The Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Washington
Washington files fewer home insurance claims than most states, so it’s no surprise that its premiums are among the lowest in the nation. But don’t let that lull you into complacency. It’s important to make sure that you have adequate coverage before you need it — not when it’s too late. That’s why it’s important to do your research to ensure you’re getting the best possible value. You can start by reading our reviews of the four best homeowners insurance companies in Washington and getting several quotes.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Washington
To find the best homeowners insurance in Washington, we used the methodology from our review of national homeowners insurance providers. We determined which companies had the largest market shares in Washington and then verified their financial stability by checking ratings from independent agencies like Moody’s and A.M. Best.
From there, we dove into specifics: What coverage options did each provider offer? Can you get protection for things like water backup, or your valuables? We also compared deductible options: We wanted companies to give their customers ample opportunity to save on premiums. Finally, we looked into each company’s customer service track record by comparing ratings from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, hopping on the phone with local agents, and testing the quote process for ourselves.
The Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Washington
Washington Homeowners Insurance Reviews
State Farm is the best place to start if you’re looking for a straightforward, headache-free homeowners policy. It outperformed all of its competitors in J.D. Power’s survey, which measures customer satisfaction with things like pricing and claims handling, earning a 4/5 overall. State Farm is also the only company on our list that lets you purchase a homeowners policy without speaking to an agent: The company’s 360Value Tool provides an accurate online quote once you fill in a series of questions about your home’s construction.
While State Farm did give us our most expensive quote in Seattle, you can expect rates to vary based on your personal circumstances. It only offers nine discounts — fewer than the other companies on our list — but those nine are fairly easy to achieve. You can save by bundling home and auto, remaining claim-free, and installing protective devices like deadbolt locks and sprinkler systems. And if you update your utilities or install an impact-resistant roof, you’ll get another discount.
For homeowners worried about wind and hail damage, State Farm is the only one of our picks that doesn’t require you to have a separate wind/hail deductible. This may be a draw if you only want to keep track of one deductible — but if you go this route, note that State Farm requires you to choose your deductible based on a percentage of your home’s value, which often ends up being more expensive than paying for a separate wind/hail deductible.
Liberty Mutual is the largest insurer in Washington and stands out for its unique policies that maximize your home’s protection. Its Home Protector Plus option pays for unforeseen costs while you’re rebuilding your home, like renting a place to stay or replacing your personal property. The Inflation Guard endorsement continually increases your policy limits to keep pace with inflation, so you’re always getting the same level of coverage that you initially signed up for. Liberty Mutual also offers extended replacement cost coverage, which helps you cover the cost of replacing personal items that are damaged or stolen.
The company is also popular because it consistently offers affordable rates. Of our four providers, it offered the second cheapest quote, coming in at just $37 more per month than Farmers. And you may be able to narrow that gap by taking advantage of Liberty Mutual’s discounts: You can lower your premium if you’re a new homeowner, if you’re renovating your home, or if you install protective devices like fire and burglar alarms. Liberty Mutual also has a number of affiliate groups that can earn you additional savings.
Liberty Mutual received the highest customer satisfaction rating in the Consumer Reports survey by a single point (83 versus State Farm’s 82), but its overall satisfaction rating from J.D. Power was less impressive at just 3/5.
Farmers was far and away the most affordable option we saw for Washington homeowners. It keeps its rates low with 13 homeowners discounts — just one fewer than Allstate, the industry leader. In addition to the standard multi-policy, claim-free, and protective device discounts, you can also save by owning a new home, renovating an existing one, and being a non-smoker. Members of Farmers affinity groups are eligible for special discounts as well.
Farmers is your best option if you’re looking for a very low or high deductible. Unlike the limited range of deductibles offered by providers like Liberty Mutual (which limits you to $500, $1,000 or $2,500), you can choose standard dollar-value deductibles ranging from $500 to $10,000, or a percentage-based deductible, ranging from 0.5 percent to 5 percent of your home’s value.
It’s also worth getting a quote from Farmers if you’re looking to purchase coverage for unique homeowners situations. For example, if you have a green home, you’ll want to consider Farmers’ Eco-Rebuild option, which pays to repair your home with eco-friendly building materials following a claim. And if you have expensive landscaping, you can add tree and shrub coverage, which we didn’t see available with any other company on our list.
Allstate offers the most homeowners discounts of any company listed here (14 to be precise), but it also quoted us slightly above-average rates. This may not be the case for you, though, depending on what savings you qualify for. You can earn discounts for being smoke-free, bundling home and auto, installing fire and burglar alarms, and enrolling in autopay. New homeowners and new Allstate customers can also save here.
The company also offers several endorsements to help you save money over the long-term. Its Claim RateGuard option works like accident forgiveness for your home, preventing your rates from going up after your first claim. There’s also Claim-Free Rewards, similar to Allstate’s Safe Driving Bonus Check for auto insurance: Every year you go without filing a homeowners claim, Allstate will give you a check, essentially refunding part of your annual premium.
In terms of its claims handling, Allstate fell slightly behind the other companies listed here. It only received a 3/5 overall from J.D. Power, and Consumer Reports rated it behind State Farm, Liberty Mutual, and Farmers. Customers noted that they weren’t always satisfied with the amount they received after filing a claim. This isn’t a guarantee that you’ll run into problems if you choose to go with Allstate, but if you’re concerned, you may feel more comfortable with a company like State Farm that’s known for excellent customer service.
Guide to Homeowners Insurance in Washington
Washington premiums are low, but claim severity is rising
The number of homeowners claims in Washington has been in decline since 2007. The Insurance Research Council reports that in 2013, insurance companies paid just $277 per insured home in Washington — 37% less than the national average of $442 per insured home. This has helped keep Washington’s typical home insurance premiums far below average.
However, this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to skimp on coverage. Claim severity is rising at a rate of about 7.4% per year. This is due in part to the larger, more expensive homes being built in areas like Seattle, coupled with the rising cost of building materials and the increased severity of storms in the area.
If you do need to file a claim, don’t be surprised if your homeowners premium increases significantly afterward. Unfortunately, there’s little you can do about this, although Allstate’s Claim RateGuard endorsement does prevent your rates from going up following your first homeowners claim. You may want to look into this option if you’re concerned about rate hikes.
Check your wind and hail policy
Hailstorms are some of the most costly natural disasters in Washington, often affecting hundreds of homes in a single area. This puts a serious strain on insurers, so they’ve changed the way they approach these situations.
Most insurers now charge a separate deductible for wind and hail damage. This may either be a standard dollar-value amount or a percentage of your home’s value. In either case, it usually ends up being more expensive than your all-perils deductible. State Farm is the only company listed above that doesn’t charge a separate wind/hail deductible, so it’s worth a closer look if you’d rather stick to a single deductible.
Landlords need extra coverage
The Insurance Information Institute reports that nearly 40% of Washington homes are occupied by renters. Renting out your home can be a great way to earn some extra cash, but it’s important to make sure your home is well-protected.
A traditional homeowners policy does not cover renters. You will have to purchase landlord coverage in this situation. This protects your home against any damage your renters might do in addition to any natural disasters that may occur. It does not protect your renters belongings, as these are usually covered in a renters insurance policy. You can purchase a landlord insurance policy from State Farm, Liberty Mutual, or Allstate.
Washington Homeowners Insurance FAQ
How much is homeowners insurance in Washington?
Washington’s annual premiums for homeowners insurance are on the lower side — on average $811 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 the size and age of your home, previous claims filed, and your credit history. It’s not uncommon to find one or two companies that deviate significantly from the average.
Do I need earthquake coverage in Washington?
Washington has the second-highest risk for earthquakes in the country, but only 11.3% of its homes have earthquake coverage. Deductibles in Washington usually range between 10 and 15% of your home’s value, an increase of almost 60% between 2004 and 2016, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. That’s a sizeable payment every year, and whether you want that extra coverage is ultimately up to you.
How can I stay safe when the “really big one” hits?
If you’ve been in Washington for a while, chances are you’ve heard about the dangerous fault line running through the Pacific Northwest that could trigger devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, and mudslides (made famous by this 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning article in The New Yorker). While Washington as a state is woefully unprepared for such an event, the good news is that there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself and your property in an emergency. Things like keeping an earthquake kit in your home, planning an evacuation route, and bolting your home to its foundation are simple measures you can start doing immediately. You can find out more about the Really Big One and how to prepare for it here.
The Best Homeowners Insurance in Washington: Summed Up
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