If you’re one of the 67% of Marylanders who own their own homes, you know that the Old Line State is a great place to live. When it comes to homeowners insurance companies, you’re in luck, too: while the average premium nationwide is $1,192, Marylanders pay an average of only $1,022—almost $200 less.
This doesn’t mean you won’t want to shop around for the best Maryland homeowners insurance. Maryland is prone to hurricanes and winter storms, which can result in damage ranging from flooded basements to compromised roofs. With increasingly unpredictable weather, Maryland homeowner insurance rates are going up, and it pays to compare the costs and the coverage available from the top homeowner insurance companies.
When shopping for the best Maryland homeowners insurance, there are several things to keep in mind, including:
- Your home’s replacement value and its location
- The amount you’ll pay in premiums as well as your deductible
- The breadth of coverage each company offers, along with what additional amendments are available for your policy
- The company’s reputation for good customer service and pay-out rate
Because each home is unique, your homeowners insurance policy should be tailored to your property and circumstances. This may require some leg work, but it will save you money in the long term. A good place to start is our review of the best home insurance companies and our comprehensive look at hazard insurance.
Best home insurance companies in Maryland
Everyone’s insurance needs are different. When choosing our top picks for the state, we looked first at those that are writing the most policies in the state: they’re the ones with the most knowledgeable reps and general experience in dealing with Maryland weather conditions and other factors that play into policy costs.
We also looked at the rankings of reputable consumer agencies like J.D. Power, AM Best and Consumer Reports. These companies use real-world data from policyholders to rank customer satisfaction with the companies and their pricing.
- Allstate: Allstate makes the user experience its top priority—file a claim online, download the easy-to-use app or take advantage of a website packed with information. On top of this, it offers claim-free rewards and a claim rateguard.
- Erie Insurance: Not only does it write more policies in Maryland than any other company, but it is highly rated by consumer organizations—the only company on our list to earn five out of five stars from J.D. Power.
- Nationwide (Farm Bureau): The insurance company of the Maryland Farm Bureau, Nationwide offers discounts for multi-policy, fire and burglar alarms and gated communities.
- State Farm: This company offers lots of online resources, including a good blog and home inventory tool. Quotes can be pricey, but discounts can bring your cost down.
- Travelers: An excellent ranking from AM Best, along with competitive pricing and great discounts—including a green-friendly one if you live in a LEED-certified home—make Travelers worth a look.
|J.D. Power Rating||AM Best||Consumer Reports||Other coverage available|
|Erie||5 out of 5||A+||88||auto, renters, business, life|
|Allstate||3 out of 5||A+||82||auto, renters, condo, motorcycle, business, life, roadside, identity, boat, pet|
|Travelers||2 out of 5||A++||83||auto, motorcycle, renters, condo, boat, travel, wedding, umbrella|
|State Farm||4 out of 5||A||85||Auto, motorcycle, boat, dental, life, umbrella, medical,pet, wedding, travel|
|Nationwide||2 out of 5||A+||84||auto, pet, travel, sports, business, life, long-term care|
Average homeowners insurance cost in Maryland
Maryland’s average premium cost of $1,022 ranks 30th in the country, but you want to save as much as possible on your policy. Your costs will vary depending on diverse factors, from the age of your roof to how close your house is to a fire hydrant.
Sample premiums by state
Maryland is not prone to natural disasters like earthquakes or tornadoes, making it one of the more inexpensive states to purchase a policy, but unpredictable weather patterns may change that. Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012 both did significant damage to homes in the state.
Many of the claims made by Maryland homeowners are water-related, and the state mandates that every insurance agency offer you the chance to purchase an endorsement for your policy that covers losses and damage from water backing up through sewers and drains. This will add to the cost of your policy, but is more than worth it if you have drain issues.
Home insurance coverage options in Maryland
- The costs to repair or rebuild your home in the event of a fire, hurricane, lightning or other disasters. Your policy may also cover other structures on your property such as a garage or shed.
- Replacement costs for the loss of your belongings, including furniture and jewelry. If you have items of particular value, like fine art or collectibles, ask your agent about a personal property endorsement or floater.
- Liability coverage to protect you from lawsuits if someone is hurt or their belongings damaged while they are on your property. If your dog bites a neighbor, this coverage would pay for both their medical costs and your legal fees if they decide to sue you.
- Additional living expenses (ALE) cover costs if you must live away from your home while it is being repaired. These expenses can mount up quickly, so ALE can be a significant help when disaster strikes.
Note that there are limits to the coverage you’ll receive in these areas. Review those limits with your agent before you purchase a policy. Consider insuring your home for the replacement cost rather than its assessed or market value. A home that’s assessed at $200,000, for example, may cost significantly more to rebuild with rising construction and material costs.
There are other endorsements to consider for your Maryland homeowners insurance. Sewer backups can be a problem in storm-compromised areas. Generally, your policy will cover the damage if it is contained within the home—like an overflowing washer that floods the kitchen. However, if the damage originated outside of the house, such as a flooded town sewer system, it is probably not covered under your HO-3 policy.
Another “extra” you might want to add to your policy is flood insurance. Most insurers don’t cover flood insurance, which can be obtained from the National Flood Insurance Program. If your home is near water or in a flood plain, we strongly suggest that you consider one of these affordable policies.
Common causes of home insurance losses in Maryland
Nationally, about 6% of homeowners make a claim on their homeowners insurance each year. According to the non-profit Insurance Information Institute (III) the most common claim was related to wind and hail damage, followed closely by water damage and freezing.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story. The III also looks at how much money is involved with each claim, and there we have fire and lightning taking the lead, with an average claim of more than $68,000. Wind, hail, water damage and freezing all average a relatively low $10,000+.
Your insurance claim may depend largely on your location. A good tool to explore is Allstate’s Common and Costly Claims page, which allows you to plug in your zip code to find out what’s the most common reason for making a claim in your area. In much of Baltimore, for example, water damage is the most common claim, but fire is the most costly—reflecting national trends.
Here’s something else to be aware of with Maryland homeowners insurance: if you do make a claim on your policy, be prepared for a big increase in your premiums, averaging 19%. Although nationally, the average increase in your premium after a claim is 9%, Maryland is one of the top five states for premium increases.
What does this mean for you? If your claim is on the smaller side—say, just a few thousand dollars—you may be better off paying for it yourself rather than submitting a claim to your insurer. In this case, a call to your agent for more information on your company’s policies is a good idea.
Frequently asked questions
What is the cheapest homeowners insurance in Maryland?
The cheapest insurance in Maryland for you will depend on a variety of factors. When getting an online quote or talking to an agent, you’ll need to know details like the age of your house and roof and square footage. You can save some money by selecting a higher deductible for your policy and ensuring that you have reasonable coverage limits.
How do I get homeowners insurance in Maryland?
Your first step is to gather information about your home and property. This may involve a home appraisal and an appraisal of valuable items you own, such as jewelry or artwork. It’s a good idea to get some online quotes. After that, you’ll want to talk to agents, who can sometimes find discounts for you that the online tool missed.
Do I need homeowners insurance in Maryland?
Homeowners insurance in the state of Maryland is not mandated by law, but your mortgage company will usually require you to have it. Unless you are able to handle rebuilding costs on your own, it’s a good idea to have a solid, basic policy to protect you against bad weather and natural catastrophes in this water-front state.
Can I get homeowners insurance in Maryland if I have bad credit?
Yes. Maryland is one of three states (along with Massachusetts and California) that do not allow insurers to use your credit rating to deny you a policy, cancel your policy or discriminate against you in any way.