There are many home insurance providers to choose from. Providers come in lots of sizes and offer different options. Some carriers are only available in certain parts of the United States. To help you determine which to use, get to know what providers are available.
Which are the biggest home insurance carriers out there?
Large, national insurers offer a few advantages over regional carriers:
- Accessible: Many national companies write policies in every state, which gives you the option to stick with the same insurance provider if you move.
- Discount programs: Large companies often offer the best discount programs. National insurance companies feature all types of discounts for association members, military members and retirees, as well as rate reductions for homes equipped with safety and security devices such as fire alarms and security systems.
- Financial security: Large carriers have more assets, ensuring that they can meet their obligation to pay claims.
- Product options:Typically, national insurance companies have a broader spectrum of financial products. For example, USAA sells insurance policies to cover cars, dwellings and recreational equipment such as boats and motorcycles. It also offers checking and savings accounts, credit cards, home mortgages and retirement plans. Because many homeowners need several types of insurance, choosing a carrier that meets all their needs can make it easier to manage their finances.
- Technology trends: Large insurance companies keep up with technological trends, which simplifies the insurance process for policyholders. Many national carriers offer online quotes on their websites and have mobile apps, which enable you to access policy information, contact your agent, file or track a claim and pay your insurance bill from a smartphone or tablet.
Consumer research company J.D. Power produces an annual survey of home insurance companies. Based on rating factors such as billing, claims handling, customer service, policy offerings and overall customer satisfaction, Power ranks the top homeowners insurance companies. In its 2019 U.S. Home Insurance Study, the best large insurers included:
- Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group (AAA)
- Amica Mutual
- J.D. Power ranking: #3
- Better Business Bureau rating: A+
- AM. Best rating: Not rated
AAA home insurance ranked third in the Power study, with four out of five stars for overall customer satisfaction and five stars for policy offerings and price. AAA’s standard homeowners policies include additional living expenses, detached structures, dwelling, medical payments to others, personal liability and personal property coverages. All AAA home policies are customizable, enabling you to purchase additional coverage for expensive items such as jewelry or musical instruments.
Policyholders also have the option to purchase a AAA Smart Home security system, with monitoring starting at $19.99 per month for AAA members. AAA members enjoy discounts on automobile maintenance, dining, entertainment, shopping and travel. Members who purchase AAA auto policies can also earn a reduced rate on home insurance. AAA offers home insurance through subsidiary and affiliate insurance companies in all states except Louisiana and New York.
Amica Mutual writes policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Amica’s standard homeowners policies include additional living expenses, dwelling, detached structures, personal liability and personal property coverages. Amica also gives you the option to purchase additional insurance to cover valuable items such as fine art, catastrophic coverage to cover earthquake and flood damage, home business coverage to pay for business equipment and identity fraud coverage to help cover the expenses of restoring your identity.
Amica’s Platinum Choice Home policies include many of the add-on options, including replacement cost coverage, water backup coverage and additional coverage for computers, phones and TVs. The nationwide carrier also gives you several ways to reduce your rate, including autopay, claims-free, electronic billing, loyalty and multi-policy discounts.
- J.D. Power ranking: not ranked
- Better Business Bureau rating: not rated
- AM Best rating: A++ (Superior)
USAA scored five out of five stars in all J.D. Power rating categories. However, USAA only offers insurance to military members and their families, so it doesn’t qualify for ranking in the Power study. However, if you qualify for USAA coverage, you can expect a home policy packed with benefits. USAA’s standard home insurance policies include additional living expenses, detached structures, dwelling, personal liability and personal property coverage. USAA also includes earthquake coverage and home sharing coverage, which most companies only offer as an addon.
USAA gives policyholders several options to reduce their rates, including bundling and claims-free discounts. You can also earn a discount by installing an ADT home security system or by raising your deductible. USAA writes policies in all states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Which are the smaller home insurance carriers?
Small carriers often offer benefits that national insurers can’t compete with.
- Customized for the area: Small, regional insurance companies have a better understanding of their customers’ needs and the risks they face. For instance, a regional Midwest insurance company has experience dealing with the aftermath of tornadoes and windstorms.
- Niche options: Some small insurance carriers specialize in covering hard to insure properties. For example, UPC Insurance sells homeowners policies in just 12 states, most along the East and Gulf Coasts, which often experience hurricanes and tropical storms.
- Personal service: Regional insurance companies often provide more personal service. Having a dedicated agent, whom you can call or visit, can make buying insurance and filing claims quicker and easier.
Smaller companies that ranked highly on the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Home Insurance Study included:
- Auto-Owners Insurance
- Country Financial
- Erie Insurance
Auto-Owners sells insurance through independent agents in 31 states in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and Western regions. Ranked fifth in the J.D. Power study, Auto-Owners offers business, auto, home and life insurance products. Standard home policies include additional living expenses, detached structures, dwelling, medical payments to others, personal liability and personal property coverages.
Auto-Owners provides some standard optional addons such as guaranteed home replacement cost, identity theft, special personal property and water backup coverages. But the carrier also offers a few unique coverages that address common home perils. Homeowners plus coverage pays for food spoilage caused by power outages and equipment breakdown coverage helps to replace defective equipment such as air conditioners and heating units. Auto-owners stands out in the crowd with 11 ways to reduce your premium, including, automatic backup generator, mortgage-free, paperless billing and protective devices discounts.
This Company writes insurance policies in 19 states throughout the country. The small insurance provider ranked seventh on the Power survey, with a three-star overall satisfaction rating. Country’s standard home policies include dwelling, medical payments to others, personal liability and personal property coverages. But it gives customers four options for dwelling replacement cost coverage, including a no-limit option in some states. Country policyholders can also set liability limits up to $1 million and medical payments up to $25,000.
Customers can choose from standard add ons such as earthquake, flood and identity insurance, along with water backup coverage up to $25,000 or more. You may qualify for a discount if you purchase additional Country policies and earn a rate reduction if you install an alarm system or replace your home’s roof or wiring.
Erie ranked second in the Power study, with a five-star rating in overall customer satisfaction. The carrier employs 5,000 people and sells insurance products through 12,000 independent agents, primarily in East Coast and Midwest states. Erie’s standard policies cover all the bases, with additional living expenses, dwelling, personal liability and personal property coverages. But Erie goes a step further by featuring dwelling replacement cost coverage in all its standard policies.
Policyholders also have the option to add identity recovery and water backup coverage, along with service line protection to cover damage to utility lines. Erie’s discount programs also pull ahead of the pack. You can earn a discount for installing safety devices and security systems and save 16% to 20% for purchasing multiple Erie policies.
What are unique values to look for when looking for when choosing a company?
Home insurance doesn’t come in one-size-fits-all packages, so it’s important to find a company that can fit your specific needs. Here are some tips.
- Search for a company that covers all your property’s structures. For example, if you own a rural home, you might need a policy that covers detached structures such as fences or a barn. Likewise, if you have a swimming pool, make sure the insurer you choose can cover it, along with water damage the pool may cause to your home.
- Look for a company that offers flexible, customizable policies. Standard policies often do not offer all the coverage you need, so look for an insurer that allows you to increase certain types of coverage. For instance, you may need to increase your liability coverage if you have tall trees in your yard, which could fall and damage your neighbor’s house. Or, you might need a separate policy or an endorsement to your personal property coverage to pay for expensive items such as jewelry or a coin collection.
- Consider your current and future needs when searching for home insurance. Many folks prefer one-stop-shopping, even when purchasing insurance. Today, you may only need a homeowners policy, but if you plan to have kids or open a small business, you’ll probably want other types of coverage in the future. Finding a single insurer that can cover your business, car, home and life can simplify your life.
- Shop for the lowest rate, but also consider the quality of coverage and a company’s service. Use the resources provided by the Better Business Bureau, J.D. Power and financial rating companies to help narrow your search. Read reviews of insurance companies, along with complaints, paying close attention to the way a company handles claims and billing.
While large providers aren’t necessarily better than small providers, different companies provide different advantages. Consider these things to help you decide what kind of provider you would feel most comfortable with.