8 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Washington DC of 2022
Your home is likely the most valuable asset you own and possibly the most expensive thing you’ll ever buy.
If you live in Washington, DC, your primary duty as a homeowner is to protect it.
That means you should have a homeowners insurance policy in place.
While homeowners insurance is not required in Washington, DC, if you have a home mortgage, your lender will require it to protect its investment.
To find the best homeowners insurance in Washington, DC, you may want to think about how affordable a policy is, customer service ratings, if there are many coverage options, discounts, and how easy it is to make a claim.
With so many considerations about homeowners insurance, how can you be sure you are getting the one that fits your needs?
Compare the coverage and cost of the best homeowners insurance providers in Washington, DC, picked by PropertyNest expert editors:
Best Homeowners Insurance in Washington DC
- Allstate: Best For Claims-Free Homeowners
- Amica: Best for High-Quality Contractors
- Liberty Mutual: Best for High-Risk Crime Rate Policy
- State Farm: Best Affordable Policy
- Travelers: Best For Comprehensive Coverages
- Erie Insurance: Best Policy for Coverages That Cost Extra with Other Insurers
- Lemonade: Best Charitable Policy
- Hippo: Best Policy for Quick Quote
Allstate: Best For Claims-Free Homeowners
Allstate has solid coverage, a great financial standing, and cost-saving discounts.
Allstate also has the best claims-free policy that you can take advantage of if you take great care of your home.
If you don’t make a claim for a period set by Allstate, you can get a discount.
And if you switched to Allstate and hadn’t filed a claim with your previous insurer, you can get up to a 20% discount on your premium.
Moreover, Allstate will lower your deductible amount for every additional year you stay claims-free and keep your homeowners insurance with the insurer.
If that isn’t enough, Allstate also offers an option called Rateguard. This option allows you to file one free claim every five years without causing your premium to rise.
However, this coverage comes with an extra fee. So, if you don’t make a claim, you may have lost money.
Read a full Allstate homeowners insurance review.
Allstate Homeowners Insurance Pros & Cons
- HostAdvantage home-sharing coverage if you use AirBnB or Vrbo
- For green improvement, you can be reimbursed.
- Offers musical instrument and sports equipment endorsements.
- If you bundle your home and auto policies with Allstate, you can save up to 25%.
- Optional add-ons not typical of insurance companies.
- Personal property limit is lower than average in comparison to similar insurers.
- Rather than covering total loss, coverage is capped at a set percentage of the dwelling coverage.
- HostAdvantage not available in all 50 states.
|J.D. Power (out of 1,000)||815|
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A+|
|NAIC Complaint Index||2.05|
Amica: Best for High-Quality Contractors
If you need your home repaired after a covered peril, you know that it matters who the contractors are. You don’t just want anyone. That’s why some homeowners choose their own contractors, and this is what Amica allows you to do.
But what if you don’t have a contractor in mind or have no time to research the best contractor? The last thing you want to do is go on review sites to find a contractor after you just lost your home.
Amica takes out the guesswork. The insurer partners with “Contractor Connection,” a database listing more than 2,000 qualified contractors.
You can be sure the right professionals are repairing your home because all contractors undergo a strict vetting process to ensure they are properly licensed, insured, and financially stable.
The claims process is thus hassle-free because the insurer works directly with contractors to reach an agreed price on all repairs.
In addition, the insurer oversees your restoration process to ensure you are satisfied in case any problems arise.
And if there’s an emergency, Amica can send out the professionals within hours.
A five-year warranty ensures that all work completed by the contractors adheres to standards accepted by local building repair practices.
Amica Homeowners Insurance Pros & Cons
- Dividend Policy refunds some money back to you that you’ve already paid to help offset your premium.
- Best-in-class claims handling and customer satisfaction ratings.
- Fewer customer complaints than the industry median relative to its size.
- Discounts for being claims-free.
- Discounts not available in all states.
- Limited coverage endorsements.
|J.D. Power (out of 1,000)||849|
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A+|
|NAIC Complaint Index||0.32|
Liberty Mutual: Best for High-Risk Crime Rate Policy
Washington, DC, has one of the highest crime rates in the United States.
Liberty Mutual has the best overall coverage for the crime.
Its homeowners insurance will protect you from property theft, vandalism, and burglaries over and beyond your policy limits.
It also offers additional coverage for expensive items like collectibles and artwork.
And you can also purchase blanket jewelry coverage so that these high-cost items are fully protected.
Liberty Mutual is your top choice. Not many companies sell high-risk homeowners insurance if you live in a high crime-rate area. Those that do tend to limit coverage and require more expensive premiums.
So, because high-risk homes cost more to insure, Liberty offers a plethora of discounts to help reduce your monthly premium.
Read a full Liberty Mutual home insurance review.
Liberty Mutual Discounts
- Multipolicy or bundling.
- Adding security devices to your home such as security cameras, fire alarms, burglar alarms, deadbolts, and fire extinguishers.
- You'll also get a discount if you have water leak detection, shutoff devices, or sprinklers.
- If you just bought a new home or recently renovated your home and included all new electricals, plumbing, and HVAC systems and also added a new roof, your premium will be lower.
- Homeowners who are insured by another company are eligible for a reduced rate if they get a quote from Liberty before that other insurance terminates.
- You qualify for a discount if you choose replacement cost to insure your home rather than ACV or actual cash value.
- If you are an active military member or a veteran, you also get a discount.
Liberty Mutual Homeowners Insurance Pros & Cons
- 10% off if purchase insurance online.
- Very affordable rates; one of the lowest in the industry.
- Takes only 5-10 minutes to file claim.
- Live chat to help prospective policyholders during the quote process.
- Inflation protection adjusts coverage each year to account for inflation.
- Claims can be made by video call.
- Easy to use website and innovative app.
- High premium due to DC crime rate.
- 10% off available in only select states.
- 10% off only basic policy; endorsements not included.
- Above-average customer complaints.
- Coverage denied if own certain dog breeds.
|J.D. Power (out of 1,000)||805|
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A|
|NAIC Complaint Index||2.37|
State Farm: Best Affordable Policy
State Farm is one of the largest insurers in the nation. Even so, the company has one of the cheapest policy rates.
State Farm’s average rate of $200,000 dwelling costs $780 per year or $65 per month.
For Washington, DC., the average cost is $895, or $75 per month.
This makes State Farm cheaper than the state and national averages.
State Farm has the best deal compared to all the insurance companies that made a list.
In addition, your already low premium can be even lower if you take advantage of State Farm’s copious amount of discounts.
Read a full State Farm homeowners insurance review.
State Farm Homeowners Insurance Discounts
- Roof: If you upgrade your roof using weather-resistant and impact-resistant roofing materials.
- Fire Safety Program: Policyholders may be eligible for a free electronic component that monitors your house’s electricals and alerts you to any problems before your system can cause a fire in your home. If you use the component, you’ll get a discount.
- Multi-Policy Discount.
- Home Alert Protection: If you install a fire alarm, a burglar alarm, or a fire protection device, you’ll also save.
- Higher Deductible Discount: If you increase your deductible an extra $500, $1,000, or $5,000, your premium will be lower.
- Features “Increased Dwelling Limit” coverage.
- Multiple resources and calculators make insurer great for first-time homebuyers who are unfamiliar with insurance jargon and the ins and outs of homeowners insurance.
- Website and app make it easy to file a claim or get a quote online.
- Website has “find an agent” tool that can quickly connect to a live customer service rep.
- You don’t get a discount if you never file a claim, unlike almost all insurers.
- No new home discount.
- Policies not available through independent agents.
- Online quoting system assigns local agent to assist with policy but not necessarily the one located closest to your property address.
- Options for home policy deductibles may be more limited than that of other insurers.
- The online quoting system may not be available for mobile or manufactured homes.
|J.D. Power (out of 1,000)||829|
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A++|
|NAIC Complaint Index||1.77|
Travelers: Best For Comprehensive Coverages
- Multi-Policy Discount.
- Loss-Free Discount.
- Protective Device Discount.
Travelers has many coverages that can make your basic or standard policy more comprehensive and have broader protection.
The following coverages can be added to your homeowners insurance without difficulty.
Special Personal Property Coverage
Offers broader protection for your personal property after a covered loss and can cover more in most situations than your homeowners insurance policy.
Contents Replacement Cost
If your personal property is damaged by a covered peril or because of theft, Travelers will replace it using today’s prices with no deduction for depreciation.
Additional Replacement Cost Protection Coverage
Additional replacement cost coverage kicks in to help repair or rebuild your home if your dwelling coverage is not enough.
Travelers Valuable Items
This provides higher limits and expanded protection for high-value items like jewelry and artwork.
Green Home Coverage
Green home coverage provides additional protection that can help cover the costs to repair, replace or rebuild your home after a covered loss using green materials.
Travelers Homeowners Insurance Pros & Cons
- Green company.
- Personal property replacement cost coverage is subject to applicable policy limits and deductibles.
- Easy to find features on website and app.
- Offers water backup and sump pump discharge or overflow as add-on.
- Must speak to a rep if you want additional coverage.
- Replacement cost isn’t covered in standard policy and must be purchased for an extra cost.
- Though windstorms are considered covered perils, there is no additional wind damage coverage available.
- Doesn’t insure mobile or manufactured homes.
- Policy is paid annually, not monthly.
|J.D. Power (out of 1,000)||794|
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A++|
|NAIC Complaint Index||3.88|
Erie Insurance: Best Policy for Coverages That Cost Extra with Other Insurers
Erie homeowners insurance stands out for offering coverages that most insurers charge extra for or don’t offer, or only do so in a limited capacity.
Erie offers replacement cost coverage as standard in its policy, which most companies charge extra for as an add-on.
Replacement cost means you can get reimbursed after a covered peril for the full amount you paid and using today’s prices rather than ACV (actual cash value), which only offers a depreciated value.
So, replacement cost allows you to get your home rebuilt in an exact way before it was destroyed rather than receiving a depreciated amount.
Coverage is more extensive in comparison to other insurers and also has few exclusions.
Not only covers theft, but also lost or misplaced items.
Larger limits on jewelry, watches, precious stones, and firearms.
Gift Card/Gift Certificate
Reimburses customers up to $250 for remaining balances on gift cards or gift certificates if they can no longer be redeemed at indie, locally owned, or mom-and-pop owned stores and businesses due to business closures.
Animals, including birds and fish, are covered up to $500.
Includes things like deeds, passports, bills, and more.
It’s worth pointing out that Erie offers, at an additional cost, home-sharing coverage when you rent out your house using AirBnB or Vrbo so you don’t need to buy insurance from those companies.
This is rare, and only Allstate and USAA, and a few others have this option.
Erie Homeowners Insurance Pros & Cons
- Offers 16% to 25% discount for bundling and additional discounts if you install security devices such as automatic sprinklers, smoke detectors, and burglar alarms.
- Provides 100% guaranteed replacement cost.
- Many add-ons include liability coverage, home-sharing coverage, identity recovery, and service line protection.
- Standard policy covers damage caused by falling trees or branches.
- Standard policy covers loss caused by mold or dry rot up to $10,000; exclusive to insurer.
- Erie’s level of customer complaints is lower than expected given the company’s size.
- Limited state availability.
- Offers only home insurance and condo insurance, which means no bundling discount.
- Doesn't have face-to-face customer support.
- No online claims.
- Not rated by most third-party rating sites.
|J.D. Power (out of 1,000)||835|
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A+|
|NAIC Complaint Index||0.65 (Average)|
Lemonade: Best Charitable Policy
Lemonade Insurance is an online-only insurance company that uses AI (artificial intelligence) to provide notably fast home insurance quotes and claims payment.
The insurer can provide a quote in a few minutes.
All you need to do is fill out a form on Lemonade’s website and choose the coverage amount you want.
It also makes the claims process fast, and the insurer states that it can reimburse you after a claim in a matter of minutes.
But what we most admire about Lemonade is its charitable contributions.
Lemonade's “Giveback” program will donate up to 40% of premiums that haven’t been used to pay out claims to a non-profit organization of your choice.
Here’s how it works. You purchase a policy and select a non-profit that is meaningful to you. Once a year, the insurer tallies up any unclaimed money left from you and other policyholders who chose your cause.
Then the company gives back any unclaimed money to the non-profit you’ve chosen.
Read a full Lemonade home insurance review.
Lemonade Homeowners Insurance Pros & Cons
- Lemonade handles 30% of claims instantly; in most situations, claims can be paid in as little as three minutes.
- Flat fee for administration, in addition to low monthly premiums.
- 10% bundling discount when combining home insurance with pet insurance.
- Has coverage matching tool to help homeowners compare prices between home insurance companies.
- Offers a unique endorsement for swimming pool coverage.
- Company built for online use only.
- No live agents.
- Doesn’t cover every state.
- Can be more expensive than its quoted rate found on its website.
- Few discounts to lower premiums.
|J.D. Power (out of 1,000)||870|
|NAIC Complaint Index||1.94|
Hippo: Best Policy for Quick Quote
Lemonade is known for its quick quote process. And in a few minutes, you can submit a claim. In three seconds, you can get reimbursed for your claim.
But Hippo is also fast. All you need to do is complete the quote process entirely online and you can get a quote in as fast as a minute.
In turn, to become a policyholder or to receive the policy, it takes only five minutes.
For those who are tech-savvy, Hippo’s online process is ideal.
Using technology means you can do everything online, such as purchase extra coverage, and you can do this any time you want due to Hippo’s intuitive and easy-to-use website.
Besides its fast technology, Hippo is also known for giving homeowners safety measures to protect them.
Hippo gives homeowners kits, such as one that includes smoke, CO2, and water-leaker detectors that cost $64, and another one that adds 24/7 monitoring of your home and having an emergency dispatch service that costs $91.
If you agree to install either, the company states you can save an average of $64 a year on your premium.
Like other safety features and devices that other insurers would like you to install and use, Hippo is trying to protect you in the event a covered peril destroys your home. With safety devices, you have less of a chance of your home burning down because you have a fire extinguisher and a smoke alarm.
It's also protecting your house to protect itself; you are less inclined to make a claim and the insurer saves money if you don’t.
Hippo Homeowners Insurance Pros & Cons
- Protect appliances and electronics at no extra cost.
- Many discounts to lower your premium.
- Some discounts are exclusive to the company, such as getting a reduced rate if you install storm shutters.
- Home-Care Expert program offers referrals to contractors and other providers.
- Discounts only available after homes have access to digital and smart systems.
- Unlike other insurers, Hippo only offers home insurance and condo insurance; thus, there is no bundling discount.
- Doesn't have face-to-face customer support.
- Not available in many states.
- Not rated by most third-party rating sites.
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A-|
How We Decided
When it came down to finding the best insurer in Washington, DC, we looked at a company’s customer reviews, its affordable pricing, its many coverage options, whether it has enough discounts to lower your premium, and more.
We narrowed down our focus on those companies that had the most unique or easy-to-qualify discounts that could bring down the price of your premium.
We looked at homeowners insurance policies based on how much coverage they offered.
Because the standard policy offers limited coverage, it was important to us that an insurer had a range of coverages to customize a policy, or to make it more comprehensive.
We also watched out for additional coverages that came standard in your basic policy and that normally comes as an added cost with an insurer.
In particular, we looked at insurers that offered replacement costs as standard in its policy.
Most didn’t, so we paid attention to replacement cost coverage that you had to buy as an add-on.
It’s wise to choose RCV because your home will be rebuilt as it was before a covered peril destroyed it.
And your damaged personal property will be reimbursed at current market prices rather than be subjected to depreciation.
If a company’s website and app allow you to manage most of your insurance needs electronically or if both are easy to use even for the technophobe, then that’s a company that we considered.
Bonus points for a company that could give you an online quote in the fastest method possible and responds to a claim in a timely fashion.
We looked at many sites offering customer reviews to narrow our options. The ones with the most positive reviews were included on our list.
In addition, we also turned to the NAIC to see how many complaints were filed for an insurer.
We also looked at companies that had affordable premiums. If the insurance company had a rate below the national average and below the average cost of homeowners insurance in Washington, DC we put that company on our list.
Is It Mandatory to Buy Home Insurance in Washington, DC?
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.
If you are on the fence about buying homeowners insurance, ask yourself this: do you have enough money to repair or rebuild your home if it was destroyed by fire or damaged by high winds?
Most people can’t, which is why home insurance is important to have.
What is Covered in Homeowners Insurance?
Every homeowners insurance has a basic policy you must purchase 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, 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 is a Covered Peril?
Homeowners insurance protects us from many emergencies that we couldn’t have predicted, such as a covered peril.
A covered peril is an event that the insurer agrees to reimburse you after you file a claim.
Covered perils include fire, lightning, windstorms, hail, the weight of snow, ice, theft, and vandalism.
What is the Determining Factor that Will Increase Your Homeowners Rate?
The insurer’s goal is to keep costs down. As such, the insurer would like to spend as little as possible.
That’s why an insurer doesn’t look favorably on a homeowner who makes a claim because it believes that such a homeowner is more likely to make additional claims.
And if there are multiple claims from many homeowners, this makes it worse for the insurer, and they need to have high financial stability to cover all the losses.
For example, if a fire destroys your neighborhood and your home, and most homeowners affected by the damage have the same homeowners policy, they will most likely be filing claims all at once.
Because the amount in which to repair these homes back-to-back can be catastrophic, the insurer may not be able to fulfill its financial obligations.
This is why an insurer prefers to cover homeowners who rarely or never make a claim and even gives you a claims-free discount to award you for not doing so.
But you can’t predict covered perils, and often they come when least expected. So, you may have no choice but to file more than one claim, which will raise your premium.
Yes, you pay for homeowners insurance to help cover financial losses in the event of unexpected damage or loss, but your insurance company will view a frequent claims record as a big red flag.
Other factors that can significantly impact your rate include theft, water damage, and dog bite claims.
Are There Other Factors That Can Impact Your Rate?
In DC, home insurance costs differently for each homeowner.
That’s because many factors can determine your rate.
As we said, the largest factor that insurers take into consideration is how likely you are to file a claim. But there are other factors to consider as well. These include:
The Location of Your Home
Wildfires can spread and damage your home if you live in a dry area near forests.
If you live in an area where natural disasters like hurricanes and high winds are prominent.
If either or both apply to you, you’ll pay more for your policy since the risk of insuring your home will be higher.
But you will pay less if your neighborhood has a low crime rate, which Washington DC doesn’t.
Marriage can also determine your rate.
Because insurers believe that married couples statistically file fewer claims than those who are not married, they will give them a lower policy rate.
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 at risk if you live in an older home because insurers believe your home may not be up to code, such as your electrical and HVAC systems and plumbing systems.
But if your home has these things and they are in good working order or are brand new, then your rate will be lower.
Your Policy Deductible
Your policy deductible amount also will impact your rate.
Your deductible kicks in after you make a claim and is what you must pay before your insurer will cover the remainder of your covered loss.
To lower your rate, increase your deductible.
But increasing your deductible can backfire if you can’t afford it after your home is damaged or burglarized.
Certain dog breeds, like a German shepherd, a pit bull, a Rottweiler, or another breed that is commonly known for being dangerous, are statistically more likely than others to attack and bite humans or other dogs.
According to the III (Insurance Information Institute), dog bites can cost over $50,000 per claim, which poses a problem with your insurer.
That’s why many homeowners insurance policies will exclude dangerous dog breeds from coverage or charge you higher premiums.
A homeowners insurance company will run a credit check to determine if you are most likely to pay your monthly premium. If you have good credit, this means you won’t skip payments, and your rate will be low.
But if your credit is bad, you are considered a risk, and you are more likely to file a claim in the eyes of the insurer.
How Can I Lower My Premium?
Is your premium too expensive? It may be, but your insurer can offer you many discounts to lower it.
Most of them save you a small percentage off your premium.
If you can get more than one, they can add up.
Here are the most common home insurance discounts to ask for.
If your insurance has multiple products, you can bundle your homeowners insurance with your auto policy or with your life insurance from the same insurer. If you do, you will get a bundling discount.
This discount is the most important one you should have because it takes the biggest bite off your premium.
You can save, on average, 30% when you bundle under a single insurer.
The added benefit is that you only need to deal with one insurance company to manage all your policies.
If you live less than 100 feet from a fire hydrant or close to a fire station because those things can contain a fire in your house and cause less damage because water is readily available, you’re eligible for a discount.
And if you make your home safe or if you live in a gated community, you’ll get a discount.
A few things that make your home safe is installing surveillance cameras, having sprinklers, deadbolts, fire extinguishers, and many more.
You are least likely to have a burglary and thus least likely to make an insurance claim if you have home security devices.
An insurer will favor that and, as such, will reward you with a discount.
Fire Alarms and Smoke Detectors
Fire damage is the most common reason why homeowners make a claim.
The average fire claim costs more than $70,000.
Your insurer would rather not reimburse you for such a large claim.
That’s why your insurer will give you a discount for installing the simplest fire protection detail, a smoke or fire alarm.
Placing several smoke detectors throughout your home can cost you an insignificant amount, below $100, and yet this low-cost protection will prevent you from making a high-cost claim.
If your roof is new, if you install a new roof, or if you upgrade your roof using impact-resistant roofing materials, you lessen the chance of hail damaging it and other natural disasters like windstorms.
Because a new roof lessens the chance of making a roof-damage claim, your insurer will give you a discount.
New Home Construction or New Homebuyer
If you are a first-time homebuyer, or if you buy a newly constructed home, you’ll get a discount.
That’s because it’s assumed that the interior and exterior systems in your new home, like your HVAC and plumbing and electrical systems, will be brand new.
Payment Management and Going Paperless
If you pay your premium in full for the policy period, set up automatic payments, make payments electronically, and go paperless and receive important documents via email, you get a discount.
How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost in Washington, DC?
If you are looking for the cheapest homeowners insurance, bear in mind that the cost differs for each homeowner and widely depends on how much coverage you buy.
That said, the average cost of homeowners insurance in DC is $895, or $75 per month for $200,000 dwelling costs.
The national average is $1,395 per year or $115 per month with the same dwelling coverage.
So, homeowners insurance in DC is cheaper than the national average.
Ultimately, your rate will vary based on the amount of coverage you buy, your deductible, discounts you may qualify for, and how an insurer determines your risk.
Do I Need Additional Coverage?
Since your standard policy can only pay for property damages up to the policy’s limit and not at full cost, homeowners are more likely to purchase additional coverage.
Additional coverage is an added cost on top of your basic policy and is often called an add-on or an endorsement.
If you have expensive belongings like jewelry and a first-edition book collection, it’s most likely that your insurer will not pay in full if these items are damaged or destroyed due to a covered peril.
That’s why an add-on is important to have for those who have high-cost property.
It allows homeowners to expand existing coverage where they need it most.
Similarly, you can schedule your high-priced belongings.
Scheduling means you can enlarge the coverage amounts of your insurance to protect that rare book collection fully.
If you schedule, you can fully cover that collection.
But scheduling is different than add-ons or endorsements.
Scheduling personal property has the added benefit of reducing or even eliminating the deductible.
But keep in mind that add-ons, endorsements, and scheduling, can be expensive and will raise your premium in a significant way.
But they all give you peace of mind. If a disaster strikes, you won’t need to worry or panic because you know you are fully covered.
Extra coverage is not just about increasing your policy limits to ensure your personal belongings are protected.
Extra coverage also includes natural disasters and home issues that are excluded from the basic policy because they are often catastrophic in price to repair or replace, and an insurer doesn’t want to shoulder the responsibility.
That said, in DC, the natural disasters that occur often include earthquakes, floods, hail, windstorms, and severe winter weather conditions.
In the winter, homeowners are susceptible to frozen pipes.
In the summer, storms and hail can damage property.
So, living in DC means you need protection from natural disasters.
The basic policy covers hail, windstorms, and winter conditions.
This means you don’t need to pay extra for these natural disasters.
But for earthquakes and floods, you need to take out insurance policies.
Some examples include:
While some home insurance companies may include sewer backup protection in their basic policies, most don’t.
So, you need an endorsement that will protect your house from water damage due to sewage backup, septic systems, and drains.
The basic homeowners insurance policy never covers water damage resulting from floods.
For coverage, you need to add flood insurance to your policy.
An example is that while a policy may cover water damage if your roof leaks due to a hurricane, it won’t cover flood damage from the same hurricane.
Or, if the flood hits the ground first before damaging your interior, you will not be protected.
Washington, DC, has areas prone to heavy floods, so residents should purchase a flood insurance policy.
The basic policy also never covers earthquake damage. So, if you live on a fault line, it’s in your best interest to purchase earthquake insurance to cover both the destruction of your home and the contents within.
Hailstones can cause serious damage to your roof, gutters, and windows.
While hail is covered under the basic policy, some insurers will exclude it if you live in an area that is susceptible to significant hail. If that happens, you can take out an additional policy for hail.
Home-Based Business Endorsement
If you work at home, you’ll probably have home office electronics like a
computer, a smartphone, a copy machine, and a scanner, to name a few.
You should consider purchasing a home-based business endorsement to protect your business property.
This will cover your home office products and can replace them if they are damaged or stolen by way of theft.
This endorsement also pays for medical bills resulting from accidents and injuries to business visitors who drop by.
How Do You Find the Best Homeowners Insurance That Meets Your Needs?
Homeowners in Washington, DC, must evaluate all their potential insurance options to ensure they are finding the best rate.
But finding the best rate shouldn’t be your deciding factor.
In fact, there are many factors you should consider before purchasing a policy.
Understanding which type of home insurance is right for you, which optional coverage types you need, what policy limits are best for your situation, and how well a customer service agent performs can help you find the best possible insurer and which will help prevent you from over-or under-insuring your home.
Here are the factors:
Compare Multiple Home Insurance Quotes
Shopping around and reviewing homeowners insurance quotes from different companies could help you find the one with the most competitive price.
You’ll find that rates vary greatly from each insurer.
Many in the industry recommend you get at least three quotes.
But we recommend getting as many quotes as possible so you don’t miss a top insurer with great rates.
You compare quotes by going on an insurer’s website.
Research Insurance Companies
After you get a few quotes, you should research each company.
Pay attention to those that have many discounts to reduce your monthly premium.
Determine how easy it is to make a claim with a particular insurer and how fast it is for the insurer to reimburse you.
Also, look at the company’s website to see if it is easy to navigate and to see if you can get important information about a policy online.
Website and App
If you can’t get a quote online or if you need to speak to an agent to get a quote, then this is not the insurer you would want to work with.
Finding the perfect insurer also means that you should pay attention to whether one has an online presence and an app that will save you time, especially if you don’t feel like talking to an agent.
The right policy often involves seeing whether you can do all your insurance business online, such as filing a claim, adding additional coverages, and paying your monthly premium, for example, so that the homeowners insurance process is very convenient for you.
Determine How Much Coverage You Need
The amount of coverage you need depends on how much it will cost to rebuild your home, and whether construction and material prices stay the same.
But what about other coverages?
Understanding what particular coverages may be necessary for your property is essential.
That’s because if you can’t determine how much coverage you need, you may end up overpaying or underpaying.
So, nail down how much coverage you need.
DC has earthquakes, but they are not prominent. Do you really need to purchase earthquake insurance?
How much coverage do you need to protect your valuables?
To determine coverage, you need to do a home inventory.
This involves going around your house and listing all the personal properties that are meaningful to you, are valuable to you, and which you can’t live without.
Use some sort of spreadsheet to keep track of your items.
To determine the cost of each item to determine how much coverage you need, find out how much each item costs.
If you have receipts, that’s the best scenario. But often many don’t, so you can check the price of your item by going online and finding the exact match, or if the item is no longer available or no longer being made, find one similar to your item.
Determine how easy is it to reach a customer service rep.
In so doing, you can learn a lot about a company by talking to a rep or agent.
Was the agent accommodating, friendly, and helpful?
If an agent has these qualities and more, then you can determine how easy it is to make a claim.
Check out rating companies to find different things about an insurer.
The most established and trusted sources come from AM Best, JD Power, the Better Business Bureau, and the NAIC.
AM Best rates a company’s financial stability.
JD Power and BBB both measure customer satisfaction.
The NAIC complaint index lists out how many complaints were filed for an insurer, the reason for the complaints, and whether there were more complaints than expected for an insurance company of its size.
Let’s look at AM Best to give you an example.
If AM Best gives a homeowners insurance company an A++ rating, that is how high the rating company goes, and which means that the insurer is “excellent.”
That praise is determined by how financially stable a company is.
In finding the right insurer, you should always check its financials because that determines whether the company can reimburse you after a claim on time.
Especially a prohibitively expensive claim, such as repairing your home after a fire.