More on Home Insurance
More on Home Insurance
Your guide to the best insurance companies, coverage needs, and educational resources for New York homeowners
Whether you own a farmhouse upstate or a bungalow in Canarsie, you’re going to need homeowners insurance to protect your home and your stuff.
Your mortgage lender will require that you get at least some form of hazard insurance, but if you’re a homeowner in New York, you’ll want to make sure your coverage extends beyond just the required amounts.
As climate change causes sea levels to rise and the omnipresent threat of hurricanes downstate becomes commonplace, it’s important for New York homeowners to look into supplemental coverages as well: like flood insurance or guaranteed replacement cost coverage for their home in the event of a total loss.
If you were recently dropped from your policy or can’t find adequate coverage on the open market, the government offers last-resort policies, or FAIR plans, through the New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association.
IN THIS ARTICLE
|Insurance company||J.D. Power Rating||A.M. Best Rating||Market Share|
|Allstate||3 out of 5||A+||14.30%|
|Chubb||3 out of 5||A++||11.20%|
|Liberty Mutual||3 out of 5||A||8.20%|
|State Farm||3 out of 5||A-||13.20%|
|Travelers||2 out of 5||A++||8.70%|
Coverage and claims: Chubb - For coverage and claims, Chubb is on a whole different level than the competition. Despite its hefty price tag and the fact that it caters pretty much exclusively to high-value property, Chubb still holds down a pretty high market share in New York (11.2%), and for good reason. Chubb offers industry-best coverages for your home and personal belongings and a refreshingly personalized claims process. So you can be sure that, when it comes time to file a claim, you’re being properly taken care of and reimbursed.
Low rates: Allstate - When it comes to rates, Allstate has some of the lowest in the industry. Allstate also features a number of discount opportunities. If you bundle your home and auto insurance, you can save up to 30% on your policies and up to 20% if you’ve never filed an insurance claim.
Digital tools: Travelers - For modern, high-tech homes, Travelers should be your insurer of choice. With Travelers, you’re eligible to receive a free Amazon Echo Dot if you begin a policy with Travelers after applying via Amazon (that’s right, Amazon can quote you a Travelers policy). Take advantage of their Amazon affiliation some more by purchasing certain smart-home devices at discounted rates. Not only are you protecting your home with top-of-the-line technology, but Travelers may also gift you a loss-prevention discount of up to 20%.
Discounts: Liberty Mutual - When it comes to discounts, very few insurers give you the ability to keep your rates down quite like Liberty Mutual. Featuring 12 discounts and a number of credit opportunities, Liberty Mutual can save you money if you’ve been claim-free for five years or more, by bundling your home and auto insurance, or by signing up for paperless billing.
New homebuyers: State Farm - If you’re a first-time homeowner who’s never dealt with an insurance company before, State Farm is one of the better options out there. With a helpful website complete with helpful educational tools, a seamless application process, and an excellent app where you can pay your bill and file claims, State Farm offers the easiest home insurance experience in the New York market.
As of 2016, homeowners in New York paid an average of $1,309 for homeowners insurance — a little higher than the national average of $1,192. The high average is in large part because of inflated rates in the downstate coastal regions, which consists of New York City’s five boroughs, Suffolk and Nassau counties, and parts of Westchester County.
If you own a home in New York, the amount you pay for insurance will be impacted by the following:
Generally, your lender will require that you get a minimum amount of “hazard” insurance, which is another way of saying a homeowners insurance policy.
In certain areas along the coast, lenders may also stipulate that you get some form of flood coverage, which you can get by adding an endorsement to your home insurance policy or by acquiring a separate flood policy.
Looking to buy home or flood insurance or both? Well look no further than Policygenius. We understand how burdensome the insurance buying process can be, so we’re making it easier.
Your policy’s dwelling coverage is your home’s insured value — this is the part of your policy that reimburses you when your home is damaged by a covered peril. Before you’re reimbursed for a dwelling coverage claim, you first need to pay your deductible. New Yorkers who live in the tri-state area are typically responsible for two types of deductibles: dollar-amount deductible for most perils, and separate hurricane or “named storm” percentage deductibles.
Your other structures coverage reimburses you for covered losses to structures not directly attached to your home. Fences, detached garages, sheds, and gazebos all count as “other structures.” Your other structures coverage may also be subject to a hurricane or named storm deductible.
Your personal property coverage is typically 50% of your home’s insured value and covers the contents of your home up to your personal property coverage limit. Your personal property coverage typically only covers “named perils,” and you’re generally only reimbursed the actual cash value of an item’s worth under a standard policy. If that’s the case, ask your insurer about getting replacement cost coverage for your personal property instead. Replacement cost is more expensive than actual cash value but provides much better payouts for losses.
Some types of personal property – like jewelry, vintage instruments, furs, or expensive keepsakes – have sublimits and are typically only covered up to $1,500 per damaged or stolen item. Sublimits can be increased with a scheduled valuables endorsement or rider.
Be sure to take an inventory of all of your personal belongings inside the home, value it, and calculate what it would cost to repair or replace your stuff if it’s damaged, destroyed, or stolen by a covered loss.
Loss-of-use coverage, or your “additional living expenses,” pays for your living expenses if a covered peril displaces you from your home and makes it uninhabitable. In some cases, your loss-of-use coverage may be needed for a year or longer if your home incurs a total loss and you need to live somewhere else while it’s rebuilt.
Loss-of-use is typically 20% of your home’s dwelling coverage, but your insurer may let you increase your coverage limits.
Liability coverage protects your assets if someone is injured in your home and sues you. It also provides coverage for you if you accidentally cause damage to someone else’s personal property. Most liability limits are anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000.
Covers guests’ medical bills if they’re injured in your home. Medical payments coverage is generally anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.
To get covered for windstorm losses, New Yorkers have the option of adding a separate windstorm deductible to their insurance policy. The deductible is usually anywhere from 1% to 5% of your home’s insured value, or your dwelling limit. Windstorm deductibles started becoming gradually implemented after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and have pretty much become commonplace across the state since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
If you live in the tri-state area, there’s a good chance you’ll also need to add a hurricane deductible to your policy as well. Like windstorm deductibles, hurricane deductibles are anywhere from 1% to 5% of your home’s insured value, and are “triggered” once a storm has been declared a hurricane by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
If you’re a coastal-area homeowner and you’re dropped from your policy or you’re unable to find coverage on the open market, you can obtain coverage through the Coastal Market Assistance Program, or C-MAP.
Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, so if you live by the coast or in a FEMA-designated “flood zone,” you’re going to need flood insurance as well. Most insurers offer flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), but NFIP policies have coverage limitations. For more robust coverage, look into a private flood policy or endorsement
Not where you live? We've got you covered, check out our guide to homeowners insurance in your state
About the author
Pat Howard is an Insurance Editor at Policygenius in New York City, specializing in homeowners insurance. He has been featured on Property Casualty 360, MSN, and more. Pat has a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University.
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.
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