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If you own a high-value home, home insurance could be one way to protect what might be one of your most valuable assets. The dwelling coverage portion of a homeowners insurance policy insures the structure of your home. However, depending on your home’s features, the reconstruction cost of your home may exceed the company’s dwelling policy limit. So what steps can you take to find the best homeowners insurance for your high-value home, and what other considerations should you keep in mind? Bankrate has the answers.
What is a high-value home?
How high-value homes are classified depends on where you live. In some areas of the country, a $300,000 home is fairly high-value, but relatively standard in other areas. But no matter where you live, your home must meet specific criteria to buy high-value homeowners insurance. In general, a high-value home usually has a replacement cost value of $750,000 or more. The replacement cost value is the amount of money it would cost to rebuild a home back to its original state.
When the insurance company calculates a home’s replacement cost value, it factors in the entire cost of rebuilding a home. This includes the cost to repair the structure of the home, including the cost of flooring, cabinetry, roofing and built-in appliances. Even a modest-sized home can have a high replacement cost value when you consider all these factors together.
What does high-value home insurance cover?
A luxury homeowners insurance policy and a standard homeowners insurance policy have several key differences, particularly regarding the type of coverage and coverage limits included. Here are some of the things you may receive with a high-value home insurance policy:
Higher coverage limits
High-value homeowners insurance policies typically have broader coverage than traditional home insurance policies. Many luxury home insurance policies cover your home and personal property at their replacement cost value on an open perils basis. This means that any losses not specifically excluded are covered. You might also get higher coverage limits for valuable items or extra perks with your additional living expenses coverage.
Additional coverage options
A high-value home insurance policy might also include additional coverage types that are not typically included in standard home insurance policies. For example, many luxury homeowners insurance policies may automatically include water backup, landscaping, identity theft, and business property coverage. On standard home insurance policies, you likely have to include these coverage options manually for an additional cost.
Some high-value home insurance companies also offer special perks for policyholders. The specific benefits vary based on the insurance provider, but some perks include free home appraisals, a cash settlement option in the event of a total loss, deductible waivers for certain losses and risk consulting to reduce risks in your home.
Dedicated customer service
If you purchase a high-value homeowners insurance policy, you might get access to dedicated customer service. In this case, policyholders are sometimes paired with a concierge or personal representative who can file claims on your behalf, schedule appraisals, find and hire contractors and book a hotel if you need to use your loss of use coverage.
Best companies for high-value home insurance
According to our research, the best companies for high-value homeowners insurance are Chubb, PURE Insurance, AIG Private Client and Nationwide Private Client. These companies offer options that high-value homeowners may find appealing.
To determine the companies to feature, we evaluated coverage options, policy features and average premiums obtained from Quadrant Information Services. We also evaluated J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores and AM Best financial strength scores to assess an insurance carrier’s history of being able to meet financial obligations.
|Company||J.D. Power score||Average annual premium for $750,000 dwelling coverage|
|AIG Private Client||830/1,000||$2,112|
|Nationwide Private Client||812/1,000||$1,969|
|PURE Insurance||Not rated||$1,839|
One thing to note about these companies is that only AIG rated above average in J.D. Power’s Home Insurance survey. Chubb and Nationwide are rated below the industry average, and PURE Insurance is not rated at all. However, all four companies have excellent financial strength ratings from AM Best. If you are concerned about customer service, talking to policyholders or looking at how other local homeowners rate the company might help you decide if a company is right for you.
Cost of high-value homeowners insurance
In the U.S., the average annual premium for a high-value home insurance policy with $750,000 in dwelling coverage is $2,568, which breaks down to $214 per month. In comparison, the average annual premium for a standard home insurance policy with $250,000 in dwelling coverage is $1,312, which is roughly $109 per month.
Keep in mind that the cost of homeowners insurance is different for everyone. Premiums are calculated based on many factors, including your state of residence, claims history, policy type, amount of coverage, chosen deductible and applied discounts. In most states, your ZIP code, age of your home and credit history also play a part in determining your premium, although not all states allow the use of these rating factors.
How much high-value homeowners insurance do I need?
Knowing how much home insurance you need can be tricky, but with a bit of research, you should be able to determine a general guideline. To determine how much high-value home insurance you need, you may want to consider:
- Your home’s value: The amount of high-value home insurance you need should be based on your home’s replacement cost value. For example, if it would cost $1.5 million to fully rebuild your house back to its original condition after a covered loss, you should probably purchase at least $1.5 million in dwelling insurance.
- Your personal property amount: For personal property insurance, you likely want to have enough coverage to replace all of your personal belongings, including clothing, furniture, appliances and decor. One of the best ways to estimate the value of your belongings is to create a home inventory. But don’t worry; you won’t have to come up with an exact dollar amount for personal property. Most companies automatically include 50%-75% of your dwelling coverage amount for personal property. The purpose of an inventory is to help you determine if you need to increase that amount or schedule any valuable items.
- Your liability risks: Standard home insurance policies usually come with a minimum of$100,000 in liability coverage. The base limit may be higher for high-value homes, depending on the company. If you have a pool, trampoline, swing set or entertain often, you may want to increase your limit or opt for an umbrella policy.
- Additional living expenses: This coverage would apply if you were unable to live in your home due to a covered loss. While it is uninhabitable or being repaired, this would go toward your lodging, food and other expenses until you can move back into your home.
- Your unique circumstances: Every home and every homeowner is unique. High-value home insurance can usually be personalized with endorsements, like identity theft, water backup and service line coverage, to build a policy that fits your needs.
A licensed agent can help you decide if the coverage levels and types you’ve settled on are appropriate for your needs.
Things to consider when purchasing high-value homeowners insurance
When you purchase a high-value home insurance policy, you might want to have these considerations in mind:
- Your coverage amount: Make sure you are purchasing adequate coverage for your situation, especially if you are a first-time home insurance buyer.
- Customer service: Consider choosing an insurance company that offers a dedicated client concierge and use their expertise to build a robust policy that can help limit risk and provide adequate coverage for your home and personal items.
- Replacement cost coverage: Each insurance policy may have a different method of calculating the cost of restoring your home and personal belongings. Two common types are actual cash value, which takes into consideration depreciation, and replacement cost coverage, which does not. It is also common to have extended replacement cost coverage, which would pay out a specific percentage above the policy limit in the event of a total loss.
- Premium: Price likely shouldn’t be the only factor you think about when insuring a luxury home, but it is a consideration. Luxury home insurance policies are usually more expensive than standard policies because they offer more coverage. To get cheap home insurance, you might want to shop around and compare quotes from several providers to make sure you are getting the lowest rate. Also, look for insurance companies that offer discounts you can take advantage of.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best homeowners insurance company?
The best homeowners insurance company varies by individual. Factors like what type of coverage you need, where you live and how much you want to spend will all impact which company is right for you. Understanding your needs and getting quotes from several companies might help you find the best fit.
What information do I need to get a home insurance quote?
Getting a home insurance quote can be fairly simple and many home insurance companies offer an online quote generator. You will need to provide your personal information, like your birthday and address, and information about your home, like the square footage, materials it was built with and if the home has had any prior insurance claims. Also consider what limits you’d like for coverage such as dwelling and liability coverage, and for your personal belongings. Because high-value home insurance may have more considerations than standard policies, working with an agent might be a good idea.
How do I know if I need high-value insurance?
Generally, the threshold for high-value homes is a replacement cost value of about $750,000. However, because home prices and the cost of living vary, so does the threshold for high-value homes. If your home has custom features, expensive finishes or is larger than standard homes in your area, you might want to ask an agent if high-value insurance is right for you.
Do all companies offer high-value home insurance?
No. Some companies have specific underwriting regulations for high-value coverage, which are often packaged under a different company name. For example, Nationwide and AIG both write high-value home insurance under a “Private Client” name. These policies are separate from the standard Nationwide and AIG policies in that they are able to offer different coverage types, limits and options.
Not all companies have these separate sections for high-value home insurance, but may still offer high-value coverage. Additionally, some companies may only offer coverage up to a certain dwelling amount, which effectively means high-value homes would be underinsured and homeowners may need to get coverage elsewhere.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on 40-year-old male and female homeowners with a clean claim history, good credit and the following coverage limits:
- Coverage A, Dwelling: $750,000
- Coverage B, Other Structures: $75,000
- Coverage C, Personal Property: $375,000
- Coverage D, Loss of Use: $150,000
- Coverage E, Liability: $500,000
- Coverage F, Medical Payments: $1,000
The homeowners also have a $10,000 deductible and a separate wind and hail deductible (if required).
These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes will differ.