Older homes and a high risk for natural disasters keep the average Rhode Island home insurance policy $250 above the national average. And that’s just for the basics. If you’re planning on adding hurricane damage or home-sharing coverage, you’ll end up paying even more. With prices like these — and your precious home at stake — it’s important to make sure you choose the right coverages and the right insurance company for your situation. Also unique to Rhode Island — a whopping 42 percent of homes are rented. Landlords will want to pay close attention to endorsement protection for their property.
There are many factors that determine your home insurance premium, including your home’s age and your credit score, so the only way to see what your options are is to get quotes from multiple insurers. You can begin right here with our quote tool. Just enter your ZIP code and start exploring.
How We Found the Best Homeowners Insurance in Rhode Island
We used a similar methodology to our national homeowners insurance review in order to find the best home insurance providers in Rhode Island. First, we gathered a list of the largest insurers by market share. Then, we compared their coverages, endorsements, discounts and online resources. Next, we checked out what others had to say. We relied on J.D. Power and Consumer Reports for information on customer satisfaction and claims handling. A.M. Best, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s told us about the companies’ financial strength and long-term stability. Finally, we got on the phone and got quotes for $250,000 homes in four major Rhode Island cities.
Rhode Island Homeowners Insurance Reviews
Amica scored the highest in the J.D. Power and Consumer Reports surveys — beating out 29 other insurance companies. It was also the only insurer to score 5/5 in every metric with J.D. Power. Clearly, customers are happy with the quality of the service they receive and the way their claims have been handled. Amica even received a near perfect 94/100 rating from Consumer Reports readers — a difficult feat in an industry where the majority of your communication with your provider will be under distressing circumstances.
But this excellent service comes at a pretty steep price. Amica was consistently among the most expensive providers in our quote analysis. It came in 54 percent more expensive than our cheapest provider, Liberty Mutual. The good news is, there are several ways you can bring that cost down. You’ll save for bundling your home and auto coverage, enrolling in autopay, and installing protective devices. There’s also a discount for remodeling your home, something that is extremely valuable in a state known for older homes. Amica is also unique among insurers in that it offers a dividend between 5 and 20 percent at the end of term, depending on Amica’s financial success that term. So despite the higher initial premium, you’ll receive a guaranteed dividend payout that could compensate.
Amica is one of the only two companies on this list that doesn’t offer landlord insurance, so if you’re one of the many Rhode Island residents that rents out your property for some extra cash, you’ll want to choose a different company, like Allstate, Liberty Mutual, or Nationwide.
Allstate gave us some of our most affordable Rhode Island homeowners insurance quotes, so it’s a great place to begin if your budget is tight. Its discount selection is unmatched, with 14 opportunities to save in total. This includes standard discounts like multi-policy, remaining claim-free, and installing protective devices. As well as more unique offerings like a welcome discount, one for seniors, and early signing discounts. You can also save by enrolling in its Claim-Free Rewards program. Every year you go without filing a claim, Allstate will issue you a bonus check.
It also stands out for its good selection of endorsements. Allstate offers all your basic coverages, including water and sewer backup, identity theft protection, and schedule valuables coverage. But there are also rarer options, like Allstate HostAdvantage. If you list your home on Airbnb or another home-sharing site, this endorsement protects against any damage your renters do. Allstate also offers Claim RateGuard, which prevents your rates from going up after your first claim.
If you’re new to homeowners insurance, Allstate’s website is a good place to begin. There’s a breakdown of all your coverage options and a Common and Costly Claims Tool to help you figure out what type of natural disasters your neighborhood may be at risk for. You can also look up your local agent if you prefer to deal with them directly.
Liberty Mutual is your best bet if you’re interested in customizing your policy with endorsements. It offers nine of them — the most of any company on this list — including options for water and sewer backup, replacement cost, scheduled valuables, and identity theft. Like, Allstate, Liberty Mutual offers a home sharing endorsement for those who regularly rent their homes out on Airbnb or another home sharing site. Liberty Mutual also has an ordinance and law endorsement for bringing your home up to code after a claim. This is especially important for older homes whose utilities may be way out of date. If you’re looking for the most complete coverage, opt for Inflation Guard as well. This continually adjusts the value of your policy to keep up with inflation.
Liberty Mutual’s home insurance quotes rivalled Allstate’s in terms of affordability, and in Providence and Pawtucket, it was our cheapest option. It boasts a generous 12 discounts in total, including multi-policy, claim-free, and new and remodeled home discounts. You’ll also save when you insure your home to 100 percent of the replacement cost. It doesn’t take long to get a quote online, though you do need to know some basic information about your home’s construction. Liberty Mutual is the only company that enables you to purchase your policy online without speaking to an agent first, although we recommend hopping on the phone. An agent can better explain coverage options and help you find discounts you may have missed.
Nationwide scored second-highest in the Consumer Reports’ customer satisfaction survey, after Amica. It did particularly well for the simplicity of the process, and the timeliness and amount of the payment. Ideally, you won’t have to find out how the claims process works, but given the high natural disaster risk in the Rhode Island, it’s best to be prepared. With Nationwide, you don’t have to worry about your insurer adding to the headache.
Nationwide’s quotes fell in the middle of the pack in our quote analysis, but they were still pretty reasonable compared to the prices Amica and UPC Insurance offered us. In Providence, Nationwide quoted us $753 per year, which isn’t too far behind Liberty Mutual’s $636 and a significant savings compared to UPC Insurance’s $1,455. Nationwide only offers eight homeowners discounts, while companies like Allstate and Liberty Mutual offer 14 and 12, so there aren’t as many options to help bring your rates down. But you may be able to score a better rate if you bundle home and auto, remain claim-free, install protective devices, or update your roof.
UPC Insurance is offered through a network of independent agents throughout the state. Its website provides little more than a general overview of its basic coverages and endorsements, and you’ll need to contact your local agent to get detailed information to compare with other providers. UPC didn’t fare too well in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey, earning a 2/5 in overall satisfaction. This is difficult to measure with an insurer that relies on independent agents, however, because every agent provides a different experience. Ours was very knowledgeable, helpful, and got back to us promptly with a quote.
That quote was priced high in comparison to the other companies on this list, but there’s a possibility your particular circumstances align for a cheaper price. One way to discount is by bundling your home and auto insurance, enrolling in autopay, installing sprinklers or burglar alarms, and obtaining a roof certification. Seniors are eligible for a special discount as well.
UPC also stands out for its unique endorsements, including equipment breakdown protection. This functions much like a home warranty as it covers major appliances and systems in your home, so you don’t get stuck paying for expensive repairs or replacements out of pocket. It also offers water damage, identity theft, replacement cost, scheduled valuables, and ordinance and law coverage. Unfortunately, there’s no landlord coverage, so UPC isn’t a good choice if you have rental properties.
Rhode Island law prohibits rate increases in certain instances.
According to a 2014 CoreLogic study, Rhode Island has the second-highest natural hazard risk in the nation — a major contributing factor to its high home insurance rates. But fortunately, the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation has taken steps to prevent homeowners from suffering unfairly at the hands of insurers. State law says that insurers are not allowed to increase your rate or cancel or fail to renew your policy based off the following:
- A policy or claim inquiry
- A loss with no payout or a loss with a payout of less than $500 unless there has been more than one non-catastrophic claim in the last three years that has resulted in a payout
- A loss sustained as a result of a catastrophic event
- Prior claims experience of the property based off the previous homeowner
This doesn’t mean that your insurer may never raise your rates. They’re still entitled to do so for expensive claims, so it may be worth exploring options like Allstate’s Claim RateGuard if you’re worried about potential surcharges.
The main advantage of Rhode Island’s law is that it gives homeowners the opportunity to use their insurance for small claims, like food spoilage, without penalty. It also gives you the right to talk to your insurer about potentially filing a claim without fear of retribution on your next insurance bill. So if something happens and you’re not sure how to proceed, it’s worth at least talking to your insurer before you pull out your wallet.
Hurricane damage coverage may come with its own deductible.
Like all states on the East Coast, Rhode Island is at some risk of hurricanes, which are among the most costly natural disasters there are. Between 1851 and 2017, nine hurricanes have hit the state directly, and many others have caused severe storms and flooding. It’s wise to purchase additional protection from your insurer to guard against this, but you should note that even with the right coverage, these disasters may still be costly.
Many insurance companies opt for a percentage deductible for hurricane damage instead of a traditional dollar amount. Rhode Island law limits insurers to a maximum hurricane deductible of five percent of the home’s value, and while that may not sound like a lot, it makes a big difference. A traditional home insurance deductible, which covers all claims besides hurricanes, is around $1,000 to $1,500. While the hurricane deductible may be as high as $10,000 on its own. Yours may not cost this much, though. The exact cost of your deductible will vary based on the location of your home, the value of your home and the company you choose. If you’re concerned about the cost, you should get quotes from several companies before you make a decision.
The good news is, you only pay a single hurricane deductible for the entire year, and there are ways to waive it altogether. If you install plywood shutters, roof tie-downs, permanent storm shutters or hurricane glass, you may qualify for a waived deductible. You will have to submit proof to your insurer that you have done this or have one of their agents come out to inspect it. The requirements to qualify for the waiver will vary depending on which part of the state you live in. If you’re not sure what you need to do in order to have your hurricane deductible waived, contact your home insurer or the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation.
If you’re renting out your home, you need extra protection.
A recent study by the International Insurance Institute found that Rhode Island ranks the fourth-lowest for owner-occupied homes in the nation. Approximately 42 percent of Rhode Island homes are inhabited by renters. And while this can be a great way to earn some money on the side, it’s important to make sure your rental homes are adequately protected.
Allstate, Liberty Mutual, and Nationwide offer landlord insurance to individuals who rent out their homes to a long-term tenant. This is the more common type of insurance for those who have a large portfolio of rental properties. But with the rise of home-sharing sites like Airbnb, a gray area has developed that isn’t served well by traditional homeowners policies or landlord policies.
Enter home sharing coverage. Currently, this is only available from a few insurers, including Allstate and Liberty Mutual. This endorsement protects you in case your guests’ damage or steal your property. It’s an optional coverage that you can tack on to your existing homeowners policy, and it doesn’t cost that much. Allstate claims its HostAdvantage coverage costs less than $1 per week. These programs are a good place to begin if you’re looking to get started in the home-sharing business, but if your preferred insurer doesn’t offer this coverage, ask them about a home business policy instead. Sometimes these policies will cover home sharing as well.
Renovating your home can save you hundreds of dollars.
The average home in Rhode Island is between 50 and 61 years old, according to a recent study by the National Association of Home Builders. While that’s great if you’re looking for a little place with some character, it can be bad for your insurance rates. Older roofs and utility systems raise your risk of filing a claim, and they could cost more to repair because chances are, building codes have been updated.
If you can afford to update your utility systems, you should make this a priority. Not only will it reduce your risk of filing a claim, but many insurers will give you a discount for doing so. Nationwide advertises specific discounts for new roofs and utility systems while the other four companies on this list offer vaguer, but still useful, renovated home discounts.
If you can’t afford to replace your utilities, then at least make sure your policy covers building code upgrades. Every company on this list offers this and will cover the extra costs necessary to bring your home up to code following a disaster. Some companies, like Nationwide, automatically include this in your homeowners policy. If you’re not sure if you already have it, it’s worth a quick call to your insurance company. It could make a huge difference when the time comes to file a claim.
The Bottom Line
Rhode Island homeowners insurance can be rather costly, and you may need to purchase some optional coverages to ensure that your property is fully protected. But there are ways to get comprehensive home insurance without breaking the bank. Start with our quote tool to see what our top picks can offer you.