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Best and worst home insurance companies

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Clark Howard

A 2017 ranking of home insurance companies shows that just focusing on what you pay in premiums isn’t necessarily the smartest idea.

A 2017 update from Consumer Reports names the best and worst home insurers in the business. Now, keep in mind that the best does not necessarily mean the one with the most affordable premium.

Highest ranked home insurers

To come up with a rating for each insurer — and overall rankings by best rating/score — CR used the following criteria:

  • Ease of reaching an agent to handle the claim.
  • Agent courtesy.
  • Promptness of response and attentiveness in handling the claim.
  • Simplicity of the claims process (number of steps, amount of work etc.).
  • Damage amount: Satisfaction with company’s estimate of dollar amount of damages.
  • Timely payment: Satisfaction with timely payment by insurer.

In the top spot on the list is Amica Insurance, followed very closely by USAA, two of my longtime favorites. Just a hair behind them are Erie Insurance Group and Metlife.

Amica and USAA may not have the best premiums. But remember my rule, homeowners insurance is only for use in a catastrophic situation — so it’s crucial to have the best coverage in case something does happen.

To lower the cost of going with a top-rated insurer, I recommend you take as high of a deductible as you can swallow and your mortgage holder will allow you to have. Do not go with the $500 deductible of yesteryear. It’s not worth it.

Lowest ranked home insurers

On the flipside of the rankings, the lowest rated insurers in the country are Auto Club Group, State Auto, and American Family and Allstate Insurance tied just above them. Just a hair above these four are State Farm, Farmers and Travelers.

Firmly in the middle of the pack you have  Liberty MutualHartford Financial Services and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

Meanwhile, here’s some info on the best and worst auto insurers.

What things won’t your homeowners policy cover?

Yahoo! Finance recently had a list of weird exclusions some insurers are now doing. Some make sense – like dog attacks. But other things are unexpected, like trampolines not being covered.

Other exclusions include expensive jewelry (you will need additional rider if you have a large amount of jewelry). On the question of mold, that’s no longer covered by many homeowner insurance policies. Mold became a big issue, particularly in Florida, and it’s been cut out of the picture step by step, insurer by insurer.

Sewer backup is often not included in homeowner insurance policies. I always recommend that you buy the inexpensive rider from your insurer and add it to your policy. If it does happen to you, you want to know you are in fact covered.

Fire is still covered. That seems to be a constant year over year, which is why people sometimes refer to homeowners policies as ‘fire policies.’

Learn more: 12 things your homeowners insurance probably doesn’t cover

How to avoid overpaying for homeowner’s insurance

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