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West Virginia is at the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Coal is one of the largest industries in West Virginia, and was first discovered here in 1742. What’s more, The Mountain State has more caves than any other state, and is one of the most cavernous areas in the entire world. But, its beautiful mountains and rolling hills also lead to a number of homeowners insurance risks.
West Virginia has considerably lower average home insurance premiums than the national average. The average cost of homeowners insurance in the state of West Virginia is $907. That's far lower than the national average of $1,173. Only 11 states have lower average home insurance rates than West Virginia.
|West Virginia Annual Average||$844||$877||$907|
|West Virginia Price Per Month||$70||$73||$75|
|US Annual Average||$1,096||$1,132||$1,173|
|US Cost Per Month||$91||$94||$98|
Choosing a homeowners insurance company in West Virginia should be easier. Actually, it’s already easy; you could just go with whichever company your mortgage lender recommends, but you probably won’t get the best rates that way. The key to finding the cheapest rates is to get a homeowners insurance quotes comparison in West Virginia from multiple companies.
Last year, these were the most common home insurance companies reported by QuoteWizard users living in the state of West Virginia. Out of the 4,409 West Virginia homeowners that used QuoteWizard to request insurance quotes last year, 613 had no home insurance.
Why contact every individual company in West Virginia that you want a homeowners quote from when you can just answer a few questions about your home and desired coverage, and get competing quotes from agents? Save time and money with QuoteWizard.
|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written (in thousands)||Market Share|
|1||Erie Insurance Group||$61,392||15.4%|
|2||Nationwide Mutual Group||$53,958||13.6%|
|6||USAA Insurance Group||$15,350||3.9%|
|7||WV Farmers & Mechanics Mutual Group||$10,527||2.7%|
|8||State Auto Insurance Cos.||$10,244||2.6%|
|9||WV Insurance Co.||$7,902||2.0%|
Source: A.M. Best (Ratings as of 8/5/2015)
|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written (in thousands)||Market Share|
|1||Nationwide Mutual Group||$296,711||10.5%|
|2||Erie Insurance Co.||$264,021||9.3%|
|3||Brickstreet Mutual Group||$176,273||6.2%|
|5||Travelers Companies Inc.||$126,587||4.5%|
|9||Hartford Fire & Casualty Insurance Co.||$78,198||2.8%|
|*Represents both home and auto insurance|
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 West Virginia.
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 West Virginia, the average listing price is $174,947 as of July 2015, much lower than the national average of $284,748.
Burglary is a serious and sometimes violent property crime. States with higher average burglary rates generally have higher average home insurance premiums, because the likelihood that someone will need to file a claim is higher. According to data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report, in 2013, West Virginia’s average burglary rate was 521.7 per 100,000 people, which is a bit below 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 West Virginia, there are 64.9 law enforcement personnel per 100,000 total citizens, which is more than two times the national median of 32 per 100,000.
The eastern side of West Virginia is very mountainous, while the western half of the state is relatively flat. This results in a great variability in climate, geography, and homeowners insurance hazards. Except for areas at high elevation, summers are quite hot and humid. Most of West Virginia also has high amounts of precipitation.
Hot and humid summers: Though a great deal of variety exists in West Virginia’s climate, hot and humid summers are present throughout the state. The eastern side of the state is mostly mountainous, so it doesn’t get as hot as the western half. July is the peak of summer, and throughout West Virginia, high temperatures are above 80 degrees. Summer tends to last a bit longer on the western side of the state due to the lower elevation. By September, the eastern side of the state tends to already be experiencing autumn, while the western side still has summer-like conditions.
During this time, humidity is extremely high in West Virginia. August is the most humid summer month, with average humidity above 90%. In Elkins, it’s as high as 96%. Because humid heat is so hot, people tend to turn up the air conditioning, which may trap humid air inside. Since humidity is essentially moisture, having it inside can promote the development of mold and mildew.
Frequent precipitation: West Virginia is a very rainy place, averaging about 43 inches of rain throughout the state. Some areas of very high elevation experience over 50 inches of rain a year. On the eastern side of the state, they average 136 days per year with rain. On the western half, the average annual rainfall is 147 days per year. May and July are the two rainiest months of the year. On average, it rains every other day in May, and slightly less in July, and both months see about 5 inches of rain each. This persistent rain can be somewhat annoying, but it can also be a serious homeowners insurance threat.
As snow melts and springtime rains begin in the mountainous eastern side of the state, water runs down from the mountains, leading to flash floods. Flooding is the deadliest and costliest weather event in West Virginia. What’s more, West Virginia often receives heavy rains from tropical storms that have moved inland, but because of its rugged terrain, is usually spared the worst effects of hurricanes. In the noted flood of 1985, Hurricane Juan caused 5 inches of rain to fall in a single day. As the water ran down through canyons, towns located in valleys were damaged or destroyed, and nearly 50 people drowned. It is important to note that the only way to obtain flood insurance is through the National Flood Insurance Program. Learn more about the NFIP here.
Clouds & fog: West Virginia has a deserved reputation as a cloudy place. Elkins, West Virginia is ranked as the #9 city for days with some clouds, at 315 days of the year, on average, or 86% of the year. What’s more, two cities in West Virginia are on the top ten list for most cities with the most days per year with heavy clouds, Elkins averages 212 days and Beckley 210 days. This means that 58% of days have heavy cloud cover. West Virginia is the cloudiest state in the eastern half of the US, mostly due to the mountainous topography. This causes cold air to sink down to the valleys, producing a heavy cloud layer.
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