is sufficient, but it didn’t wow us. The site includes an online quote tool, plus an FAQ section and a learning center with useful articles and advice. You can find out more about its endorsements and discount options at the site, too. We appreciated that these could easily and clearly be adjusted during the online quote process, but neither category stood out to us, especially upon noting how high the insurer’s premiums are throughout the state.
Based in — you guessed it, Concord, New Hampshire — Concord Group only offers coverage in New England, providing the insurer with a wealth of local knowledge and experience. In addition, Concord’s premiums were consistently among the lowest when comparing premiums across the state.
But there are some tradeoffs: Concord’s website paled in comparison to those of the state’s other top insurers. There was no online quote tool and limited information on policies, discounts, and endorsements. Furthermore, the group is too small to be rated by Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, and other reputable rating leaders, so it is difficult to determine customers’ satisfaction or how Concord handles claims. That said, if you prefer the personal attention a smaller insurer often provides, Concord is worth considering.
Guide to New Hampshire Homeowners Insurance
Water damage and power outages are top concerns
New Hampshire is no stranger to harsh winters, whose adverse effects on homes include flooding. In fact, the New Hampshire Department of Safety found that every year, some area of the state experiences flash flooding, main stem river flooding, coastal flooding, or a combination of the three.
The erratic temperature also causes problems. “We have pretty extreme temperature changes,” says Lisa Boucher, who has worked as a Manchester-based realtor and associate for 14 years. “One day it will be below zero, and the next day it will be 25 degrees and we’ll get a foot of snow. And then the following week, we’ll get some kind of weird icy rain mix, and then it’ll warm up.” The result is ice dams, or ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof and prevent melting snow from draining off. Instead, the water that backs up behind the dam often seeps into homes.
As if those issues weren’t enough, snow- and storm-related power outages are also common, making generators a must-have, Windham-based real estate agent Lisa Anne Landry says.
Many homeowners are going a step further and installing on-demand generator systems, Boucher adds. “Then you don’t have to worry about freezing pipes — and, all the bad stuff that can happen when you don’t have any power in your home.”
Be aware of radon and arsenic
New Hampshire’s expansive rock quarries earned it the title of The Granite State. While the granite formations are beautiful, they cause some less attractive — albeit largely invisible — issues for homeowners. Most notable are elevated levels of radon and arsenic.
More than 30 percent of residents live in homes with radon concentrations that exceed recommended levels, according to Breathe New Hampshire. That number could be even higher, considering that an estimated 250,000 New Hampshire homes remain untested. That’s why current and prospective homeowners should always test their homes for radon. If your home has elevated radon levels, there are many radon-mitigation techniques and systems available, some of which can reduce radon levels by up to 99 percent.
Additionally, a 2014 U.S. Geological Survey study found that bedrock well water for nearly 50,000 New Hampshirites may contain arsenic concentrations exceeding health standards. As with radon, it’s important for homeowners to test for this contaminant regularly and invest in treatment systems.
Landry sees both issues with her clients, but says “There are systems that mostly nullify the arsenic and radon, and I explain to new buyers that it happens and shouldn’t be a factor to turn them away from their dream home.”
Complete a home inventory
Compiling a home inventory that you could access in the case of a fire or other home insurance claim is the sort of thing that sounds like a great idea, but who has the time? The state of New Hampshire hopes to make it easier with its Home Inventory File. This detailed, gridded document prompts you to review the items in each room of your house and has space for you to estimate the value or original cost of the items. There are even special sections for musical instruments, silverware, and glassware. Published by the New Hampshire Insurance Department, the downloadable document also suggests that you take photos of each room in your house for reference, and keep the resulting photos and inventory in a safe deposit box or safe place outside of your home (or in the cloud if you do it digitally).
Want to learn more about creating a home inventory? Check out our home inventory.
New Hampshire Homeowners Insurance FAQ
The average premium for an HO-3 policy (the most common type of homeowner policy) in New Hampshire is $941 per year. That’s a little more than $200 less than the national average of $1,173. But remember that there are a broad range of elements that play into your own premium, from the location of the nearest fire hydrant to the number of available discounts, so it’s unlikely that you’ll hit the average on the head. Your best bet when shopping is to not stop at one quote—get several so that you can compare and contrast. And although we love the ability to start the process with an online quote, nothing beats a conversation with an actual agent. They may be able to tip you off to savings that the online tool missed.
Probably not, unless you have specifically requested it through the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP). Regular homeowner policies specifically exclude water damage caused by flooding. That also includes surface water, wave tidal water, overflow of a body of water, backup from sewer systems, drains and sump pumps, and water that seeps through basement walls and floors. The only place you can obtain flood insurance from is the NFIP. Ask your insurance agent if it’s something you’re worried about. Finding out that you’re not covered isn’t something you want to discover while you’re bailing out the basement.
We suggest that you try to work it out with your company first. A talk with your agent can sometimes spare you a great deal of aggravation. If you’re still unhappy, the New Hampshire Insurance Department is an excellent resource. You can file a consumer complaint online and will be assigned to a Consumer Service Officer who will help you reconcile your dispute with the company if it is judged to be valid. You can also call them with issues or concerns at 800-852-3416.