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Buying a home means you also need to buy something else: homeowners insurance. And while it may not be your biggest expense, how much you pay for insurance will affect your home ownership costs.
The national average cost of home insurance is $1,784 a year, according to NerdWallet’s most recent rate analysis. But the amount you pay could be more or less, depending on many factors. Here’s how to get a better idea of what your home insurance might cost.
Why you can trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure fairness and accuracy in our writing and data analyses. You can trust the prices we show you because our data analysts take rigorous measures to eliminate outliers and inaccuracies in pricing data, which includes rates from every ZIP code in the country where coverage is offered and data is available. Read our methodology.
How to estimate your home insurance
Use the homeowners insurance calculator below to get an average in your ZIP code, or follow the steps to estimate for yourself.
1. Decide how much coverage you need
A typical homeowners insurance policy includes six types of coverage:
Dwelling, which pays for damage to the main structure of your home.
Other structures, which covers unattached structures like sheds and fences.
Personal property, which covers your belongings.
Loss of use, which pays for additional living expenses if you need to move while your home is being repaired.
Personal liability, should you hurt someone else or damage their property.
Medical payments, which pays to treat someone injured on your property, regardless of fault. It also may pay if you, a family member or a pet injures someone away from your home.
Each of these types of insurance comes with its own limit. You’ll pay more for higher limits, but the extra coverage will give you more financial protection if disaster strikes.
Typically, you need enough dwelling coverage to pay the costs of completely rebuilding your home. An insurance agent can help you estimate this amount.
Insurance companies often calculate several of the other coverage limits as a percentage of your dwelling coverage — generally 10% for other structures, 50% to 70% for personal property and 20% for loss of use.
Liability coverage usually starts at $100,000 and can be higher depending on your needs. Medical payments coverage typically has a low limit, between $1,000 and $5,000.
Review your policy limits each year to make sure you have enough coverage. Don't know where to start? Read our guide on how much home insurance you need for more information.
2. Choose your insurance deductible
Your insurance deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket for a covered claim before insurance kicks in. A typical homeowners insurance deductible ranges from $500 to $2,000.
The higher the deductible you set, the lower your premium. However, you should consider whether the annual savings are worth paying a higher amount in an emergency. If you might not have enough to cover the deductible, choose a lower amount.
3. Evaluate other factors
Your house's physical characteristics affect the cost of insurance. This could include:
The home’s age.
What materials your house is made of.
The condition of the roof.
The size of your home.
Whether the house has any custom features.
Whether the house is up to current building codes.
The size and number of other structures such as sheds or fencing.
Additionally, a swimming pool or other “attractive nuisance” will likely require extra liability coverage.
Location can also play an important role. Insurers may weigh factors such as the threat of natural disasters and how close the home is to the coast.
Let your insurer know if you get a new roof or make other major renovations to your home. These changes could affect your coverage requirements or even get you a discount.
4. Consider extra coverage
You may want coverage for events that a standard home insurance policy won’t cover. Examples include floods, earthquakes, sinkholes and backed-up drains. Though this extra coverage will cost you more, it could come in handy if your home is at risk.
Learn more about flood insurance.
5. Get a quote
Some insurers offer tools for estimating how much their home insurance will cost. These features typically use a limited set of information, but they will at least give a sense of your potential costs. Learn more about home insurance quotes.
» MORE: What is hazard insurance?
Find the best homeowners insurance in your state
Don't see your state below? Check back soon — we’re adding more home insurance stories all the time.
NerdWallet home insurance calculator methodology
NerdWallet offers a ZIP-code-based calculator to help you estimate your homeowners insurance premium. NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old homeowners from a variety of insurance companies in every ZIP code across all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Sample homeowners were nonsmokers with good credit living in a single-family, two-story home built in 1997. They had a $1,000 deductible and the following coverage limits:
$300,000 in dwelling coverage.
$30,000 in other structures coverage.
$150,000 in personal property coverage.
$60,000 in loss of use (additional living expenses) coverage.
$300,000 in liability coverage.
$1,000 in medical payments coverage.
These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.