California has something for everyone, with rolling hills, lush forests, arid deserts and bustling cities. Homeowners may be interested to know that the average cost for a homeowners policy in the Golden State is $1,014 per year for $250,000 in dwelling coverage, according to Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums. Despite the state’s high cost of living, this is lower than the national average, based on the same amount of dwelling coverage.
According to our research, the best California homeowners insurance companies include Allstate, CSAA, State Farm, The Hartford and USAA. Our investigation into the California home insurance market could help you choose a company that fits your needs. We investigated average premiums, coverage offerings, discounts, policy features and third-party scores to help you gain an understanding of each provider’s strengths and weaknesses.
The best home insurance companies in California
California residents have multiple insurers to choose from, several of which offer more affordable premiums for homeowners insurance than the state average. Here are the top five options based on average annual premiums, available coverage, discounts, policy features, 2020 J.D. Power customer satisfaction ratings and AM Best financial strength scores:
|Home insurance company||Average annual premium for $250K dwelling coverage||J.D. Power customer satisfaction score||AM Best Rating|
|CSAA Insurance Group||$909||825/1,000||A (Excellent)|
|State Farm||$732||829/1,000||A++ (Superior)|
|The Hartford||$1,307||832/1,000||A+ (Superior)|
*Not officially ranked by J.D. Power due to eligibility restrictions
Allstate is tied with State Farm in J.D. Power ratings for overall customer satisfaction across several categories. Allstate offers a broad list of coverage options for homeowners in California to choose from. From the standard coverage options like dwelling coverage, liability protection, personal property and guest medical protection, to the not-so-common options like flood insurance coverage and yard and garden coverage, Allstate offers plenty of coverage types to meet your needs.
Learn more: Allstate Insurance review
CSAA Insurance Group
CSAA Insurance Group is an AAA insurer. The insurance company offers affordable premiums in California compared to the state average, with an average annual premium of $909 for a $250K dwelling. The insurer rated above average in customer satisfaction, with a J.D. Power score of 825 out of 1,000 points. CSAA Insurance Group was given an A (Excellent) rating from AM Best.
Learn more: AAA Insurance review
State Farm earned 829 out of 1,000 points from J.D. Power for overall satisfaction and in several other categories, including policy offerings, billing and interaction. State Farm is the largest personal auto insurance carrier in the U.S., so drivers looking for an established company with a local agency presence might enjoy this carrier. In addition to the standard coverage types like dwelling and personal property coverage, State Farm also offers pet insurance through Trupanion.
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review
The Hartford is an AARP homeowners insurance program. With a J.D. Power Rating of 832 out of 1,000 points, customers are generally satisfied with The Hartford’s homeowners insurance offerings and services. Homeowners in California who opt for The Hartford might enjoy selecting coverage that fit their homeowners insurance policy needs. The drawback is that The Hartford is only available to AARP members. However, the AARP membership enables you to receive more benefits and savings on homeowners insurance.
Learn more: The Hartford Insurance review
USAA earned 889 out of 1,000 J.D. Power points in ratings for overall satisfaction, making it one of the top providers in the country that writes policies in California. However, because it is only available for members of the military and their immediate families, it is not eligible for official rankings by J.D. Power. For those that are eligible to become USAA members, it is often one of the most affordable providers. It also has unique options that are beneficial to military members, like coverage for uniforms damaged in a covered loss.
Learn more: USAA Insurance review
Additional companies to consider
Kin Insurance is an insurtech startup founded in 2016 and headquartered in Chicago. Its mission is to offer affordable coverage to homeowners and reports that customers save an average of $500 when switching from another carrier.
With Kin’s HO-3 policies, California homeowners will receive coverage on belongings, home, liability, medical payments, and more. Additionally, standard coverage includes wildfire insurance for damage caused to your home’s structures, trees and plants and expenses for fire department services.
Learn more: Kin Insurance review
Home insurance in California
The average insurance premium for a California homeowner is $1,014 per year for $250,000 in dwelling coverage. Californians maintain a 54.9% homeownership rate. Given the hazards posed by natural disasters and other geographical risks, several unique considerations commonly impact home insurance decisions.
Common causes of loss in California
Some of the risks most pertinent in California include wildfires, earthquakes, floods and mudslides, with wildfires being one of the most pressing risks in recent years. The 10 costliest wildfires to occur in the United States all took place in California, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
The recent years have been especially catastrophic for California, due to these fires:
- Camp Fire: November 2018, $10.4 billions in losses
- Tubbs Fire: October 2017, $9.2 billions in losses
- Woolsey Fire: November 2018, $4.4 billions in losses
- Atlas Fire: October 2017, $3.2 billions in losses
Home insurance coverage options in California
In a state prone to wildfires, mudslides and earthquakes, asking providers specific questions about what your policy does and does not include is an important step. For instance, even though California is prone to earthquakes, home insurance companies do not typically include automatic coverage for such incidents. Due to common natural disasters, many insurance experts recommend these coverage types for California homeowners:
- Flood insurance: California is considered a flood-prone state due its valleys and coastal land areas. However, most homeowners insurance policies will not include damage caused by floods. Instead, flood insurance can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and through some private carriers.
- Fire insurance: Although coverage for some fires are included in basic homeowners insurance policies, Californians are at an increased risk because of the high probability of wildfires. If you live in an area where finding home insurance coverage is difficult because of the involved risk, you may want to consider purchasing a separate policy like the FAIR Plan. California FAIR Plan (CFP), based in Los Angeles, recommends only getting coverage through its association as a last resort, but it could offer fire insurance for your home.
Frequently asked questions
What is the cheapest homeowners insurance in California?
There are several large providers in California offering cheaper homeowners insurance policies (compared to the state average), which include all of the standard protections such as coverage for dwellings, personal property, other structures and liability. To find the most affordable policy for your situation, compare quotes from multiple providers based on the coverage you need and see how adding discounts, like bundling, will affect your premium.
How do I get homeowners insurance in California?
Many insurance companies offer online quotes, but you can also call a company or visit a local agency. You will need some basic information like your address and date of birth, along with information about your home, like how old the roof is and the details about any custom features. Once you have a quote and would like to buy a policy, a company representative will walk you through the application process.
What is the California FAIR Plan?
Due to the threat of wildfires in California, many companies have stopped offering coverage in the state. The FAIR Plan provides last resort insurance coverage to homeowners who are unable to obtain coverage. A Los Angeles-based association, the FAIR Plan is made up of insurers who are authorized to offer basic property insurance in California.
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: $250,000
- Coverage B, Other Structures: $25,000
- Coverage C, Personal Property: $125,000
- Coverage D, Loss of Use: $50,000
- Coverage E, Liability: $300,000
- Coverage F, Medical Payments: $1,000
The homeowners also have a $1,000 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.