The Best Pennsylvania Homeowners Insurance Companies
Pennsylvania homeowners currently benefit from relatively low insurance rates — the Insurance Information Institute reports that homeowners in the Quaker State pay roughly $927 per year, compared to the national average of $1,173. However, climate change could mean these rates are on the upswing; Pennsylvania farmers already are adapting to evolving weather patterns.
Finding the best homeowners insurance in Pennsylvania is about evaluating what your home needs now and what hazards it might face in the future. How likely are your pipes to burst next winter? Do you think your roof could handle a flood-level downpour? You’ll want to make sure you have coverage for all reasonable threats to your home. The best Pennsylvania homeowners insurance companies offer a range of tools to get you started.
How We Found the Best Pennsylvania Homeowners Insurance Companies
We evaluated the five largest homeowner insurance providers in Pennsylvania using the same methodology and metrics we developed for our nationwide homeowners insurance review. We checked A.M. Best’s financial security ratings to determine whether the insurers were stable enough to pay off their claims. We evaluated consumer responses at J.D. Power and Consumer Reports to see whether people were happy with their insurer’s customer service and claims processes. We also looked at the range of coverage each insurer offered and tallied up the number of common discounts available.
The 5 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Erie Insurance is the second-largest provider of homeowners insurance in the state — beaten only by State Farm — but we’re putting it at the top of our list due to its comprehensive coverage options. Simply put, Erie’s standard insurance policy includes coverages that other insurers make you pay extra for. For instance, while some insurers only pay part of what it costs to rebuild your house, Erie offers 100% guaranteed replacement cost coverage of your home. As part of its base policy, Erie Insurance includes valuables coverage for items such as art and jewelry, as well as coverage for damage to the home caused by animals. Other insurers include these types of coverages as add-ons, if they offer them at all.
Erie Insurance received an A+ rating from A.M. Best, meaning it is financially stable and able to follow through on its claims. It ranks among the best providers in J.D. Power’s report and Consumer Reports also gave it a sterling “Excellent” rating for all of its evaluation criteria. J.D. Power and Consumer Reports rankings are derived from real consumers’ responses, so this is a pretty strong indicator that people are happy with Erie’s service. We’d suggest starting here in your search for homeowners insurance.
State Farm is the largest homeowners insurance provider in Pennsylvania, with the highest financial stability rating from A.M. Best: A++. It’s also earned customer satisfaction ratings very similar to Erie Insurance: J.D. Power ranked State Farm just below Erie for overall consumer experience while Consumer Reports gave it a “Very Good” for all of its evaluation criteria including claims process and timely payments — a slightly less impressive feat.
The only other reason we’re putting State Farm second on our list is because its basic homeowners insurance policy is not as comprehensive as Erie’s. With State Farm, you have to pay extra for valuables coverage, for example. State Farm also offers slightly fewer discounts than Erie does, although you can lower your cost by opening a multi-line policy or installing fire or burglar alarms. We’d suggest getting quotes from both Erie and State Farm, so you can compare rates and the coverage options side by side. If Erie’s quote is higher and you don’t have a lot of valuables (or pets that might cause home damage) — State Farm might be your best option.
Allstate received an A+ financial stability rating from A.M. Best and 3 out of 5 points from J.D. Power in both overall experience and claims process. Consumer Reports rated its claims process and payment speed as “Very Good,” but reported an average damage amount. In other words, Allstate is likely to provide a satisfactory but not exceptional experience.
Allstate’s basic homeowners insurance policy is similar to State Farm’s basic policy. Allstate’s additional coverage options include protection from water and sewer damage, valuables insurance, identity theft insurance, and electronic data recovery insurance (if you need to pay to recover data from a damaged laptop, for example). Allstate does offer about twice as many discounts as Erie and State Farm, including discounts for auto paying your premium or maintaining a smoke-free home.
But it’s Allstate’s online tools that really set it apart from the competition. Allstate’s Common and Costly Claims tool helps you determine which additional coverages are worth buying for your home: in Philadelphia’s Mount Airy neighborhood, for example, the most costly claim is for fire damage, which is generally covered in a basic homeowners insurance policy. In fact, we recommend using the tool no matter which company you end up choosing.
Liberty Mutual received the lowest A.M. Best rating of any of our providers, but its A rating still reflects a solid level of financial stability. Liberty Mutual ranks the lowest on the J.D. Power report for pricing but still earned a respectable 3 out of 5 points for overall experience and claims process and “Very Good” ratings from Consumer Reports on both claims process and payment speed.
Where Liberty Mutual shines is in its discounts — you can get discounts for multi-line policies, burglar/fire alarms, insuring your home to 100% of its value, installing sprinklers, renovating your home — you can even get discounts for having attended certain colleges like Penn State or being employed by your local school district.
We also loved Liberty Mutual’s apps: its mobile app lets you manage your policy and file claims, and its Home Gallery app lets you build a home inventory and track the value of your personal property. Liberty Mutual’s basic homeowners policy includes both dwelling coverage and personal property coverage, and you can purchase additional coverage for valuables. If you’re interested in learning more, we’d suggest getting a quote and taking a look at available discounts.
Nationwide actually got slightly higher customer satisfaction ratings than Liberty Mutual. It received an A+ rating from A.M. Best, a 3 out of 5 on overall experience and claims process from J.D. Power, and “Very Good” and “Excellent” ratings for claims experience and claims speed, respectively, from Consumer Reports.
Nationwide falls short when it comes to online tools and discounts. Although Nationwide does offer discounts for a multi-line policy and for burglar/fire alarms, you’ll get many more options with Allstate or Liberty Mutual. Nationwide’s mobile capabilities also lag behind: If you’re looking to build a home inventory, the company suggests making paper copies that you put in a safe deposit box — or, if you’re tech-savvy, using a digital camera and saving your inventory to a thumb drive. A digital camera might have been a cutting edge suggestion in the ’90s, but with competitors offering mobile app options, Nationwide’s approach does seem behind the times.
Nationwide’s basic coverage isn’t as expansive as Erie Insurance’s coverage, and its Brand New Belongings coverage — which pays the replacement cost of damaged personal property — is optional. While it’s not a frontrunner in any of the areas we looked at, it’s still a solid, reliable provider. To cover all your bases, we’d suggest at least getting a quote.
Guide to Pennsylvania Homeowners Insurance
Make sure you have adequate liability coverage
Pennsylvania winters are often hazardous, and if someone slips and falls while on your property, you could be liable. If you don’t have enough liability coverage, you could end up paying for that person’s medical costs out of pocket. Whichever provider you choose, talk to an insurance agent about liability coverage, and make sure you feel comfortable with the coverage offered.
Invest in flood insurance if possible
In 2016, Pennsylvania got enough rain to flood roads, which means it also got enough rain to damage homes. Unfortunately, most insurance policies won’t cover water damage from flood-level rains; the standard water damage policy only covers damage from leaky or burst pipes. Adding flood insurance to your policy protects your home from water damage, whether it comes from a flood-level downpour, rising waters, or a leaky roof. Talk to your insurer about whether you should get flood insurance; if your provider doesn’t offer its own policies, it can help you get covered through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Build a home inventory
Before an insurer will pay out on a personal property claim, it needs to know how much property was damaged and how much the property was worth. This means you need to create and maintain a home inventory. A basic home inventory includes photos of the items in your home, along with each item’s cost, and some insurance providers include apps to help you quickly create and update your inventory.
If your insurance provider does not offer a home inventory app, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department has a checklist to help you create your own home inventory. It also suggests using the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ MyHome Scr.APP.Book app to help get the job done.
Pennsylvania Homeowners Insurance FAQ
How much does homeowners insurance cost in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania’s annual premiums for homeowners insurance are on the lower side — on average $927 per year for an HO-3 policy, compared to the nationwide average of $1,173. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your home’s size, your assets, and your address.
What kind of coverage do I need in Pennsylvania?
The Keystone state comes with frigid winters, sweltering summers, and seasonal storms. With an average of 16 tornadoes and plenty of snow storms each year, dwelling coverage is essential. It’s important to get your home’s estimate right, or you’ll be repairing and replacing out of pocket. Depending on your ZIP code, you may consider adding hurricane and windstorm deductibles.
The Best Pennsylvania Homeowners Insurance: Summed Up