It’s hard to get excited about shopping for homeowners insurance. After all, who wants to parse through difficult-to-understand jargon or hold a magnifying glass over clauses about coverage?

We do. We set out to find the best homeowners insurance companies in The Tar Heel State, ones that had an army of friendly agents, a solid financial reputation, transparent and honest coverage, and affordable premiums. We can lead the way through the quote comparison process, offer some recommendations for insurers you can trust, and talk about what is and isn’t covered by your insurance policy. We’ll even got some tips on how to save dough on your annual premium.

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The Best Homeowners Insurance in North Carolina

Freshome’s Recommendations: Amica, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Allstate, Travelers, American Family, Chubb, GEICO

The best way to ensure you’re getting a good deal is to do plenty of shopping around. With homeowners insurance, that means applying for multiple quotes through insurance providers’ websites. Getting a quote takes about 10 minutes, so it’s a good idea to spend an hour or so applying for as many as possible. Once you have several options to choose from, it will be easier to pick the right company for you.

When you’ve narrowed the field down to two or three choices, give each company a call to get a feel for their customer service, ask some questions, and make sure your quote covers everything you need and nothing you don’t. You may have the option of visiting an agent in person, but as long as you’ve had a detailed conversation on the phone, that’s not really necessary.

To apply for sample quotes to show you the range of prices on the market, we said we were purchasing a single family home in Charlotte for around $220,000. With a $2,500 deductible and $100,000 worth of liability insurance, here’s what our quotes looked like. Keep in mind that insurance prices vary greatly from person-to-person, so you might find different results when you start applying for quotes.

Our Quotes
Amica$632 Per Year
State Farm$1,013 Per Year
Liberty Mutual$1,352 Per Year

When shopping for insurance, make sure you’re only considering companies with solid financial outlooks and a history of stability. There are several online sources that can help confirm the reputation of insurance agencies, but there’s no need to dig for that info — we’ve done the work for you. The following are insurance providers who serve North Carolina and meet the following minimum criteria:

What You Should Know Before Getting a Quote

How do rates compare in North Carolina?

North Carolina’s homeowners insurance rates are right in line with the national average. Americans pay about $1,096 annually in home insurance premiums, while North Carolina residents pay an average of $1,008 — just slightly lower and not statistically significant.

Despite the occasional threat of hurricanes and severe thunderstorms, the weather here in the Tarheel State is typically mild, keeping rates reasonable. Your quote may be a bit higher if you live on the coast.

What do I need to prepare?

Keep a copy of your home’s listing sheet to review while applying for insurance quotes. It will contain much of the information you’ll need, like building materials, foundation type, and dates of updates to your roof and electrical system.

If you’ve ever made a claim on your insurance before, you’ll need that information handy. Be aware that this could raise your rates, but it’s important to be upfront with your insurer about your history of claims.

If you don’t have all of the answers to the questions you’re asked in the quote process, don’t worry. You can use your best guess and then revisit your quote before it’s time to seal the deal.

Is a low deductible worth the cost?

A high deductible plan will generally save you money in the long run, while a low deductible plan will offer more assistance in the event that you need to file a claim. The choice will depend on your financial comfort level, but there’s one reason we tend to recommend a higher deductible — it keeps your number of claims down.

While it’s not particularly fair that your insurance company can raise your rates or cancel your coverage if you file too many claims, it’s an unfortunate fact of life in the industry. Even a low number of claims can significantly impact your annual rate, so think twice before filing. If you have a high deductible plan, it might not be worth it to try to recoup any costs if your home damage is relatively low. For instance, let’s say a storm broke a few windows and the cost is $2,000 to repair. There’s no point in filing a claim if your deductible is $2,500. If your deductible was $500, it might seem worth it to collect that $1,500 from your insurer, but in the long run, rate increases due to a claim could surpass that amount.

If you can afford to take care of non-catastrophic damage yourself, and if you’re in a position to afford a high deductible if you ever need to file a claim, it can often save you money over the years. That said, if a couple thousand dollars in out-of-pocket costs isn’t doable, it’s okay to pick a plan with a low deductible — just avoid making claims on it whenever possible.

Will my credit score affect how much I pay?

In many states, your credit score will have a serious impact on how much you pay for homeowners insurance. Some states have outlawed the practice, and while North Carolina isn’t among them, the rate of increase is much lower than most. If your credit drops from “Excellent” to “Fair,” you’ll end up paying about 10 percent more, which is about $100 per year on average. It’s another incentive to maintain your credit, but luckily not prohibitively expensive if your credit isn’t perfect.

What else is covered under my homeowners insurance policy?

Home insurance covers the belongings in your home, even when they’re not in your home. If your wedding ring goes missing on vacation, for instance, you’re covered. Just make sure expensive items like jewelry, fine clothing and accessories, and collectibles are all specifically outlined in your policy. You should take a full home inventory to ensure your valuables are covered.

Your policy also includes liability insurance, which protects you in the event that you’re the subject of a lawsuit. It also covers medical expenses for anyone injured on your property. Limits on both of these types of insurance vary, so make sure you know where you stand.

If your home is damaged to the extent that you can’t live in it during repairs, your insurance should also include ALE, or Alternate Living Expenses coverage, so you can stay in a hotel or rental while you wait for your home to be rebuilt.

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FAQs

What kind of policy should I get?

HO3 is the way to be. The default for most insurance providers, an HO3 policy explicitly states any exemptions in your coverage. For example, if hurricane coverage isn’t included in your policy, it will be specifically listed. With other types of policies, only a few situations are covered, and everything else falls under the exemptions umbrella.

When you apply for quotes online, HO3 will generally be automatically selected. But once you’ve narrowed down your options, you should confirm your policy type with a live agent, especially if a low quote looks too good to be true.

How much insurance do I need?

It might be tempting to under-insure your home to get a discount on your rates. After all, what’s the likelihood that your entire property is damaged beyond repair? Well, unfortunately, that could leave you in hot water if your home is even slightly damaged. Let’s say you purchase insurance for only 70 percent of the value of your home. If you need to file a claim to recoup $10,000 of damage, your insurer can opt to only pay 70 percent of that, leaving you short $3,000, plus the cost of your deductible.

It’s crucial to provide accurate and updated information to your insurer. You’d rather pay a little bit more annually to be slightly over-insured than to risk your claim being denied in the event of catastrophic damage. Take this advice from a real estate investor and attorney who blogs anonymously for YETInvesting.com.

“Be careful about providing accurate information to your insurance agent. Very often, when a claim is made, the insurance company is going to first look for a way to deny the claim. This is especially true if your claim is connected to a large disaster (think Hurricane Katrina or the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake). The insurance companies need to find ways to minimize their losses, and unfortunately, looking for loopholes to deny claims is fairly common practice. If you underestimated the amount of square footage in your home, or if you falsely claimed that you’re a nonsmoker to try to get a discount on your insurance premiums, you may be in trouble. Your insurance company might deny coverage based on a material misstatement in your insurance application, and you could be left stranded in the event of a loss.”

What about flood insurance?

Flooding is a common cause of home damage, but unfortunately, it’s not included with your homeowners insurance policy. If you live in a floodplain or would be more comfortable with flood coverage, you’ll have to purchase a policy separately from an agent working with the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program.

What other gaps are common in home insurance coverage?

Water backup/sump pump overflow is a frequent cause of home damage, and it’s almost never automatically included in your policy. You’ll have the option to add it on, so weigh the cost against the risk of damage in your home.

While all exclusions in your HO3 policy will be specifically outlined, if you aren’t sure if something is covered, it could be smart not to ask. Take this advice from our anonymous source at YETInvesting.com

“If you’re not sure if a loss is covered by your homeowners insurance company, don’t call the claims department and ask if it’s covered. Ask an insurance broker instead, or an insurance lawyer. If you call the claims department and ask about an issue, and it ends up not being covered by your policy, the very fact that you called the claims department and had a claim number issued can be a ding on your homeowners insurance. There’s a database called CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) that virtually all insurance companies use to keep track of claims made, whether or not any money was paid out on those claims. I made the mistake of asking whether a water main break in the front yard was covered. It wasn’t, and my insurance company didn’t pay a dime, but I still received a ding on my CLUE report. I have been stuck paying about $80 more per year for the past six years just because I made that phone call.”  

How can I lower my premium?

Different insurance providers take into account different factors when determining your rate. That’s one of the major reasons you’ll see substantial price variation in the market. Check with the companies you’re considering to see what they look at, but here are a few things that often raise and lower your rate.

What could raise your home insurance premium:

  • Swimming pool
  • Pets
  • Trampoline
  • Playground equipment
  • Smoking
  • Previous claims on your home insurance
  • Low credit score

How you can lower your payments:

  • Install deadbolt locks
  • Smoke detector that reports to fire station
  • Burglar alarm that reports to police station
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Indoor sprinkler system
  • Get LEED certified
  • Bundling home insurance with auto insurance

Take Action

Hopefully you’ll never be in a situation that requires a substantial claim on your insurance, but it’s still best to have rock solid coverage and know exactly what’s included in your policy, and what factors impact your rate. Now that you know the basics of home insurance in North Carolina, you’re ready to get started. Jump in by applying for quotes from several providers. You can start with our list of vetted insurers.

Freshome’s Recommendations: Amica, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Allstate, Travelers, American Family, Chubb, GEICO

Compare Homeowners Insurance Rates

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

Enter Your ZIP Code: