Best Homeowners Insurance Rates In California

On average, your neighbors pay $81 a month.

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The Golden State is known for many things, including beautiful beaches, fruit and wine, cosmopolitan cities, and the movie industry. California is so large that if it were its own country, it would have the world's eighth-largest economy. There are major homeowners insurance risks that you should be aware of. Whether you’re looking to move there, or are already a Californian.

Average California Homeowners Insurance Rates

Homeowners insurance premiums in California are moderate compared to other states. In 2014, the average cost of homeowners insurance in California was $974, slightly lower than the national average of $1,132. There are 18 states and the District of Columbia that have higher average home insurance rates than California.

California Average Annual Homeowners Insurance Rates
  2012 2013 2014
California Annual Average $980 $966 $974
California Price Per Month $81 $80 $81
US Annual Average $1,034 $1,096 $1,132
US Cost Per Month $86 $91 $94
National Rank 22 26 26
Source: http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/homeowners-and-renters-insurance

Choosing a homeowners insurance company in California should be easier. Actually, it’s already easy. The key to finding the best rates is to compare home insurance quotes in California from multiple companies.

Best California Home Insurance Companies

Last year, these were the most common home insurance companies reported by QuoteWizard users living in the state of California. Out of the 48,266 California homeowners that used QuoteWizard to request insurance quotes last year, 2,332 had no home insurance.

  1. Allstate Insurance
  2. Farmers
  3. AAA Insurance Co.
  4. Geico
  5. Liberty Mutual
  6. 21st Century Insurance
  7. Progressive Casualty
  8. Nationwide
  9. Safeco
  10. USAA
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Why contact every company in California that you want a homeowners quote from? Save time and money with QuoteWizard.

Top 10 California Home Insurance Company Market Share

Source: Insurance Information Institute
Rank Company Direct Premiums Written (in thousands) Market Share
1 Farmers Insurance Group of Cos. $1,146,424 16.2%
2 Allstate $604,475 8.6%
3 CSAA Insurance Exchange $452,487 6.4%
4 Liberty Mutual $405,157 5.7%
5 Auto Club Exchange Group $378,453 5.4%
6 USAA Insurance Group $340,605 4.8%
7 Nationwide Mutual Group $271,670 3.9%
8 Mercury General Corp. $252,688 3.6%
9 Travelers Companies Inc. $244,081 3.2%

Financial Strength Ratings of Top California Home Insurers

Source: A.M. Best (Ratings as of 8/20/2015)

  • Farmers Insurance Group of Cos.: A
  • Allstate: A+
  • CSAA Insurance Exchange: A+
  • Liberty Mutual: A
  • Auto Club Exchange Group: A
  • USAA Insurance Group: A++
  • Nationwide Mutual Group: A+
  • Mercury General Corp.: A-
  • Travelers Companies Inc.: A++
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Rating Guide

California Property & Casualty* Insurance Company Market Share

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Rank Company Direct Premiums Written (in thousands) Market Share
1 Farmers Insurance Group of Cos. $5,177,524 8.5%
2 Liberty Mutual $3,055,056 5.0%
3 Allstate $2,675,049 4.4%
4 Geico $2,500,900 4.1%
5 Travelers Companies Inc. $2,433,039 4.0%
6 American International Group $2,270,136 3.7%
7 Auto Club Enterprises Insurance Co. $2,133,652 3.5%
8 Mercury General Corp. $2,125,863 3.5%
9 Nationwide Mutual Group $1,907,385 3.1%
*Represents both home and auto insurance

California coastline

Homeowners Insurance Rate Factors

Many different factors come into play when insurance companies calculate the cost of homeowners insurance. Some, like the age of your home, are within your control. Others, like crime rates or natural disasters, are beyond your control. Here are some of the factors that affect the cost of homeowners insurance in California.

Average Home Listing Prices

Home prices can greatly affect the cost of insurance in any given state. A higher average home price generally means higher premiums in that state. For California, the average listing price is $592,252 as of July 2015, more than twice the national average of $284,748. Homeowners insurance rates in California are lower than one would expect given this high average home price.

Average Burglary Rates

Burglary is a serious and sometimes violent property crime. States with high burglary rates have higher homeowners premiums. That's because it's more likely that someone in one of these states will need to file a claim. In 2013, California’s average burglary rate was 605.4 per 100,000 people, which is about the same as the national average of 610.0 per 100,000.

States with more law enforcement per capita tend to be safer than states with fewer policemen and women. In California, there are 30.1 law enforcement personnel per 100,000 total citizens, which is barely lower than the national median of 32 per 100,000.

Home Insurance Hazards

California is the third-largest state by area. Its geography and climate varies greatly depending on where you are. So, homeowners insurance hazards are very different depending on whether you’re in Northern or Southern California.

Earthquakes: From the famous 1906 San Francisco earthquake, to the 1994 Northridge earthquake, California certainly has a reputation for big earthquakes. The San Andreas Fault extends over 800 miles through California, adding to its reputation for seismic activity. But it’s only one of dozens of faults. California has been home to some of the largest earthquakes in US history,. But small earthquakes occur every day and are generally not felt.

Large earthquakes are extremely destructive. They can cause tsunamis, landslides, avalanches, fires, and floods, all of which are especially hazardous to homeowners. Moreover, aftershocks can occur for months afterwards, worsening the damage. Most of the destruction from earthquakes is caused by destroyed structures and landslides. It can take years to repair. Be sure to discuss this concern with your insurance agent.

Drought:  Recently California has dealt with the most severe drought in its history. Water conservation measures have been put in place for both residents and farming. While drought is not uncommon in the state, this level of severity is extremely hazardous. According to the US Drought Monitor, droughts are ranked from D0 to D4. D0 is “abnormally dry” and D4 is the worst possible drought. California recently experienced the worst drought in its history. 97% of the state was at level D1 (moderate drought) or above. And 71% of the state was at level D3 (extreme drought) or above. 99.9% of the state faced some level of drought. This affected nearly 37 million people. Whether the result of climate change or other factors, these conditions should be considered a hazard. Extreme heat can cause power outages due to excess use of air conditioning. It can also cause heat stroke and heat exhaustion, especially in children and adults over 65.

Santa Ana winds:  These hot, high winds blow westward, from the desert to the coast. They're most common in spring and fall, mostly in southern California. A difference in air pressure between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains makes the air circulates. It increase the temperature and decreasing in humidity. These winds can reach hurricane speeds, and combined with heat and dryness, they are a recipe for wildfires. The Santa Ana winds can also knock over trees and blow around debris. If you live in an area with these winds, you should take steps to reduce the risk of wildfire damage.

Wildfires:  According to the California Fire Service, wildfires happen basically every year throughout the state. From late spring to early autumn, hot, dry, windy conditions produce wildfires that range from gentle to devastating. But they can occur any time of year. Wildfires can cause billions of dollars of property damage in a single year, and force people to evacuate their homes. The Cedar Fire of 2003, the largest wildfire in California history, burned about 800,000 acres and destroyed thousands of homes. As of August 3, 2015, 20 unique wildfires were burning throughout California. The drought as well as abnormally high temperatures motivated these fires.

Fog:  California has a great deal of fog. In the San Joaquin, Sacramento, and Central valleys, Tule fog forms in late autumn and may persist until spring. This fog is notorious for causing car accidents because it decreases visibility to a matter of feet. For the coasts, the marine layer is nearly year-round, but almost always burns off by early afternoon. It's common in late spring. That's because of when the cool off-shore water and wind patterns cause fog and humidity. It's earned the nickname “May gray” or “June gloom,”

Fog is considered a homeowners insurance hazard because it is essentially moisture in the air. If this moisture is trapped inside, it can promote mold and mildew, which can damage homes.

California Office of the Insurance Commissioner

Website:
Homepage
Insurance Commissioner:
Dave Jones
Insurance Hotline:
(800) 927 – 4357 (HELP)
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
9:00 am to 5:00 pm
File a Consumer Insurance Complaint
Complaint Page

Sources:

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