Owning a home is a big commitment, both financially and emotionally, and it brings with responsibility not required of renters. That’s why it’s important to make sure your property, house, and belongings are protected with a homeowners insurance policy.
Homeowners insurance keeps you safe when the worst happens. It provides coverage for dwelling damage due to fire, wind and other natural disasters; personal property protection for items like clothing, furniture and electronics; liability coverage for damages you or a family member causes and coverage for other structures, like garages or sheds. Because home insurance keeps your most valuable assets safe, it’s important to shop around for the best homeowners insurance.
New York ranks last in the nation when it comes to homeownership rates. Fifty-three percent are homeowners, and this may in part be due to New York’s steep housing costs. In fact, New York ranks third in the United States with regard to median monthly housing costs. In 2017, New Yorkers averaged paying homeowners insurance premiums totaling $1,309 per year.
In that same year, the state’s direct premiums written by insurance carriers amounted to more than $46 billion, while claims payouts totaled $26 billion. Though the Insurance Information Institute reports that homeowners file more claims relating to wind and hail damage than any other reason, fire and smoke damage rake in the highest loss costs.
When shopping for the best New York homeowners insurance, keep in mind the following several considerations that can impact the cost of your insurance premiums:
- Your home and property value
- The type of coverage you require
- The amount of the deductible
- Additional coverages you want or need
Voluntary coverages, such as flood insurance, may cost you more up-front but prove to be invaluable if you live in a flood or hurricane-prone location. Stay informed about what your homeowners insurance policy will include so you don’t find yourself vulnerable when disaster strikes.
The top home insurance companies in New York
Because the most affordable or most popular insurance options are not always the best suited for your circumstances, it’s important to shop around for home insurance quotes from a range of carriers. To weigh the best New York home insurance options, we considered price, policy options available, claims process, interaction and customer service and billing and payment process.
According to J.D. Power & Associates, an authority on all things insurance, the top New York homeowners insurance companies include the following:
|Insurance provider||J.D. Power rating|
|Farm Bureau||Not rated|
|New York Central Mutual Insurance||Not rated|
|State Farm||4 out of 5|
|USAA||5 out of 5|
Although it’s not rated in J.D. Power’s 2019 insurance study, Farm Bureau is a great insurance company. It has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and an A rating from AM Best, indicating excellent financial strength.
In terms of coverage, Farm Bureau offers homeowner policies customized to fit a variety of needs and a variety of discounts that can help you save money. The only downside to Farm Bureau is that you have to work with an agent to get a quote, file a claim or make changes to your policy.
New York Central Mutual Insurance
As the name suggests, New York Central Mutual is a mutual insurance company, which means policyholders own the company. That comes with a number of benefits, including great customer service.
New York Central Mutual is a smaller company, but it still offers a variety of policies and discounts. The website has tips to safeguard your home against flooding and water damage. Because this provider received an A rating from AM Best, the company will be able to fully reimburse you for any covered losses.
In J.D. Power’s 2019 home insurance study, State Farm earned 4 out of 5 for overall satisfaction. The company also has an A++ rating from AM Best.
State Farm offers flexible coverages, impressive discounts, good customer service and affordable premiums. It is also highly rated for its claims handling. In addition, we appreciate State Farm’s online tools and resources, which make it a great provider for first-time home buyers. The mobile app is also highly rated, which is perfect for people who want to manage their policy on-the-go.
USAA is largely considered to be the best of the best when it comes to homeowners insurance. The company has a perfect five-star rating for overall satisfaction from J.D Power, and an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best.
When it comes to coverage, claims, customer service, price and discounts, you can’t beat USAA. The company even includes up to $5,000 of identity theft coverage with every home insurance policy.
USAA is only available to members of the U.S. military, their immediate family members and veterans. As a result, not everyone qualifies for USAA insurance.
Average homeowners insurance cost in New York
The average annual cost for New York homeowners insurance in 2017 was $1,309. Compared to other states, New York’s home insurance premium rate ranks in at the 15th highest.
Of the top four New York homeowners insurance companies, only State Farm allowed for an instant online quote. Our insurance applicant applied for an insurance quote for a home valued at $315,000 and located in Albany, New York. We reported that the home was built in 1974 and had standard features inquired about in an insurance quote questionnaire. The house includes 2,036 square feet of covered space. For this home to receive $300,000 in liability coverage, State Farm would charge an annual premium of $773.
One benefit of using the insurance services of USAA is that it is an exclusive company with members-only pricing and other perks. However, because you must be a member of the U.S. military or a family member, you can’t access pricing and plan options without already having a USAA member number. Still, the company ranks at the top for New York homeowners according to J.D. Power ratings.
Like USAA, New York Central Mutual does not provide instant homeowners insurance quotes. Instead, applicants are encouraged to contact a local agent. What the company lacks in online quotes, it gains in customer service, as agents are available by phone 24 hours per day.
Similarly, Farm Bureau does not allow you to find an instant quote online. Because this company is so locally-oriented, you often must work through an independent agent to complete your quote inquiry. You can submit your contact information online to get a follow-up call.
As stated above, New York ranks 15th when compared to the other 50 states. For a closer look at how New York fares to some of its counterparts, review the chart below:
|State||Average premium||Rank (of 50)|
Louisiana and Florida hold the top spots for most expensive homeowners insurance premiums. One obvious reason for these high costs is the threat from hurricanes and flooding. Other areas that are prone to natural disasters and weather extremes, such as those states in New England and mountainous regions, also face higher premiums.
New York faces threats from both coastal storms, such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and snowstorms in the upstate. For those reasons and other variables, New York ranks near the top third when it comes to the most expensive average state homeowners insurance premiums.
Home insurance coverage options in New York
The most common type of homeowners insurance policy is a standard policy. A standard homeowners insurance policy includes the following basic coverages:
- Structure of the house keeps you covered if your home is damaged due to fire, hail, lightning, hurricanes or other insured natural disaster but often does not include damage incurred from flooding, earthquakes or normal wear and tear.
- Personal property insures your personal items, such as clothing, jewelry and furniture if they are stolen or lost in an insured disaster.
- Liability protection keeps you protected in the event that you, a family member or a pet injures someone or causes damage to someone else’s belongings.
- Additional living expenses covers costs incurred when your home is inhabitable and you must find somewhere else to stay for a while.
If you want homeowners insurance coverage that goes further than the standard homeowners insurance policy, you may opt for the HO-3 policy, which includes coverage for the 16 perils:
- Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or sprinkler system. It also covers discharge from other household appliances
- Damages incurred by aircrafts
- Damages incurred by automobiles
- Falling object
- Fire, smoke and lightning
- Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system or of a household appliance
- Riot or civil turmoil
- Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component)
- Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning unit or automatic fire-protective system
- Volcanic eruption
- Weight of ice, snow or sleet
- Wind and hail
When deciding which coverages you should have as a resident of New York, consider the area in which you live. Is your home prone to high winds, heavy snows or coastal flooding? If so, find coverage options that provide the protection you need. Do you live in a high-crime area? Then theft coverage may be a priority. Whatever your specific needs, a local agent can help you determine the policy that suits you best.
Common causes of home insurance losses in New York
New York is a large state, so one resident’s neighborhood and lifestyle may be entirely alien to the other. However, there are a few factors that all New Yorkers should observe as common causes of home insurance loss in the state.
- Vandalism: Vandalism is a type of human-induced damage carried out against property or belongings. You may want to opt for this coverage if you live in a more populous part of New York, where graffiti and vandalism are common occurrences.
- Natural disasters: As mentioned above, New York is vulnerable to a range of natural disasters, including hurricanes, blizzards and even tornadoes. If your area is prone to any of these weather systems, you may need additional insurance coverage.
- Burglary: Though burglary was the third most frequently committed crime in the United States in 2018, New York ranks near the bottom in the nation when it comes to burglary rate. However, if you live in a neighborhood with above-average burglary rates, you may benefit from extended coverage, particularly if you house lots of expensive, luxury items.
- Fire: Though fire claims are filed less frequently, the damage they incur can be irreversible, whether the damage is from flames or smoke alone. If your yard has lots of vegetation and overgrowth, you may be at a higher risk of fire damage to your home. Make sure your New York home insurance policy keeps you covered.
Frequently asked questions
What is the cheapest homeowners insurance in New York?
The cheapest homeowners insurance in New York based on the methodology for this study was State Farm, at $773 per year, well below the state average. The cheapest New York homeowners insurance for you will depend on individual factors like where you live, your insurance history, what coverage options you need and what discounts you can get.
How do I get homeowners insurance in New York?
Contact a homeowners insurance agent online, by phone or in-person to begin the quote process. You’ll need information such as your name and address, value of your home, amount of coverage needed and types of coverages you require.
Do I need to add hazard insurance to my policy?
Hazard insurance is already included in most standard homeowners insurance policies. However, if you live in an area at high-risk of damage from natural disasters, you may want to consider opting for additional coverage.
What natural disasters are addressed by my homeowners insurance policy?
If you have a standard homeowners insurance policy, your home is protected from damage incurred by hurricanes, tornadoes and fires. Flood and earthquake coverages, however, are typically not included in a standard policy.