When you first buy a home, it’s exciting to get wrapped up in the fun details of decorating and landscaping. But it’s equally important to consider how you’re going to protect your asset. We’ve researched homeowners insurance companies in Pennsylvania and evaluated them based on financial standing, coverage options, customer service, and affordability. We found several insurance providers in The Keystone State that scored high across the board.

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The Best Homeowners Insurance in Pennsylvania

Freshome’s Top Recommendations: Amica, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Geico, Travelers.

Quotes were requested from Amica, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual. The home facts remained the same for each quote to ensure a similar comparison between companies. While one rate might be higher or lower than the other, this is not a factor in determining whether a specific company is better or not. Each company asked a series of questions and used different criteria to determine the quote that was given.When choosing which insurance companies to include in our comparison, we looked at their rating for JD Power, A.M. Best, Standard & Poor, and Moody. Their overall satisfaction for JD Power needed to be three stars or greater. This means that the consumers who contacted these insurance companies were more than satisfied with their service. Their A.M. Best financial strength needed to be a B+ at the minimum, and they needed solid ratings from Moody and Standard & Poor. These ratings give an overall picture of how solid the company is. The tables below illustrate the scores that three insurance companies received that we researched, and the quotes given from the insurance companies we contacted.

Our Quotes
State Farm$2,004 Per Year
Amica$2,700 Per Year
Liberty Mutual$4,008 Per Year

We chose a home in Philadelphia that has four beds, three baths and is approx. 2,500 sq. ft. It was built in 1920 and has three stories. The amount of coverage chosen was $300,000. All of the items related to each of the policies had very similar limits (dwelling, personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical). The home has a basement with a brick exterior.

What You Should Know Before Getting a Quote

When seeking out your own quote, it is best to have the home information written down in front of you so that you don’t need to find it.

Various factors that could be requested for a quote:

  • the address of the house
  • the age of the house
  • the age of the roof
  • the material used to make the roof
  • the material used to cover the sides of the house
  • whether there is a basement and what kind of basement it is
  • whether there are any detached structures related to the house (garage, etc.)
  • how many people will be living in the house
  • if there will be any pets at the home
  • if there will be any children living inside the home
  • security systems in place (and who gets notified if an alarm sounds)
  • fire safety systems (sprinkler, fire alarm and who gets notified if an alarm sounds)
  • and many more…

The other part of home insurance is to protect yourself should someone become injured while on your property. So you are protecting the house, protecting the contents of the house, and protecting yourself from being sued should someone get hurt while on your property.

An important factor for us was to choose an HO3 policy for the home. This is a hybrid type of insurance policy that covers open perils and named perils. The open perils part pertains to the house structure, and the named perils pertain to the contents of the home. This is one of the most common types of insurance policies that are issued.

The open perils part of the policy does not list the items that are covered that can happen to the home but lists specific items that are excluded from coverage. Some of the items include damage from war, birds, earthquake, water damage, and mold. Items such as earthquakes and mold can be added to policies as separate items, but are not generally part of HO3 policies. The named perils part of the policy lists specific instances that your personal belongings would be insured against, such as windstorm, hail, lightning, smoke, or vandalism. It is important to know the named perils because if your personal items are damaged due to a peril that is not part of the list, then your items are not covered by insurance.

The HO3 policy is good because it covers the home and the contents of the home as well. It is our recommended type of policy due to the coverage it allows. One thing to note with this policy is that although water damage is not covered the policy does cover sudden & accidental water damage. The water damage that is not covered refers to slow leaks or water backup. These items can also be additions to the policy. So, now you need to decide how much insurance to get. How do you figure this out?

To help answer this question we reached out to local real estate agents in the area and asked for their expert opinions.

Like so many things new homeowners experience, this is something that comes down to what their lender requires, not necessarily what they want. Lenders require “replacement value”—what it would cost to rebuild the home from the ground up. That’s usually considerably higher than the market value of the home.”  – Holly Mack-Ward

Holly Mack-Ward is the principle real estate agent at Holly Mack-Ward & Co. with Coldwell Banker. You can find out more about Holly here. Another piece of sage advice she shared was:

“One of the most common mistakes we see is people simply checking out of the process and not asking questions. They buy whatever policy their lender requires without asking what is and isn’t covered. We’re often surprised when clients tell us about damage they covered out of pocket that ought to have been covered by their insurance.”

When a home is purchased, it is the home and the land that are acquired. When a home suffers a catastrophic loss, then the home needs to be replaced, but the land still remains. So a great starting point to determine the amount that would be required for insurance is to look at the square footage of the house and the material that would be used to replace it. Then the current value of the material would be multiplied by the square footage to show how much it would cost to replace the home at the current market values. Current market values are important to keep in mind as the home begins to age. It is important when getting insurance to review the policy regularly to maintain an adequate amount of coverage for the current conditions.

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Why are Pennsylvania rates so low?

The average monthly cost for homeowners insurance in Pennsylvania is $63. In regards to the other states, this is one of the lower rates (within the bottom 15 if ranked low to high according to valuepenguin.com). Part of the reason for the low rates is that Pennsylvania is below the national average for natural disasters, the temperatures are mild, and the crime rates are lower than the national average for Pennsylvania as a state. The average annual premium for all states is $952/year. Around Pennsylvania, cities such as State College, Hanover, Lancaster, Wilkes Barre, Greencastle and Gettysburg have the lowest premiums and cities such as Philadelphia, Levittown, Havertown, Ardmore, and Fort Washington have the highest premiums. Philadelphia’s rates are higher due to crime being a major factor. The crime rate in Philadelphia is 2.5 times more than the general state average. Additionally, the city of Philadelphia sees more than the state and U.S. average for tornadoes. As such, the higher crime and greater risk of damage to property is what raises the insurance rates for this city.

FAQs

What is liability coverage?

Liability coverage is to protect you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage where you are at fault or legally responsible. The basic amount of liability coverage is $100,000. This coverage includes the homeowner, family members, and even the family pet causing damage to another person or another person’s property.

What is the average limit for medical coverage?

The average limit for medical coverage is $1,000 per person. This covers anyone who suffers an accidental injury at the home regardless of fault. These numbers usually reflect a cap per person, per injury. As with other parts of the plan, these limits can be increased if desired.

What about flood insurance?

Flood insurance is something that is excluded in all homeowners insurance policies but is available to be purchased as an addition to an existing policy. Flood insurance is not dependent upon being in a floodplain. Anyone can get this insurance if they want it.

What is the minimum amount needed to be covered for damage to a home?

It is important to discuss the specific details with your proposed insurance carrier, but most insurance carriers require the insurance amount to be at least 80 of the replacement cost of the house. If there was a claim against the insurance and there was not at least 80 percent replacement cost insured, then there could be more out of pocket cost to the homeowner.

How often should I review my coverage?

Insurance coverage should be reviewed at least once per year and after any major life event.

What are some ways to reduce my premium amount?

Reductions can be seen with multiple policies at the same insurance carrier, installing fire and burglar alarms, adding deadbolts to the doors, and having fire extinguishers.

What are other things that could affect my premium?

The age of the home, the construction material, how close the home is to the local fire/police department, the amount of coverage that is chosen, and the amount of your deductible.

What are ways to reduce the risk of damage or injury to my home or family?

Have an action plan in case of fire or injury. Work out an escape route and meeting place for everyone in case of fire. Keep walkways clear of objects and debris. If the area is very dry, clear the brush from around the house.

Take Action

Now you are armed with the information you need to make an informed decision regarding homeowners insurance. We’ve taken the time to research insurance for you and found companies that were highly rated. You understand the coverage required for a home and have heard opinions from experts regarding what to look out for when receiving a quote. You can take this information and start contacting companies to receive your quote for homeowners insurance today.

Freshome’s Top Recommendations: Amica, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Geico, Travelers.

Compare Homeowners Insurance Rates

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

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