Mississippi has seen its homeowners insurance rates skyrocket (up about 225%) ever since Katrina made landfall, and it doesn’t show any sign of stopping. The average annual home insurance policy in the state hovers around $300 above the national average, but this varies significantly by location with coastal counties carrying the lion’s share of the extra cost. It makes finding a deal on homeowners insurance tricky, but it’s not impossible.
The first step to finding great coverage is to explore your options. Every insurer has its own system for determining risk so you won’t know how factors like credit score and your home’s construction will affect your price, until you get a quote. You can start your search by entering your ZIP code into our quote tool.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Mississippi
We chose the best home insurers in Mississippi by following a similar methodology to the one we used in our national home insurance review. First, we looked at which were the largest home insurers by market share. If they’re the top dogs in the state, they must be doing something right. Then we checked with independent agencies like A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor to ensure that these companies were financially sound. After that, it came down to what each company had to offer in terms of coverages, endorsements, discounts, and online resources. Customer satisfaction also weighed into the equation. We compared each company’s results from the latest J.D. Power and Consumer Reports customer satisfaction surveys, to gauge what it would be like to sign with these companies. And then we decided to test them out for ourselves by hopping on the phone and getting a quote from an agent.
Mississippi Homeowners Insurance Reviews
State Farm is the largest insurer in the state and, according to J.D. Power, it’s also the most popular. It scored the highest of all the companies on our list, earning a 4/5 in overall satisfaction. Consumer Reports also gave it above-average ratings in the customer service and claims handling metrics. In a state that’s known for its natural disasters, it’s especially crucial to trust your insurer can handle your claims with care.
It came out to be one of the cheaper providers in our quote analysis, and actually gave us our most affordable quote in George County — not that it was cheap, at $377. One area it fell short in, however, was hurricane deductibles. While companies like Allstate offer standard wind/hail deductibles starting at $1,000 or 1 percent of your home’s value, State Farm’s hurricane deductibles start at either $5,000 or 5 percent. The high amounts are good for your premiums, but they also mean you’ll pay a lot out of pocket when it comes time to file a claim.
State Farm is one of only two companies on this list that enables you to purchase your policy online. To do this, you must know the particulars of your home’s construction and enter them into the 360Value Tool. Then, you can adjust your coverages and purchase the policy with a credit card. If you live in the coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson, however, you’ll have to contact your local agent for a quote.
Allstate’s rates were the most inconsistent. It was our most affordable quote for inland homes, but the most expensive for coastal counties. If your quote is on the higher end, don’t worry, you can save quite a bit by leveraging Allstate’s many discounts. With 14 opportunities for discounting in total, it offers more than any other insurer on our list. You can save by being a new customer, enrolling in autopay, or installing protective devices (like sprinklers or storm shutters) on your home. You can also save by choosing a higher deductible. For this, Allstate offers several options — both standard dollar-value and percentage-based.
Another thing you might want to look into is Allstate’s Claim RateGuard program. This is an optional coverage that functions like accident forgiveness for your home. It locks in your rate so it won’t go up following your first claim. And in a state that’s well known for natural disasters and high insurance rates, this kind of protection is worth serious consideration.
Like most insurers, Allstate has a separate wind/hail deductible, which kicks in in the event of hurricanes and severe storms. You can choose between a standard dollar-value deductible starting as low as $1,000 or choose a percentage deductible of 1-2 percent of the value of your home.
Nationwide wowed us with its claims satisfaction ratings. Consumer Reports readers rated it 86/100— the best score of our insurers. Claims handling is the most important and often the most disappointing aspect of home insurance, so these high ratings are refreshing. If you’re interested in a no-nonsense claims process, Nationwide is a good company to check out.
High customer satisfaction ratings are often correlated with higher prices, and this is also true of Nationwide. But while it did come out as our most expensive, the price difference wasn’t significant, only about $10 more in most cases. And if you qualify for discounts, you may be able to eliminate that difference altogether. Nationwide doesn’t offer as many opportunities for saving as Allstate or Liberty Mutual, but it does offer multi-policy, claim-free, protective device, and renovated home discounts. Those 60 and older will also qualify for a special rate.
Like State Farm and Allstate, Nationwide gives you a choice between a standard or percentage-based deductible. Standard deductibles start at $2,500, placing it right between Allstate and State Farm, while percentage-based deductibles range from 1 to 5 percent of your home’s value. You also get a choice between percentage-based or standard for your wind/hail deductible. The flat rate is pretty steep at $5,000, but it may still be your cheapest option, depending on your home and location.
Liberty Mutual is best if you’re looking to minimize your out-of-pocket costs in the event of a claim. It’s the only insurer on the list to offer a $500 deductible option. Its wind/hail deductible is also relatively low, starting at just $1,000. But before you get too excited about these low prices, the hurricane deductible is also a separate purchase. This deductible only kicks in when a hurricane warning is declared for your area whereas the wind/hail deductible can apply to any major storm.
Liberty Mutual is also a great choice if you’re looking to customize your policy with endorsements. In addition to the standard schedule valuables, water backup, and replacement cost coverages, there are also rarer endorsements like Inflation Guard. It continually updates your policy to keep pace with inflation, so it doesn’t lose value over time. No other company offers this kind of coverage, so you should definitely look into Liberty Mutual if you’re interested in it.
Liberty Mutual, like State Farm, enables you to purchase your policy online. You need to know some basic information about your home’s construction, any renovations, and the details of any prior claim to complete the process. This isn’t an option for residents of George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, or Stone counties. If you live in one of these areas, you’ll have to contact a Liberty Mutual agent by phone for more information.
Mississippi Farm Bureau
Mississippi Farm Bureau home insurance is only available to Mississippi Farm Bureau members. If you’re not currently a member, it’s worth looking into. Yearly dues are only $25 to $35 depending on your county, and you get access to discounts on a variety of goods and services in addition to insurance.
The company’s website doesn’t tell you much about its policies apart from a general overview of what is covered. You’ll have to contact your local agent if you’re interested in learning more about the policies or getting a quote. You are able to get a quote even if you aren’t a member, but you have to offer up your Social Security Number. This is common among home insurance providers, but State Farm and Allstate enable you to get an estimate without inputting this information. Mississippi Farm Bureau does a soft credit check, however, so it shouldn’t impact your score in any way.
Mississippi Farm Bureau is too small to show up in large insurance surveys from Consumer Reports or J.D. Power, but industry reputation indicates small companies often fare well. We weren’t able to get a comparable sense for how easy its claims process is or how happy customers were with their experience. It’s worth noting, however, that it is one of the largest insurers in the state, and you don’t rise to that level by providing subpar services.
Coastal counties may pay up to 150 percent more than inland counties.
While all of Mississippi suffers from high homeowners rates, due to the state’s frequent hurricanes, six counties feel the pain a little more intensely than the rest — George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, and Stone. Their close proximity to the Gulf means that they bear the brunt of every hurricane that hits the shores.
To illustrate the difference in homeowners rates between inland and coastal counties, we got quotes from Allstate and State Farm for Jackson, located in central Hinds County, and Lucedale in George County. The results are listed below.
The difference between Allstate’s quotes is almost 150 percent. What makes this even more surprising is that the home we quoted in Jackson was worth $20,000 more than the one in Lucedale. It’s worth noting that the more affordable company varied from Jackson to Lucedale. This is why it’s always best to shop around and get quotes from multiple providers. Every company has its own risk algorithms, and quotes are the only way to figure out how those algorithms affect you.
If you live in one of the six counties mentioned above, you may have to jump through more hoops in order to get your quote. Of the four providers above that offered online quotes, only Allstate and State Farm would provide them for George, Pearl River and Stone counties. And all of them required residents of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties to pick up the phone. If you live in one of these areas, you’ll have to set aside an hour or two to speak to representatives about your options.
Wind coverage is a must. Here’s where to find it.
Wind is the main source of Mississippi’s weather-related claims, so it’s important to make sure you’re protected against it. Most Mississippi homeowners policies include it automatically, though it usually has a separate deductible. This may be a flat rate or a percentage of your home’s value, but in either case, it’s usually more expensive than your standard deductible. While you may only pay a 1 percent deductible on a standard policy, wind/hail deductibles more commonly fall around 5 percent of your home’s value. On a $300,000 home, that’s a difference of $12,000.
Coastal counties may have trouble finding traditional wind coverage due to their increased risk. But that doesn’t mean you should go without. And if you have a mortgage on your home, your lender won’t allow you to. If you can’t find coverage anywhere else, check out the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association. This state-led program, known colloquially as the “wind pool,” provides wind and hail coverage to homeowners that have been unable to find this coverage anywhere else. You aren’t able to purchase it from the association directly. Instead, you must contact a state-licensed insurance agent who is approved to sell these policies.
You should note, however, that this coverage isn’t going to come cheap. The wind pool deals exclusively in high-risk homes, and it must charge very high rates to ensure that it has the means to pay out if a disaster arises. So if you can find wind and hail coverage with one of the companies listed above, that’s probably the better way to go.
Don’t forget flood insurance, too.
On the heels of wind comes water. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) paid out over 919 claims, totaling $20 million, to Mississippi residents in 2016. That’s an average of nearly $22,000 per claim. The average household doesn’t have that kind of cash lying around, so it’s a good idea to invest in flood insurance. And if you take part in the wind pool program, you may be required to get flood insurance as a condition of your enrollment.
Flood insurance isn’t covered by traditional homeowners insurance because the losses from these claims are so high. Instead, insurers partner with the NFIP to offer this service. Flood insurance comes with its own premiums and deductible. The average policy costs approximately $700 per year, but of course, this depends on your location. Coastal cities will likely pay more while those inland may pay less.
But regardless of how much it costs, the alternative is paying to repair your home and replace your belongings out of pocket. If you’re concerned about the costs, you can always opt for a higher deductible. This will bring your premiums down significantly, though more of the financial burden will fall on you in the event of a claim.
The Bottom Line
Mississippi gets kind of a raw deal, both from Mother Nature and the insurance companies that have to clean up after her. But it is still possible to score a great deal on home insurance, as long as you have a bit of knowledge and determination. You can start your search by entering your ZIP code into our quote tool and comparing your local options.