We’ve got good news for homeowners in Wisconsin; the cost of home insurance is among the most affordable nationwide. According to personal finance website Value Penguin, the average home insurance premium in Wisconsin ($610 annually) is the fourth lowest in the US. But low insurance premiums don’t mean that you should skimp on the quality of coverage — far from it. Many homes in Wisconsin are vulnerable to powerful weather events such as tornadoes and flash flooding.

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing an insurance provider, and it doesn’t always come down to money. You want a company with a sterling financial reputation and a fleet of friendly insurance agents at its disposal. Honest, transparent coverage is an absolute must. We’ve taken a look at the top insurance providers in Wisconsin to help you find the best homeowners insurance for you and your abode..

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The Best Homeowners Insurance in Wisconsin

Freshome’s Recommended Homeowners Insurance Companies in Wisconsin: State FarmAmicaLiberty MutualFarmersAllstateAmerican Family

The process of gathering a home insurance quote is a complicated business, one that requires you the homeowner to know a wide range of details — from the square footage of the property to where the nearest fire hydrant is located. In order to get a gauge on just how competitive insurance providers in Wisconsin are, we’ve garnered quotes from our top three recommended companies: Amica, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual.

The “average home” that we’ve used to harvest these quotes is a $130,000 two-story townhouse with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an attached garage, and a small garden at the rear of the home. We only asked for quotes relating to Homeowners 3 (HO3) policies — the most commonly purchased home insurance policy in the US (this will be explained in further depth in our FAQ section).

Different insurance providers often attach different figures to the amount the home is insured for — the “replacement cost” of rebuilding in the event that the home is totally destroyed (we explain how that figure is calculated in our FAQs). The “replacement cost” among our recommended insurance providers for our average Wisconsin townhouse varies between $151,000 and $201,000.

Our Quotes
Libetrty Mutual$623 Per Year
Amica$825 Per Year
State Farm$915 Per Year

Beyond our top three recommended companies, we wanted to provide you with a few extra insurance provider options. So we asked a number of experts and scoured some of the top financial ratings tools around — J.D. Power, A.M Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s. Still, we can’t stress enough just how personal each individual quote will be. The following information should be used as a guide as you go about finding your best homeowners insurance provider.

Here, we’ve broken down each quote for you, and explained what some of the more frequently used terms mean.

  • 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

Liberty Mutual

  •    Personal property: $95,000
  •    Replacement cost: $126,800 total ($151,000 including 20 percent home protector plus package)
  •    Deductible: $1,000
  •    Liability limit: $300,000
  •    Medical payments: Up to $1,000

Amica

  •    Personal property: $150,750
  •    Replacement cost: $201,000
  •    Deductible: $1,000
  •    Liability limit: $300,000
  •    Medical payments: Up to $5,000

State Farm

  •    Personal property coverage: $131,250
  •    Replacement cost of building: $175,000 (with an extra $35,000 increased dwelling coverage)
  •    Deductible: $1,750 (a deductible calculated at 1 percent of replacement cost)
  •    Liability limit: $300,000
  •    Medical payments: Up to $1,000

Using our calculations, the best homeowners insurance in Wisconsin (in terms of cost effectiveness) appears to be Liberty Mutual. However, each insurance policy is unique, which is why it’s important to keep your options open when you’re calling around for quotes, said Kristina Fields, who has been a professional realtor in Wisconsin for more than 15 years.

“I always advise clients to look at two or three different companies — don’t just get a quote from one person. And be careful that you compare apples to apples,” she said. “Don’t just look at price. But if you are comparing by price, you want to make sure you get the same coverage and quality of coverage.”

What You Should Know Before Getting a Quote

Fields has a cautionary tale for clients when they’re choosing a provider.

After her husband’s house burned down, the real nightmare began. Instead of compensating him for the items that were already listed on the policy, his insurance provider made him list again — and more importantly, prove — every single thing lost in the fire. “They made us jump through all the hoops and document everything,” she said. “Instead of enacting the policy the day of the fire, they made my husband prove every single item that he had in the house.”

To make matters worse, the whole process took 18 months to complete.

Using this experience, Fields always gives her clients the following tips when choosing an insurance provider.

Relate to your insurance agent. A good, personable insurance agent will break everything down so that your policy is easy to understand, she said.

Pre-document everything in the home — even before you get a quote. According to a February 2012 survey from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), more than half of Americans don’t have a home inventory of their possessions. So, before you begin calling around for quotes, make sure you’ve put together a full, itemized list of your possessions. There are two reasons for doing this. First, you’ll be able to gauge whether each quote accurately covers the cost of replacing all of your personal possessions. And second, doing this chore at the very beginning of the process will save you headaches later on.

“Take pictures, keep receipts, have a fire-proof safe,” Fields said. “Some insurance agents will sit down with you every year and go through new additions to the house to make sure you have enough coverage. And so, revaluate your property on a regular basis, which is another thing I advise my clients to do — and something my husband’s insurance company didn’t do with him.”

Beware of Floods and Tornadoes. Wisconsin is far from immune to some of the nature’s most devastating weather patterns; floods and tornadoes can be a way of life near the Canadian border. And so, you need to factor this in when you’re calling different insurance providers for quotes.

“I always tell people to have good coverage for ‘acts of God,’” said Fields. As for which companies provide better tornado damage coverage, Fields said, “Some are better than others.” She singled out State Farm and Allstate as two of the more popular companies in Wisconsin.

If your home sits in a floodplain (or is simply vulnerable to flooding), it’s imperative that you get adequate flood protection. This is a separate policy that you need to get through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But don’t worry; your insurance provider can walk you through purchasing this separate policy the same time you purchase your homeowners insurance.

The problem, according to Brian French — who not only teaches real estate but also has been a real estate agent in Wisconsin for more than 17 years — is that “most people don’t get flood insurance.”

This document does a great job at explaining how flood risk is calculated. Even if you’re not located in a designated flood plain, one common problem among Wisconsin homeowners is that storm water can often flood into your home’s wastewater, which in turn can flood your basement.

“We get a lot of backups for some reason,” French said. “You have to make sure you’re covered for that. Depending on the coverage, you might not be covered.”

Beware of Zoning Laws. One thing people don’t think about is zoning code regulations. Some residential houses are built on land for which the zoning code has subsequently been changed. For example, the land around your dream home might have been altered so that any further development can only be for industrial purposes. This could be a real problem should your home burn down and you try to rebuild there. And so, when you’re researching quotes, make sure you discuss this possibility with each insurance agent.

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Why Are Wisconsin’s Rates So Low?

According to our experts, Wisconsin is home to some of the lowest insurance rates in the country. In terms of violent crime, Wisconsin is one of the safest states in the country. Even though the threat of flooding and tornadoes are a very real concern for residents, other places have it worse. Consider Texas, one of the worst-hit regions for tornadoes nationwide.

FAQs

How is the “replacement cost” calculated?

The amount you insure your home for — the “replacement cost” — should be enough to completely rebuild your home in the event that it’s totally destroyed. It should factor in fluctuating building costs. This figure is calculated using a general rule-of-thumb: multiply your home’s square footage by the prevailing cost of building materials in your area.

What are the different types of policies available?

Just as no two homes are exactly identical, no two insurance policies are exactly alike. Policies come in many more varieties than the HO3. This article does a great job at detailing common home insurance policy options, but we’ll summarize the information here:

HO1 – Not available in every state, but still offered in Wisconsin (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.

Can I save money on my premium?

Absolutely. There are any number of ways that Wisconsin residents 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.

“Insurance providers aren’t necessarily looking at providing the most insurance,” said French. “So, you have to ask your provider: ‘What can I do to reduce this expense?’ And then the insurance provider is obligated to say how, and still maintain the best coverage.”

Some providers provide discounts to clients who also have other insurance policies —like car insurance — with them. Ask your agent about a bundling discount, 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.

For an even more comprehensive picture of homeowner insurance requirements in Wisconsin, the state’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance has put together this fact sheet.

Take Action

Among our surveyed companies, Liberty Mutual provides the best homeowners insurance in Wisconsin in terms of cost effectiveness; however, our other recommended insurance providers might provide better coverage for the specific needs of your home. Ultimately, the longer you spend researching insurance providers, the less likely you are to endure headaches down the line.

Freshome’s Recommended Homeowners Insurance Companies in Wisconsin: State FarmAmicaLiberty MutualFarmersAllstateAmerican Family

Compare Homeowners Insurance Rates

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

Enter Your ZIP Code: