No two home insurance policies are perfectly identical. But the extent to which insurance policies and premiums can differ — even within the same state — is perhaps best appreciated in New York. There, the bustling metropolis of New York City and the sleepy countryside upstate coexist side-by-side. As you can imagine, homeowners in different parts of the state require vastly different policies.

But there are also universal truths when it comes to selecting an insurance provider. You want a company that’s honest, fair, affordable, and totally transparent with its coverage. Other must-haves include a sturdy fiscal reputation and excellent customer service. We’ve researched different companies and spoken with a number of experts to narrow down the best homeowners insurance providers in New York.

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The Best Homeowners Insurance in New York

Freshome’s Recommended Homeowners Insurance Companies in New York: State FarmAmicaLiberty MutualFarmersAllstateNationwide

Home insurance premiums can differ greatly in cost and coverage from home-to-home and from company-to-company. In order to provide you with a broad overview of the kind of prices and coverage on offer, we settled upon what we consider the average home in New York and ran its particulars by our top three recommended insurance providers: Amica, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual.

As we’ve already mentioned, there’s a sizeable divide between home prices in the heart of the city as compared to rural parts of the state. The median home value in New York City is $613,500, according to real estate website Zillow. Not so in the country, however, where lower real estate price tags drag the average home price for the entire New York State down to $256,300, according to analytical website Statistic Brain.

For the purposes of gathering insurance quotes, our “average” New York home looks like this: a 1,250-square-foot, single-family house worth $249,000. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and it’s located somewhere in the suburbs.

The amount the home is insured for — the “replacement cost” of completely rebuilding it — varies between different insurance providers. The replacement cost is calculated using a general rule-of-thumb: multiply your home’s square footage by the prevailing cost of building materials in your area.

In regards to our average New York home, the estimated “replacement cost” among our recommended insurance providers varied between $250,000 and $267,500.

As for the policy itself, we only looked at Homeowners 3 (HO3) policies. This is because the HO3 policy, the most common home insurance policy purchased in the US, is arguably the most comprehensive and affordable for the average homeowner (we’ll go into greater detail about this during our FAQs section).

It should be noted that Amica, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual haven’t cornered the market in home insurance in New York — far from it. Plenty of other reputable companies offer policies to homeowners in the Empire State. As such, using expert advice as well as some of the best financial ratings tools around — J.D. Power, A.M Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s — we’ve selected another three insurance carriers for you to consider. Allow us to reiterate, for a moment, the importance of doing your own due diligence when deciding upon an insurance carrier.

Our Quotes
Amica$866 Per Year
State Farm$879 Per Year
Liberty Mutual$1,008 Per Year

Insurance policies should cater to the individual needs and requirements of your home. If your house sits within a floodplain of the Hudson River, make certain that you have adequate flood protection for your home and your possessions. If you own priceless heirlooms, make sure your personal property coverage takes their relative cost into consideration. The premiums we’ve quoted here are not the definitive word on who provides the best homeowners insurance in New York. Call as many different companies as possible before you settle on a final decision.

Here, we’ve broken down each quote for you, and provided a brief glossary on some of the more frequently used terms.

Personal property coverage: Estimated cost to replace all personal items in your home

Replacement cost of building: Estimated cost to completely rebuild your home in the event that it is totally destroyed

Deductible: How much you’ll pay out of pocket each time you make a claim

Liability limit: Coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by others for which you or your family members are legally responsible

Medical payments: Per person payment of necessary medical expenses for guests who are accidentally injured on your property

Amica

  • Personal property: $187,500
  • Replacement cost: $250,000
  • Deductible: $2,500
  • Liability limit: $500,000
  • Medical payments: $5,000

Liberty Mutual

  • Personal property: $200,630
  • Replacement cost: $267,500
  • Deductible: $1,000
  • Liability limit: $300,000
  • Medical payments: Up to $1,000

State Farm

  • Personal property coverage: $196,275
  • Replacement cost of building: $261,700
  • Deductible: $2,617 (a deductible calculated at 1 percent of replacement cost)
  • Liability limit: $300,000
  • Medical payments: Up to $5,000

Between Amica, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual, we found that the best homeowners insurance in New York in terms of cost effectiveness appears to be Amica (which also offered the largest liability limit of the three). But as we explained, each insurance policy is unique unto itself.

This is why Collin Bond, a New York City-based realtor with more than 15 years of experience in real estate investing, developing and renovation, believes that the most useful tools available to a homeowner looking for an insurance provider are patience, diligence, and a varied list of prospective companies to harvest quotes from.

“Just like anything else you purchase, you should shop around for homeowners insurance,” said Bond. “Don’t just go with the first number that a company quotes you. Insurance companies are competitive and will do their best to match their competition.”

John Arquette, a licensed real estate agent in New York with more than 33 years experience in the field, advises his clients to seek out independent insurance agents to guide you through the process.

“We encourage buyers to shop with independent brokers versus the big name brokers,” he said. “Here, the large branded companies, they’re only selling one product. We encourage our buyers to speak with an independent insurance agent who has as many as 40 different companies on his or her books to get you the best possible coverage at the best possible cost.”

What You Should Know Before Getting a Quote

New York homeowners need different coverage depending on whether they live in a city, out in the countryside, or along the coast. Nevertheless, there are some general rules-of-thumb that all homeowners should take into consideration when searching for an insurance provider.

Storm Damage

Perched on the northeastern seaboard of the US, New York has historically been caught in the crosshairs of potent storms that come barreling up the Atlantic coastline. Only a few years ago, Hurricane Sandy caused millions of dollars worth of property damage to the state.

While all homes should have adequate coverage for storm damage (and roof damage in particular), this becomes an imperative for those living along the coast, or in exposed parts of New York’s rural heartland.

Flooding

Just as New York is vulnerable to some of the nation’s most destructive storms, flooding can be another major headache. Individual insurance providers don’t offer coverage for flooding. If your home sits in a designated floodplain (which this document explains well), you’ll have to acquire flood insurance through an agent working with the National Flood Insurance Program. Your insurance agent can walk you through the process of getting flood insurance at the same time you purchase your homeowners insurance.

According to Amber Spain-Mosher, a real estate agent based in Skaneateles, heavy snowfall — and heavy snowmelt — is a particular problem in upstate New York.

“Water can back up and cause damage on walls, ceilings, and flood basements,” Spain-Mosher said. “The spring snowmelt can be pretty bad in some areas. This can also cause power outages, trees falling onto cars. You need to make sure your policy covers all these things.”

Possessions

According to a February 2012 survey from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), more than half of all Americans have failed to put together a home inventory of their possessions, which puts them “at risk for inadequate home insurance coverage, should severe weather strike.” This is why experts suggest compiling a full list of your possessions, even before you get a quote, so you can accurately gauge whether the estimated personal property coverage is sufficient for your needs.

“Take pictures or a video of your possessions so, if something does happen, you will have proof of your possessions when you make a claim to the insurance company,” advised Bond.

Zoning

Something that is often overlooked? Your property’s zoning regulations. There is a possibility that your home was built in a zoning district that was subsequently altered to something other than residential (industrial purposes, for example). This means that, in the event that your home is catastrophically destroyed, zoning restrictions might prohibit you from rebuilding it for residential purposes. So, if you believe that the home you want to buy might fall under nonresidential zoning restrictions, make sure you broach the issue with your real estate agent and insurance broker, as it might affect your premium.

Are New York’s Rates High or Low?

As you can guess, the answer to this question isn’t all that straightforward. According to analytical personal finance website Value Penguin, the average cost of homeowners insurance in New York State is $1,130 per year, which works out about 19 percent higher than the average cost of homeowners insurance for the entire country ($952 per year).

When we ran some figures for typical homes within greater New York City, the quotes we got back were sometimes far in excess of the $1,130 per year average – the sheer cost of real estate in New York City drives up the replacement costs on homes considerably. However, the quotes we ran on comparable properties in the countryside generally trended lower than the state’s average cost for homeowners insurance. Indeed, this Value Penguin study found that the average cost of insuring a home in New York could vary by as much as 59 percent, depending where you live in the state.

Still, according to Arquette, the rates in upstate New York have been pretty stable for the past 15 or so years. “Homeowners insurance here is typically pretty good value for the type of insurance you get,” he said.

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FAQs

Q: What are the different types of policies available?

A: Just as no two homes are exactly identical, no two insurance policies are exactly alike. And policies come in many more varieties than the HO3. This article does a great job at explaining homeowners insurance policy options. We’ll also summarize the information here:

HO1

Not available in every state, but still offered in New York (though not by every insurance company), the HO1 offers very limited coverage. The sorts of damages covered by an HO1 policy are fire, lightning, smoke, wind, hail, burglary, theft, vandalism, and bodily injury.

HO2

This insurance policy covers everything listed in an HO1 policy — fire, lightning, smoke, wind, hail, burglary, theft, vandalism, and bodily injury — as well as the following: falling objects, heavy ice and snow, damage from a leaky plumbing system, electrical damage, and damage due to ruptured water heaters and/or other heating systems.

HO3

This extensive policy is best for single-family homes and covers all perils except those that have been explicitly excluded.

HO4

Commonly referred to as “renters insurance,” this policy protects renters against damage to the contents of an apartment. It also provides personal liability coverage against injuries sustained in the apartment.

HO5

Essentially an extended HO3 policy, the HO5 also covers personal possessions in the event of physical loss, barring its exclusion in the policy.

HO6

This policy offers almost identical protections to the HO4 policy, only this one is designed specifically for someone living in a condo.

HO7

Pretty much identical an HO3, only this policy is geared towards mobile and manufactured homes.

HO8

Very similar to an HO3, with additional provisions relevant to older homes, taking into account the added cost of repairing older homes.

Q: Can I save money on my premium?

A: There are any number of ways that New Yorkers can save money on their insurance premiums, such as upgrading old electrical or plumbing systems, remaining claim-free for a period of time, installing fire safety equipment like smoke detectors and alarm systems, and using safer building materials during remodeling projects. Of course, the kinds of discounts differ from company to company, so make sure you discuss available discounts with each provider.

Some providers provide discounts to clients who also have other insurance policies — like car insurance — with them. “Often you can get a deal on homeowners insurance if you call your auto insurer to see if they are able to bundle the insurance,” said Bond.

Ask your agent about bundling, but always read the fine print. For example, say you’re thinking about lumping your car insurance in with your home insurance. It may be that the new car policy offered by your home insurance provider isn’t as comprehensive as your current car policy.

This useful New York Department of Financial Services website offers further information on homeowners insurance in New York State.

Take Action

We found that Amica provides the best homeowners insurance in New York in terms of cost effectiveness; however, our other recommended insurance providers might provide better coverage for the specific needs of your home. While you’re researching a home insurance provider, remember this: your home is likely the single biggest investment you’ll ever make, so take your time and do your research at the beginning — you’ll thank yourself down the line.

Freshome’s Recommended Homeowners Insurance Companies in New York: State FarmAmicaLiberty MutualFarmersAllstateNationwide

Compare Homeowners Insurance Rates

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

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