Finding the best homeowners insurance takes a little bit of information juggling. You generally want to weigh price, customer service and claims processing. After all, if a homeowners insurance company has the lowest price but also the poorest claims service, you’re not getting value for your money.
Insurance is vital for protecting your investment in your home. A standard policy will cover reconstruction costs for your dwelling, replacement of your belongings, liability (for example, for slip-and-fall injuries) and “additional living expenses” if your house is uninhabitable due to a covered loss.
In its 2015 study of customer satisfaction with homeowners insurance, J.D. Power notes that overall satisfaction is down from last year. The decline is due mainly to a drop in satisfaction with billing and payment. The least satisfied age group is Generation Y — those born between 1977 and 1994.
Here are NerdWallet’s picks for the best options among the largest home insurance companies.
- Best customer satisfaction
- Best homeowners services
- Best in market share
- Best for military families
- Other companies to consider
Amica Mutual: Best customer satisfaction
Amica Mutual scored the top spot in the J.D. Power 2015 study of homeowners insurance satisfaction. The insurer was the only company to earn top marks in every measurement, including overall satisfaction, claims, price and policy offerings. Amica also scored the highest spot in Consumer Reports’ home insurance ratings. Amica gets a “financial strength rating” of A++ (Superior) from the insurance industry rating agency A.M. Best, the best score possible.
Amica’s corporate citizenship includes sponsorships of arts festivals, healthy living events and home and auto shows. The company is based in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Chubb Group: Best homeowners services
Chubb is well-regarded for its services to customers, including Wildfire Defense Services, which provides hazard assessment and fire prevention assistance to customers in select areas with wildfire threats. Chubb’s HomeScan service uses infrared cameras to look behind customers’ walls and ceilings to identify potential water, electrical and other problems. Chubb is rated A++ (Superior) by A.M. Best.
Chubb’s Loss Control University offers training to fire officials, building inspectors and other professionals on worker safety, fire prevention and accident investigation. The insurer is based in Warren, New Jersey.
State Farm: Best in market share
State Farm is the No. 1 homeowners insurance company by market share, according to data from A.M. Best. State Farm Mutual also has the highest possible financial strength rating — A++ (Superior) — from A.M. Best. State Farm performed “about average” for satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2015 homeowners insurance study. In Consumer Reports’ rankings, it landed in the middle at No. 8 out of 14 companies. Its best scores came for satisfaction with claims estimates, agent courtesy and timely claims payments.
State Farm’s community involvement includes its significant efforts in improving auto safety. The insurer helped found the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the 1950s and is still active on its board of directors. The IIHS helps advance auto safety through its research and crash tests. State Farm is based in Bloomington, Illinois.
USAA: Best for military families
USAA sells only to members of the military and their families and is committed to its mission of top service for those families. In Consumer Reports’ study, USAA earned excellent scores, coming in just below Amica for the best overall score. It fell slightly short in customer ratings for problem-free claims experience. USAA earned the highest overall score in J.D. Power’s 2015 homeowners insurance satisfaction study, although J.D. Power does not include USAA in rankings because they serve only military families. USAA has the best financial strength rating available from A.M. Best, at A++ (Superior).
USAA has a Military Affairs team made up of retired officers and senior noncommissioned officers who advocate for past and present military members and work to support military families. The insurer is based in San Antonio.
Other homeowners insurance companies to consider
Auto-Owners Insurance (which, despite the name, offers more than just car coverage) is always near the top of homeowners satisfaction scores. Consumer Reports ranks Auto-Owners as third-best, after Amica and USAA. The insurer scores especially well for agent courtesy and timely claims payment. Auto-Owners ranks No. 2 in J.D. Power’s satisfaction study and scores well again in interactions with the company and agents. It has the highest possible financial strength rating (A++) for A.M. Best.
The company operates in 26 states, mainly in the middle of the country, and is based near Lansing, Michigan.
Erie Insurance ranks No. 4 in Consumer Reports’ homeowners insurance satisfaction scores, with its highest score in timely claim payments. Erie also does very well in J.D. Power’s study, ranking No. 3 and being “better than most.” Erie customers were especially happy with pricing in the J.D. Power study. A.M. Best rates Erie’s financial strength as A+ (Superior).
Erie’s auto insurance policies build in extras at no additional charge such as locksmith services, pet injury coverage and transportation expenses after an accident. Erie Insurance ranks No. 4 in Consumer Reports’ homeowners insurance satisfaction scores, with its highest score in timely claim payments. Erie also does very well in J.D. Power’s study, ranking No. 3 and being “better than most.” Erie customers were especially happy with pricing in the J.D. Power study. A.M. Best rates Erie’s financial strength as A+ (Superior).
The company sells policies in 12 states and Washington, D.C. It is based in Erie, Pennsylvania.
We used these studies and ratings, along with information from insurer websites, to evaluate large home insurance companies:
- J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Household Insurance Study — Homeowners Insurance
- Consumer Reports Homeowners Insurance Ratings
- A.M. Best ratings (we used ratings as of March 15, 2016)
This story was updated. It was originally published on Sept. 30, 2015.
Image via iStock.