Your home is probably one of your biggest investments, so it makes sense to protect that investment with the best homeowners insurance policy you can buy. It's unlikely you'll find a good, reasonably priced home insurance policy simply by pulling names out of thin air or choosing an insurer based on your favorite TV commercial.
The best way to find an affordable policy without sacrificing coverage is by comparing home insurance quotes from various insurers. This is because the price of similar coverage can vary dramatically between insurers, as you'll see below.
Compare Home Insurance Rates by Company
Here’s a look at the average cost for a home insurance policy with $300,000 in dwelling coverage among the nation’s top insurers.
|Company||Average annual premium|
Source: Quadrant Information Services, based on dwelling coverage of $300,000
What Are Quotes for Homeowners Insurance?
A home insurance quote is a free estimate of how much you'll pay for a home insurance policy. The quote is based on several factors, such as the age of the home, the building materials, the cost to rebuild the home, the claim history of your property, and the claim history of your personal home insurance. Previous claims in your area from disasters like hurricanes can also affect your homeowner's insurance quote.
Each insurer has its own formula for calculating quotes, so it's advantageous to compare home insurance quotes from multiple companies. If you skip this crucial step, you could miss out on significant savings.
What Factors Influence Homeowners Insurance Quotes?
Home insurance quotes will depend on several factors, including:
- The age of the house
- The materials that make up your home (like stone or wood)
- The cost to rebuild your home
- Your location
- The fire rating in your area
- The claims history in your area
- Your personal claims history
- The coverage amount and policy limits
- Your deductible amount
- Your credit (except in California, Maryland, and Massachusetts)
How Do I Get Free Homeowners Insurance Quotes?
Here are two ways to get free home insurance quotes:
Online. Most home insurance companies offer free quotes online. You can visit various insurance company websites to get quotes. Or you can save time by using a quote comparison website that provides quotes from multiple companies.
By phone or in person. You can talk to a local insurance agent who can help you choose your coverage and find the best rates. Talk to an independent agent who can collect quotes from multiple companies. A “captive” agent works for one insurance company and can only give you a quote from that insurer.
What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
A standard home insurance policy (also called HO-3) covers your home for any problems that are not excluded from your policy (such as floods, earthquakes, war, and wear and tear).
Your personal property is covered for specific "perils," which is insurance jargon for "problems." Fires, tornadoes, explosions, vandalism, and theft are just some of the issues covered by home insurance.
A standard home insurance policy can be broken down into these main types of coverage:
Housing: This pays to repair or rebuild your home and its attached structures, like a deck or garage, if they are damaged by a problem covered by your policy.
Other Structures: This pays to repair or replace structures that are not attached to your homes, such as barns, sheds, and fences.
Content: This pays to repair or replace your personal property after a problem, such as theft or fire. Your personal items include your clothing, furniture, jewelry, appliances, rugs, and other types of items.
Liability: This pays for property damage and injuries you accidentally cause to others. For example, if your dog bites a guest, your liability insurance may pay for a court judgment, settlement, and the cost of a legal defense.
Medical payments to others: This pays small medical claims for people who do not live in your household, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. For example, if a guest cuts their hand while helping you cook dinner, this coverage could pay for a trip to urgent care.
Additional Living Expenses: If you are unable to live in your home due to an issue covered by your policy (such as a fire), additional living expenses coverage pays costs such as hotel bills, restaurant meals, and other necessary expenses, such as lodging of pets or laundry service.
What Is Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
A standard home insurance policy excludes various types of problems. For example, common exclusions found on an HO-3 include flood, earthquake, sinkhole, war, power failure, nuclear hazard, wear and tear, intentional loss, and insect and vermin infestations.
It is recommended that you read your policy carefully to understand what is excluded from coverage.
How Do I Determine How Much Homeowners Insurance I Need?
The amount of coverage you select will be an important factor in determining your home insurance costs. Considering your financial investment in your home and all of your belongings within it, you don't want to skimp on coverage. Having adequate coverage is crucial in the event of a disaster like a fire or a tornado.
To determine how much home insurance you need, look at each type of coverage and adjust the amounts as needed. For example, you may want to consider personal property scheduling if you own high-value items like jewelry, art, or family heirlooms. You'll also want to make sure your homeowner's coverage amount matches the cost of rebuilding your home with equitable materials, and that you have enough liability insurance to protect your savings and assets if you're sued.
Other Home Insurance Coverage Types
A standard home insurance policy may be insufficient for your household needs. You can usually buy add-ons to your policy or separate policies to fill in gaps in coverage. Here are some to consider:
- Earthquake Insurance: A standard home insurance policy does not cover earthquake damage. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, consider purchasing earthquake insurance.
- Flood Insurance: A standard home insurance policy will not cover your home for flood damage. You can buy flood insurance from FEMA or from the private flood insurance market.
- Increased housing coverage: If a disaster occurs in your region, there may be an increase in local construction costs. Home insurance with extended or guaranteed replacement cost coverage helps absorb spikes in labor and material costs.
- Water Backup: You can usually add water backup coverage to cover damage from overflowing drains, sewers, and sump pumps.
- Personal Cyber Insurance: This add-on pays expenses to help you recover from cyber attacks, such as ransomware attacks, data breaches, and online fraud. Some personal cyber insurance policies include access to fraud specialists, active cyber monitoring, and protection against lawsuits for libel, slander, or unintentional online invasion of privacy.
- Replacement Cost Coverage: When it comes to actual cash value versus replacement cost coverage, replacement cost is the best option. That's because you replace your damaged items with new items, while actual cash value pays only depreciated value.
Better Home Insurance Coverage at a Glance
|Coverage type||Typical coverage amount||Better coverage amount|
|Dwelling||Replacement cost||Guaranteed or extended replacement cost|
|Contents||• 50% of dwelling coverage • Coverage for 16 perils • Actual cash value||• Increase coverage as necessary • Schedule high-value items • “All perils” coverage • Replacement cost coverage|
|Liability||$100,000||At least $300,000 or enough to cover your net worth|
|Additional living expenses||Typically 20% of dwelling coverage||Increase coverage if desired|
|Flood insurance||Not included||Add if needed|
|Earthquake insurance||Not included||Add if needed|
|Water backup||Not included||Add if needed|
|Personal cyber insurance||Not included||Add if needed|
How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?
The average cost of home insurance for home coverage between $300,000 and $399,000 is $1,272 per year, according to the most recent report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Average home insurance cost by state
|State||Average annual premium|
Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners 2020 Home Insurance Report based on HO-3 policies with dwelling coverage amounts of $300,000-$399,000
What Is the Cheapest Homeowners Insurance?
Our review of the best cheap home insurance found that, on average, Progressive has the cheapest home insurance among the companies we reviewed. We also found that Lemonade and Auto-Owners offer very competitive rates.
Other insurance companies may be able to offer you better rates. That's why it's so important to get home insurance quotes from multiple companies.
What information do I need to get homeowners insurance quotes?
To make the process of collecting home insurance quotes as easy as possible, have this information handy:
- Your address
- Purchase date of your home
- The year the house was built
- Approximate size of your living area
- Number of stories
- Number of full and half bathrooms
- Distance to a fire hydrant
- The age of your roof
- The shape of your roof (like gable or hip)
- Exterior type (like stone, wood, or stucco)
- Type of foundation (like a slab or concrete basement)
- If you have a garage (attached or unattached)
- Members of your household
- Any dogs in your home
- Information on your plumbing, electrical, and heating systems
- Any protective devices, like smoke alarms, burglar alarms, or water-leak detection systems
- Information if you are running a home-based business
- Personal information, such as your date of birth, marital status, occupation, annual income, and credit score
- Your personal claims history
- The amount of your mortgage
- Your net worth (this will help determine your liability insurance need)
All of these factors can influence the cost you'll pay for home insurance.
How to Compare Homeowners Insurance Quotes
While home insurance quotes are a key factor in choosing a company, they shouldn't be the only consideration. The best home insurance companies also offer good customer service, important types of coverage like extended and/or guaranteed replacement cost coverage, and are dog friendly.
Dog lovers will want to consider insurers that don't exclude certain breeds from coverage. Examples of dog breeds banned by homeowners insurance companies typically include Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chow Chows, Wolfdogs, Wolf-Hybrids, Presa Canarios, and Akitas.
Compare Homeowners Insurance Quotes FAQ
Is homeowners insurance required?
Home insurance isn't required by law, but if you have a mortgage, your lender may require you to have home insurance.
Even if you don't have a mortgage, home insurance is a good idea. If you don't have insurance and your home is affected by a disaster, like a fire or a tornado, you'll have to pay out of pocket to repair or rebuild your home and replace your belongings.
How can I lower my home insurance quotes?
The best way to lower your home insurance costs is to compare quotes between insurance companies. Not all insurers price their policies the same, so be sure to get quotes from multiple insurers so you can see a variety of prices.
You can also ask about discounts on home insurance. For example, you may qualify for home security discounts if your home has smoke detectors, deadbolts on all exterior doors, and fire and burglar alarms that alert local police and fire departments. Another common discount is a multi-line discount for combining your auto and home insurance.
Should I compare quotes if I already have homeowners insurance?
Yes, it's worth taking the time to compare quotes, even if you already have homeowners insurance. If you don't, you could be missing out on savings for similar coverage with another insurance company.
A good time to compare home insurance quotes is when you review your policy before your annual renewal. You'll want to make sure your current policy fits your coverage needs. For example, you can create an inventory of your home to make sure your personal belongings are adequately covered. Or you can look for more home coverage (such as guaranteed replacement cost).
Do homeowners insurance cover condos and apartments?
No, a standard home insurance policy (HO-3) does not cover condos or rental units.
If you want coverage for a condo, you will need to purchase a condo insurance policy, also known as an HO-6 insurance policy. Condo insurance is similar to home insurance in that it covers repairs to the interior of your condo unit, your personal belongings, liability, medical payments to others, and additional living expenses. The exterior of the building is covered by the homeowners association master policy.
If you rent your home, you may want a renters insurance policy, which covers your belongings and also includes essential types of coverage like liability, third-party medical payments, and additional living expenses. The landlord's insurance will cover damage to the building (but will not cover your personal items).