Which states experience the most home insurance losses? Here are the statistics behind the states where home insurance companies pay out the most in claims.
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Every year, insurance companies pay out billions of dollars to settle homeowners insurance claims. From 2014–2018, over 90% of these claim payouts were due to property damage from wind and hail, fire and lightning, water damage, and winter weather, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Fire and lightning claims were the least common of the bunch, but by far the most severe at $80,000 per claim.
It’s understandable, then, how California — a state that’s lashed with destructive wildfires on a yearly basis — experiences the most homeowners insurance losses of anywhere else in the country. The Golden State averaged $10.7 billion in insured losses from 2015–2019, around 40% more than the second highest Florida, and more than the 29 states with the least amount of residential property loss combined.
Here’s a look at the average homeowners insurance losses by state from 2015–2019, according to the III.
|Rank||State||Average losses (2015-2019)||Rank||State||Average losses (2015-2019)|
|9||North Carolina||$1,467,062,200||35||New Mexico||$357,842,800|
|14||New Jersey||$1,171,429,400||40||Rhode Island||$208,193,600|
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Along with being deadly, lightning strikes can also wreak havoc on your home. Lightning can cause damage to your property in a multitude of ways: it can directly strike your house, or hit a power line that causes a surge in your home, and then there’s the whole lightning-caused wildfire thing (these are often the biggest and most dangerous wildfires).
To better protect your home against lightning-related damage, consider investing in a good surge protector, clearing your home home of dry brush or anything that could ignite in a lightning-caused fire, or installing a lightning rod.
As the following table demonstrates, some states are more prone to lightning-related residential damage than others.
|State||Number of claims||Insured losses|
California may not experience the most wildfires of any U.S. state (that designation belongs to Texas) or even the most acreage burned (see: Alaska) but it has by far the most properties as risk of wildfire damage, according to Verisk Wildfire Risk Analysis.
|State||Number of homes at risk||State||Percentage of homes at risk|
California has over 2 million homes in designated high-wildfire risk areas, almost 75% more than the number of at-risk homes in Texas. This residential exposure has had devastating consequences for California real estate.
In 2018, insurance companies paid out $13 billion for wildfire losses in California alone, up from $12 billion in 2017. To provide some context, those figures are higher than the next highest state’s total losses in those respective years.
The most common type of homeowners insurance claim is due to wind and hail-related loss, including damage from destructive tropical storms and hurricanes. As the table below shows, homes in coastal states like Florida, Louisiana, and Texas are particularly vulnerable to tropical cyclones.
A Category 5 hurricane in Florida, for example, is powerful enough to inflict damage on around 3 million homes, according to the III. That accounts for nearly one-third of the total housing units in the Sunshine State.
Here’s how many homes are at risk in each state for every category of hurricane.
|State||Category 1||Category 2||Category 3||Category 4||Category 5|
In terms of homeowners insurance losses, they don’t get nearly the same attention as tornadoes or other kinds of weather disasters, however hail storms are a quiet (but costly) risk that all homeowners should be aware of.
If you live in certain parts of the country — particularly in the designated Tornado and Dixie Alleys — consider hail-proofing your house by installing storm shutters or panels for your windows or doors. If hail had a favorite victim, your roof would probably top its list, so make sure you’re getting your roof inspected regularly if you live in any of the following states.
|State||Total claims (2017-2019)|
While you may consider your dog to be your best friend, your insurance company might consider it a significant liability risk. In fact, some homeowners insurance companies will go so far as to not insure homes with certain dog breeds or, at best, exclude breeds like Rottweilers, German shepherds, and pit bulls from coverage.
Although this might seem unfair, dog bite liability claims cost insurers a lot of money. Dog bite claims averaged out to $44,760 per claim in 2019. The average was just $19,162 in 2003, but somehow this amount has increased year-over-year since then.
Below are the states with the highest number of dog bite claims, along with the average cost of each claim, according to the III.
|State||Number of claims||Average claim amount|
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