How to Compare Home Insurance Quotes

You’ll need to compare home insurance quotes to find the best coverage at the right price. Here’s how to do it.

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Nerdy takeaways
  • You can get home insurance quotes online, by phone or by working with an agent.

  • Get quotes from at least three companies to find the best price for the coverage you need.

  • When comparing quotes, make sure all the policies have similar coverage and deductibles.

Shopping for homeowners insurance isn’t something you do every day. Once you’ve picked a policy, you’re likely to stick with it for at least a year. That means it’s important to compare home insurance quotes and make sure you’re getting a good price before you buy.

But price isn’t the only issue — you also want a policy that will meet your needs if disaster strikes. Before you shop, here’s what you’ll want to know.

Did you know...

A home insurance quote is an estimate of the price you’ll pay for a homeowners policy. You generally shouldn’t have to pay to get a home insurance quote.

Where to get home insurance quotes

You can get homeowners insurance quotes online, by calling the company or through a “captive” or independent agent. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of some of these methods.

Home insurance quotes online

You can get free online homeowners insurance quotes from many companies. If you’re happy with the quote, you can often complete the purchase online. Some insurers let you begin a quote online but send you to an agent to finish the quote over the phone.

Best for: Simple, straightforward coverage and quick quotes.

Not ideal for: Complicated coverage needs or someone who prefers talking through options with a person.

Captive insurance agents

A captive agent works for one insurance company, such as Allstate, Farmers or State Farm. An agent’s job is to help figure out what policy is best for you and provide a quote. In return, the agent earns a commission — or percentage of your premium — when you buy a policy. Unlike other agents, captive agents might also earn a salary from the insurance company.

Best for: Someone who has a particular company in mind and wants to speak with an agent who knows its policies inside and out.

Not ideal for: Getting quotes from multiple companies because you’ll need to call each agent.

Independent insurance agents and brokers

If you want to talk through home insurance options without limiting yourself to one company, consider getting a quote from an independent agent or broker.

Independent agents and brokers work with multiple insurers and can offer a wide range of homeowners insurance quotes to compare. Because independent agents work on commission, they may strive to provide you the best customer service possible or steer you toward more expensive policies.

Independent brokers differ from independent agents in that they may charge a broker’s fee and generally must disclose commission rates to customers. This transparency allows you to know exactly how much the broker is making from your business.

Best for: People who want someone to shop around on their behalf.

Not ideal for: Those who’d rather do their own research.

Did you know...

You don’t need to wait until the end of your current homeowners policy's term to switch carriers. You can shop around and get a new policy at any time with no penalty. If you have a mortgage, make sure to let your lender know about the change.

What info do you need for a home insurance quote?

When you start shopping for home insurance quotes, insurers will have questions about you and your home. Here’s some of the information you’ll want to have on hand:

  • Your address and how long you’ve lived there.

  • The number of people and pets who live with you.

  • The year the house was built, how it’s heated and when its electrical and plumbing systems were last updated.

  • The age of the roof and what it’s made of, such as slate, shingles or metal.

  • The square footage, number of stories and exterior materials of the home.

  • Whether there are features like a garage, fireplace, burglar alarm or detached tool shed.

  • Whether you’ve filed any claims in the past five years.

  • The date you want your homeowners insurance coverage to begin.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you don’t know when your house was built or its square footage, you can probably get these details from your local tax assessor’s office — often through a free online search. Try searching for "tax assessor" or "property records" and the name of your county or city. Many insurers and agents can fill in some of this information once they have the home’s address.

Finally, you should have a rough idea of how much coverage you want before you start shopping. If you already have insurance, the homeowners declarations page of your policy is a good starting point. You can see the coverage and extra features you have — but be willing to make changes. Before comparing home insurance quotes, it’s smart to evaluate how much homeowners insurance you need.

You can brush up on the basics by reading our guide to homeowners insurance coverage.

How to compare home insurance quotes

Whether you’re working with an agent or on your own, plan to get at least three quotes. That way, you can feel confident you’re getting a good price. When comparing quotes, check that each policy has similar deductibles and coverage limits. Here are a few issues to look out for.

How much dwelling coverage do I have?

Your dwelling coverage limit reflects how much it would cost to rebuild your home after a disaster. (This amount isn’t necessarily the same as the market value of the home.)

Most insurance companies will suggest a certain amount of dwelling coverage based on the specific features of your home, though you can often choose a higher or lower amount. Because each insurer has a slightly different way to calculate a home’s replacement cost, it can be tricky to figure out which dwelling coverage limit is most accurate.

If one company’s dwelling coverage figure is significantly higher or lower than those from other insurers, it could be a red flag. For example, one quote may be much cheaper than the others because it offers $75,000 less coverage for the structure of your house. Those upfront savings might not be worth it if a house fire would leave you without enough insurance money to rebuild.

If you’re not sure how much coverage you need, build in a little wiggle room. Ask about extended replacement coverage, which offers a set percentage above your dwelling coverage limit in case your insured amount falls short. Say your home has a $200,000 dwelling limit but is covered up to 125% with extended replacement cost coverage. So you’d have up to $250,000 to rebuild your home if you needed it.

How are my belongings covered?

Your insurer may cover your personal property on an actual cash value or replacement cost basis. With actual cash value, if an item is stolen or destroyed, the insurance company will pay you only what the item was worth at the time of the incident. For older items, that may not be enough to buy a new replacement. You may find a policy with replacement cost coverage to be worth paying a little extra for. That way, you’ll get enough of a claim payout to buy new versions of the stuff you had.

Is there enough liability coverage?

Personal liability insurance is the part of your policy that can help defend you if someone sues you. Say your dog bites someone at the park or a neighbor's child gets hurt on your backyard trampoline. Liability insurance can cover your attorney fees and pay legal damages if a court finds you liable for what happened.

Consider getting at least enough liability insurance to protect the value of your financial assets, such as your home, bank accounts and investments. You may want to choose a higher amount if your lifestyle puts you at greater risk of getting sued — for example, if you own a swimming pool or trampoline or you participate in risky activities such as hunting or skiing.

What are the deductibles?

A deductible is the amount of a claim you’re responsible for. So if you have a $1,000 deductible and a fallen tree does $10,000 worth of damage to your roof, the insurance company’s claim payout will be $9,000. The higher the deductible, the lower your premium is likely to be.

Depending on where you live, your insurance company may charge a separate deductible for certain types of claims such as those from hurricanes or windstorms.

For example, you may have a $1,000 deductible for most disasters but a 3% deductible for hurricanes. On a house with $300,000 of dwelling coverage, you’d pay for $9,000 of hurricane damage before your insurance company would pay anything.

Be sure you’re comfortable with the deductibles on your policy before you buy it. If you wouldn’t have enough money put aside to cover a high deductible, it’s best to choose a lower one.

Home insurance quote comparison example

Below are three sample homeowners insurance quotes and thoughts on how you might compare them.

Coverage limits and deductibles

Quoted price

Company A

  • Dwelling: $305,000 (with 125% replacement cost coverage).

  • Personal property: $183,000 (replacement cost).

  • Liability: $300,000.

  • Deductible: $1,000.

$1,748/year.

Company B

  • Dwelling: $315,000.

  • Personal property: $157,500 (replacement cost).

  • Liability: $300,000.

  • Deductible: $2,500.

$1,710/year.

Company C

  • Dwelling: $263,000.

  • Personal property: $136,500 (actual cash value).

  • Liability: $300,000.

  • Deductible: $1,000.

$1,495/year.

When it comes to price, Company C wins — but that’s because you’re getting significantly less coverage for the structure of your home and your personal belongings. Plus, the company is covering your stuff on an actual cash value basis, which means you’ll get less of a payout if those belongings are stolen or destroyed. Both of the other policies offer replacement cost coverage for your belongings, a more valuable type of coverage.

The dwelling and personal property coverage limits are pretty comparable between the other quotes. However, with its extended replacement cost coverage, Company A ends up giving you a higher potential dwelling coverage payout ($381,250, or your $305,000 coverage limit plus an extra 25%). Choosing Company B saves you a little money because of slightly lower limits and a hefty $2,500 deductible.

So which quote is right for you? It depends. If you’re on a tight budget, Company C’s slimmed-down offer might be all you can afford. If you want to make sure you have enough coverage in a worst-case scenario, you might go with Company A. There may also be other factors to consider, such as the reputation of each company or the extras offered. And if you’re insuring a car, you’ll want to compare the price of the whole package.

Remember that quotes aren’t set in stone. For instance, say you’re leaning toward Company A but the personal property limit seems too high — your agent can probably reduce the limit and save you a few bucks. If you like Company B but want the cushion of extended replacement cost coverage that Company A offers, ask whether you can add it.

A good agent can help you tailor your policy until you’re satisfied with the coverage and price. If you’re shopping online and don’t have the option to adjust your coverage, call the company.

Did you know...

Because a home insurance quote is only an estimate, it may not precisely match the price you end up paying for coverage. In some cases, an inspector may come to your home and determine you need a different amount of coverage, which can change the price.

Which homeowners insurance companies should I consider?

There are hundreds of home insurance companies in the U.S., ranging from small regional insurers to well-known national brands. But they’re not all equally reliable. An insurer with poor customer service or iffy finances may not offer the support you need in a disaster.

Below are the insurers that earned 5 stars out of 5 in NerdWallet’s latest homeowners insurance company analysis. Click on each company’s name to read our full review.

Company

NerdWallet rating

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

*USAA homeowners insurance is available only to active-duty military members, veterans and their families.

Note: Not all insurers are available in all states.

For NerdWallet’s full list of highly rated insurers, see the best home insurance companies.

If you have a few companies in mind, check out NerdWallet’s home insurance reviews to see each insurer’s strengths and weaknesses.

How much does home insurance cost?

The average cost of homeowners insurance is $1,784 a year, according to NerdWallet's rate analysis.

Your home insurance quote may be higher or lower than that average, depending on where you live and what it would cost to rebuild your home. Check out the cheapest homeowners insurance in your state.

What goes into a homeowners insurance quote?

Many factors affect your home insurance quote, from the size of your house to the things in your closet. Companies weigh these factors in different ways, so one insurer might be more lenient than another about your credit history or your backyard trampoline. To find the best rate, shop around with multiple insurers.

Here are some of the factors that can affect your homeowners insurance quote.

Your house

  • Rebuilding cost. The more it would cost to rebuild your home if it were destroyed, the higher your home insurance quote is likely to be. The price to rebuild depends on the size of your home and on local material and labor costs.

  • Age of your home. Older homes generally cost more to insure because the components may have degraded and may not meet current building codes.

  • Materials. Homes built from substances like brick or stone are cheaper to insure than houses made of wood, which is flammable.

  • Security features. Alarm systems, smoke detectors, deadbolt locks and other safety features can result in lower home insurance quotes because they reduce the likelihood of theft or damage.

  • Home renovations. Your quote may be higher after you remodel the kitchen, add a deck or make other improvements that increase the cost to rebuild.

Your location

  • Local fire protection. If you’re near a hydrant or fire station, you’ll likely qualify for cheaper home insurance than someone who lives in a more remote area.

  • Natural disaster risks in your area. Rates are typically higher in areas prone to hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and other natural risks.

  • Neighborhood crime rates. If lots of burglaries happen in your neighborhood, your home insurance quotes may be higher.

You and your stuff

  • Your credit score. In most states, a home insurance quote can be higher for people with blemished credit. Insurers say people with poor credit are more likely to file claims. But in California, Maryland and Massachusetts, companies aren’t allowed to consider credit in setting homeowners insurance prices. Learn more about homeowners insurance and credit scores.

  • Your pet. House insurance quotes can be high if you own a dog of a breed that’s considered aggressive. That’s because your liability insurance might have to pay if your dog bites someone and they sue you. Some companies may not be willing to provide coverage at all. Learn more about home insurance and dog bites.

  • Your belongings. If you own a costly musical instrument, expensive jewelry or other valuables, you may need extra coverage that will increase your house insurance quote.

  • Your backyard pool or trampoline. Owning these items can raise your home insurance quote because of the risk of injuries they pose. If someone is hurt using them, you could be liable whether you granted permission or not.

  • Your wood-burning stove. Insurers may see your stove as a fire hazard, particularly if it wasn’t professionally installed or doesn’t meet code requirements.

  • Your home-based business. Do you work from home? You may need to add coverage to a standard homeowners policy or buy a business owner's policy to cover business-related equipment, inventory and liability.

  • Your previous claims. If you’ve filed numerous claims, insurers may view you as a risk and charge you higher premiums.

How to get a cheap homeowners insurance quote

Shopping around is the best way to find the cheapest home insurance quotes you can, but you can also try these other tips to find lower homeowners insurance rates.

  • Increase your deductible. If you agree to shoulder more of the cost after a potential claim, you can substantially cut your premiums. Raising your deductible from $1,000 to $2,500 lowers your rate by an average of 12%, according to NerdWallet's rate analysis.

  • Bundle home and auto insurance policies. Many insurers offer both types of coverage, and you can get discounts for buying car and home insurance from the same company. Check out our picks for the best home and auto bundles.

  • Ask for discounts. Price breaks are often available, but they vary from one company to the next. You might get discounts for having a smoke-free home, being retired, buying a new home, signing up for automatic payments or being claims-free, for example.

  • Make your home safer. Features like smoke detectors, storm shutters, smart-home technology and deadbolt locks can result in discounts. You may also get cheaper home insurance quotes if you upgrade outdated heating, plumbing and electrical systems.

  • Build your credit. In most states, a good credit history can lead to lower home insurance quotes. Aim to pay your bills on time and keep your debt as low as you can to build your credit score.

  • Drop coverage you no longer need. Review your policy documents and make sure you aren’t paying for coverage you don’t need. If you put extra insurance on that high-end computer a few years ago but it’s not worth much anymore, you’ll save money by reducing your coverage.

Frequently asked questions

The average cost of homeowners insurance in the U.S. is $1,784 a year, according to NerdWallet’s most recent analysis. That works out to about $149 a month. However, prices vary widely. Your homeowners insurance quotes will be much more specific to you.

Shopping around for homeowners insurance quotes won’t affect your credit score. However, having poor credit is likely to elevate your rates in most states. Learn more about how poor credit affects homeowners insurance.

You can get homeowners insurance quotes before closing on the purchase of a house. If you have a mortgage, your lender will probably require you to have home insurance in effect on closing day. Shopping for quotes in advance gives you time to make the best decisions about coverage.

Many insurers offer quotes for bundled car and home insurance. You can often get discounts by purchasing both types of coverage through the same insurance company.

Methodology
NerdWallet’s homeowners insurance ratings reward companies for customer-first features and practices. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including financial strength, consumer complaints, coverage, discounts and online experience. These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our full ratings methodology for home insurance.
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