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Does credit score affect homeowners insurance?

Updated May 13, 2024
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Key takeaways

  • Insurers consider credit-based insurance scores to evaluate your credit history and calculate premiums in most states.
  • California, Maryland and Massachusetts do not allow the use of credit as a home insurance rating factor.
  • Homeowners with poor credit pay an average of 170 percent more for home insurance than homeowners with excellent credit.
  • Requesting a home insurance quote should not affect your credit score.

Does my credit score affect my home insurance?

Although home insurance companies in most states can consider your credit history to determine rates, your credit score doesn’t affect homeowners insurance rates directly. Instead, insurers use your credit history to generate a credit-based insurance score. These scores incorporate details from your credit report and may include other information.

Policyholders with higher credit-based insurance scores might be more likely to pay on time and avoid lapses in coverage. They might also have the resources available to maintain their homes, which could lessen the likelihood of needing to file a claim. To compensate for the higher risk of claims and lapses, insurance companies tend to charge higher premiums for policyholders with lower credit-based insurance scores.

As of 2024, only a few states have banned the use of credit as a rating factor for home insurance. If you live in California, Maryland or Massachusetts, your insurance company is restricted from using your credit history to rate your policy or deny you coverage. In Michigan and Oregon, state law places some restrictions on insurers’ ability to use credit information when issuing and managing policies, but it’s permissible in certain contexts.

FICO credit scores vs. credit-based insurance scores

Credit-based insurance scores differ from the everyday FICO score that’s considered for loans and credit card approvals. Essentially, credit scores are used to determine how much money you make and how able you would be to pay back a loan amount.

In essence, credit-based insurance scores are used to determine how well you handle your money. This may help insurers know how likely you are to pay your bills on time or file a claim. Your income level does not factor into a credit-based insurance score. While insurance scoring models are proprietary and may vary from company to company, credit-based insurance scores typically put slightly more emphasis on a consumer’s history of on-time payments and less weight on their credit mix.

Additionally, home insurance companies don’t have access to your actual credit score or any of the related information. The data that is used to compile a credit-based insurance score is translated into each company’s unique scoring system. Credit-based insurance scores were developed over 20 years ago. Originally, direct credit scores were used in insurance rating, but the system was prone to needing an underwriter’s personal judgment, which led to inconsistencies in rating. Insurance scores are a more streamlined and standardized metric.

Some companies use numbers to represent insurance scores, some use letters and some use a combination. Because of this, your credit-based insurance score will be different with each carrier. However, you might be able to make a pretty good guess on the level of your credit-based insurance score by understanding your regular credit score. Although credit scores and credit-based insurance scores aren’t the same things, you probably have a higher credit-based insurance score if you have a high credit score.

How does credit impact home insurance premiums?

Typically, the higher your credit rating, the less you will pay for home insurance in the states where credit is considered a rating factor. Although it is only one factor in setting rates for home insurance, data shows that the credit-based insurance score is an important one. The chart below highlights the national average annual home insurance rates based on four credit tiers.

While these credit tiers don’t translate directly to credit-based insurance scores, they’re a good metric for analyzing how credit affects home insurance premiums. Because every company uses its own scoring metric to determine credit-based insurance scores, there is no standardized data available.

Note that the rates don’t vary dramatically between average, good and excellent scores. However, it’s often more difficult to find affordable home insurance with bad credit — that is, a score below 500. As the table shows, someone with a poor credit score pays over 170 percent more for home insurance, on average, than someone with an excellent score.

Credit tier Poor Average Good Excellent
Average annual premium for $300K dwelling coverage $4,973 $2,362 $2,151 $1,836

Credit tier rates by insurance company

Bankrate also reviewed these statistics for some of the leading home insurance companies. Most home insurance companies’ rates follow a similar pattern to the overall averages above. Average, good and excellent credit scores don’t generate significantly different rates. Home insurance for bad credit, however, typically comes with much higher rates.

Poor credit Average credit Excellent credit
AAA $4,402 $1,959 $1,479
Allstate $3,715 $2,459 $2,063
American Family $2,828 $1,798 $1,418
Amica $2,146 $1,881 $1,823
Chubb $6,207 $3,773 $3,305
Erie $5,060 $1,815 $1,337
Farm Bureau $4,536 $2,699 $2,169
Farmers $5,321 $2,807 $2,048
Mercury $988 $891 $813
Nationwide $2,617 $1,894 $1,662
State Farm $4,019 $2,021 $1,376
The Hanover $7,431 $3,516 $1,918
The Hartford $2,075 $2,075 $2,075
Travelers $3,639 $2,337 $1,828
USAA $2,408 $1,528 $1,330

Can I get homeowners insurance with bad credit?

Yes, homeowners with bad credit can likely still find home insurance coverage, even if they live in a state where credit is used as a home insurance rating factor. As poor credit may lead to higher premiums, shopping around and comparing quotes may help you find affordable rates. Some companies may not weigh credit history as heavily as others when determining premiums.

If your credit is so poor that you have been denied coverage by standard insurers, you may need to seek insurance through your state’s Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plan. These plans are designed to insure high-risk individuals who can’t find coverage within the standard insurance market. While FAIR plans may be great to have as a last resort, coverage is often limited and relatively expensive.

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This advertisement is powered by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate. The offers and links that appear on this advertisement are from companies that compensate Coverage.com in different ways. The compensation received and other factors, such as your location, may impact what offers and links appear, and how, where and in what order they appear. While we seek to provide a wide range of offers, we do not include every product or service that may be available. Our goal is to keep information accurate and timely, but some information may not be current. Your actual offer from an advertiser may be different from the offer on this advertisement. All offers are subject to additional terms and conditions.

Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

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Can you boost your credit to lower your home insurance rates?

If you have poor credit and live in a state that permits insurers to use your credit history as a rating factor, improving your credit could potentially lower your home insurance rates. The same may also be true for individuals with average or good credit, although the impact on rates might be considerably smaller. Consider the following strategies as a starting point for your credit-building journey:

  • Understand your credit history: Identifying factors that are negatively impacting your credit is likely the first step to improving your credit rating. If you’re unsure of why your score is low, you may need to request a full credit report. This can be done for free through the main credit reporting bureaus.
  • Pay bills on time: Avoiding late payments will likely improve your credit score over time.
  • Use credit responsibly: Keeping your credit utilization ratio low may help improve your score.
  • Limit hard credit checks: Hard credit checks are performed when you apply for a credit card or loan. Having frequent hard credit checks may negatively impact your credit score.

Your premiums likely won’t drop overnight, but if you are able to improve and maintain a higher credit rating, your credit-based insurance score might also improve, which might lower your rates. If you have recently improved your credit, it may benefit you to get a few insurance quotes to see if you can find a lower rate.

Frequently asked questions

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze April 2024 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on married male and female homeowners with a clean claim history, good credit and the following coverage limits:

  • Coverage A, Dwelling: $300,000
  • Coverage B, Other Structures: $30,000
  • Coverage C, Personal Property: $150,000
  • Coverage D, Loss of Use: $60,000
  • Coverage E, Liability: $500,000
  • Coverage F, Medical Payments: $1,000

The homeowners also have a $1,000 deductible, a $500 hail deductible and a 2 percent hurricane deductible (or the next closest deductible amounts that are available) where separate deductibles apply.

These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes will differ.

Credit: Rates were calculated based on the following insurance credit tiers assigned to our homeowners: “poor, average, good (base) and excellent.” Insurance credit tiers factor in your official credit scores but are not dependent on that variable alone. The following states do not allow credit to be a factor in determining home insurance rates: California, Maryland, Massachusetts.

Written by
Grace Kim
Insurance Contributor

Grace Kim has two years of experience in writing for finance and insurance domains such as Bankrate and Reviews.com. She has written about auto, homeowners, renters and life insurance. She has spent most of her professional experience writing about finance and tech topics.

Edited by Editor, Insurance