After you’ve closed on your dream home in the The Natural State, it’s tempting to think there’s nothing but smooth sailing ahead. There’s still one piece of the puzzle left — picking out a homeowners insurance policy.

The right homeowners insurance policy should grant you the peace of mind to know exactly what parts of your home are protected and from what; that’s why you should give your business to a company that’s reputable, affordable, and transparent. We’ll guide you through the ins and outs — what kind of coverage you should seek, as well as our recommendations for the best homeowners insurance in Arkansas

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The Best Homeowners Insurance in Arkansas

Freshome’s Recommendations: Amica, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Allstate, GEICOTravelers InsuranceShelter

We used a little elbow grease to find the best homeowner’s insurance in Arkansas. To provide you with concrete examples of what kind of prices you can expect, we sought out sample quotes from our top three picks in your state. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so we chose the following basic specifications to derive our quotes for a home built in 2016 in Fayetteville, AR:

  • Single-family, four-person occupancy home
  • A 2,300-square-foot, two-story wood frame contemporary dwelling with a concrete slab foundation and two-and-a-half baths
  • One-car attached garage
  • Deadbolt locks and local fire and burglar alarms that report to the police and fire stations
  • Located within five miles of a fire department and 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant
  • No business/childcare ran within home
  • No pets
  • $230,000 worth of coverage

Additionally, these sample quotes are based off of a HO3 policy, which is the type of homeowner’s insurance policy we recommend using. In the insurance world, this policy is known as a hybrid policy because it encompasses both an open perils policy and named perils policy.

Our Quotes
State Farm$1,365 per year
Amica$1,355 per year
Liberty Mutual$924 per year

Perils are an event or disaster which causes damage or loss of value to your home and/or property. Return from a dinner in town and all of your electronics have been stolen? That’s a peril. Fire damage occurs to your house in the midst of a thunderstorm? That’s also a peril. However, there are restrictions on which perils are covered by your policy. With an HO3 policy, your home is covered on an open perils policy basis, which means unless it’s specified in the exclusion list here, the damage is covered. Transparency is always a good thing. We should note that the belongings in your dwelling are covered with a named perils policy, which means your claim must have involved one of the perils listed.

A HO3 policy has been the standard policy used in the U.S. for years as it covers most homeowners’ needs. It offers great coverage for your home and good coverage for your personal belongings. It is important to recognize right off the bat that an HO3 policy does not cover natural disasters or water damage, which is only covered under flood insurance. We will discuss more about the details of flood insurance below.

We had strict criteria for evaluating insurance companies; they had to have strong rankings with J.D. Power as well as robust financial strength ratings. J.D. Power shows the consumer which businesses are the leaders of their industries. Its ratings are based off policy coverings, pricing, billing and payment, how easy it is to communicate with your insurer, claims, and overall customer satisfaction. Our quotes come from insurance companies that had a J.D. Power rating of three stars or more, an A.M Best Financial Strength Rating of B+ or more, and a high financial strength from Moody’s and/or Standard & Poor’s.

While Amica costs more annually than some competitors, it had the highest J.D. Power ratings with five stars in all categories; in our opinion, it’s the best homeowner’s insurance in Arkansas. If disaster strikes, you’ll want to have an insurance company that will back you up and make it easy to file a claim. Amica fits that bill.  Liberty Mutual may be significantly cheaper, but J.D. Power gave it only two stars when it came to contacting the company. The stress of dealing with filing claims could outweigh the extra costs incurred when going with a higher valued company. It is important to note that your quote may vary a great deal from our sample quotes as each case is carefully curated to fit your needs.

What You Should Know Before Getting a Quote

There is a massive amount of information to consider when shopping for homeowner’s insurance. To fully prepare yourself for getting a quote, you will need to have certain information on-hand. Read on for more information.

Coverages to Consider

By law, in Arkansas, it’s not mandatory to have homeowner’s insurance. Not so fast — don’t close out this tab! Most mortgage or loan agreements require a certain amount of insurance on your home, so unless you’re buying your home outright, you’ll need homeowner’s insurance.. Plus, if you’re making such a large purchase, we recommend the peace of mind that insurance provides.

There are several different kinds of coverage to contemplate. Check with your lender, if you have one, to see what minimum coverage they require. As we mentioned earlier, an HO3 policy is the most commonly used and will provide you with full coverage for your home. That means if your home needs to be completely replaced, you’ll be provided with the amount it is insured for (in other words, how much it would cost to replace today, not how much it cost when it was built).

While we don’t recommend getting less coverage than an HO3 policy, it is possible to acquire HO1 and HO2 policies, which cover the very basic perils. If you’re worried about the scope of coverage on the contents of your home, it would be wise to further investigate HO5 policies. HO5 policies cover your personal belongings on an open perils policy instead of a named perils policy. Depending on your circumstances, this can sometimes cost around the same as an HO3.

Additionally, if you are concerned about the possibility of incurring damage to your house due to a natural disaster or flooding, recognize that these are typically not covered in your policy and will require a different form of insurance.

What to Expect

Every year, homeowner’s insurance rates rise steadily throughout the U.S. According to Arkansas Insurance Department, if your insurer pays out more claims than it expected in a year, it is possible that your rates could go up. The average annual premium paid in the U.S. is $952. In Arkansas, the average annual rate is $1,060, 5 percent above the national average. While Arkansas doesn’t see the volumer of tornadoes that its neighboring states do, the risk is still present, which is why rates will be higher in more susceptible areas.

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Handy Information

A sample quote will be easy to obtain with the basic information you may already have on your home.  However, there are other specifications you need in order to ensure you are on the right path for acquiring a quote that provides legitimate coverages for you and your home.

We have compiled the following list of information you should have prior to sitting down to find a quote:

  • Square footage of home [furnished basements usually not included]
  • Construction details of the home including foundation, frame, and roof
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Detached or attached garage, with the amount of cars it will hold
  • Age of home and if it has been insured before
  • If home is not new, information on improvements and changes made to structure or home functioning systems
  • Distance to fire hydrant and local fire department from house
  • Details on home burglar and fire alarm systems
  • Information on home insurance claims filed within the last five years
  • Number of wood-burning stoves, if any

Additionally, you will need an itemized list of all the personal belongings you want covered in your policy. If your home has additional features such as an in-ground pool, trampoline, household pet, or extensive landscaping, you may incur additional costs.

Local Laws & Regulations

Just as the paved streets of Little Rock differ from the luscious foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, laws and regulations for homeowner’s insurance vary in each state. There are no laws or regulations in Arkansas that make it legally binding for you to have homeowner’s insurance if you are not fiscally tied to a loan. The Insurance Services Office rates every city on a scale of  one to 10 to classify the area’s fire protection. The office inspects the local fire department and rates them based off of water source, manpower, and equipment available. Arkansas is located within the New Madrid seismic zone; thus, your insurance company must tell you if it does not offer earthquake insurance. If not, the company should provide you with information on how to locate earthquake insurance using the Market Assistant Program, which was developed due to the Arkansas Earthquake Authority Act of 1999. For Arkansas Insurance Department’s insurance code, click here.

Why are Arkansas’ rates so average?

When compared to the national average, Arkansas’s home insurance rates are smack dab in the middle, just five percent higher than the national average..Arkansas has average crime rates, but it has a greater risk for earthquakes. There’s the potential that Arkansas could develop man-made earthquakes in the foreseeable future due to fracking. Arkansas’s homeowner insurance rates can also drastically change from one ZIP code to the next due to population density.

FAQs

What are common coverage gaps?

In a nutshell: earthquake, flooding, water damage, and sewer backup. Arkansas homeowners should pay attention to earthquake coverage as it’s a real risk in our state. Be sure to check if you  will receive coverage for temporary housing in the event you need to vacate your home temporarily while it’s rebuilt.

What about flood insurance?

While Arkansas is landlocked, it has not been spared from flash floods and the risk of home floodings. Arkansans in low-risk areas make up 30 percent of those who are paid out for flood insurance claims. The only way to protect your home and personal belongings from any sort of flooding is through purchasing a flood insurance plan. If you’re purchasing a home that is not included in a high-risk flood zone, a Preferred Risk Policy is a great choice as it provides protection at a lower rate.

What are some factors that may lower my rates?

Do you have a great credit score? Do you have an auto policy with the company you are considering buying homeowner’s insurance from? Are you near fire and police departments? Do you have a home installation of fire and burglar alarms? If you answered yes to any of those questions, chances are you will qualify for a lower annual rate. We suggest investigating further and toying around with the option of combining multiple policies as it could result in hefty savings.

Take Action

You’re equipped to go forth and find the best homeowner’s insurance policy for your home. Gather all of the necessary information about your home and use our recommendations as an aid. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to obtaining your own quotes and finalizing the exciting process of becoming a new homeowner.

Freshome’s Recommended Homeowner’s Insurance Companies in Arkansas: Amica, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Allstate, GEICOTravelers InsuranceShelter

Compare Homeowners Insurance Rates

To quickly find and compare rates in your area, enter your ZIP code below.

Enter Your ZIP Code: