If a huge, unexpected disaster were to occur and damage your home and items in it, you likely wouldn’t be able to afford to fix and replace everything out-of-pocket. This is where homeowners insurance comes in.
Homeowners insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects your home and associated structures (like your fence or garage) in the event it is damaged due to incidents and disasters that affect your home. It can also protect your personal belongings (like your computer) in the event that it is lost, stolen or damaged due to an incident in your home — such as a fire or sewage backup. You can also get extra protection for certain valuables like professional cameras, jewelry, fine art and more.
Hopefully, you’ll never need to file an insurance claim to cover significant damages to or within your home, but if you do, many insurance companies try to make the process as simple as possible so you can get paid with ease.
CNBC Select rounded up some of the best homeowners insurance companies to help you choose the one that’s best for your needs. We evaluated insurance companies based on policy coverage, accessibility and opportunities to save, among others (see our methodology below).
Best homeowners insurance companies of 2023
- Best overall: Nationwide
- Best for covering high-value assets: Chubb
- Best for quick claim approval: Lemonade
- Best for discounts: Hippo
- Best for military members and Veterans: USAA
Who’s this for? Nationwide is a trusted household name in the insurance industry, which can be appealing to those who want to go with an insurer they’re likely already very familiar with. Insurers typically provide discounts for bundling your homeowners insurance with other insurance offerings like auto insurance, but Nationwide takes it even further with a host of other ways to save money.
Policyholders can receive a discount for having protective devices in their home, like a fire alarm or smoke detector. They can also receive a home renovation credit for getting work done on their home plumbing, heating, cooling or electrical systems. Policyholders can even secure savings by having the age and surface type of their home’s roof evaluated. See their savings page for more opportunities for discounts.
Best for covering high-value assets
Who’s this for? Chubb’s Masterpiece policy is meant for those who have significant high-value items to protect such as fine wine, antiques, fine art, jewelry and more, in addition to standard property and personal liability coverage. Typically, homeowners would need to purchase extra coverage to make sure these items are insured. But with Chubb, coverage for these kinds of items is already built into the policy. Just keep in mind that as a result, your monthly costs may be higher.
Policyholders can also add on coverage for some unexpected events like floods, HVAC equipment breakdown or data restoration so you can recover computer data from a virus. Complimentary home inspections may also include HomeScan — which helps you identify any potential fire hazards and moisture problems in your home with the help of a consultant.
Because of the fact that Chubb places a large emphasis on protecting really high-value items, this insurer may not be ideal for those who don’t own many high-ticket items like fine art or fine wine. A more cost-effective route may be to consider going with a different insurer and purchasing add-on protection for valuables. If you aren’t sure whether or not Chubb is best for your needs, you can request a quote for more personalized pricing.
Best for quick claim approval
Who’s this for? Lemonade boasts the ability to get customers paid for simple claims almost instantly (make sure you provide all necessary information). Just keep in mind, though, that there may be some circumstances where the claim would need to be more deeply reviewed, or there may be property liability claims that just take longer to settle.
To file a claim, policyholders can open up the Lemonade app and tap the “File a Claim” button; from there, the app will guide you through the rest and once your claim is approved, the funds will be deposited directly into your bank account.
Homeowners can choose to pay for Lemonade’s insurance either through an escrow account or through a credit card. You also have the option to incorporate your insurance costs into your closing costs when you buy a home.
Best for discounts
Who’s this for? Hippo considers itself an insurance platform for the needs of a modern home, which is why it offers many extra services around home maintenance and technology in addition to standard coverage highlights. According to the website, it provides a four times higher coverage limit than traditional policies for computers and home office equipment. It also offers discounts on the technology used to protect your home from theft, and provides coverage for house cleaners, babysitters and other individuals who assist you with maintaining your home.
Hippo also has a more expansive list of discounts compared to other insurers. Policyholders can receive discounts for activating smart home devices, purchasing their home within the past 12 months, renewing their policy if they haven’t previously had a lapse in coverage, installing a hail-resistant roof, being part of a qualifying HOA, purchasing Hippo insurance through a business, university, or other membership group and more. See their website for other offers.
Best for military members and veterans
Who’s this for? USAA typically offers additional benefits to individuals who are Veterans or part of the military. Through homeowners insurance, these individuals can receive coverage for things like the cost of uniforms and equipment, and they’ll have their deductible waived if their personal property is lost or damaged due to war.
This insurer also offers policyholders the ability to adjust payment due dates to better suit their needs and file and track claims online. And if policyholders need repairs done on their homes, USAA will connect them with contractors who can get the job done.
In addition to some standard savings discounts (like savings for bundling and claims-free savings), USAA lets policyholders save up to 5% on their premiums when they remain with USAA for three consecutive years.
How does homeowners insurance work?
To sign up for homeowners insurance, choose your desired insurance company and enroll for coverage. You’ll need to choose a certain coverage amount, which will depend on what kinds of liabilities and items you’re looking to protect. This is the maximum amount you’d be reimbursed in the event of an incident. There are also some add-ons you can opt for, which will increase your monthly premium but will provide you with additional protection.
You’ll pay a monthly premium for the policy, which will depend on the company’s rates. If you never have to file an insurance claim, your monthly premium will essentially just be another monthly “bill” that you pay.
If you do need to file a claim, though, you’ll typically pay an upfront deductible. A deductible is a portion of the cost to replace the items that you must pay before your insurance kicks in and covers the rest. Usually, the larger your monthly premium, the smaller your deductible will be.
So while insurance doesn’t necessarily make it totally “free” to replace lost or damaged items or pay for personal liabilities, it can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket cost.
What does homeowners insurance cover?
Homeowners insurance usually covers damage to the structure of your home and surrounding structures like your fence or garage. It can also cover your stolen or damaged personal property, bodily injuries that a visitor sustains while on your property, vandalism and damage from fires and some other natural disasters.
Homeowners insurance can also cover high-value items like jewelry and fine art, but you’ll usually need to tack on extra coverage to protect these items, typically at an additional cost. Homeowners insurance can also cover loss of use — in the event that you are unable to live in your home due to damage or other unforeseen circumstances, the insurance company will pay for you to live elsewhere until the home is fixed.
What’s the difference between renters insurance and homeowners insurance?
Renters insurance is meant to provide coverage for belongings, while homeowners insurance provides coverage for the actual building you live in and associated structures, like a garage or shed. Homeowners insurance is also usually required by lenders you buy your property but if you’re a renter, you may not always be obligated to take on a renters insurance policy.
How do you file a claim?
The process for filing an insurance claim may vary slightly from one company to the next. Typically, you’ll need to provide photos of the damage, receipts and any other documentation or proof that is related to the claim you’re filing. This will help the company assess the damages.
Once your claim is approved, the timeline for payout will also vary from company to company.
Though it can often feel like another bill that you have to pay, homeowners insurance can really come in handy if your home were to be damaged by circumstances beyond your control. Instead of having to foot the entire cost of replacing those items, the insurance company will cover you once you pay your deductible amount. Hopefully, you never need to file a claim but homeowners insurance can always provide that peace of mind of knowing that you’re covered if anything were to happen.