Homeowners insurance quotes: what to know
Homeowners insurance is a policy that protects your home in the event of a variety of circumstances. Homeowners insurance applies to a private property that you own — not a rental unit, condo or mobile home.
Below you'll find practical information — written by The Zebra's team of insurance experts — to help you compare homeowners insurance quotes and get the best policy for your needs.
How to shop for homeowners insurance
Our first recommendation is to get homeowners insurance quotes. Only by comparing rates from as many companies as possible can you ensure you get the best coverage at the cheapest price. We first recommend shopping with the company with which you insure your car. Keep in mind, this company won't always be your cheapest option.
Information needed to get an accurate homeowners quote is as follows:
- Number of full-time residents in the home
- Is the home your primary, seasonal, or secondary residence
- Year built
- Square footage
- Number of stories and bathrooms
- Presence of detached structures like a shed or garage
- Roof and exterior wall materials
- Presence of wood stoves or fireplaces
- Pet information
- History of home insurance claims
- Renovations or updates
Compare home insurance quotes to find the best coverage and rates!
How to compare quotes
Getting numerous quotes allows you to compare both the cost and the coverage being offered from homeowners insurance companies. Remember that the cheapest quote may not be the best. Making sure that your most valuable asset is fully protected is crucial when comparing policy options.
Have a look at our rundown below to see the best process for comparing the quotes that you receive.
What is a home insurance quote?
A homeowners quote is an estimate of what you can expect to pay for home insurance coverage. Quotes take many factors into account, including your home's location and age as well as personal factors such as your claims history.
1. Choose how to get quotes
The first step is to get the quotes themselves. You have a few options for this, including visiting a local home insurance agent, contacting an insurer directly online or over the phone, or going through an online marketplace such as The Zebra. The great thing about using a quotes comparison site like The Zebra is that you get the chance to compare homeowners insurance quotes side-by-side from multiple companies at once, saving you time and — very likely — money.
2. Compare cost
The cost is probably the first thing that will grab your attention. While it's important to fit your homeowners insurance into your budget, remember that the cheapest policy isn't necessarily the best one. If a quote is exceedingly low, make sure that it actually provides the coverage that you need.
3. Compare coverage
One of the most important parts of shopping for home insurance is finding a policy that fully covers you, your home and your belongings. This includes both coverage types as well as your coverage limits. Click here to read more about how much coverage you need.
4. Compare deductibles
A big contributor to how much you pay per month on your homeowners coverage is the cost of your deductible. A lower deductible often means higher monthly payments. Just be careful not to set your deductible so high that you may struggle to meet it should you need to file a homeowners claim. Also, make sure to consider whether there are separate deductibles for perils such as hurricanes or windstorms.
5. Compare companies
The reputation of your home insurance carrier should be considered when choosing a policy. It's important to go with a trusted insurance company that is responsive and able to resolve claims in a positive and timely manner. Read more about how to compare home insurance companies below or find more information in our guide to the best homeowners insurance companies.
Quote comparison example
To give you a better idea of what this process looks like, we've put together a shopping scenario.
In this scenario, the shopper has just bought their first home. Money is tight, as the down payment required nearly all of their savings. Therefore, price is a major consideration for this shopper. The two following quotes are based on average data. You can read more about how we source our data here.
- Deductible - $1,000
- Dwelling - $300k
- Personal liability - $100k
- Personal property - $100k
- Medpay - $1,000
- Deductible - $500
- Dwelling - $300k
- Personal liability - $300k
- Personal property - $100k
- Medpay - $1,000
Which quote should they choose?
While both quotes are similar in price, quote #2 offers much better coverage for less money. Personal liability coverage is much higher, which is especially important if you have valuable assets to protect. Quote #2 also has a $500 deductible instead of the $1,000 deductible for quote #1. This means that you are only responsible for $500 in the event of a claim.
Also, remember that the initial quote you receive may not match the final premium, as the underwriters have to take many other factors into consideration before locking in your rate.
While both quotes are similar in price, quote #2 offers much better coverage for less money.
|Coverage Type||Typical Limit of Coverage|
|Other structures||10% of Dwelling Coverage|
|Personal Property||50% of Dwelling Coverage Limit|
|Loss of Use||20% of Dwelling Coverage Limit|
Common homeowners insurance policy types: HO-2, HO-3, HO-5
The kind of coverage you will have with a home insurance policy will depend on the type of policy. There are two main ways you can have coverage in your homeowner's insurance: open and named peril. A peril is an action that causes damage to you, your home, or your belongings. Below are the definitions for the two.
All the hazards and threats to your property that will be covered will be explicitly listed on your policy.
All the hazards that are not covered will be listed. This is a much broader form of coverage.
What does a named-peril HO-2 policy cover?
An HO-2 policy is a basic form of homeowners insurance. It only covers personal property and insured structures in the event of named perils, including the following:
- Windstorms and hail
- Damage caused by vehicles
- Damage from aircraft
- Weight of ice, snow and sleet
- Freezing of household systems
- Falling objects
- Volcanic eruptions
- Water damage: overflow or discharge
- Damage from artificially-generated electrical current
- Sudden tearing, cracking or bulging of home
The HO-3 policy type is the most common in the U.S., covering a dwelling and other structures on an open-peril home insurance policy and the contents of the property on named peril coverage.
The next tier of home insurance coverage is HO-5. This coverage level includes coverage of both dwellings and personal property on an open-peril basis. Most insurance companies won’t insure against natural disasters like flooding, earthquakes, and landslides, and also occurrences of mold, infestations, wear-and-tear, nuclear hazards or government actions, regardless of homeowners insurance policy type. Depending on where you live, coverage against wildfires may also be restricted.
|Name||Property Coverage||Personal Property Coverage|
|HO-2 Broad Form||Named Perils||Named Perils|
|HO-3 Special Form||Open Perils||Named Perils|
|HO-5 Comprehensive Form||Open Perils||Open Perils|
What home insurance does not cover
There are always exclusions in what homeowners insurance will cover: another reason it's important to understand how to read a homeowners insurance policy.
The below perils are commonly excluded are home insurance coverage, but could be amended by adding a policy endorsement.
- Freezing pipes and systems in vacant dwellings
- Damage to foundations or pavements from ice and water weight
- Theft from a dwelling under construction
- Vandalism to vacant dwellings
- Latent defects, corrosion, industrial smoke, pollution
- Settling, wear and tear
- Pets, other animals and pests
- Weather conditions that aggravate other excluded causes of loss
- Government and association actions
- Defective construction, design and maintenance
Whether you have an open peril or named peril policy, damage from the below are never covered by homeowners insurance:
- Enforcement of building codes and similar laws
- Power failures
- Neglect (failure to take reasonable steps to protect your property)
- Nuclear hazard
- Intentional acts
*Insurance options for these natural disasters may be sold separately.
Learn more about home warranties, which differ from homeowners insurance in some important ways.
The average cost of homeowners insurance
We surveyed thousands of home insurance rates to gather a comprehensive guide to homeowners insurance costs.
These rates may provide a good example of averages across the U.S. Your homeowners insurance premiums may vary depending on a number of factors, including where you live, the cost of building materials, the square footage of your home, and even your credit score.
|State||Average Annual Premium|
Homeowners insurance data methodology
The homeowners insurance rates published in this guide are based on The Zebra's analysis of the cost of home insurance in every U.S. ZIP code. These rates are based on a sample user profile: a 45-year-old married homeowner living in a 2,500-square-foot single-story home built in 2011 with these coverage levels:
- $200,000 for the dwelling
- $20,000 for other structures
- $100,000 for personal property
- $100,000 for personal liability
- $1,000 deductible
To generate pricing for particular rating factors, we adjusted the homeowner profile based on common pricing factors used by major home insurance companies. These factors include location, coverage limits, claims record and others.
Why should I get homeowners insurance?
Surprisingly, homeowners insurance is not required by law. However, if you have a mortgage or are borrowing from a lending association, you will likely be required to hold homeowners insurance. More reasons to hold homeowners insurance include:
- Personal belongings are covered anywhere in the world
- Trees and plants in your garden
- Belongings of your child while they are away at college or dependent parents in a nursing home
- Comparing homeowners insurance quotes from multiple companies is the best way to find the best value for your next policy
- Home losses can cost much more out of pocket than a policy premium if you’re not covered. Homeowners insurance certifies that if a loss does occur, you are only responsible to pay the deductible and not the entire price tag.
For homes in high-risk areas, insurance policies are essential. Homeowners insurance protects the house itself, your belongings, your yard and other structures on the property, as well as personal liability, medical payments to others and loss of use coverage. Having a homeowners insurance policy won’t stop a disaster from occurring, but it will provide a financial safety net in case you do experience a loss. Shop around with different companies in order to make sure you have the proper coverage at the best rate.
Make an informed decision: compare insurance rates today.
How much homeowners insurance do I need?
Your insurance needs will be specific to you, but there are a number of key questions you can answer that will help guide you toward the appropriate coverage levels. Along with determining how much coverage you need, these questions can also help you get a more accurate home insurance estimate when it comes time to shop. Ask yourself the following questions to help determine exactly how much homeowners insurance you will need:
- How much will it cost to rebuild my home, including detached structures (at the current rate for labor and materials)?
- How much will it cost to replace my personal property and belongings?
- What is the value of my personal assets in case someone sues me?
The amount you spend on home insurance coverage depends on the replacement cost of your home, which your insurance company will usually help you determine via a home inspection. Remember: replacement cost and market value are not synonymous. Replacement value is how much it would cost an insurance company to rebuild your home, whereas market value depends on the real estate market and other variables. Therefore, your dwelling coverage should only be enough to cover your home's replacement cost, not its market value.
Your dwelling coverage should only be enough to cover your home's replacement cost, not its market value.
Other considerations include the amount of coverage you'll need for your personal property and liability protection. If you own costly items or valuables, conducting a home inventory and taking photos of the contents of each room in your house will come in handy if you ever need to file a claim. It will also serve the purpose of determining whether or not you need additional coverage for certain valuables, like jewelry, firearms and electronics, all of which come with their own sub-limits.
Coverage limits for these items can be extended with endorsements, also known as riders or floaters.
Deductibles and home insurance
There are some major differences between car insurance deductibles and home insurance deductibles. With home insurance, your deductible is deducted from your claim payout. If your kitchen catches on fire and sustains $5,000 worth of property damages and your deductible is $1,000, you would receive $4,000 and be responsible for covering the remaining amount.
Car and home deductibles are inversely related to the cost of premium — if you raise your deductible, your monthly costs should decrease.
Percentage versus dollar-based home insurance deductibles
Homeowners insurance deductibles can be dollar- or percentage-based. The above example of a kitchen fire would be considered a dollar-based deductible. For a percentage-based deductible, however, the monetary value is derived from a percentage of your dwelling coverage. For example, if your dwelling is valued at $367,000 and your wind and hail deductible is 1%, your deductible would be $3,670.
Actual cash value vs. replacement cost value
Most insurance companies will reimburse you for personal property claims via the actual cash value (ACV) though a number of companies do offer property coverage at full replacement cost. Replacement cost would give you the amount needed to replace your lost or damaged item for its current market value. ACV is the amount of money it would cost to replace an item, accounting for depreciation. This valuation process is usually handled by an insurance company's claims department, through its claims adjusters.
To ensure you have the most comprehensive home insurance, we recommend insuring your home and contents under a replacement cost coverage plan. For more information, feel free to read our in-depth article further explaining replacement cost and actual cash value.
You can change your policy to reimburse you based on a replacement cost value of your personal belongings with an endorsement. We'll explain homeowners endorsements below.
Endorsements and floaters
Homeowners insurance companies offer products called “floaters,” “riders,” or “endorsements.” An endorsement is any change to an insurance policy — whether adding something or removing it.
A good example of the use of endorsements relates to personal property. Most insurance companies will place special limitations on valuable personal property. If you want to increase your coverage level for these items, you would need to add an endorsement. Below are the items that are typically subject to specific insurance sub-limits.
- $200 limit on money, gold, coins
- $1,500 limit on jewelry, watches, furs
- $1,500 limit on watercraft, trailers
- $2,500 limit on firearms
- $2,500 limit on silverware
- $2,500 limit for on-premises business property
- Variable limit on electronics
If you have anything in the list above that exceeds the policy limit, you should consider adding an endorsement to your home policy. If you own expensive personal items, consider a scheduled endorsement. A scheduled endorsement requires the item to be appraised but gives you substantially more coverage. This is common practice for engagement and wedding rings.
See more in-depth information on homeowners insurance endorsement options.
Although basic home policies don't guard against identity theft, most companies offer endorsements to cover these circumstances. While details of these endorsements may vary substantially from company to company, coverage ranges from $15,000 to $30,000 at a cost of $25 to $65 per year.
Earthquake damage is not covered by a typical insurance policy. Unlike flood insurance, some insurance companies offer separate policies or endorsement for earthquake protection. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, consult your insurance company about homeowners insurance earthquake coverage.
Some insurance companies assign additional deductibles for wind and hail damage, plus a deductible for other covered perils. This additional flexibility is designed to keep homeowners policies affordable.
Compare home insurance quotes.
What are the most popular homeowners insurance companies?
If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by your options, a good place to start is by assessing the companies you're interested in. Look for ratings on customer satisfaction and financial strength to gauge how well a company treats its customers. Start by consulting The Zebra's insurance company reviews, written by experts.
The table below is a list of the top 10 providers of home insurance by market share. Click on each company to jump to more information.
|Insurance Company||J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Rating||A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating||NAIC Customer Complaint Score|
|State Farm||4/5||A++||Very Good|
|Liberty Mutual||2/5||A||Below Average|
To see more information on the best homeowners insurance companies, take a look at our comprehensive list.
Commanding 17% of the home insurance market, State Farm earns positive ratings across the board in customer satisfaction and financial strength. The company boasts the added benefit of providing personalized service through insurance agents available across the country.
Allstate is another recognizable name in insurance with agents stationed nationwide and has just over 8% of market share in home insurance. However, its ratings are middling, with average customer satisfaction and complaint scores.
Liberty Mutual's market share in homeowners insurance is slightly larger than in the car insurance market. J.D. Power and the NAIC have determined this company to be below average in terms of customer service.
With agents to provide personalized assistance to policyholders, Farmers has a firm presence in home insurance and decent ratings. It's also the fifth most popular home insurance country in the US.
Travelers was rated positively by the NAIC, but their home insurance offering was rated as below-average according to J.D. Power. Their financials — which directly correlate to a company's ability to pay out claims — indicate Travelers is in a very stable position, though it claims just over 4% of the market.
American Family has very average ratings but is slightly more popular nationally for homeowners insurance than auto insurance. Compared to other top providers, its financial outlook may not be the most robust.
Its customer satisfaction rating may not be the best, but Nationwide has received favorable ratings by the NAIC and A.M. Best for its homeowners insurance product. With just over 3% market share, it's the eighth most popular provider of home insurance.
A prominent regional insurance company serving select eastern states, Erie was highly regarded by J.D. Power and A.M. Best. Erie's customer complaint score — as logged by the NAIC — was also better than average.
How to compare home insurance companies
Not all homeowners insurance companies are the same. It pays to do a bit of research ahead of time to make sure that you don't get stuck with an insurer who leaves you less than satisfied. To help you research which home insurance companies are right for you, follow these steps.
Look up their reputation
When starting your search, make sure to have a look at reviews and third-party ratings to get a sense of customer satisfaction. Organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, National Associations of Insurance Commissioners and JD Power are good resources for your search. Also, The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey is conducted yearly to gain insights into the level of satisfaction that customers have with their carriers.
Study the coverage options
Most homeowners insurance will offer the same basic types of coverage. However, there are some that will offer more specialized coverage types and endorsements that might better suit your needs.
Look at average rates
You can get a general sense of how costly an insurance company is by studying average rates. The Zebra has compiled a list of average yearly premiums for the top insurance companies that can help. Keep in mind that your rates are likely to differ from the average, as each company's underwriters weigh rating factors differently.
Check for discounts or other perks
Many insurance companies offer a variety of homeowners discounts if you meet certain criteria. Sometimes these are based on your job or membership in a certain group. For instance, USAA offers its members banking and other options. Similarly, AAA members may find a lot of other benefits from getting their insurance coverage through them.
Homeowners insurance tips and advice
If you’re shopping for homeowners insurance coverage, or if you have it but want to make the most of your policy, consider some simple steps to ensure you’re properly covered and not overpaying.
Go through all of your belongings, big and small, to take a full home inventory and determine your coverage needs before getting a home insurance quote. In the event of a claim, you'll be able to quickly determine what is missing and calculate its value.
Pay attention to coverage limits for specific items. If you purchase a new item that exceeds the property insurance limit of your policy, you run the risk of having insufficient coverage. Consider additional endorsements and floaters with any newly purchased high-value item.
While discounts vary per insurance company, typical home insurance discounts include multi-policy (home and auto), new roof, home security system, claims-free, non-smoker and new home discounts. Look closely at your policy to see if you qualify for any possible discounts. Learn more about common homeowners insurance discounts.
Insurance companies see things like old roofs, mold and general disrepair as liabilities and will charge you accordingly for them. It is important to maintain the structural integrity of your home to ensure your premiums don’t increase.
While it may not be advisable in every situation, bundling your home and auto insurance coverage with the same carrier could provide savings and make managing your policies easier. Also look into other coverage offered by your insurer, such as life insurance.
Home insurance FAQs
Homeowners insurance is complicated. Below are a few answers to frequently asked questions about how much home insurance is necessary, what homeowners insurance covers, and some other common terminology.
Who does homeowners insurance cover?
Home insurance covers the people who reside in a household. Some insurance companies require every member of the household be named on the policy. If the insured's partner, child, relative or pet damages someone else's property, the liability portion of the homeowners insurance policy would extend to cover the liable family member. Typically, it also extends to cover family members who may be away from home — like a child heading off to college. Some insurance companies may only provide coverage if the student is living in on-campus housing — the rules may vary slightly from insurer to insurer. If a child is living in off-campus housing, they should consider purchasing a renters insurance policy.
Home warranty insurance vs. homeowners insurance: what's the difference?
The key difference is that home warranty insurance protects internal appliances and systems for heating/cooling, electric, and plumbing from a number of damages that are usually excluded from a homeowners insurance policy. It covers specific appliances while home insurance covers the structure of your home in addition to your personal property. If you want your HVAC or kitchen appliances covered from wear-and-tear, consider a home warranty. Home warranty insurance is typically a separate policy you'll need to procure to protect appliances beyond the manufacturers' provided warranty. Appliance and mechanical systems repairs can get extremely costly; home warranty insurance will shield you from potential financial losses if systems like HVAC fails and needs repairs or replacement.
Does homeowners insurance cover mold?
Most homeowners policies will not cover mold unless it can be proved it was caused by a covered loss. If your policy provides no mold protection, you can add it back with a mold/fungi endorsement. This coverage is relatively limited.
How much home insurance do I need?
Coverage for your dwelling, i.e., the physical structure of your home, needs to be equal to the rebuild cost of your home. For your liability coverage, you should have enough coverage to protect your personal assets.
Is homeowners insurance tax-deductible?
You can only deduct homeowner’s insurance paid on a rental property, i.e., a home you own and rent out to a tenant. Outside of this circumstance, you may deduct premium payments to your private mortgage insurance. It’s important to note this isn’t your actual homeowner’s insurance but your mortgage insurance. If you’re unable to make the 20% required downpayment on your mortgage and thus have private mortgage insurance (PMI), you can deduct this, though additional restrictions apply.
How does home insurance work?
Insurance customers pay premiums to a home insurance company in return for the assurance that the insurance company will provide compensation — up to coverage limits — in the event of a total loss. As long as the homeowner — or their escrow — continues to pay and the cause of loss is considered a covered peril, the insurance company will honor repayment for damages.
Save an average of $440 a year by comparing your options.
My homeowners insurance is canceling my coverage based on us having a home daycare. How do we get coverage?
About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
- The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
- The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.