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Kristine Lee

Insurance Analyst

Credentials
  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty
  • 4+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a…

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Jean Lucey, CPCU

Faculty, IIAA Virtual University

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  • CPCU, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter

Jean Lucey has researched and written about insurance matters for well over 30 years. A current member of The Zebra's Insurance Expert Review Bo…

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Beth Swanson

SEO Content Strategist

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  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Beth joined The Zebra in 2022 as an Associate Content Strategist. She is a licensed insurance agent whose goal is to make insurance content easy to r…

Home insurance quotes: everything you need to know

Homeowners insurance is your safeguard against unforeseen losses. However, many feel they are overpaying for their policy, making comparing home insurance quotes a necessity. In this article, we simplify the process, guiding you through how to compare, pinpointing the essential information you need, and helping you select the appropriate coverage—making sure you're only paying for what you truly need.

Key Takeaways

  • To get a quote, you will need basic information about your house, including a rough estimate of your home replacement cost. 
  • Rates vary by individual factors, but homeowners insurance premiums can cost more than $2,000 per year.
  • 59% of Zebra customers visiting this page believe they are overpaying for their policy.
  • You can save an average of $482 on home insurance by using The Zebra's side-by-side comparison tool or by speaking with one of our licensed independent agents.

How to get a homeowners insurance quote

A good place to begin is with your car insurance provider. This will allow you to bundle your policies and receive a discount. Keep in mind that this company won't always be your best or cheapest option, but it gives you a starting point.

Here are three steps to help you find the best homeowners coverage for your needs:

  1. Choose how you want to shop
  2. Pick your coverage (open or named peril)
  3. Adjust your coverage as needed (optional)

Now let's go over the steps with a little more detail so you can make the most educated decision when you're ready to shop.

homeowners insurance

Step 1: Choose how you want to buy a homeowners insurance policy

There are three ways you can receive a home insurance quote. 

  1. Directly via a captive insurance agent - this method requires you to contact a home insurance agent online, over the phone, or even at an in-person office. This can be a good option if you want the personal help of an insurance agent. However, these agents typically can’t offer comparison home insurance quotes and can sometimes be more expensive. 
  2. Independent agents - independent agents are similar to captive agents but work with multiple insurance companies so they can offer you options to compare home insurance quotes. However, these agents are rare and still don’t allow you complete flexibility.
  3. Online comparison marketplaces - websites such as The Zebra allow you to compare homeowners insurance quotes side-by-side from multiple companies at once, likely saving you time and money.

Regardless of which method you choose, you'll need to have certain information handy to get homeowners insurance quotes.

What information will I need to provide?
  • Full address
  • 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
  • Notable renovations or updates
  • Presence of safety information like smoke detection, burglar alarms or security cameras

Step 2: Pick how you’re covered — named or open peril policies

Most homeowners insurance companies base their quotes on your home's replacement cost, which is the amount it would take to rebuild your home in case of a total loss. This value depends on labor and materials, not the real estate market or demand.

No need to stress about knowing the exact dollar amount of insurance you need. Many insurance companies, including The Zebra, use your home's address to automatically suggest basic policy options. Some may even verify your replacement cost through a home inspection.

Your main decision is how you want your home and belongings covered. You've got options, ranging from basic to better to best, and the price varies between coverage levels. It's all about finding the coverage that suits you best, and we're here to help.

Types of Homeowners Insurance Policies
Policy Options Your Home Covered by: Personal Property Covered by:
BASIC: HO-2 Broad Form Named Perils Named Perils
BETTER: HO-3 Special Form Open Perils Named Perils
BEST: HO-5 Comprehensive Form Open Perils Open Perils
wind damage
Named peril policy

Definition: All the hazards and threats to your property that are covered will be explicitly listed on your policy.

Available in: HO-2 for dwelling and personal property; HO-3 for personal property.

What is covered by a named peril policy?

All the hazards and threats to your property that will be covered will be explicitly listed (i.e., named) on your policy. This is considered a less robust type of homeowners policy because anything that damages your home outside of the events listed below might not be covered. 

In a named peril policy, the damage caused by the following events will be covered:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Windstorms and hail
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Damage from aircraft
  • Weight of ice, snow and sleet
  • Freezing of household systems
  • Riots
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Water damage: overflow or discharge
  • Damage from artificially generated electrical current
  • Sudden tearing, cracking or bulging of home
house under construction
Open peril policy

Definition: All the hazards that are not covered will be listed.

Available in: HO-5 for both dwelling and personal property; HO-3 policy for dwelling only.

What is covered by an open peril policy?

An open peril policy, sometimes known as an “all peril” policy, will provide coverage against all perils except those explicitly listed in your policy. This is a much more robust form of coverage than a named peril policy.

For this type of policy, all perils will be covered except for the following:

Depending on your insurance company, you might be able to add additional coverage options for some of these excluded perils if you desire.

policy with no sign
Perils not covered

Whether you have an open peril or named peril policy, the following are never covered by homeowners insurance:

  • Enforcement of building codes and similar laws
  • Earthquakes
  • Flooding
  • Power failures
  • Neglect (failure to take reasonable steps to protect your property)
  • War
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Intentional acts

Step 3 (Optional): Adjust default home insurance coverage

As we mentioned earlier, most home insurance policies will create your coverage amounts based on the replacement cost of your home. This means you might want to adjust your coverage slightly to better fit your individual needs. Take a look at our table below to see the standard breakdown of coverage most insurance companies default to.

We recommend thinking through a few questions to understand what (if any) modifications you should make to your home insurance quote.

Typical Coverage Limits for a Homeowners Insurance Policy
Coverage Type
What it Covers
Typical Limit of Coverage
Coverage A: Dwelling Your house + attached garage Varies
Coverage B: Other structures Any stand-alone structures — like a carport or tool shed — not attached to the home.  10% of Dwelling Coverage
Coverage C: Personal Property Coverage can be on a replacement cost or Actual Cash Value basis 50% of Dwelling Coverage Limit
Coverage D: Loss of Use Cover the cost of temporary relocation in the event the home is unlivable due to covered losses. 20% of Dwelling Coverage Limit
Coverage E: Medical Payments Covers medical costs incurred on the property by those not listed as residents of the household, regardless of fault. Custom
Coverage F: Personal Liability Covers the costs of another party's injuries as well as claims against an insured for property damage Custom

Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value (ACV)

Actual cash value, or ACV, is the amount it would cost to replace an item according to its current worth. Replacement cost would give you the amount needed to replace the item for its current market value. To understand this better, let’s look at a claim for a 5-year-old TV.

A homeowners policy with ACV reimbursement would give you the value of what your 5-year-old TV is currently worth today. Given a TV's depreciation value of as much as 40%[1] every year, the amount you would receive would not be sufficient to cover a new TV. 

Under a replacement cost reimbursement, an insurance company would cover the cost of getting a new (but similar) 65-inch TV. Because of the likelihood of paying out of pocket, we typically recommend insuring your personal property with replacement cost coverage rather than ACV.

Do I need to increase the default amount of coverage?

Depending on you and your home, the default coverages above might not be ample enough coverage. Those with valuable personal property should consider adding an endorsement. An endorsement is any change to an insurance policy — whether adding coverage or removing it.

If you have these items and their value is greater than the coverage limit, consider adding an endorsement. 

  • $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

As far as personal liability and dwelling coverage, we recommend having liability limits equal to or greater than your household’s net worth. This coverage is designed to protect your assets if you’re ever sued. By setting this limit high, you can avoid exhausting your insurance coverage and having to forfeit assets to pay legal fees.

For your dwelling coverage, many insurance companies will give you coverage to a certain percentage — 100 to 150% of the replacement cost of your dwelling's value. As long as it's equal to or greater than 100%, you should be sufficiently covered. 

Additional information:


Ready to start comparing home insurance quotes?

As an independent insurance broker, we partner with top home and auto insurance companies across the US. It all begins with your ZIP code, which allows our free tool to retrieve home insurance quotes from our partners, giving you the freedom to pick the best option without the usual hassle. 

Only with The Zebra's home insurance comparison tool can you:

  • Save time. Conveniently view multiple home insurance quotes simultaneously.
  • Make informed decisions. Compare rates, homeowners companies, and coverage options side-by-side.
  • Get answers from experts. Ask your questions directly to our licensed in-house agents.
  • Lock in your rate and save. The average Zebra customer saves $480 on homeowners insurance!
quote

And here's the best part – we respect your preferences. You won't receive any unsolicited messages or feel pressured to choose a home insurance quote that doesn't align with your needs. Plus, our services are 100% free to you. 

Don't just take our word for it

The Zebra is rated 4.8 out of 5.0 based on 2373 reviews.

4.8 100% filled Star icon 100% filled Star icon 100% filled Star icon 100% filled Star icon 79.99999999999999% filled Star icon

out of 2000+ ratings

Read additional customer reviews and see why The Zebra is the #1 insurance comparison site.

Let The Zebra deal with insurance companies for you!

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Comparing homeowners insurance quotes: an example

Below is an example of personalized quotes you might see when using our comparison tool. Let's walk through how to determine which of these homeowners' quotes is best based on each company’s coverage, reputation, price, and deductibles.

The Zebra Home Insurance Product Results

Real image of The Zebra's product — individual results may vary.

Let's break down each option before we get started.

Home insurance quote from Nationwide
Home insurance quote from Nationwide: $1,485/year
  • Policy type: HO-5
  • Deductible - $1k
  • Dwelling - $286.2k
  • Personal liability - $300k
Home insurance quote from Mercury
Home insurance quote from Mercury: $1,524/year
  • Policy type: HO-5
  • Deductible - $1.5k
  • Dwelling - $286.2k
  • Personal liability - $300k
Home insurance quote from Liberty Mutual
Home insurance quote from Liberty Mutual: $1,680/year
  • Policy type: HO-3
  • Deductible - $2.9k
  • Dwelling - $286.2k
  • Personal liability - $300k

Now, we're ready to compare! We'll use three key steps to help you efficiently compare your options. 

  1. Compare homeowners insurance rates
  2. Look at each company's reputation
  3. Compare levels of coverage

Step 1: Compare homeowners insurance rates

As you shop for homeowners insurance, cost is probably the first thing that will grab your attention. While it's important to stay within 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. 

However, we understand the need to save where possible — in our example, Nationwide offers the cheapest home insurance quote. You can also ask a potential insurer about any discounts they may offer for homeowners or certain homes (like a home with an alarm system).

Winner for cheapest homeowners insurance quote: Nationwide
Winner for best rate: Nationwide

Nationwide's policy was $39 cheaper than Mercury and $195 cheaper than Liberty Mutual.

We've gathered annual and monthly home insurance premiums from top companies for you to get an idea of what your rates might be. Remember that these rates are averages — you and your home’s insurance premium will depend on several factors, including where you live, the average cost of building materials, claim history and even your credit score.

Average Home Insurance Costs by Company
Company Avg. Annual Premium Avg. Monthly Premium
Allstate $1,561 $130
American Family $1,764 $147
Amica Mutual $2,843 $237
Farmers $1,871 $156
Nationwide $1,231 $103
State Farm $1,484 $124
Travelers $2,674 $223
USAA $1,385 $115

The Zebra’s homeowners insurance data methodology

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool for home and auto insurance rates utilizes the latest ZIP code-level rate filings from across the U.S., sourced from Quadrant Information Services and S&P Global. These filings, typically updated annually or biennially by insurers, are verified through Quadrant’s QA process and then integrated into The Zebra’s estimator.

The displayed rates are based on a dynamic home and auto profile designed to reflect the content of the page. This profile is tailored to match specific factors such as age, location, and coverage level, which are adjusted based on the page content to show how these variables can impact premiums.

For a comprehensive understanding, see our detailed methodology.

Step 2: Look at a company's reputation

When picking home insurance, we suggest you consider the insurer's reputation for responsive claims handling. Price matters, but don't make it the only focus. Trust me, you don't want surprises when you need coverage the most. Your home is probably the most expensive asset you've got, so be sure to prioritize protection. 

 

Winner for best home insurance company: Nationwide
Winner for best company: Nationwide

Nationwide's overall rating was higher than Mercury and Liberty Mutual.

Both Liberty Mutual and Nationwide have similar customer satisfaction ratings but Nationwide’s financial strength and compliant score are better.

Note that Mercury is only available in a handful of states in the US and thus isn’t nationally ranked by many third-party sources. In the states it is available, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has Mercury rated as “Poor” in customer complaints.

To learn more about individual companies, you can look into third-party evaluations from JD Power, NAIC, Better Business Bureau, or your state's insurance department.[2] Below are just a few of the top names in the business, and we've compiled a larger list of top home insurance companies with ratings and scores to help save you time as you research.

Best Home Insurance Companies
Home 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
Allstate 3/5 A+ Good
USAA 5/5 A++ Very Good
Liberty Mutual 2/5 A Below Average
Farmers 3/5 A Good
Travelers 2/5 A++ Good
American Family 3/5 A Good
Nationwide 2/5 A+ Very Good
Chubb 2/5 A++ Very Good
Erie 5/5 A+ Very Good

Step 3: Compare levels of homeowners coverage

The HO-3 policy from Liberty Mutual isn't as good as the HO-5 offered by Nationwide or Liberty Mutual. Nationwide and Mercury’s quote is based on the “best” policy because it covers both your home and personal belongings against anything except what is explicitly excluded.

Winner for best coverage: Nationwide
Winner for best coverage: Nationwide

Nationwide offers the best policy offering at the best rate. 

Step 4: Compare your deductibles

Did you know that one of the key factors affecting your monthly homeowners insurance payment is your deductible? Increasing your deductible can often lead to a lower overall premium because your insurance company is shouldering less financial responsibility if you ever need to make a claim.

However, it's important to strike the right balance. Don't set your deductible too high, or you might find it challenging to meet in case you need to file a homeowners claim. Also, keep an eye out for any separate deductibles that may apply to specific situations like hurricanes or windstorms. Being well-informed can help you make the best decision for your insurance needs.

Home deductibles differ from auto insurance

Home deductibles are deducted from your claim payout and are percentage or dollar-value-based. 

  • Dollar-value based - With a $1,000 deductible and a claim totaling $5,000 in property damage, you get a $4,000 payout and are responsible for the rest.
  • Percentage-based - if your dwelling is valued at $367,000 and your wind and hail deductible is 1%, your deductible would be $3,670.
Winner for best deductible: Nationwide
Winner for best deductible: Nationwide

In our example, Nationwide has the lowest deductible and the lowest premium.

So which option wins?

In the example we've used to demonstrate different home insurance options you might see, Nationwide provides the best option. This is based on their reputation, coverage level, and price.

Of our options, Nationwide provided the broadest coverage by insuring both the home and its content under an Open Perils policy, while having the most consistent review scores. Furthermore, Nationwide had the lowest deductible with the cheapest total premium.

Keep in mind that this was just an example of shopping for home insurance, but we'd love to help you get your own personalized home insurance quotes! Get started by entering your ZIP code below.

We search and compare top home and auto quotes so you don't have to!

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Find home insurance in your state

Where you live is a big indicator of how much you will pay for home insurance. Each state has its own set of risk factors (such as wildfires, tornadoes, floods, or other natural disasters) that make home insurance state-specific.

Below we’ve listed average home insurance rates by state as well as each state’s cheapest provider to help you get an idea of what you might pay.

Annual Home Insurance Rates by State
Home Insurance Rates by State Cheapest Home Insurance Rates by State
Alabama: $1,947 USAA: $1,452
Alaska: $1,011 USAA: $926
Arizona: $1,410 USAA: $815
Arkansas: $2,143 Farmers: $1,665
California: $791 Mercury: $564
Colorado: $2,271 American Family: $1,878
Connecticut: $1,411 State Farm: $896
Delaware: $716 Nationwide: $544
Washington, D.C.: $940 Allstate: $885
Florida: $1,572 State Farm: $1,261
Georgia: $1,196 State Farm: $250
Hawaii: $349 Allstate: $283
Idaho: $1,034 Farmers: $990
Illinois: $1,673 State Farm: $690
Indiana: $1,343 Erie: $961
Iowa: $1,302 Nationwide: $933
Kansas: $2,862 USAA: $1,984
Kentucky: $2,001 USAA: $1,099
Louisiana: $2,037 State Farm: $1,545
Maine: $695 State Farm: $876
Maryland: $1,042 Travelers: $796
Massachusetts: $916 Amica: $1,278
Michigan: $1,098 AAA: $567
Minnesota: $1,411 AAA: $1,167
Mississippi: $1,929 Allstate: $1,792
Missouri: $2,185 AAA: $1,544
Montana: $2,074 Foremost: $876
Nebraska: $2,813 USAA: $1,890
Nevada: $841 Farmers: $553
New Hampshire: $722 State Farm: $706
New Jersey: $706 Chubb: $661
New Mexico: $1,203 Foremost: $1,081
New York: $980 State Farm: $692
North Carolina: $1,661 Nationwide: $1,591
North Dakota: $1,682 AAA: $1,904
Ohio: $979 Erie: $747
Oklahoma: $3,102 Farmers: $2,676
Oregon: $876 State Farm: $760
Pennsylvania: $1,004 Erie: $565
Rhode Island: $1,087 Amica: $1,097
South Carolina: $1,556 Allstate: $1,139
South Dakota: $2,004 Farmers: $1,599
Tennessee: $1,872 Erie: $1,145
Texas: $2,387 State Farm: $2,719
Utah: $740 Farmers: $325
Vermont: $593 Allstate: $562
Virginia: $1,294 Erie: $885
Washington: $878 Allstate: $690
West Virginia: $1,331 USAA: $834
Wisconsin: $876 American Family: $1,020
Wyoming: $1,164 USAA: $641

Comparing home insurance: FAQs

Homeowners insurance can be overwhelming and complicated, so take a look at these frequently asked questions that you may also be wondering.

It's recommended that you get as many quotes as possible when comparing homeowners insurance. Getting multiple quotes allows you to compare both the cost and the coverage being offered by various home insurance companies. Use home insurance comparison sites like The Zebra to easily compare hundreds of quotes in minutes.

Only by comparing rates from as many companies as possible can you ensure you get the best coverage at the cheapest price. But remember, the cheapest rate may not be your best option. Have a budget in mind as you shop around and then find the company that offers the best coverage at that price.

No, you can't negotiate your homeowners insurance quote. However quotes will vary from company to company, and can change drastically depending on where you're located, so the best thing to do is compare rates and shop around. You can also lower the amount you pay by doing things like maintaining a good credit score, installing protective devices, paying premiums in full, and more.

While it may not be advisable in every situation, bundling your home insurance with other policies (most likely auto) from the same carrier could provide savings and make managing your policies easier. Many insurance companies offer cheaper rates to customers who are willing to bundle their policies together.

According to The Zebra's research, on average Amica Mutual and Travelers have some of the highest home insurance premiums. If price is important to you, shop around until you find a rate that fits your budget. Companies like Allied are Nationwide are usually some of the cheaper options.

Comparing home insurance quotes

Have a specific question regarding home insurance? Ask The Zebra's experts!

What does "walls out" coverage mean in an HOA policy?

I believe they are saying that since the damage is to the interior of the condo, then it is the unit owner's responsibility to get any damages covered — whether they need to pay out of pocket or use their own condo insurance. The HOA "walls out" policy generally means that it will co…
Sep 29, 2019 Spokane, WA

Does the name on my insurance policy need to match the name on my mortgage loan and deed?

Generally speaking, that shouldn't be an issue for your homeowners insurance company. For the sake of avoiding any sort of confusion down the road, however, it may be beneficial to update your existing accounts with your mortgage provider. In the event of a claim payout there could be a delay …
Jun 24, 2017 Elyria, OH

Do I need to change my policy when I rent out my home?

Great question! This is an important consideration if you're planning to turn your primary home into a rental. The short answer is yes, you'll need to change your homeowners policy to a landlord policy. An insurance company would likely deny a claim if the proper coverage isn't in pl…

Can a townhome be covered under an HO-6 insurance policy?

That depends on what parts of the property you are responsible for. If the townhouse shares walls and you are not responsible for the outside of the property but own the townhouse (like a condominium) then you qualify for an HO6. If you own the outside structure, you may need a regular homeowners p…
May 9, 2019 Miramar, FL

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 editorial 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.