Shopping for home insurance and comparing the options you get is crucial to do on a regular basis. Your coverage needs may change but you may also find that you are paying more than you need to. I thought it would be fun to invite you along to share in my home insurance comparison so that you can get an example of how this is done. Since most people bundle their home and auto insurance, and this is the least expensive way to do it, this is how all of these policies are written and compared.
I compared several companies and they ran a huge variation in their offers. I compared Travelers, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Farmers, Geico, and Nationwide. If I have seen a commercial for a company, I pretty much decided to include it. So, props to advertising.
One thing to note, there are some items missing from the quotes that I got. I don’t know for certain that the companies listed don’t offer those aspects in their policies and did not dig into policies beyond what the websites provided me. This does play a factor in my ultimate choice of company later though, since they didn’t rely on me getting my information only from a website.
Ease of Use/Website
Since I was doing all of these comparisons using the websites, I wanted sites to be easy to use and answer most of my questions. There were a few interesting tools on some of the websites. My favorite was the one on State Farm called the 360Value tool that helped determine how much coverage your home needed. Unfortunately for State Farm, the was about the only thing good on its website and I ultimately only give it a 5/10 for ease of use.
I was most impressed with Farmers website and contact. Their website was very easy to use, getting a 8/10 rating in my opinion, but their personal contact was tremendous. Before I was even through getting a quote online, I received a phone call from somebody who walked me through my options and made sure to get me an even better quote. Between the easy website and the immediate phone call with a helpful agent, I would give the overall experience a 10/10.
I noticed that there were several different aspects to compare with insurance policies. Each policy had some unique aspects and coverage, things like computer coverage, water backup coverage, etc. While these are not something to compare between companies, they do factor into the final decision. When it comes to home insurance, the most important factors were coverage on the dwelling, personal property, and loss of use.
Coverage on the dwelling is, if your house was completely lost, what amount would you receive to completely rebuild. It is not the same as market value but instead it should cover the labor and materials cost to build new. Personal property coverage is the amount you would receive should you need to replace all the belongings in your house. Loss of use coverage is really important to me. This is the coverage that helps support you living elsewhere if you need to rebuild your home.
Each policy detail is laid out below in a comparison document.
Finally, the overall cost of the policy is important to consider. When I looked at the quotes, I was amazed to see the discrepancies. My own auto insurance was $60 more per year than the next closest!
The cost ranges varied by hundreds of dollars a year when comparing each policy. Farmers had the least expensive home insurance policy with $275/year and Nationwide had the most expensive at $563/year. That’s a huge difference!
The most expensive auto insurance was my existing insurance from Travelers at $657/year, partially due to the comprehensive insurance. It’s a good example of why you should price shop: I didn’t even realize I had comprehensive insurance. The least expensive was $535/year and, again, it was from Farmers.
Looking at the quotes that I received, the least expensive option would be Farmers Insurance. The most coverage overall would be with Liberty Mutual. There’s still a few questions that I need answered before making a decision for myself. What’s important is that this shows how variable insurance, both for home and auto, can be. It’s important that you get several quotes in order to find the best policy for you. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You are going to be giving these people a lot of money after all.
I will probably go with Farmers. They’ve been incredibly helpful, they’ve explained all of my charges and options, they’ve got good coverage, and they’re inexpensive. That’s a rare combination of awesome in one great package.
For all of the numbers and data, check out the table below: