8 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Maryland of 2022
If you own a home, it’s only natural that you may want to protect it.
To do that, you need to buy a homeowners insurance policy, which not only covers your home, but also the contents within.
Say your home was destroyed due to a fire.
If you have homeowners insurance, it will pay to rebuild your home.
Or say your home was burglarized and thieves steal your personal belongings, like your laptop or jewelry.
Without homeowners insurance, will you have the money to replace them?
With homeowners insurance, an insurer will reimburse you to cover the costs of your stolen items.
So, homeowners insurance gives you peace of mind.
It provides financial relief if a covered event damages your home, property, or personal belongings.
The best homeowners insurance in Maryland should provide affordable prices with varied coverage options as well as reliable customer service support.
It's also important to choose a homeowners insurance company based on your personal needs.
We looked at many insurers and compared them based on affordability and coverage, to name a few, before selecting the best Maryland insurance home insurance companies.
Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Maryland
- Lemonade: Best Policy to Save You Time
- Allstate: Best Policy for Add-Ons
- Branch Financial: Best for Flexibility When Buying a Policy
- State Farm: Best Policy for Affordable Coverage
- Hippo: Best For Optional Coverage Included in Standard Policy
- Chubb: Best Policy for High-Net-Worth Clients
- Travelers: Best Policy for Discounts to Lower Your Premium
- Safeco: Best for Unique Insurance Deductible
Lemonade: Best Policy to Save You Time
Lemonade is an AI company, which means you do business with the insurer digitally, using the company’s well-regarded website and convenient app.
Lemonade is best overall for homeowners insurance because of its affordable premiums, its fast claims process, its excellent, easy-to-use website and app, and its extra coverages that can make your basic policy from Lemonade more comprehensive.
The best thing about being an online company is that you can get instant quotes, buy a policy, file claims, purchase add-ons, and many more, using Lemonade’s website or app.
What makes Lemonade unique in comparison to other insurers is its fast claims process.
On its website, Lemonade asserts that it holds the world’s record for being the fastest insurance company to pay a claim, which is three seconds after you file the claim.
That seems unbeatable but bear in mind that this is Lemonade’s opinion, and some claims may require a live representative to step in if you’re filing something more intricate or complex.
In addition, Lemonade allows you to buy extra coverage so that your personal belongings can be paid in full.
(In insurance terms, “extra coverage” refers to scheduled personal property endorsement.)
Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy extra coverage to protect your electronics (laptops, smartphones, etc.) furniture, and clothing, as they are covered by the basic policy.
The extra coverage you can buy covers personal belongings like jewelry, watches, fine art, camera bodies and lenses, cameras, and musical instruments after accidental loss, theft, and damage worldwide, or basically wherever you are.
This may seem limited, but Lemonade is always rolling out new perks to its homeowners insurance policy. So, keep in mind that the insurer will be offering extra coverage for other types of belongings not listed above very soon.
However, it’s almost a necessity that you will have to add additional coverage to your premium because the basic policy covers your jewelry and other valuables only up to a total of $1,500.
Still, the best thing about Lemonade’s extra coverage is that, unlike its standard policy, there is no deductible, which means there is no deduction of funds from your claim payment.
Finally, Lemonade’s homeowners insurance is very affordable. The average cost of a basic policy is around $90 a month or $1,080 annually.
However, those approximations will be higher after you schedule your property. as well as other factors like how much coverage you choose and the condition of your home.
How’s Lemonade Rated?
- Not rated by JD Power.
- Not rated by financial agencies like AM Best, S&P Global, or Moody’s.
- NAIC: 1.85
|Handles 30% of claims instantly||There are no physical offices, live agents, or customer service reps|
|In most situations, a claim may be paid in as little as three minutes||Coverage is not nationwide|
|Also sells homeowners, condo, co-op, life, and pet insurance||Not as cheap as its quoted rate|
|Intuitive website and app||Basic personal property coverage is only $10,000|
|Offers cheap rates due to no agents or reps||Not good option for users who don’t do business online or are confused by the online process|
|Lemonade’s Giveback program donates unused premiums to charities that customers choose||Many third-party rating companies don’t rank the insurer due to being new|
Allstate: Best Policy for Add-Ons
Allstate is a nationally recognized and respected company that is known for its many insurance policies.
As the second-largest insurance company in the nation, Allstate is also known for its numerous add-ons that can provide you with more comprehensive coverage not included in the insurer’s basic policy.
The most unique add-on is Allstate’s Enhanced Package.
This package can take $100 off your deductible when you sign up, plus an additional $100 off for each year you go claim-free, up to a total of $500.
You’ll also get 5% off your annual renewal rate if you didn’t file a claim in the previous year.
And if you do file a claim, your rates won’t go up unless you exceed one in a five-year period.
Other optional add-ons include:
|Identity Theft Restoration||Pays legal fees and other costs if your identity is stolen.|
|Water Backup Coverage||Covers damage caused by a backed-up drain or broken sump pump.|
|Business Property Coverage||This offers higher limits for business-related items (like computers and home-office equipment) stored in your home.|
|Green Improvement Reimbursement||This add-on pays to replace damaged items with energy-efficient versions after a covered claim.|
|Yard and Garden Coverage||This policy raises your limits on items like trees, plants, and lawnmowers.|
|Electronic Data Recovery Coverage||This additional coverage pays for lost photos, videos, or other files stored on your personal computer.|
How’s Allstate Rated?
- A.M. Best Rating: A+
- J.D. Power Ranking: 841/1000.
- BBB: A
Read a full Allstate homeowners insurance review.
|Very affordable||Average customer satisfaction for claims|
|Several discounts can drive your premium down||Replacement cost coverage doesn’t come standard, unlike a few other insurers|
|Clear claims process||Discounts and policies may not be eligible for certain states|
|Different ways to customize your deductibles and coverages|
Branch Financial: Best for Flexibility When Buying a Policy
Branch Financial is new to the insurance industry, having been founded in 2017. Branch offers homeowners insurance, renters, and auto policies, as well as umbrella liability policies.
Because it is powered by AI, Branch is primarily an online company.
So, it’s like its more famous insurance counterpart Lemonade. However, Lemonade is only available digitally and does not have any reps or agents.
Branch offers the convenience of online in addition to offering live phone sales and support for those prospective policyholders who prefer the help of a licensed agent.
You can see and purchase policies on Branch’s website, and it only takes a few minutes.
Or you can start your application online and purchase a policy over the phone.
Another way to purchase your policy is by working with a licensed agent from beginning to end.
Allowing you to choose the way you want to buy your insurance or do business with the insurer means the insurer offers great flexibility.
Being tech-forward also means you can easily make claims on the company’s portal, and all you really must do besides sending details is to take photos of the damages.
Also convenient is that you are assigned a claims adjuster immediately after you make a claim, and this adjuster will work with you every step of the way.
How’s Branch Rated?
- AM Best: A+
- BBB: A+
|Customer service is staffed around the clock||Limited state availability|
|Homeowners interested in leveraging community ties to lower insurance rates may find Branch to be a perfect fit||Not as many discounts as its competitors|
|Perfect for people who prefer the personal touch of a local insurance agent||If not interested in referring friends, colleagues, and family members, the only option to save is by bundling|
|Solid financial backing||Not an insurance company; technically it’s an insurance agency|
|Bundling is quick and easy and comes with a hefty discount|
|Provides coverage if rent out home as vacation rental or as part of a homeshare service|
|Provides additional liability coverage|
|A portion of every customer’s premium goes to the Safety Nest program, which allows those who have experienced tragedy or accident while uninsured or underinsured to apply for financial help|
State Farm: Best Policy for Affordable Coverage
State Farm is highly rated due to its favorable customer service, as well as its many additional coverages to make your policy more comprehensive.
But what makes State Farm stand out is its affordable homeowners insurance premium.
The average cost of State Farm is $1,348 per year or $112 per month.
State Farm beat the average cost of home insurance in Maryland, which is $1,392 per year or $116 per month.
State Farm also beat the national average, which is a high $1,680 per year or $140 per month.
But insurance premiums change for different situations or different needs.
So, State Farm offers various premiums in its homeowners insurance policy that all cost different from State Farm’s average cost for basic or standard insurance.
Here’s the breakdown.
- Cheapest home insurance for new homes: $778 per year or $65 per month.
- Cheapest home insurance with a lower liability limit: $1,313 per year or $109 per month.
- Cheapest home insurance for homeowners with a fire or water claim in the past six months: $1,468 per year or $122 per month.
- Cheapest home insurance for homes built with wood framing rather than masonry: $1,500 per year or $125 per month.
How’s State Farm rated?
- JD Power: 835/1,000
- AM Best: A++
- BBB: A+
- NAIC: .02
|Very affordable rates||Affordable premium, but cheapest rate only available if you bundle|
|Upgrade to weather-resistant roof gets roofing discount||Lower than average consumer satisfaction|
|19,000 local agents throughout the US||Coverage for structures located outside the premises of your home comes at a cost; for other insurers, this comes standard|
|Numerous insurance products available to bundle||Limited lineup of discounts, and they vary by state|
|Coverage if own energy-efficient appliances||Doesn’t do business in Massachusetts and Rhode Island|
|Has an equipment breakdown policy for furnaces, A/C units, and more||The online quoting system assigns a local agent to assist with your policy but not necessarily the one located closest to your property address|
|If your new home is being constructed and there’s theft of building materials, the insurer will pay out for replacement||The online quoting system may not be available for mobile or manufactured homes|
|Options for home policy deductibles may be more limited than that of other insurers|
Hippo: Best For Optional Coverage Included in Standard Policy
Hippo insurance offers industry-standard protection, like most homeowner providers.
But Hippo goes beyond that and offers several coverages that come standard in its policy that other insurance companies usually charge extra for.
Here are some of the coverages.
Extended Replacement Cost
If your home was destroyed, Hippo will provide you coverage
up to 50% above your policy's dwelling limit. Most insurers will charge you extra for this coverage.
Home Office and Computer Coverage
Many insurers who offer protection for computers and home office equipment will give you less than $2,000 in coverage in the standard policy.
Hippo’s policy limit goes up to $10,000 so that it can fully cover your expensive laptop and more.
If your expensive appliances, like your washing machine and stove, get damaged due to electrical or mechanical failure, the insurer will provide you up to $100,000 of coverage for repairing or replacing them.
If your appliances are expensive, this coverage is right for you.
And most insurers will only offer you equipment breakdown as an add-on or endorsement that you must pay extra for.
Service Line Coverage
Hippo will repair any damage to a sewer, water, or electric line that connects your home to the street.
Like the company’s appliance coverage, service line is usually offered by other insurers as an endorsement.
The insurer offers policyholders up to $20,000 of protection against damage caused by water backup from drains or sewers.
However, water backup coverage, like most insurance policies, doesn’t cover flood damage caused by storms or hurricanes.
How’s Hippo Rated?
- AM Best: A-
|Quick quotes||Unlike other insurers, Hippo only offers home insurance and condo insurance; thus, there is no bundling discount|
|Purchase coverage in less than five minutes||Doesn't have face-to-face customer support|
|Protect appliances and electronics at no extra cost||Not available in many states|
|Many discounts to lower your premium||No online claims|
|Some discounts are exclusive to the company, such as getting a reduced rate if you install storm shutters||Not rated by most third-party rating sites|
Chubb: Best Policy for High-Net-Worth Clients
Chubb insurance was designed to cover the wealthy, so if you don’t want to pay dearly for policy coverage or if you don’t live in a home that’s worth millions, you should look elsewhere.
But for those who are looking for world-class coverage, Chubb is your best bet.
For example, Chubb has a national network of many agents and brokers to ensure its customers get personalized attention.
As such, Chubb has a low level of customer complaints in comparison to other insurers.
However, Chubb's excellent home protection comes at a price, so its insurance policies are more relevant to high-net-worth people who have high-value properties and personal belongings.
Still, most of their policies that are considered add-ons to other insurers are covered under Chubb’s standard policy.
Here are some examples.
Unlike other insurers, you can get higher liability costs with coverage up to $100 million.
Replacement cost rather than depreciated value (ACV) of your expensive belongings comes standard. So too does replacement cost for home repairs and rebuilding costs.
Replacement cost is also offered for appliances and fixtures, which allows customers to receive the same or the latest models and does not deduct for depreciation. As an alternative, customers can choose a cash settlement.
In the event of a covered total loss of your home, Chubb again offers policyholders a cash settlement if they don’t want their house to be rebuilt or rebuilt in a different area.
Risk consulting offers complimentary home appraisals as well as security and fire prevention advice.
Chubb raises the standard for loss of use. It will assist you in finding a suitable place to stay (such as a nice hotel) with an emphasis on comfort and if your standard of living is high.
If you have children in school, Chubb will find you a home similar to yours after a covered peril so your children won’t miss any school days.
HomeScan analyzes your home to see if there are any problems, such as areas with insufficient or missing insulation and any plumbing fixtures that may cause water leaks in the future.
Wildfire Defensive Services provides support to customers after a wildfire destroys their homes and during the claims process.
If trees fall on your home or your property after a storm, Chubb will remove them at no additional cost to you.
The insurer restores electronic data that is destroyed by a computer virus.
Lock replacement helps customers replace keys if they are lost or stolen.
You can be relieved that your home will be rebuilt in full after a covered peril even if damages exceed the limit in your policy.
How’s Chubb Rated?
- BBB: A+
- JD Power: 2/5
- NAIC: 0.14
- AM Best: A++
|Chubb flood insurance has coverage limits higher than those of most private insurers||Policyholders pay a high premium that is higher than both the state average and the national average|
|Pays for any injuries sustained by your pet in a covered accident, up to $2,000||Only covers high-cost homes|
|Replacement cost coverage included in standard policy||Coverage not sold through website or central call center; you only deal with local agents to ensure that they know your area or personal situation (like when making a claim)|
|Concierge service for wildfires and hurricanes||Many customer reviews cite that Chubb’s app is unhelpful|
|Deductible waived if loss is greater than $50,000|
|Unlimited loss-of-use coverage in most states|
|Covers expenses for traumatic events like carjacking and home invasion|
|Unique discounts such as if you own a home constructed through masonry methods|
Travelers: Best Policy for Discounts to Lower Your Premium
Travelers is a large company with brand name recognition and solid financials.
While a Travelers homeowners insurance policy may be pricier than its competition, the insurer has a lot of discounts to lower your premium.
Most of these discounts are standard fare and not unique.
|Multi-Policy Discount||Save up to 12% when you bundle your home insurance policy with an auto policy and three other policies, such as umbrella, boat, or a personal articles floater.|
|Homebuyer Discount||You're eligible for a discount if you purchased a home at least 12 months before the policy effective date.|
|Loss Free Discount||If you haven’t experienced a loss within a specific time period, you can get a discount. The timing will depend on your state of residence but will typically be after a year or two.|
|Protective Device Discount||You can save if you have any of the following devices in your home: Smoke detectors and fire alarms, interior sprinkler systems, home security systems, or smart home technology that alert the policyholder that a fire or burglary is happening.|
|Green Home Discount||You can save up to 5% if your home is already certified "green home" by the LEED (Leadership Energy and Environmental Design).|
How’s Travelers Rated?
- AM Best: A++
- JD Power: 872/1,000
- NAIC: 0.64
|For homeowners who need a wide range of extra coverage options||High rates compared to other major insurers|
|Many unique endorsement options||Affordable for small policy limits but has high prices for policy limits over $75,000|
|Customers don't need to worry about Travelers’ ability to pay insurance claims, as the company is in great financial health||When filing a claim, you’ll likely experience long turnaround times and subpar customer service|
|As a large, established company, Travelers has an advantage over smaller companies in absorbing the costs of a regional crisis||J.D. Power affirms Travelers’ inconsistent customer service by ranking the company in the bottom half of companies for claims|
Safeco: Best for Unique Insurance Deductible
Safeco, which is owned by Liberty Mutual, is known for its many add-ons that you can purchase to increase your home coverage.
Extra payouts for high-cost belongings like jewelry and art.
Household and appliance equipment repairs due to electrical or mechanical problems.
Additional dwelling coverage in the event you exceed your policy limit.
Reimbursement if you spend money to recover from identity theft.
Connections to prescreened contractors for any repairs, with Safeco providing a warranty for the work.
But what makes Safeco stand out is its single loss insurance deductible option.
Single loss works like this. If you bundle your homeowners insurance with other Safeco policies, you’ll only pay one deductible even if you have multiple types of claims for a single incident.
For example, if a tree on your property falls and damages both your garage and car, you’ll need to cover only the homeowners insurance deductible rather than both the home and auto deductibles.
How’s Safeco Rated?
- A.M. Best: A+
- Moody's: A2
- Standard & Poor's: A-
- NAIC: 1.53
|Best for those who want to get quotes and ask questions face-to-face via video chat||Offers few discounts, making it difficult to save on your premium|
|Inexpensive add-on coverages||No unique discounts, like making home greener|
|Many ways to file a claim||Not available in Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, or Washington, D.C.|
|Straightforward claims process||Below average customer service ratings|
|Great coverage options||NAIC 1.53 score puts insurer below average for the industry|
|Variety of other insurance products||Website looks like a phishing scam due to many pop-ups that seem fake|
|Equipment breakdown add-on coverage is just $2 a month|
|Partners with American Home Shield to offer home warranty in some states|
How We Decided
To determine the best companies that provided homeowners insurance, we looked at several factors, including affordable pricing, coverage options to increase your policy limits, as well as the discounts an insurer offered that could lower your premium.
We looked at homeowners insurance policies based on how much coverage they offered.
If an insurer offered many coverage options to expand the cost limits of a basic or standard policy, we put that company on our list.
Specifically, we looked at unique coverages that came standard in a basic policy at no cost to you.
For example, if an insurer offered equipment breakdown or repair of any damage to a sewer, water, or electric line, we took note of that.
In the end, it was important that the coverage we looked at didn’t come as an endorsement that you had to pay extra for.
We narrowed down our focus to those companies that had the most discounts. That was to ensure that a prospective policyholder could purchase a policy at the lowest possible rate.
We also looked at companies that had affordable premiums. If the insurance company had a rate below the national average or below the average cost of homeowners insurance in Maryland, we put that company on our list.
We looked at many sites that offered customer reviews to also narrow down our options. The ones with the most positive reviews were more favorable to us.
If a company’s website and app allowed you to manage most of your insurance needs electronically or if both were easy to use even for the technophobe, then that’s a company that we considered.
We lucked out by honing in on two companies that were powered by artificial intelligence—Branch Financial and Lemonade—as these insurers use technology to save you time.
We surveyed insurance coverage prices in Baltimore, Columbia, Germantown, Silver Spring, and Waldorf.
Is It Mandatory to Buy Home Insurance in Maryland?
Homeowners insurance isn't mandatory by law.
However, if you have a home mortgage, the lender will likely require it to protect its investment.
Even if you own your home outright, you can save a lot of money on out-of-pocket costs with homeowners insurance if your house is damaged or needs to be rebuilt due to a covered peril or if your personal property is destroyed.
Homeowners insurance will pay to have your home rebuilt and will replace your belongings.
What is Covered in Homeowners Insurance?
Every homeowners insurance has a basic policy that you must purchase first before applying for discounts or adding on additional coverage.
The basic policy typically covers the following:
If your house is damaged or destroyed due to a fire or a natural disaster, or a covered event that you could not have predicted, your insurer will cover the cost of rebuilding your home.
If you cause bodily injury or property damage to another person unintentionally or through neglect, your insurance will pay for any medical bills that the injured person racks up.
If the injured person ends up suing you, rest assured that your liability coverage will pay for any legal fees and legal representation.
This policy pays if someone is injured on your property and needs medical treatment, regardless of who’s at fault. Also pays if you, a family member, or a pet like a dog injures someone elsewhere.
This pays to repair or replace your personal belongings that are stolen or damaged in a covered peril, whether that happens in your home or while you are on a vacation or a business trip, basically any place where you are not at home or far from home.
Loss of Use
If your home is destroyed and you can’t possibly live there due to health reasons or because it’s simply unhabitable, loss of use pays for basic living expenses, such as hotel stays and meals.
What Factors Determine Your Maryland Homeowners Insurance Rate?
In Maryland, home insurance costs differently for each homeowner.
That’s because there are many factors that can determine your rate.
The largest factor that insurers take into consideration of is how likely you are to file a claim.
The insurer’s goal is to keep costs down. As such, the insurer would like to spend as little as possible.
So, when a homeowners insurance company considers the many factors and determines there is a higher chance of you making a claim, then that is a red flag and will definitely increase your rate.
The following factors impact your home insurance rates:
The cost of your insurance policy will depend largely on how much coverage you buy.
Some Maryland residents will spring for endorsements or add-ons to supplement the standard homeowners insurance policy, which can only pay for property damages up to the policy’s limit, and not at full cost.
This means your premium will rise for each add-on you purchase.
But in this way, you have peace of mind because your endorsements will help cover the full costs of any damages.
Most Maryland residents live in flood-prone neighborhoods due to hurricanes and high winds.
A homeowner may buy a separate policy for flood insurance.
Flood damage to personal property that is caused by water coming from outside your home, such as a hurricane, is never covered.
So that’s why you would buy flood insurance.
But flood insurance is expensive.
The average cost of flood insurance in the United States is $700 per year, according to FEMA.
This means, if your homeowners insurance costs $1,000 or more each year, you may be paying almost near $2,000 if you add on the flood insurance cost.
Maryland has a high violent crime rate than the national average.
Maryland was ranked as the eleventh-highest violent crime rate state in the US.
As for property crime, there are around 117,901 burglaries and acts of theft each year in Maryland.
So, the location of your home can determine your premium because certain neighborhoods in Maryland are inherently more safe than others.
If you live in a neighborhood that is known for being safe and is near a fire hydrant or a fire department, you’ll pay less.
But if you live in an area that is known for theft or crime, then you are basically putting yourself in the path of an insurance claim.
Your insurer will take this into consideration because your unsafe neighborhood heightens the chances that you'll need funds to cover any damage.
In the eyes of the lender, if you have a good to great credit score, you will be perceived as a lower risk.
This means that the insurer thinks that you are likely to pay your premium each month, and on time, and your rate will be reduced.
But if you have poor credit, the lender will perceive that you are an at-risk person who will more likely miss payments or file claims.
However, Maryland residents don’t have to worry about their credit affecting their rate because Maryland is one of the few states that doesn’t set your rate according to your credit score.
This is a Maryland state law and Maryland is one of the few states with this restriction.
Marriage can also determine your rate.
Because insurance companies believe that married couples statistically file fewer claims than those who are not married, they will grant them a lower rate because of the presupposed lower risk.
The Age of Your Home
Homeowners insurers will take into consideration how difficult it would be to repair or rebuild your home to determine your rate.
You are a risk if you live in an older home because insurers believe that your home may not be up to code, such as your electrical and HVAC system and your plumbing systems.
But if your home has these things and they are in good working order, then your rate will be lower.
How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost in Maryland?
If you are looking for the cheapest homeowners insurance, bear in mind that the cost differs for each homeowner because each has different needs and each has different profiles.
And the cost of your premium will rise if you add extra coverage to supplement your policy.
That said, the average cost of home insurance in Maryland is $1,390 per year or $115 per month.
The cost of the national average is $1,680 per year or $140 per month.
The homeowners insurance policy with the lowest rate is State Farm. The premium is $1,350 per year or $112 per month.
For comparison, note that State Farm is lower than both the state average and the national average.
Also, note that the state average is a little higher due to Maryland’s high crime rate and its frequency of natural disasters.
Are There Ways to Reduce the Cost of Homeowners Insurance?
If you are looking to reduce the cost of a policy, the easiest way to do this is to get as many quotes as you can from different companies so you can compare them and find the one with the lowest cost.
But the biggest way to reduce the cost of your premium is to ask your insurer for discounts.
Discounts are things offered by an insurance company that will lower your premium.
If a company has a lot of discounts, then you can lower your rate substantially.
The most important discount to get is a multi-policy discount.
Most insurers that have a few policies or more (such as life and auto, for example), will offer a multi-policy discount.
This means if you bundle your homeowners insurance with your auto from the same company, or if you add on additional insurance like life insurance, you’ll get a high percentage off your premium.
Here are the most common homeowners insurance discounts that will help lower your premium:
Raise Your Deductible
The standard deductible in the home insurance industry is usually at least $500.
If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25%.
The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premiums.
Remodeling Your Home
If you remodel your home, you’ll get a discount.
The most popular remodels alter your home in a useful way. These include your bathroom and kitchen.
So, if you remodel your bath, the insurer will feel confident because the bath will have new plumbing. There’s less of a chance that the homeowner will file a claim due to break down or overflow of water.
Water shutoff devices, new plumbing, and updating or getting a new HVAC system can lead to a lower premium.
If you remain with the same insurer for a long time, such as six or five years, you’ll get a loyalty discount or some sort of saving on your policy.
If you haven’t made a claim for a set time determined by the insurer. you may qualify for a discount for being claims-free.
Fortifying Your Home
Installing security devices in your home or having security measures (say your home is in a gated community) lessens the chance of a burglary.
When you have these things, you lower the chance of making a claim, which, of course, is good news to insurers.
Popular security devices include installing deadbolts and lots of locks, installing fire alarms, having multiple fire extinguishers, and putting in your home a security camera to monitor it 24/7.
In addition, what insurers prefer is if you live near a fire hydrant or live close to a professional fire department because then the department can respond to a fire engulfing your house more quickly.
This means less damage to your home from a fire, which makes your claim smaller, and insurers get peace of mind.
Being a Certain Age
Most burglaries happen during the day, not the night because that’s usually the time when homeowners are out and or at work.
But it helps if you are retired and spend most of the days at home, as this lessens the chance of your home being burglarized.
You’ll then get a good discount just for being at home.
If you smoke, you increase your chances that a cigarette can cause a fire in your home.
An insurer will give you a discount if you don’t smoke because a fire due to a cigarette may require you to renovate or rehabilitate your home, and the claim can be very costly to the insurer.
Read more: Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fires?
Getting an impact-resistant roof lessens the chance of hail causing damage to your roof.
What Should You Look for When Buying a Policy?
Many potential policyholders base buying a policy on cost alone.
But you should never do that.
You should also look to see what the insurer has to offer.
Price is often the overwhelming factor when comparing homeowners insurance companies, but customer service comes into play when you need the policy to work for you.
It's often hard to put a price on the value of a good customer service experience.
Having great customer service is essential. You want your rep or agent to be friendly and knowledgeable. The rep should be able to explain the policy you may be looking at in a calm and reassuring manner and using the simplest language that anyone can understand.
Multiple Ways to Connect
If you can reach an agent via phone, text, chat, or by going online, then that means you have many ways to connect to a rep. You can choose the one that is easiest for you or the one that saves you the most time.
Get to Know the Insurer
It’s a good idea to ask the rep a lot of questions to make sure you know as much as you can about the company.
For example, you may want to know about the company’s financials. If you learn that a company has a high financial strength, then you can worry less about whether that company can reimburse you for a claim.
You can also do this by looking at the company’s AM Best rating.
Pay Attention to Discounts
As we indicated, a company that offers discounts means that you can lower your premium.
So, you should always look at how many discounts an insurer has.
Look at the company’s website and app to see if it is easy to use and navigate.
How many issues or questions you have about your policy can you ascertain just by looking at a company’s website?
See also how easy it is to make a claim on the insurer’s customer portal and how fast it is for the insurer to reimburse you.
What Natural Disasters are Covered in a Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy?
The following natural disasters, often called covered perils, are covered.
- Windstorm and hail damage
- Smoke damage
- Volcanic eruption
- Weight of ice, sleet, or snow
- Water damage unrelated to natural floods
What Natural Disasters are Not Covered in a Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy?
The following natural disasters are not covered in a standard homeowners insurance policy.
- Natural floods
What Natural Disasters Occur in Maryland?
Maryland's most common natural disasters include hurricanes, severe storms, tropical storms, winter storms, tornadoes, wildfires, landslides, and extreme heat.
All heavy storms cause flooding.
Flooding is the most detrimental natural disaster in Maryland. So flash, riverine, and coastal flooding are the major concerns.
So, Do I Need Flood Coverage?
Homeowners insurance never covers flooding caused by water that comes from outside your home.
In Maryland, since flood damage is prominent, a homeowner should take out a separate flood insurance policy to cover belongings that may be damaged due to natural floods.
What Else is Not Covered in Homeowners Insurance in Maryland?
A standard policy will only cover a limited expense that’s not up to the full value of your most prized possessions.
In some cases, a standard policy won’t cover you at all.
For example, property damage due to water damage caused by flooding from a hurricane is not included in a standard policy.
An insurer also won’t cover bed bugs, termites, insect damage, bird or rodent damage, rust, rot, mold, and general wear and tear.
The reason behind the lack of coverage for insects, in general, is that insurers believe the damage they cause is due to negligence on the policyholder’s part.
And if you also neglect or fail to maintain your property to the point that it won’t work properly, then you won’t be covered.
For example, if you keep burning your expensive oven because you leave it unattended while cooking, an insurer won’t pay for the cost to replace it.
What are Add-Ons and Do You Need Them?
Homeowners insurance protects us from many emergencies that we couldn’t have predicted.
These are covered perils.
A covered peril is an event that the insurer agrees to reimburse you after you file a claim.
Covered perils include fire, lightning strikes, windstorms and hail, the weight of snow and ice, theft, and vandalism.
However, every policy has its limitations and exclusions.
That’s why you need to purchase add-ons.
Add-ons, also called endorsements, floaters, and riders, provide extra coverage that you may need.
With add-ons, homeowners can include benefits to their coverage that were previously excluded from the basic or standard policy.
With endorsements, you can also increase your coverage limits for high-cost personal belongings like jewelry and artwork, which a standard home insurance policy only offers limited coverage for.
An endorsement will raise your premium.
However, the protection if offers may be worth the slight increase in costs.
Here are some examples.
Scheduled Personal Property
Usually, home insurance policies have limitations when it comes to insuring expensive personal belongings.
A standard policy will only cover a limited expense that’s not up to the full value of your most prized possessions.
So, if you own expensive artwork, you may have to schedule it by adding it to your standard policy.
This will increase your premium but will fully cover the artwork.
Scheduling means you can enlarge the coverage amounts of your insurance for your artwork or other high-cost belongings.
A scheduled personal property endorsement not only can raise your payout limits for expensive property but can also reduce or even eliminate the deductible.
Property types insured by scheduled personal property coverage include:
- Expensive antiques
- Fine art
- Musical instruments
- Silver and goldware
- Technology devices like computers and smartphones.
- Service Line Coverage
A standard policy will usually repair damage to your home due to ruptured utility lines that are beneath it.
However, service line repair is not covered in a standard policy.
As such, it’s wise to add service line coverage to your policy because service lines are more likely to be damaged over time.
With service line coverage, you can get reimbursed for backed up or punctured utility lines, including:
- Cable lines
- Drain pipes
- Fiber optics
- Internet lines
- Natural gas pipes
- Power lines
- Sewer pipes
- Sprinkler pipes
- Steam pipes
- Water pipes
You are also insured against damage to your services lines that aren’t covered in a standard policy, including:
- Mechanical or electrical breakdown
- Mold, fungus, or wet rot
- Regular wear and tear
- Tree or root-caused damage
- Smog, rust, or other corrosion
- Vermin, insects, or rodent damage
- Home-Based Business Endorsement
Nowadays, the trend is to work from home.
As such, you’ll have home office property like a computer, a copy machine, a scanner, and more.
The maximum payout for home business property is typically $2,500 in a standard policy.
If you have any of the above, as well as tech devices that you use for work, that limit will probably not be enough to fully cover or replace everything you may have lost if your home office is damaged due to a covered peril, such as if it was broken into.
To protect your business property, you should consider purchasing a home-based business endorsement.
This endorsement covers personal property in your home office and can replace lost items in the event of a covered peril.
Home Construction Material Coverage
A home construction endorsement will cover theft and damage to building materials while your home is being reconstructed after a covered peril.
This is usually not covered in a standard policy due to the perceived increased risk of theft, vandalism, and storm or hurricane-related damage.
Equipment Breakdown Coverage
While a standard policy will cover your major appliances if they are damaged by fire or other covered peril, it will not pay to repair or replace them if they break down due to mechanical or electrical failure.
But having equipment breakdown coverage will.
It’s something worth considering. How would you like it if the appliances and equipment you use daily break down?
A washer or dryer may be used daily.
In the summer, you rely on your air conditioner.
At night, you may use your smart TV or other home entertainment system to unwind and relax after a hard day at work.
As such it’s an inconvenience if any of these things break down.
Without the endorsement, you will have to pay out of pocket to replace your equipment.
With equipment breakdown coverage, the following devices and appliances are covered:
- Boilers and furnaces
- Computers and related equipment
- Heating and air conditioning systems
- Home entertainment systems
- Home security systems
- Washers and dryers
- Refrigerators and freezers
- Ovens and microwaves
- Water heaters
However, keep in mind that equipment breakdown coverage doesn’t cover maintenance issues.
This means if your devices or major appliances aren’t working properly or stop working entirely due to normal wear and tear, rust corrosion, pest damage, or anything else that has a maintenance problem, you will not be covered for repairs.