High-risk homeowners insurance

Insurance for homes in natural disaster-prone areas or with a history of frequent claims is typically more expensive — if you can find a private insurer willing to work with you at all.

Kara McGinley

By 

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is an editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

Updated December 22, 2021 | 3 min read

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A homeowners insurance company may consider you high risk if your home is located in a high-risk area that’s prone to natural disasters, you have a low credit score, or you have a history of filing frequent claims. To match the heightened risk, home insurance for high-risk homes is typically more expensive and harder to get through a private insurer. 

If you’re struggling to find coverage, look into insurers that specialize in policies for high-risk homes or your state’s Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan.  Home insurance through FAIR Plans is reserved for homeowners who have been repeatedly turned down for coverage on the private market.

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What factors make a home high risk?

During underwriting, insurance companies gauge how likely you are to file a future claim in order to determine the financial risk of insuring your home. 

5 reasons your home may be considered high risk

Here are a few factors that might put your home in the high-risk category:

  • It’s old or historic. Older homes are riskier to insure because they may contain more expensive building materials that cost more to rebuild. They also might not be up to current building codes.

  • It’s located in a high-risk area. If your home is in an area that experiences severe weather — like tornadoes, hurricanes, or wildfires — it may be considered high risk. A home may also be considered high risk if it’s in an area of the country that experiences high property crime rates.

  • The roof is old. Insurers take your roof’s age and quality into consideration, and may potentially turn you down for coverage, charge you higher rates, or exclude your roof from coverage if it doesn’t pass inspection.

  • There are structural issues. Your home may be considered high risk if it has structural issues like old electrical or plumbing, or if its foundation isn’t up to code.

  • It’s a vacation home or unoccupied for extended periods. Insurance companies consider vacation homes high risk because they’re left vacant for long periods of time, leaving them vulnerable to break-ins and severe damage if a natural disaster strikes.

3 reasons you might be considered high risk

Not only can your home be considered high risk, but you could be considered a high-risk candidate for coverage as well if any of the below applies to you: 

  • You have a low credit score. Insurers consider your credit score to be indicative of your ability to make a timely insurance payment and your likelihood of filing a homeowners insurance claim. So a lower score means heightened risk to insurers.

  • You’ve filed a lot of claims in the past. If you’ve filed multiple claims in the past, an insurance company will likely consider you a high risk.

  • You own a certain dog breed. Some insurance companies may consider you high risk if you own a dog that they consider to be a high liability risk, like a pit bull or rottweiler.

What to do if your home is considered high risk

If you’ve shopped around and been denied coverage multiple times, there are a few steps to help you find coverage.

  • Talk to your neighbors. If you live in a high-risk area, your neighbors likely had the same issue when shopping for insurance. Consider talking to your neighbors and find out what company they’re insured through.

  • Make improvements to your home. If your old roof is the only thing standing in the way of you and a homeowners insurance policy, it’s probably smart to replace it so you can qualify for coverage.

  • Consider a surplus carrier. Surplus carriers specialize in coverage for high-risk homes that are rejected by standard homeowners insurance companies. Just keep in mind these policies are typically more expensive. 

  • Contact your state’s insurance department. They might offer last-resort coverage programs, like a FAIR Plan, that you qualify for.

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Homeowners insurance companies for high-risk homes

Every insurance company is different, and just because one insurance company classifies you as high risk doesn’t mean others will. Many major insurance companies offer coverage add-ons that can protect your home if you live in an at-risk area for severe weather. 

Below are a few homeowners insurance companies that offer add-ons that can enhance your coverage.  

1. Safeco

Safeco offers a plethora of endorsements to make sure your home is fully protected in the event that disaster strikes. Safeco offers guaranteed replacement cost coverage, which covers the cost of rebuilding your home from the ground up regardless of your policy’s coverage limits. This is ideal for homes that are at risk for severe weather, such as wildfires or hurricanes. 

→ Read our full Safeco homeowners insurance review

2. Encompass

Encompass is a subsidiary of Allstate, and it offers customizable coverage options. Though its policies are generally more expensive than its parent company’s, Encompass offers an  array of add-on options, including unlimited additional living expenses and enhanced personal property coverage. Encompass also accepts all dog breeds — rare for an insurance company. 

→ Read our full review of Encompass homeowners insurance

3. AIG

AIG is a luxury carrier that insures high-value homes. The company may be ideal for properties located in high-risk areas, like coastal beach towns or wildfire areas, since it offers complimentary hurricane and wildfire disaster mitigation monitoring and protection services. 

→ Read our full AIG review

Genius tip: Speak with the insurance company if you’re turned down for coverage

If a company refuses to insure you, it may be worthwhile to reach out and learn why — you may only need to make a few adjustments to your home to qualify for coverage. 

What states are considered high risk for homeowners insurance?

Communities in states along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are often deemed the most high risk due to the high probability of hurricane and windstorm damage. In fact, some carriers may even exclude covering wind damage caused by tropical storms in these areas. 

Because of this, some states offer windstorm plans that are meant to fill in the coverage gaps for homes in coastal communities where hurricane and windstorm damage is excluded from policies.

7 Atlantic and Gulf Coast states that offer special Beach and Windstorm Plans:

  • Alabama 

  • Florida

  • Mississippi

  • New York

  • North Carolina

  • South Carolina

  • Texas

In addition to homes in hurricane zones,, more insurance companies are rejecting coverage for homes located in wildfire-prone areas, particularly in parts of California. Like most states, California has a FAIR Plan of its own that provides crucial fire insurance for the most high-risk homes.

Fair plans — explained

A FAIR Plan is last-resort coverage for homeowners who don’t qualify for home insurance on the private marketplace. In order to qualify for a FAIR Plan, most states expect you to exhaust all other options, and may even require proof that you’ve been rejected multiple times from different insurers.

FAIR Plans don’t offer as much coverage as a standard homeowners insurance policy, and usually  cost more. These plans also only offer named-peril policies, meaning the only hazards that you’re protected from are the ones explicitly outlined in your policy. If you can’t get any other form of homeowners insurance coverage, a FAIR Plan may be a good idea until you can qualify for coverage on the private marketplace.

→ Learn more about FAIR Plans