Q

How much does homeowners insurance cost?

A

The average annual homeowners insurance premiums in 2015 were around $1,100, but costs differ from state to state.

Pat Howard 1600

Pat Howard

Published January 8, 2019

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Selecting a homeowners insurance policy is one of the more important purchasing decisions you’ll make after finding a new home. Homeowners insurance protects your assets — the home itself, personal property within the home, and legal and medical bills if someone is injured on your property. It's also required by most mortgage companies before they’ll lend to you.

The average annual homeowners insurance premiums in 2015 were around $1,100 according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Homeowners insurance premium costs differ from state to state for a number of reasons. If a state has a lot of major cities and more densely populated areas, it’s more likely to have higher premiums, as home values are generally higher. States in areas with a higher incidence of natural disasters also generally have higher premiums than states that don’t match that criteria. Homeowners insurance premiums are also dependent on population density of your town or city, how old your house is, and how much it would cost to rebuild.

Read on:

Average homeowners insurance cost by state

How much is homeowners insurance? The average cost of home insurance rates by state in 2015 was around $1,100 annually per the Insurance Information Institute.

StateAverage premiumStateAverage premium
Alabama$1,358Montana$1,081
Alaska$982Nebraska$1,360
Arizona$810Nevada$737
Arkansas$1,312New Hampshire$941
California$986New Jersey$1,149
Colorado$1,383New Mexico$982
Connecticut$1,411New York$1,287
Delaware$780North Carolina$1,075
District Of Columbia$1,196North Dakota$1,200
Florida$1,993Ohio$819
Georgia$1,152Oklahoma$1,879
Hawaii$1,014Oregon$643
Idaho$692Pennsylvania$913
Illinois$1,033Rhode Island$1,446
Indiana$983South Carolina$1,284
Iowa$919South Dakota$1,096
Kansas$1,531Tennessee$1,149
Kentucky$1,062Texas$1,991
Louisiana$1,945Utah$673
Maine$843Vermont$873
Maryland$982Virginia$946
Massachusetts$1,379Washington$811
Michigan$908West Virginia$907
Minnesota$1,323Wisconsin$750
Mississippi$1,508Wyoming$1,088
Missouri$1,253


The most expensive states for homeowners insurance

Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Kansas are the states with the most expensive average homeowners insurance rates, per the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, due to their extreme weather.

Highest Average Premium by State, 2015

Extreme weather is a common theme in states with high homeowners insurance premiums. Florida, Texas, and Louisiana are coastal states and are more susceptible to strong storms, and Oklahoma and Kansas are right in the middle of tornado alley.

  1. Florida: $1,993
  2. Texas: $1,991
  3. Louisiana: $1,945
  4. Oklahoma: $1,879
  5. Kansas: $1,531

The cheapest states for homeowners insurance

Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Wisconsin are the states with the cheapest average homeowners insurance rates, per the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

On the flip side, you can get a bargain deal on homeowners insurance if you live in states that are sparsely populated and aren’t prone to extreme weather. Or maybe you just live in a state that averages a fire station for every six residents (fire station quantity and proximity can also affect how much you pay).

While we don’t advise moving somewhere strictly based on how high homeowners insurance premiums run, it’s helpful to understand why policies are cheaper in certain states and more expensive in others. As you can see, states with the lowest average premiums are inland and northern, so they’re not likely to experience tropical storms and not as at-risk to face tornadoes.

Lowest Average Premium by State, 2015

  1. Oregon: $643
  2. Utah: $673
  3. Idaho: $692
  4. Nevada: $737
  5. Wisconsin: $750
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What determines the cost of homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance companies factor in different kinds of potential risks when determining home insurance rates. Some of these risks you have control over, and some are simply beyond your control.

Homeowners insurance cost factors that are circumstantial

  • Location: Location is one of the biggest homeowners insurance premium cost factors. Weather, population density, proximity to fire-prone forested areas or car accident-prone intersections and roads, proximity to a fire station, and insurance claim history (areas with a lot of home insurance claims have higher premiums) are all taken into account when determining rates.

  • Credit history: Most states allow homeowners insurance companies to check an individual’s credit history to determine their premium.

  • Age of your home: That Victorian house you just bought in a historic neighborhood may be charming, but chances are it has older wiring and plumbing, meaning your rates will be higher due to the heightened risk of fire and plumbing hazards. Homes with aluminum wiring are typically excluded from dwelling coverage unless proper safety modifications are made by a licensed electrician. Companies will also suggest a complete copper rewiring to minimize risk.

Homeowners insurance cost factors that you can decide

  • How much coverage you want: When buying a homeowners insurance policy, it’s mainly up to the homeowner to decide a coverage amount for three components: dwelling, liability and medical payments. The other three components of homeowners insurance coverage are set as a percentage of your total dwelling coverage, and the breakdown usually looks something like this:

    • Other structures: 10 percent

    • Personal property: 50 percent

    • Loss of use: 20 percent

  • Deductible amount: The amount you pay out-of-pocket in the event of a claim. Deductibles usually come in amounts of $500, $1,000, $1,500, $2,000 and $2,500. The general rule of thumb in insurance is lower deductible-higher premiums; higher deductible-lower premiums.

  • Homeowners insurance discounts: Homeowners insurance companies offer numerous discounts and bundles that can lessen that premium. Its common for home insurance and auto policies to be bundled together; loyalty discounts if you’re with the same company for a set number of years; and filing infrequent claims or no claims at all typically rewards you with a pretty good discount.

How much of each homeowners insurance component do you need?

Minimum and maximum coverage amounts for each component

Minimum coverageMaximum coverage
Dwelling coverage$300,000$775,000
Other structures coverage$30,000$77,500
Personal property coverage$150,000$250,000
Loss of use coverage$90,000$200,000
Liability coverage$100,000$500,000
Medical payments to others coverage$1,000$5,000
  • Dwelling coverage: Coverage for your home should equal the full replacement cost. Not to be confused with the home’s purchase price or market value, the replacement cost should reflect what it’d cost for a full rebuild. Other structures (garage, fences, driveway), personal property (personal belongings inside the home) and loss of use (covers additional living expenses if your home is no longer inhabitable) constitute a percentage of your dwelling coverage amount, as we demonstrated above.

  • Liability coverage: Should be enough to cover legal fees, but financial assets — like the home itself, investments, and anything else with a dollar amount attached to it should be covered. If $500k isn’t enough (the maximum liability coverage amount in a homeowners insurance plan), you can add an umbrella policy to increase your coverage amount.

  • Medical payments to others: The amount you’ll pay out if someone is injured in your home and requires medical expenses on your behalf. Policies should typically have anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 in medical payments coverage.

Learn more about what homeowners insurance covers.

How to save on homeowners insurance

Along with insurance bundles, loyalty discounts, and infrequent claims, you can also lower your monthly home insurance premium costs by increasing the number of safety and security features in your residence:

  • Smoke detectors

  • Security alarms

  • Sprinkler system

  • Deadbolts on doors

  • Fire extinguishers

  • Wind protection

Another great way to lower your premium cost is to increase your credit score. Yes it takes time, but as your score increases, your premiums drop.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.