What would you do if a nearly two-pound ball of hail crashed through your roof? In 2003, a hail storm delivered a piece of hail that size in Aurora, Nebraska. The ball of ice was seven inches in diameter, slightly smaller than a soccer ball. Many different dangers threaten your home, whether it be hail, strong winds, or even wildfires.

No matter if you’re a first time homebuyer or someone looking to improve your coverage, we’ll examine what you need to know about homeowners insurance in Nebraska. We examined the top homeowners insurance companies, obtained sample quotes, and looked at state-specific laws in order to provide you with the information you need to get the best rates for the most coverage.

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The Best Homeowners Insurance in Nebraska

Freshome’s Recommended Homeowners Insurance Companies in Nebraska: State FarmAmicaLiberty MutualFarmersTravelers InsuranceGEICO

Our top recommended companies are Amica, Liberty Mutual, and State Farm. However, if you prefer to work with insurance companies that operate on a more local level, Farme’s, Traveler’s, and GEICO are also reliable options. The primary thing to keep in mind, no matter what company you choose, is to look for full replacement coverage.

These recommended companies are not chosen arbitrarily. Each one consistently meets a strict set of criteria that shows them to be affordable, flexible, and financially strong. Each company holds a JD Power Overall Satisfaction score of three stars or higher. In addition, each company has a B+ or higher score from A.M. Best, as well as the equivalent score from either Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s.

Methodology

In obtaining the quotes below, we used a specific scenario that represented the largest possible group. Rather than try to find the lowest possible rates, we sought the average rates from each of the companies.

The insured in this fictitious scenario is a single, 300-year-old nonsmoking male with steady employment and a college education. He has never had any prior claims on his insurance, owns no pets, and is seeking $150,000 in dwelling coverage on a small, 912-square-foot home in Lincoln, Nebraska. His policy of choice is an HO3 policy, the option Freshome most recommends.

Benefits of an HO3 Policy

There are multiple types of homeowners insurance policies, but the type that balances the most protection with affordable prices is the HO3. It is also what’s known as an “open perils” policy, which means it provides coverage against a variety of potential threats.

Open perils policies provide protection against all threats except those specifically excluded. Even though each policy differs slightly, almost all open peril policies protect against the following:

  • Fire and lightning damage
  • Explosion damage
  • Wind and hail damage
  • Damage caused by riots or other types of civil commotion
  • Damage to the home caused by aircrafts
  • Damage to the home caused by vehicles
  • Smoke damage
  • Vandalism
  • Theft

Some policies may cover more than others. Make sure you understand what coverage you do and do not have; if concerns arise, speak to your agent about your options. Certain threats, such as earthquakes, are not covered under standard policies but can be obtained through supplementary policies or endorsements.

Named perils policies are the opposite of open perils policies. Rather than protecting against everything, named perils policies protect against only the threats listed in the policy itself. A good rule of thumb is to combine an open perils policy with a named perils policy; this enables you to insure your home against a vast range of loss.

Areas of Coverage

Home insurance policies can be tremendously detailed but can usually be broken down into six (sometimes seven) areas of coverage. These are:

Coverage A: Dwelling Protection

Dwelling protection is the type of coverage you are most familiar with in homeowners insurance. This area of coverage protects your home against a variety of threats and provides the necessary funding to replace and repair your home should damage occur.

Coverage B: Extended Dwelling Protection

Extended dwelling protection provides coverage for other structures on your property, such as fences, storage sheds, detached garages, and any other structure detached from your home. This coverage is typically capped at 10 percent of coverage area A.

Coverage C: Personal Property Protection

Coverage C is also known as “contents coverage.” This protects your clothing, furniture, electronics, and other valuables if they are destroyed by fire or one of the other threats your policy covers. This coverage is usually 75–80 percent of coverage A. However, if you own items of notable value such as rare paintings, jewels, or collectibles, consider taking out individual policies on these items; it is possible your policy won’t cover the value of these items.

Coverage D: Loss of Use

If your home is destroyed or severely damaged, you will need accommodation until the repairs and construction are complete. Loss of use coverage protects against this possibility, typically paying the actual loss value — in other words, the full amount. Many policies do cap this at a certain percentage of your coverage value but the specific percentage differs from company to company.

Coverage E: Personal Liability

If a lawsuit is brought against you and you are unable to pay the suit, personal liability coverage creates a buffer between the suit and your personal assets. Without this coverage, your home, automobile, and other belongings could be seized.

Coverage F: Medical Payments

If you are hosting a backyard barbecue and your friend burns himself on the grill, this area of coverage would help take care of his medical bills. Even if you are not at fault for his injury, this coverage area pays automatically, absolving you of any liability.

Quotes

You should keep in mind that the quotes below are for a specific scenario in a specific city. Location, age, claims history, and a variety of other factors can influence premium rates. Because quotes are highly personal, you shouldn’t take the ones below as fact, but rather as an example of what to expect. Seek out your own quotes and compare what each company offers before making a decision.

Our Quotes
Amica$1,080 Per Year
Liberty Mutual$1,668 Per Year
State Farm$1,851 Per Year

Amica provided the lowest of all three companies, citing payments of just $90 per month for a period of 10 months or $900 annually. This policy carried a $2,500 deductible and provided $150,000 in dwelling coverage, $15,000 in extended dwelling coverage, $112,500 in personal property protection, $45,000 for loss of use, $500,000 in personal liability protection, and $5,000 for medical payments.

Liberty Mutual was the second most affordable, citing $139 per month or $1,668 annually with a $1,000 deductible. Liberty Mutual provided the same amount as Amica in dwelling, extended dwelling, and personal property coverage. However, they pay the actual loss for loss of use protection, $300,000 in personal liability, and only $1,000 in medical payments.

State Farm gave the highest premiums of the three companies at $154 per month and $1,851 annually with a $2,500 deductible. State Farm provides the same amount of dwelling, extended dwelling, and personal property coverage as Liberty Mutual and Amica, but did not give an estimate for loss of use. State Farm provides $100,000 in personal liability coverage and $1,000 for medical payment coverage.

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What You Should Know Before Getting a Quote

Whether you were relieved or horrified by the premiums quoted, there are a few things you should know before you get your own quote. The first is that you need full replacement coverage; many policies only offer repair coverage, and that won’t be enough to cover the cost of your home if it is totally destroyed. Your coverage amount should ideally be 110–125 percent of the value of your home, not only to pay for materials but also labor costs. If you aren’t sure of your home’s value and what it would take to rebuild it, hire an appraiser to give you an estimate.

The second is that you need an HO3 policy or better. You want a broad range of coverage against any threat Nebraska can throw at you. The average monthly cost of homeowners insurance in Nebraska is $82, while the average annual cost is $987.

Nebraska homeowners should take particular note of their hail damage coverage. Experts say that hail is one of the greatest causes of damage in the state; there were more than 458 hail events of one inch or larger in 2015 alone.

DeeJay Snyder, owner of Champion Realty, recommends that homeowners don’t settle for the first quote they’re given. “Shop around,” said Snyder. “You want to make sure you have full replacement and contents coverage” due to the extreme weather risk in the area.

How to Get an Accurate Quote

Online quotes are not nearly as accurate as quotes provided over the phone. However, they are close enough to give you an idea of what company offers the most value. Here are a few pieces of information you’ll want to have when seeking a quote:

  • The square footage of your home
  • The age and condition of your home and roof
  • Details concerning any recent renovations
  • The distance of your home from fire and police services
  • Any security features in your home: alarms, deadbolts, etc
  • Any fire safety features in your home: fire extinguisher, sprinklers, etc
  • The grade of your yard
  • Your Social Security number
  • Details about prior claims

A note on using your Social Security number: many companies will check your credit score when you apply for a quote. While this doesn’t affect your score, it is recorded as an inquiry. Too many inquiries in a short time period can generate questions from banks, credit agencies, and other lenders if you seek a loan.

What Influences Your Rate

Nebraska’s name comes from the Otoe words for “flat water.” Apropos, considering the state’s reputation. However, this also means the state is prone to a wide variety of weather including tornadoes, hail storms, and severe thunderstorms. If you live in a part of the state that is hit more often by tornadoes, your premiums may be higher, but that isn’t the only cause.

  • Smoking. A large number of house fires are caused by cigarettes; on the other hand, nonsmokers may receive discounts.
  • Pet ownership. Over half of dog-related injuries occur at home and result in a large number of personal liability claims. If you own pets, your rates may be higher.
  • Previous claims. Prior insurance claims may show you to be high-risk for your insurer, which can result in increased rates.
  • Recent renovations. Remodeling your home can make it safer and more weather-resistant, reducing your rates.
  • Location. If you live on a floodplain, in an area with frequent storms, high crime areas, or near wildfire threat zones, your rates can be increased because of the higher risk.
  • Credit score. Those with lower credit scores often pay higher premiums.

So what can you do to reduce your rates? There are a few easy ways. The first is to bundle your auto and home insurance. This can result in savings of up to 30 percent or more. In some cases, you may only need to pay a single deductible if both are damaged by the same source.

Another step you can take is to reduce the amount of coverage provided by areas B and C. If you do not have any detached structures, you don’t need as much area B coverage. However, take care not to reduce your coverage too low; many people underestimate the value of their personal possessions.

Finally, just ask. When speaking with your agent, inquire about any potential discounts they offer. Certain professional organizations, places of employment, and other surprising factors can affect your rates. You’ll never know unless you dig a bit deeper.

Options for Those Ineligible for Insurance

Many states across the country have implemented Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plans (FAIR Plans), but unfortunately, Nebraska is not one of them. The FAIR Plans were implemented in the 1960s to provide a legal respite for those who didn’t qualify for insurance through traditional companies. Despite the variety of risk factors and dangers facing homeowners, many people face high premiums for factors outside of their control. If you do not qualify for insurance from traditional sources, consider looking in the private market. Rates may be higher, but even high premiums are better than having no insurance on your home.

Why Are Nebraska’s Rates So Average?

Despite its location in the middle of “Tornado Alley,” Nebraska’s average premium is only $82 per month or $987 per year. This is only 4 percent higher than the national average. For a state as prone to heavy rains, fires, and tornadoes as Nebraska is, one might expect higher rates. However, due to the lack of a FAIR Plan, insurers across the state have regulated rates with the expectation of damage as a result of these storms. While this gives higher rates, it keeps prices fair.

FAQs

What are common coverage gaps?

Some of the most common coverage gaps in homeowners insurance include sump pump problems and frozen pipes. While many people assume their policies cover them, a surprising number of policies do not. In addition, flood damage is not covered under standard policies, nor is earthquake insurance.

What about flood insurance?

Flood insurance is absolutely vital, regardless of where you live. In flat areas like Nebraska, heavy rains can saturate the ground and result in flooding. Those living near rivers and lakes are at higher risk than those in landlocked areas. However, a burst pipe (or simply forgetting to turn off the faucet) can result in flooding and water damage that isn’t covered under your policy.

If you’re looking for flood insurance, consult the National Flood Insurance Program.

When should I increase coverage?

If you already have full replacement coverage on your home, then there is no need to seek more. However, anytime you make renovations on your home, you should ensure the value of your home has not exceeded the amount of coverage you have. You should also check your policy at least once per year to account for inflation and other factors.

Take Action

Weather is unpredictable and one of the greatest causes of damage to homes in Nebraska. Even if you think you are protected, don’t take it for granted. Check with your insurance agent and make sure you have full replacement coverage on your home; if not, evaluate the various companies recommended throughout this article and find a policy that works for you. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Freshome’s Recommended Homeowners Insurance Companies in Nebraska: State FarmAmicaLiberty MutualFarmersTravelers InsuranceGEICO

Compare Homeowners Insurance Rates

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

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