The Best Virginia Homeowners Insurance Companies
As one of the original 13 colonies, Virginia is home to a lot of history, including a timeline punctuated with natural disasters. From costly hurricanes and a 5.8 earthquake in 2011 (the strongest east of the Mississippi since 1944) to Snowmageddon and super-charged thunderstorms, it’s hard to know what to expect in the Old Dominion. Or, more importantly, how those potential perils might impact your homeowners insurance.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Virginia
To find the best for Virginia, we mirrored the approach in our review on nationwide homeowners insurance companies. First, we determined the largest providers in Virginia by market share. Then, we took note of their claims ratings, coverage options, available discounts, and financial fitness — comparing scores from reputable financial research companies like Standard & Poor’s, A.M. Best, and Moody’s. We called up their agents, pored over their websites, and used all their online tools to get a sense of the real user experience. Here’s how they ranked.
The 5 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Virginia
The Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Virginia
There’s a reason State Farm is the leading underwriter for homeowners insurance policies in Virginia and why it’s our top pick: It’s reliable. State Farm’s finances are rock-solid. Moody’s awarded the company with the second-highest distinction (Aa1), meaning State Farm is “of high quality and subject to very low credit risk.” State Farm also got high marks from A.M. Best, with a top-tier score of A++.
State Farm’s customer service is also exceptional — J.D. Power awarded it with a four out of five in overall claims experience, and the company received an 82 from Consumer Reports’ national homeowners insurance survey. Whenever we called, wait time was minimal and the agents were friendly, knowledgeable, and able to answer any question. Getting an online quote was easy, and the website walked us through determining coverage needs and the difference between replacement cost and market value.
On paper, State Farm’s available discounts are average (the biggest savings come from bundling your home and auto insurance policies), and Allstate, Nationwide, and Liberty Mutual all had more to offer. But none of that mattered when we saw how State Farm’s quotes were consistently lower than average. In Charlotte County, for example, our quote from State Farm was just over a third of the cost of a quote from Allstate, the company with the most discounts. The takeaway? Don’t base your decision on the number of discounts listed on the website. Get a quote and see for yourself. It’s the final number that counts.
Even though USAA is only available to active and retired U.S. military members and their families, it is still the second-largest provider in the state. Home to the Pentagon and numerous military bases, Virginia has one of the largest military populations in the country. Members of the Armed Forces and their families overwhelmingly choose USAA for their insurance needs. It boasts the second highest consumer rating in the industry, earning a 92 in Consumer Reports’ national homeowners insurance survey and a five out of five from J.D. Power. In terms of financials, USAA is solid: With an A++ from A.M. Best and an Aaa from Moody’s, you can rest assured USAA will pay out your claims.
USAA also understands the ins and outs of the military lifestyle, too, including frequent moves — the company strives to make transitions as easy as possible. The only real downside we found was that USAA’s website was a little sparse. You’ll have to call an agent to get details on its policies, and it doesn’t offer much in the way of educational materials. But if you qualify, USAA is an excellent choice for homeowners insurance.
AllstateAllstate is an industry leader with its library of online resources. Its not-so-secret weapon is the Common & Costly Claims tool (also available to non-customers, so be sure to check it out regardless of which company you choose.) Within seconds of entering your ZIP code, it provides an analysis of the top five most common claims and perils in your area — think anything from theft to water damage — and breaks down the average cost per claim so you’ll know how much something like frozen pipes could run you.
We also love Allstate for its transparency. It’s upfront about its discounts and has eight listed on the website, with savings as high as 30%. If you’re a new customer, your wallet will love the welcome discount — 10% off your premium when you sign up for a new Allstate policy before your current one expires.)
Those discounts weren’t enough to make the company competitive for Virginians — Allstate was often the most expensive choice in Virginia when compared to the other four providers. Still, everyone’s situation (and home) is different, and it’s worth getting a personalized quote from Allstate.
TravelersTravelers and State Farm are similar in a lot of ways — even beyond their A++ ratings from A.M. Best. They tied in Consumer Reports’ national homeowners insurance survey with a customer satisfaction score of 82. Both companies offer the same number of endorsements and an average number of discounts with above-average savings. Travelers consistently beat out competitors (including, in some cases, State Farm) to offer the lowest annual premiums we saw.
So, why is Travelers not our top pick? State Farm had a higher customer claims satisfaction score across the board. State Farm holds one of the highest customer satisfaction scores by J.D. Power, even though this is still considered average. Travelers comes in near the bottom with a below-average score and two out of five Power Circles. Although these seem like minor differences, it seems as though customers are more pleased with State Farm’s service.
A stand-out feature of Travelers is its OpenHouse tool, which generates free home history reports — like CARFAX, but for your house — and provides information on neighborhood trends, past repairs, and even how much the house sold for previously. If your home is eco-friendly, you’ll also benefit from Travelers’ 5% discount for LEED-certified homes.
NationwideNationwide is number one in claims satisfaction but average in just about everything else. J.D. Power gave it an almost unheard of claims score of five out of five Power Circles, and Consumer Reports’ national homeowners survey came out to an impressive score of 86. Unfortunately, it fell behind in the cost and customer service departments.
Except for a gated-community discount, nothing stood out about Nationwide’s efforts to save customers money, and it is middle-of-the-road when it comes to premiums. Its website is aesthetically pleasing, but information can be tough to find and not as detailed as some of our other contenders’ layouts. More than anything, we were frustrated by how difficult it was to get a simple quote online. We attempted to fill out the form three times but were always redirected and told to call an agent. If you don’t mind working things out over the phone (the average wait time was about 20 minutes), give Nationwide a call.
Guide to Homeowners Insurance in Virginia
Your home’s build type will affect your rates
Here is a sample breakdown of State Farm’s average HO-3 premiums (the most common policy; usually the minimum required by mortgage providers) for a $125,000 home. The difference in price can be distilled down to one thing: risk.
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It costs $200 more to insure a frame home (wood construction) than a masonry home (brick-based construction), because of the associated risks that could bring about an insurance claim. Fire and high winds pose more of a threat to a home built out of wood. Wooden homes also often require more upkeep (staining, waterproofing, etc.) and are susceptible to damage caused by pests like termites.
Premiums vary by location
Real estate is all about location, location, location, and where your house is will have a huge effect on its insurance premiums. For example, insuring a home in the coastal area of Virginia Beach could be about $500 more a year than one in inland Alexandria because it’s much more likely to experience hurricanes, flooding, or even just common decay due to high humidity and the corrosive properties of salt water.
Compare quotes before you buy
Every homeowners insurance provider measures risk differently. One company might value your credit score above all else, while another puts more emphasis on your home’s location. You won’t know how which one offers the best coverage for you until you actually put in your information and compare quotes. We recommend checking each of our top picks; with the exception of Nationwide, you can generally get a quote online in only a few minutes.
Virginia Homeowners Insurance FAQ
How much is homeowners insurance in Virginia?
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners most recent report, Virginia’s annual premiums for homeowners insurance are on the lower side — $946 per year for an HO-3 policy, compared to the nationwide average of $1,173. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your home’s size, your assets, and your address.
How does Virginia handle liability?
Virginia is one of five states with a “pure contributory negligence” or “comparative negligence” law on the books. This means that if someone is injured on your property, but a court finds that they are in any way responsible for the injury, you could be off the hook for a claim. This law doesn’t have any bearing on your homeowner’s premium, but it’s important to keep in mind in the event of an accident. It’s also a good reminder to make sure you have an adequate amount of liability coverage in case you do have to take care of a claim. Most homeowners insurance policies come with at least $100,000 in liability insurance, but the Insurance Information Institute recommends purchasing between $300,000-$500,000, depending on your assets.