09 Jun More About Homeowners Insurance
Drill Down and Learn More About Homeowners
Buying a home takes several stages of preparation. You need to decide on a location, budget for the needs of your home, and ensure your property is sufficiently protected in the event of a loss. States do not legally require you to have homeowners’ insurance. However, to help protect your investment, it is generally the first thing you would want to buy. Without adequate coverage of your home, a disastrous event could lead to thousands of dollars in liability and financial ruin.
What are the best Homeowners’ Companies?
If you are a new homeowner or this is your first time shopping for insurance, you’ll probably have more than a few questions. You may be wondering which insurance company is better suited to meet your needs. As a consumer, the most critical factors include cost, coverage, and overall experience during the process.
Your house is most likely one of the biggest and most significant purchases you will make in your lifetime. This warrants you to be selective when deciding which company will insure your investment. It is only natural to want the best deal. That said, you’ll also want an insurer that can afford to provide coverage if faced with a disastrous event. Dependable customer service is also a bonus.
We reviewed several high-rated homeowner’s insurance companies across the United States. To ease the process, we have compiled a list of our top recommendations based on coverage options, discounts, and consumer ratings. Keep in mind – not all insurers are available in every state.
State Farm is one of the nation’s largest homeowner’s insurance providers. They also offer auto and life insurance among others. State Farm is rated best for those who want a personalized relationship with their agent. Customers can rest easy buying homeowner’s insurance from a company that is well-established with a longstanding history of traditional face-to-face service.
State Farm offers a variety of policy add-ons with their standard homeowners’ coverage options. To name a few, liability coverage for personal injuries and coverage for personal belongings. Also, if your home is insured for – at a minimum – its estimated replacement cost, you qualify for their “Increased Dwelling Limit”. This add-on is offered at no additional expense and automatically extends your replacement cost coverage up to 20%. Although their list of add-ons is large, these coverage options typically cost extra. Some examples for policy add-ons include:
- Identify fraud or cyber attacks
- Liability coverage for in-home child or adult care
- Out-building coverage for structures located outside of house
- Renters’ coverage for homes that offer rental availability for more than 30 nights/year
- Replacement coverage of damaged home utility equipment with energy-efficient models
- Coverage for sewer or drain backup
State Farm also offers homeowners insurance discounts – depending on state – including:
- Multiple line discounts
- Protective device discount for home security systems
- Discount for homes with impact-resistant roofing material
Travelers is one of the most popular names in the insurance business. It is among the largest home and car insurance service providers in the country. Travelers insurance is ideal for those who seek an in-person customer experience with an agent and are looking to buy several products from one insurer.
In addition to their standard coverage options, Travelers offers additional features with all of their homeowners insurance policies.
- Contents Replacement Cost – instead of covering the depreciated value of an item, this feature offers to replace an item with a new one.
- Replacement Cost Protection Coverage – if your dwelling coverage does not cover the entire cost of damages, this option offers additional coverage for home repair or rebuild.
- Water Backup Coverage – offers coverage for damages due to water backup or overflow from sewer, drain, or sump pump.
- Green Home Coverage – after a claim has been filed, this coverage option provides help if green materials are used to repair, replace or rebuild.
Travelers offers discount options beyond their standard policy coverage. A few of the more favorable include:
- Multiple policy discount
- Recent or new home buyer discount
- Security system discount
- Green home discount
Travelers Auto Insurance Coverage
- Gap Insurance – coverage protection for an auto lease or loan.
- IntelliDrive – available in 38 states, offers a discount of up to 20% for safe driving.
- Premier New Car Replacement – replacement coverage for a car that is less than 5 years old and has been totaled due to an accident.
- Responsible Driver Program – offers forgiveness for one accident and one minor violation every 36 months.
Hippo is one of NerdWallet’s top rated home insurance companies. Hippo strives to modernize the industry by utilizing technology to increase efficiency. They focus on providing affordable insurance to customers, while increasing profits for insurers by streamlining online services. Standard policies cover personal property, liability, and dwelling. Other types of coverage offered by Hippo include:
- Ordinance – covers cost of repairs if building codes are updated.
- Domestic Workers – covers personal injury if individual was working on property.
- Home Office – covers cost of damages for work equipment.
- Valuables and Jewelry – coverage for theft of high-value/cost items.
- Water Backup – covers damage costs from water backup or overflow.
For the tech-savy individual, Hippo offers coverage policies with extras that promote technology services. Add-ons such as smart home surveillance and virtual access to home maintenance advisors are just a few that highlight Hippo’s primary features. Several of the discounts available concentrate on home defense. Customers can save on premiums with safety features such as fire extinguishers and living within a gated community. Additionally, homeowners can save with discounts for:
- Early Signing
- New Home
- Smart Home
- Homeowners Association (HOA)
- Sprinkler Systems
- Home Security Features: fire/smoke alarm, deadbolt, burglary alarm, etc.
Not only does Hippo’s website offer live customer support, you can also receive a quote within minutes and read through articles that outline the basics of home insurance.
Nationwide is most notable for offering ordinance and law insurance as part of their standard policy package. This feature provides coverage for losses or updates to your home to meet new building codes. Nationwide is also known for its excellent customer service. They have above average satisfaction ratings for home and auto insurance claims. Nationwide is a financially solid and a great fit for someone who wants to bundle policies.
Nationwide Homeowners Insurance Policies
Nationwide offers standard coverage options with their basic homeowners policies. There are additional coverage features such as:
- New Belongings – covers the cost of full reimbursement for new items if belongings have been damaged, destroyed, or stolen.
- Better Roof Replacement – covers the cost to replace a damaged roof with stronger and safer materials.
- Water Backup – covers damages caused by water backup from sewer, drain, or sump pump overflow.
- Valuable Plus – additional coverage for stolen or damaged valuables.
- Identify Theft Coverage – provides credit monitoring and recovery assistance for identify fraud.
Homeowners’ Discounts Offered by Nationwide
- Multiple policy discount
- New homeowner discount – must be within the past 12 months
- Protective device
- Home renovation
- Gated community
- Claim-free discount
Save Money by Bundling your Home and Auto Policies
For those who own a house and one of more vehicles, you could be saving money by bundling your home and auto insurance. Many states require licensed drivers to be insured with the bare minimum in order to legally drive their vehicles.
Although homeowner’s insurance is not a legal obligation, mortgage lenders often require it as a common condition. The combined expense of home and auto insurance can take a financial toll when paid separately. However, many insurance companies offer discounted rates to eligible customers who bundle home and auto insurance policies.
To qualify and reap the benefits, your home and auto policies will need to be purchased from the same insurance provider. If are insured through separate companies and want to bundle, all insurance providers are equipped to guide you through the process. There are more than a few noteworthy benefits when you bundle your policies. For instance –
The savings you’ll get with a multi-policy discount is one of the more attractive advantages of bundling your home and auto policies. Almost all insurance providers offer discounts for customers with multiple policies. For those who own a house, a vehicle, or multiples of each, you are a prime candidate for serious savings by bundling policies.
The quality of service you’ll receive is another advantage when using one provider for all your insurance needs. Providers are known to be conservative with their payouts. That said, top insurance companies value customer loyalty and will provide outstanding service to keep you happy. The more coverage you have from one insurer, the higher they will value your business.
Bundling home and auto insurance means one monthly premium to cover all your insurance needs. This method is quite advantageous for those who want to consolidate payments.
Best Home and Auto Bundles
It’s important to find the best coverage for the right price when shopping for bundling options. Just because an insurer offers a bigger discount, doesn’t mean you’re getting the best deal. Paying a lower premium could also mean you forfeited a significant amount of coverage. Before deciding which provider to bundle your policies with, double check they can match your insurance needs.
What is The Best Way to Buy a Homeowners Policy?
If you’re wondering how to best cover your home, lower your premiums, and work with a current insurer – or find a new one – you may find these tips useful.
Find a Good Insurer
The best way to measure a provider’s capabilities is to find out how they handle insurance claims. Damage estimates is one of the best predictors of customer satisfaction when it comes to insurance companies. Lower-rated insurers appeared to have a higher proportion of clients who disagreed with their damage estimates and thought their final payout was too small.
Find the Right Coverage
Without state-mandated requirements for homeowners’ insurance, finding the right amount of coverage can be tricky. A general rule of thumb for all homeowners to follow is – buy enough insurance to cover the cost of labor and materials needed to rebuild your entire house. In insurance terms, this is called either the replacement cost or replacement value. Your insurance provider can assist in calculating that amount for you. Remember to mention any unique assets and make sure inflation is accounted for.
Policy options with additional features or coverage will likely increase the cost of a standard plan. However, covering all eligible assets could potentially save you in the long run. There are some providers that do offer these features as part of their standard policy, but some may charge an additional premium. Some additional coverage options you should consider are:
- Sewer Backup – coverage that protects you even if outside sources caused the backup or damages.
- Earthquake, Hail, Windstorm – covers damages from natural events; some states may require you to have a separate deductible or coverage policy.
- Extended Replacement Cost – pays 10-50% above the coverage limit in the event that building costs drastically increase following a major disaster.
- Contents Replacement Cost – covers the difference in amounts between price paid and actual cash value of stolen or damaged contents.
- Inflation Protection – automatically increases coverage to reflect market increases in building costs.
Boost Liability Protection
Most homeowners’ policies have a liability insurance limit starting at $100,000. Liability insurance covers the costs and damages incurred from a lawsuit. Increasing your liability insurance limit is a suitable option if your assets are valued over $100,000.
Consider buying coverage that equals the minimum amount to protect your assets. Added protection can be provided by excess liability coverage. This add-on offers greater liability protection to cover the costs of accidental injury or property damage.
Search for Eligible Discounts and Lower Premium Costs
Bundling coverage by purchasing your home and auto insurance policies from the same provider can save customers up to 30%.
Increase your Deductible
By raising your deductible, you could lower the cost of premiums. Customers can reduce the cost of their premium up to 25% by raising their deductible.
Customers can save an average 2-6% on insurance for each improvement made to a home. Examples of eligible improvements include replacing old utility components, installing an added security feature, or gas detection sensors. In some states, customers can save an additional 35% by installing an impact-resistant roof.