More on Home Insurance
More on Home Insurance
The cost of homeowners insurance in California is $1,280 a year for the average amount of coverage. California residents can compare rates from multiple companies with Policygenius.
Updated October 1, 2020
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California is known for its stunning coastline, national parks, and massive economy. The Golden State’s varying geographical terrain and climate can also result in some pretty bad wildfires, earthquakes, floods, and landslides. If you’re a homeowner in California, you should make sure your home is well protected with homeowners insurance.
The statewide average cost of homeowners insurance in California is $1,280, which is a few hundred dollars less than the national average of $1,633. But insurance premiums will differ considerably for Cali residents based on specific factors related to your home and policy. Your rates will be directly impacted by your home’s condition and style of build, its location, your credit and claims history, and the policy deductible amount you choose. Rates will also be different from company to company for the same level of coverage, which is why it’s so important to compare policies from different companies — that’s where we come in.
To help simplify your shopping experience, Policygenius reviewed the five best homeowners insurance companies in California offered through our website. We also calculated the cheapest and most expensive cities in California for home insurance based on hundreds of submitted quotes.
The average cost of homeowners insurance in California is $1,280 per year for $100,000–500,000 in coverage
The most affordable insurance company in California is Hippo, according to Policygenius quote data
When deciding on policy coverage, California residents should consider the state’s catastrophic wildfires and earthquakes
Before deciding on a homeowners insurance policy, consider doing a little research on the company that will be insuring your house and all of your assets. A great homeowners insurance company is financially stable, has a good track record when it comes to handling claims, and offers affordable coverage, flexible policy options, and high quality discounts.
Hippo provides the cheapest California home insurance quote of any Policygenius partnering carrier. The average quote with Hippo is $911 for around $300,000 in dwelling coverage, which is almost $400 dollars cheaper than the statewide annual average of $1,280. California residents looking for great coverage at a relatively low cost should consider homeowners insurance with Hippo.
Read our full review of Hippo here
California residents looking to maximize coverage for their home and personal property against the state’s catastrophic wildfires should consider Safeco’s excellent replacement cost coverage options.
Safeco has four comprehensive tiers of coverage, and all include the option to add extended replacement cost, a policy add-on that increases your home’s coverage limits an additional 25% or 50% if rebuild costs exceed your dwelling coverage amount. Safeco’s highest level of coverage includes guaranteed replacement cost, which pays for a rebuild of your home regardless of the price.
Read our full review of Safeco here
The property and casualty insurance industry is often accused of being stuck in the dark ages, but don’t blame Travelers. With Travelers, you’re eligible to receive a free Amazon Echo Dot when you begin a new policy. You can also manage your policy through Travelers Skill — an Amazon Alexa program created exclusively for Travelers policyholders. You can take advantage of their Amazon affiliation some more by purchasing certain smart-home devices at discounted rates. This program not only protects your home, but it may also lower your insurance rates by as much as 20%.
Read our full review of Travelers here
One important indicator of an insurance company’s ability to pay out claims in an effective and timely manner is its financial stability, and Nationwide is among the highest-rated insurers in that area. With an A+ rating with A.M. Best, Nationwide has the highest score a company can receive with the insurance company credit rating agency. Nationwide also has high marks with Standard & Poors, which measures long-term financial stability, as well as Moody’s, which measures what the expected losses would be if a company were to go into default.
Read our full review of Nationwide here
California residents with high-value homes should consider a homeowners insurance policy with Chubb. This luxury insurance company provides guaranteed replacement cost dwelling coverage, replacement cost coverage on all personal property, and additional services like appraisals and risk protection consultations, like wildfire defense services. Keep in mind that Chubb only covers homes with an insured value north of $1 million, but considering the average home price in California is $600,000, many homes in the Golden State qualify for coverage with Chubb.
Read our full review of Chubb here
When comparing insurance companies, California residents may find that rates differ greatly from company to company for the same level of coverage. Higher-priced policies may include coverage add-ons or have higher limits than other plans, or they may cost more simply because that insurer charges more for coverage in that particular location.
After reviewing hundreds of quotes submitted with Policygenius, we found that Hippo is the cheapest insurance company in California with a $911 average annual premium for $100,000–500,000 in coverage. MetLife has the most expensive coverage with an average annual premium of $1,826 for the same amount of coverage.
The average cost of homeowners insurance in California will also differ considerably based on the amount of insurance you have for your home. Below are the average homeowners insurance quotes for five different levels of coverage.
|Coverage Amount||Average Cost|
|Greater than $500,000||$ 2,449|
Insurance companies will also price policies differently based on where you live. We found that Oakland has the highest rates in the state with a $1,593 average annual premium for $100,000-500,000 in coverage. Oaktown’s rates came in just a hair more expensive than Los Angeles, the second most expensive city for homeowners insurance in the state. The city with the cheapest rates is the state capitol of Sacramento, with an average annual premium of $862 for the same amount of coverage.
|Chula Vista||$ 1,179|
|Long Beach||$ 899|
|Los Angeles||$ 1,523|
|Moreno Valley||$ 1,302|
|San Bernardino||$ 1,316|
|San Diego||$ 1,162|
|San Francisco||$ 1,487|
|San Jose||$ 1,231|
|Santa Ana||$ 1,384|
We selected the 20 largest cities in California by population where customers have submitted quotes with Policygenius. Quotes are based on a coverage amount between $100,000 and 500,000.
As wildfires in California become bigger, more frequent, and more expensive to insure, some insurers are no longer insuring homes or aren’t renewing home policies in wildfire-prone regions of the state. Furthermore, many insurance companies who do still insure homes in high wildfire risk areas may exclude wildfire damage from coverage or charge a separate wildfire deductible.
As of December 2019, California insurers are banned from canceling people’s policies in fire-prone parts of the state. But it’s worth noting that this moratorium only lasts one year.
If your insurer recently canceled your policy and you can’t find insurance on the open market, you may be eligible for fire coverage via a California FAIR Plan. A FAIR Plan is essentially a last-resort policy for homes that aren’t insurable on the private admitted market.
One thing to keep in mind about FAIR Plans is they’re pretty limited — coverage is on a strict named perils basis, meaning you’re only covered for damage resulting from fire or lightning, smoke, and internal explosions. Coverage against windstorm damage and vandalism is available as additional coverage, but potential hazards like sudden and accidental water damage, theft, and weight of snow or ice aren’t covered. Additionally, FAIR Plan policies don’t include liability or medical payments protection, and loss of use coverage is very limited.
To supplement your FAIR plan and make sure your home is fully protected, you’ll need a “difference in conditions” (DIC) policy. The California Department of Insurance has a list of major insurers who write DIC policies.
In addition to wildfires, California is also prone to earthquakes and mudslides — two catastrophes that aren’t covered by homeowners insurance. Even though most Californians live within 30 miles of a fault and the probability of a severe earthquake is pretty high, only around one in 10 Golden State residents have earthquake insurance, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Some insurance companies offer earthquake coverage that you can add onto your homeowners insurance policy, meaning you pay a single premium for your earthquake and home policies. But the most common option for earthquake coverage is provided through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) a not-for-profit agency instituted by the state of California in the 90s to provide much needed earthquake protection for residents. Homeowners insurance companies in California that offer homeowners insurance are required to sell some form of earthquake insurance, with most offering coverage serviced by the CEA.
Homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage in California or any of the other 49 states. California residents can supplement that gap in coverage by purchasing a flood insurance policy. Flood insurance can typically be provided through the same insurance company that insures your home.
Most flood policies are sold by private companies but administered by the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). An NFIP flood policy can cover up to $250,00 for the structure of your home and up to $100,000 for personal belongings.
California floods have a number of causes: high tides on the coast, landslide and mudslide-induced flooding, and fluvial floods, to name a few. As the effects of climate change and El Niño become more common and severe, it’ll be especially important for California homeowners to get this important piece of financial protection.
The California Department of Insurance is a valuable resource for California homeowners purchasing coverage for the first time and those who are already insured. The CDI website has helpful information about what to prioritize when selecting your coverage, comparing rates, preparing your home for bad weather, and you can even file a complaint if you’re unhappy with your home insurance company.
Not where you live? We've got you covered, check out our guide to homeowners insurance in your state
Pat Howard is a homeowners insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. He has written extensively about home insurance cost, coverage, and companies since 2018, and his insights have been featured on Investopedia, Lifehacker, MSN, Zola, HerMoney, and Property Casualty 360.
Pat has a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University.
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