It may be small, but Rhode Island has immense appeal. Recently, the Providence metro area was identified as having one of the strongest real estate markets in the US. Scores of people from all over the country are heading to Rhode Island to put down roots.

To protect your Rhode Island home, you need quality homeowners insurance. Here at Freshome, we evaluated the state’s top insurance companies on a couple of key metrics: affordability, transparent coverage options, financial strength, and customer service. Several insurance providers emerged as leaders in their field.

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The Best Homeowners Insurance in Rhode Island

In order for an insurance company to get the Freshome stamp of approval, the company must meet certain standards in terms of their financial strength. Specifically, the company must have three or more stars from J.D. Power, a score of B+ or higher from A.M. Best, strong ratings from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, and, of course, offer coverage in the state of Rhode Island. We found that insurance companies that met those criteria offer more competitive rates, better quality coverage, and tend to have higher overall rates of customer satisfaction. With those qualifiers in mind, the insurance companies that get the strongest Freshome recommendations are Allstate, Amica, and State Farm. However, we found the insurance companies of Farmers, MetLife, and Nationwide to have strong financial strength ratings and customer satisfaction as well.

Freshome’s Top
Recommendations

Before we could get quotes, we needed a home. We chose a property that’s representative of the current Rhode Island real estate market. According to Realtor.com, the average cost of a home in Rhode Island is $275,000. So we chose a historic property located in Warwick, Rhode Island, listed at $280,000. Built in 1935, the property is a two-story, 1,726-square-foot Cape Cod containing four bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, a detached single-car garage. The home features above-average finishings, hardwood and travertine tile floors, a full security system, a large patio area with barbecue, and a wood-burning fireplace; its roof was most recently replaced in 2005.

For the quotes, we chose $315,000 in dwelling coverage (we’ll explain how to determine dwelling coverage in the FAQs) and an HO3 policy, which is the most popular and highly recommended homeowners insurance policy type in the US. With an HO3 policy, your home receives open perils coverage; this basically means that your home is covered by any type of damage, with some exclusions. However, your belongings — all material items contained within your home — receive named perils coverage, which means that your belongings are covered only for specific, or “named,” types of damage.

Our Quotes
Liberty Mutual$1,288 Per Year
Allstate$1,571 Per Year
Amica$1,839 Per Year

Before we dive in, be aware that homeowners insurance quotes can vary considerably from one company to the next. Therefore, it’s important that you get multiple quotes rather than buying the first policy you find. It’s an equally bad idea to pick your insurance policy based solely on which has the lowest cost; instead, you want to find the best combination of value and high-quality coverage. In short, shopping around is the most important tip we can give you; it’s instrumental in finding the best homeowners insurance policy.

What You Should Know Before Getting a Quote

If you’re a first-timer who’s never had any prior experience with homeowners insurance, it’s essential for you to know the basic components of a homeowners insurance policy.

Homeowners insurance policies can be broken down into four basic parts, which are coverage for your home, coverage for your belongings, coverage for temporary living expenses in the event of an emergency, and personal liability coverage. Each time you get a quote from an insurance company, make a point of checking the policy to ensure that each of those four types of coverage are sufficient and meet the standards of an HO3 policy.

In order to get the most accurate quote possible, you’ll need lots of specific information about your home. Some of it may seem irrelevant, but even the most mundane details can have a significant effect on a policy premium. We’ve compiled a list of some of the things your agent may ask for while creating your quote:

  • The address of your home
  • The year your home was built
  • The architectural style of your home
  • The year your home’s roof was last replaced
  • The materials your home’s roof is made of
  • The materials covering the sides of your home
  • Whether your home has a basement
  • Whether your home has a garage and its size
  • Whether your home has any detached structures
  • Whether your home has a porch on any of its sides
  • Whether your home has a swimming pool
  • Whether your home has an alarm system and who it notifies
  • Whether your home has smoke detectors in all rooms
  • Whether any children will be living in your home
  • Whether any pets will be living in your home
  • How many occupants will live in your home more than six months per year

The reason that insurance companies ask such specific questions is so that they can assess the level of risk they’re taking by insuring your home. The annual premium of your homeowners insurance policy is directly proportional to the amount of coverage you have on your home, the amount of your deductible, and whether the company has any reason to believe there’s a higher-than-average chance of you needing to file a claim.

In addition to knowing specific details about your home’s condition and the basic types of coverage you need in an HO3 policy, you should be familiar with concepts like perils and personal liability coverage. We offered you a brief definition of open and named perils above, but since the perils that are specifically mentioned in your policy will determine the types of incidents in which your home is covered it’s important to have a thorough understanding of them.

Open versus Named Perils

An HO3 policy is popular because it’s a hybrid of both open and named perils policies. Open perils refers to coverage of virtually any type of incident in which your home is damaged in any way; in a policy that offers open perils coverage, you’ll see a list of the perils that aren’t covered rather than a list of the perils that are. Listing the perils that aren’t covered ensures that the policyholder can easily identify any gaps in his or her coverage so that, if necessary, endorsements can be included.

On the other hand, named perils coverage means that the policy will include a list of incidents for which the policyholder is insured; it should be assumed any perils that aren’t listed aren’t covered. Flood coverage is one peril that’s rarely, if ever, included among named perils. If it’s needed, the policyholder should seek an endorsement or some type of special plan that can offer flood coverage.

What Is Personal Liability?

A common mistake people make when shopping for a homeowners insurance policy is to focus solely on the amount of actual home coverage. However, this could be problematic.

Personal liability coverage refers to an important part of a homeowners insurance policy that protects you (and your home) from any financial loss that could occur if someone were to be injured or have their personal property damaged while in your home. Incidents involving non-residents can result in lawsuits, and without personal liability coverage, you’d have to pay for court fees as well as any compensatory damages awarded to the individual in court.

The standard amount of personal liability coverage is usually $100,000, but a growing number of insurance companies recommend increasing personal liability coverage to $300,000. Not only does this provide significantly greater coverage in the event of lawsuits or other litigation, but this substantial increase amounts to a difference of about $20 per year, or $2 per month.

Why Are Rhode Island’s Rates So High?

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has estimated the average cost of homeowners insurance in the US to be about $1,034 per year. In some parts of the country — particularly the landlocked states in “middle America” — an annual homeowners insurance premium is half that amount, while people in Florida pay an average of $2,084 (since it’s surrounded by water). By comparison, the average cost of homeowners insurance in Rhode Island is $1,233 per year, which is higher than the national average by $200. It’s the seventh highest average annual homeowners insurance premium in the country. The most likely reason for the price hike is its small size and proximity to the Atlantic.

You probably know Rhode Island is small, but few people can conceive of just how tiny it really is. North to south, it covers just 48 miles; it spans only 37 miles east to west. With the entirety of Rhode Island considered coastal, flooding caused by weather coming off the Atlantic is a major concern for insurance companies. Thus, companies increase premiums to compensate.

There’s a major disparity between the lowest and highest costs of an annual homeowners insurance premium for a Rhode Island home. The most reasonable policy we received was from Liberty Mutual who quoted us $1,288 for an annual premium, which is on-par with the state average. However, with the same levels of coverage — including dwelling coverage at $315,000 — we received quotes of up to $1,839 per year (which is 50 percent higher than the state average, 43 percent higher than the quote we received from Liberty Mutual, and a staggering 78 percent higher than the national average). You can see why it’s imperative to get multiple quotes rather than buy a policy from the first company you find. It can mean the difference between paying $200 dollars more than the national average and paying double the national average.

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FAQs

How can I lower the cost of my annual homeowners insurance premium?

The most obvious way of reducing your premium would be to reduce your coverage, but that’s not something we recommend. Instead, you could increase your deductible, which is the amount you must pay up front before your insurance provider will cover a claim. There are also a number of safety improvements you can make to your home that often result in a lower premium, including installing a security system and making sure there are smoke detectors in all rooms. Additionally, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance provider and ask if they offer any discounts for which you might qualify.

What’s taken into account when a provider creates a quote for a homeowners insurance policy?

The list we provided under “What You Should Know Before Getting a Quote” includes most of the details for which you may be asked during the quoting process. It includes things like the age of your home, the date of the last roof replacement, the materials from which your home and its roof are made, and so on.

What is an endorsement?

When you add, change, remove, or otherwise modify the terms of your insurance policy, that’s known as an endorsement. You can think of it like an amendment. If your policy has a gap in coverage that you want to include, you may have the option to get an endorsement, which would amend your policy so that it would include that type of coverage.

Can I get an endorsement for flood insurance?

Unfortunately, no. There’s virtually no type of homeowners insurance policy that covers flooding, whether it’s an open or a named policy. Most policies will cover the kind of flooding that occurs if you have a plumbing problem such as a pipe that bursts and floods your basement — but the natural-disaster type of flooding is not and cannot be included in a homeowners insurance policy. If you feel you need flood coverage — which is probably a good idea for homes in Rhode Island — you have the option to buy additional coverage via the National Flood Insurance Program.

How do I determine the amount of dwelling coverage I need?

Insurance companies use complex software and formulas to calculate dwelling coverage using details about the home in question; unfortunately, we outsiders typically don’t have access to those tools. Dwelling coverage should cover the amount it would take to totally rebuild your home in the event that it was irreparably damaged. The replacement cost is not the same as the market value. You must also consider the cost of building materials in your area. If you’re not comfortable figuring out how much dwelling coverage you’ll need, you could ask one of the insurance providers for the amount of dwelling coverage they calculated.

Do I ever need to review my homeowners insurance coverage?

Absolutely. Industry experts recommend that you review your coverage at least once per year. You’ll also want to review after any significant life changes or events. This is especially important if you do any renovating or remodeling in your home since that will change its value; it could result in you having inadequate insurance coverage.

Take Action

Here at Freshome, we want to arm you with the information you need to find the best homeowners insurance in Rhode Island. Allstate, Amica, and Liberty Mutual are our most highly recommended insurance providers for residents of Rhode Island. Beyond those, we also suggest Farmers, Metlife, and Nationwide, each of which have been highly rated in terms of financial strength. Freshome wants you to have the most accurate, up-to-date information so that you, your family, and your home will have sufficient protection as you start making new memories in Rhode Island.

Freshome’s Recommended Homeowners Insurance Companies in Rhode Island: State FarmAmicaLiberty MutualAllstateFarmersMetLifeNationwide

Compare Homeowners Insurance Rates

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

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