The Best North Carolina Homeowners Insurance Companies
Homeowners in North Carolina share similar concerns with many of their neighboring states: inclement weather in the mountains, hurricanes on the coastline, the threat of flooding, and tornadoes. The average home insurance premium in North Carolina comes in at just over $1,000 per year, but in response to recent coastal storms, the North Carolina Rate Bureau last December proposed a statewide increase of 17.4%. The final word on the increase is yet to come, but the dual threat of stormy weather and rising rates means it’s important to insure with a provider that levies fair premiums and offers great customer service.
The 5 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in North Carolina
How We Found the Best North Carolina Homeowners Insurance Companies
Using our review of nationwide homeowners insurance providers as a guide, we started with the five largest homeowners insurance companies in North Carolina by market share. Then, we found everything we could about their customer service reputations, financial strength, coverage options, discounts, and claims management. We made rare exceptions to include any local homeowners insurance companies that might not have been listed on the J.D. home insurance study. We also communicated with multiple agents via phone and email and took a magnifying glass to the fine print. Then we laid out the evidence to see how the companies stacked up.
State Farm’s strong all-around performance, prompt and courteous customer service, and painless claims process brought it to the front of the pack with both J.D. Power and Consumer Reports. In Consumer Reports’ homeowners insurance guide, Nationwide received a score of “Very Good” and scored higher than both State Farm and Allstate. It also boasts robust financial strength. Aside from USAA, it’s the only provider in our lineup to receive the superior A++ rating from A.M. Best, outranking the A+ received by Allstate and Nationwide and the A grade issued to NC Farm Bureau. Financial strength ratings speak to a company’s ability to meet its ongoing insurance obligations — aka paying your claims. While an A rating is still considered excellent, financial strength is important to keep an eye on. With State Farm, you can rest assured that you’re signing with a provider that will keep its promises far down the road.
Across the board, State Farm is a well-rounded provider with strong overall customer ratings, but the provider was outperformed by at least two others in claims management, customer service, and discounts. While State Farm’s multi-policy discount can knock up to 17% off your premium if you bundle with auto insurance, that’s not quite as competitive as the 20% offered by Nationwide. Even so, you may be eligible for multiple State Farm discounts, such as those for remaining claims-free or installing home security features in your home.
The claim-filing process is an important factor to consider when selecting a homeowners insurance company. And that’s exactly where USAA shines. It’s one of the only companies to earn a perfect score from J.D. Power in every category. From communicating with an agent to filing paperwork and receiving a satisfying estimate, USAA keeps the claims process from becoming a disaster in itself.
USAA may very well have been our top recommended pick if it weren’t for the limitations on membership. To qualify for membership, you, your spouse, or your parents must have served in the military. North Carolina has the third-largest military population in the U.S., so many people in the state will meet one of these requirements. For those who do, USAA is a great choice.
Nationwide’s number of coverage options rivals that offered by USAA, Allstate, and State Farm. However, Nationwide scores lower than USAA when it comes to financial strength and overall customer satisfaction. Still, the company boasts a more inclusive membership than USAA — anyone can apply for insurance with Nationwide, while only military-affiliated individuals can receive coverage through USAA. Nationwide also offers free resources to all who are considering coverage. The less you know about insurance, from the purchasing process through holding your ground on a claim, the more it could cost you. Nationwide makes building a knowledge base easy, with a resource center that has dozens of articles covering everything from home insurance basics to how to maintain the pipes in your home.
Among the providers we evaluated, Allstate was the clear standout for discounts. The multi-policy discount can save you up to 25% on your premium when you bundle home and auto policies. Allstate also offers a 20% discount for remaining claims-free, and it’s the only provider among those we evaluated to offer an early-signing discount, which saves you up to an additional 10% if you sign up before your current policy expires.
While you’ll likely be happy with the numbers you pay each month, receiving your claim is a different story. According to the customers surveyed by Consumer Reports, satisfaction with claims process hovered at “Very Good” for Allstate; while that falls in line with all of our other contenders except for USAA (which earned a rare “Excellent” rating), it’s still disappointing to see given Allstate’s otherwise-great savings potential.
NC Farm Bureau Insurance Group
If you prefer to work directly with an agent, North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance Group is a good choice. The company’s website is minimal and outdated, offering no online quote tool and very little information on coverage and discounts. But the company does make it easy to connect with an agent.
We reached out to six NC Farm Bureau agents for additional coverage information and received a response from each within three hours. That’s impressive. Even more impressive: All the agents were helpful and knowledgeable, and they offered to schedule another call to continue our discussion. One agent even sent us a personal email indicating that she would be out of the office for the week.
Because NC Farm Bureau doesn’t have the national reach of North Carolina’s other top providers, it doesn’t appear on some major rating guides. While we can’t harness the same consumer feedback, and NC Farm Bureau can’t secure the same lofty financial ratings, our experience indicated that it is a strong and reliable company, well worth considering if you like to shop local when it comes to insurance.
Guide to North Carolina Homeowners Insurance
Compare discounts to save on your premium
The average homeowners insurance premium in North Carolina is roughly $1,000 per year, or about $83 per month. That number can take a healthy cut if you secure discounts through your provider. Most homeowners insurance companies — including all five we evaluated — offer a variety. Selecting a provider with discounts that match your circumstances can be a great way to keep premiums low. To illustrate how discounts can lead to premium savings, we compared a few similar discounts from Allstate and Nationwide.
Note that the amounts listed above are the maximum amount for each discount. The exact discount you receive will vary based on where you live and the coverage you select. But even if you qualified for just 25% of the discounts listed above for a $1,000 premium, it could lead to significant savings. Getting the right coverage should be your ultimate goal, but finding comparable coverage from a provider with better-suited discounts means that more money stays in your pocket. Either way, the only way to know is through gathering quotes.
North Carolina Homeowners Insurance FAQ
The average home insurance premium in North Carolina comes in at just over $1,000 per year. This is lower than the national average of $1,173. That said, discounts and locations can impact rates, so it’s always best to compare quotes. To get a sense of the rates for your home and your area, feel free to use our quote tool.
Homeowners receive Consent to Rate forms when the insurance provider determines that the level of risk has increased to a level beyond what the bureau-established rate would cover (for example, maybe you recently filed a claim and were labeled “high-risk”). If you receive a Consent to Rate form, you have a few options:
- Review your current policy and determine if you have the right level of coverage
- Call your agent and see if you can make any coverage adjustments
- Shop around and see if you can find a more affordable option with a different provider
Over the last several years, the number of Consent to Rate forms has increased to include a significant percentage of North Carolina homeowners. In 2014, 40% of homeowner policies in North Carolina were charged a rate higher than the established NCRB rate, up from 23% in 2010. One North Carolina homeowner was given a consent to rate form and had 10 days to decide whether to accept an increase of more than 120% or risk losing coverage.
North Carolina’s ratemaking system complicates homeowners insurance, but recent legislation was passed to help bring transparency to the Consent to Rate process. Be sure you can access and understand any Consent to Rate forms before signing any homeowners insurance policy.
In North Carolina, limits for homeowners and auto insurance rates are established by the North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB) and the Department of Insurance. Insurance companies are not allowed to charge rates higher than those established by the NCRB unless the policyholder signs a “Consent to Rate” form. As a homeowner, when you sign a Consent to Rate form, you give the insurance provider permission to charge a rate that is higher than that established standard. If you don’t sign the form, you run the risk of being dropped by your provider.
North Carolina is one of only two states in the country that continues to use this ratemaking system, and the only state in the nation to receive back-to-back F ratings from an independent think tank due largely to politicization and excessive regulation. While they are not ideal, they are often necessary, so we recommend reading a guide before you sign.
Even as Consent to Rate forms allow individual providers to set whatever premiums they deem reasonable for your home, the general body of insurers in North Carolina is looking to increase rates. In an effort to hedge against catastrophic loss due to hurricanes or severe storms, the North Carolina Rate Bureau has proposed a statewide rate increase that would swell costs by an average of 17.4%. But before any decision is made, the issue is being opened to public commentary.