Coverage varies greatly among regions, homes, and asset portfolios. If you and your neighbor called all the same providers asking for quotes, there’s a good chance the lowest option for you would come from a different provider than the lowest option for them. There’s no universally cheaper carrier. For some context, premiums can range in price anywhere from $500 to $2,000.
Allstate also offers the most discounts of all the companies on our list — 11 total. These include standard discounts like hosting smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, or deadbolt locks, as well as unique offers, like one for signing up before your current policy expires. First-time customer with Allstate? You’ll get another price slash for your first two years with the company.

If you make any home improvements or security upgrades, you might be able to reduce your premium — but only if you tell your insurer. Before investing in any renovations on your home, double-check what discounts are available. Chances are you already have the basics down, such as deadbolts and smoke alarms. But your insurer may reduce your rate if you go the extra mile with carbon monoxide detectors and home security systems (provided they're monitored). That also extends to improvements that help guard against natural disasters, like storm shutters and stronger windows. However, not every addition will help your premium. Trampolines, swimming pools, and “risky” dog breeds such as pit bulls will make your homeowners insurance company cringe. They’re all liability concerns, and liability concerns make rates go up.
Because brokers work with a variety of insurance companies, they tend to have a broader understanding of companies’ offerings and key benefits. They are commission-based, which is a double-edged sword: they may be more motivated to earn your business year after year by getting you the best deal possible; or they may try to sell you a policy with unnecessary bells and whistles since that would pay them a higher commission. Regarding the double-edged sword: the best way to nail down the best deal possible is the annual review and re-shopping of coverage. The best way to avoid unnecessary “bells and whistles” is to remember that your needs guide what you purchase. If you don’t need “bells and whistles”, don’t purchase them. Approaching insurance this way is always the best way forward. Consider this: having options placed in front of you and explained in detail allows you the opportunity to hear about the newest “bells and whistles,” some of which may be just what you need or were looking for, but simply never asked about. Policies change, and new options are added by carriers all the time.

Coverage that suits you. Comprehensive and collision coverage is just the beginning. Our policies also give you the flexibility to dial up (or down) your peace of mind. Choose from new car replacement2, special parts replacement3, enhanced rental car damage coverage4, and more. And because there’s only one you, receive identity theft protection5 at no extra cost.
1 In Texas, the Auto Program is underwritten by Southern County Mutual Insurance Company through Hartford Fire General Agency. Hartford Fire Insurance Company and its affiliates are not financially responsible for insurance products underwritten and issued by Southern County Mutual Insurance Company. The Home Program is underwritten by Trumbull Insurance Company.
For more than 85 years, Safeco has delivered new and better ways to protect cars and drivers with auto insurance. If you drive a sedan, hybrid, minivan, station wagon, SUV, pickup truck or anything in between, your local independent agent can provide personalized coverage that's right for you. If trouble comes along, we’ll make sure you’re taken care of every step of the way.

In times of need, we stand by you. We’re here to make sure you have the right coverage for your needs. And should an accident occur, our claims service will be there to help when you need it most. If you’re comparing our quote or policy to another insurer, be sure to understand the value of the coverage you’re considering. Compare apples to apples. Make sure driver and vehicle information are the same. Our auto policy is the only one backed by an On Your Side promise.
Liberty Mutual has a decent selection of endorsements, from scheduled personal property to coverage for your home business, but one add-on stood out to us in particular. Liberty Mutual is one of the few providers that offers inflation protection for homeowners. With this add-on, the company will automatically adjust your coverage limits each year to keep up with inflation. That means if your house ever needs repairs, you won’t have to worry about the higher cost of building materials and labor exceeding your previously sufficient coverage.
Allstate has the second-largest number of additional endorsement options of all our contenders. Those additional endorsements are fairly low-risk: insurance for expensive sports equipment, musical instruments, or landscaping. Notably absent is additional coverage options for earthquakes and theft of other property (vehicles, trailer, watercraft), but the endorsements it does offer can be valuable if you have expensive hobbies or are putting a lot of money into renovating your home’s curb appeal.
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Liberty Mutual has a decent selection of endorsements, from scheduled personal property to coverage for your home business, but one add-on stood out to us in particular. Liberty Mutual is one of the few providers that offers inflation protection for homeowners. With this add-on, the company will automatically adjust your coverage limits each year to keep up with inflation. That means if your house ever needs repairs, you won’t have to worry about the higher cost of building materials and labor exceeding your previously sufficient coverage.

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Liability – Helps protect you in two ways. First, it provides for your legal defense against a liability claim (lawsuit). Second, it will help pay any court judgments against you for covered losses, up to the policy limit. For example, your pet injures a neighbor or guest, or your long drive on the golf course injures someone on the fairway. This coverage can help pay for damages that you are held liable for.


Your best possible price equals a competitive initial quote, plus lots of opportunities to save. The most significant discounts, like those for owning a fire extinguisher or being claim-free, are offered by most providers. However, there are a few exceptional discounts that make certain providers a better fit for certain homeowners. For example: Allstate’s “new purchase” discount gives a small break to owners who are moving into their home for the first time. We tallied and compared the discounts offered by each provider to help us make personalized recommendations for different homeowners.

‡‡ Some benefits, such as the Disappearing Property Deductible, are only available with the optional Advantage Plus package. A policy without these added benefits is also available. To qualify for the Disappearing Property Deductible, homeowners must have no claims or losses for three consecutive years in most states. The Advantage Plus package option and the Disappearing Property Deductible benefit are not available in all states.

Living near a full-time fire station with a nearby hydrant plays a role in your home insurance rates. The reason an insurer wants a home near a fire department and hydrant is that there is less chance of your home burning down if you live near a fire station. Having a hydrant nearby also means that firefighters can start battling a house fire faster than if the hydrant is down the street -- or even miles away.

The above is meant as general information and as general policy descriptions to help you understand the different types of coverages. These descriptions do not refer to any specific contract of insurance and they do not modify any definitions, exclusions or any other provision expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. We encourage you to speak to your insurance representative and to read your policy contract to fully understand your coverages.
Contingent or incentive commissions reward agents and brokers for achieving volume, profitability, growth or retention goals established by the insurer. For example, Elite Insurance promises to pay the Jones Agency an extra 3 percent commission if Jones writes $10 million in new property policies within a certain time frame. If Jones renews 90 percent of those policies when they expire, Elite will pay Jones an addition 2 percent commission.
You can own both whole life and term life policies at the same time. People who are looking at this option typically already have a whole life policy. However, they may find that they want additional short-term insurance coverage such as for 10 years. In this instance, buying a term policy for the amount of life insurance you need for that extra protection can be a good solution. 

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Virtually every state mandates that insurance agents and brokers meet licensing requirements, which normally entails the successful completion of a written examination. Prelicensing educational requirements may also apply, which can vary depending on the state and license type. Separate licenses are necessary for each line of insurance, including Life and Health and Property and Casualty. In addition, agents and brokers may have to meet ongoing continuing education requirements to maintain their licenses.
“I recommend that people create video evidence of all their belongings, as well as the inside and outside of their home,” says Jeffrey D. Diamond, adjunct professor of insurance law at Georgia State University College of Law. Many providers have online lists you can help to keep track. “The more ways in which you can establish and prove the features of your home, as well as the quality and quantity of your personal property before a loss occurs,” Diamond adds, “the better your homeowners insurance coverage will serve you at the time of need, if and when the need arises.” 

Well, actually, that was a fairly slanted article from someone who is advocating in his best interest from his point of view. Most Brokers are highly ethical and Brokers (not agents) DO have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. Most CFO’s also do not allow their Brokers to “last minute” them nor have an uncontrolled process. One of the biggest problems is not the Broker or Agent, but divisional reluctance to co-ordinate safety and loss prevention efforts WITH the CFO so that the CFO has a basis to negotiate with first of all, and for the organization to take a portion of it’s risk and self-insure where financially appropriate. For example, the adoption of telematics in fleets has moved very slowly and their is no good reason for proactive management to have allowed that to happen. That takes proactive risk management and coordination which is why many CFO’s have a risk manager position in their department.

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By raising the amount you’ll pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in, you’ll lower your premiums (monthly/yearly payments). You can save as much as 25% by raising your deductible to $1,000. This can be a risky choice, though, and should be considered carefully — it’s important that you don’t raise your deductible so high that you can’t afford to pay it when something goes wrong. If you live in a disaster-prone area or have trouble saving, keeping a low deductible and investing in protection on a monthly basis is the safer choice.

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Coverage varies greatly among regions, homes, and asset portfolios. If you and your neighbor called all the same providers asking for quotes, there’s a good chance the lowest option for you would come from a different provider than the lowest option for them. There’s no universally cheaper carrier. For some context, premiums can range in price anywhere from $500 to $2,000.
Along with State Farm, Liberty Mutual has one of the lowest Consumer Reports reader scores on this list. Those numbers revolve around the company’s claims system: how quickly agents respond, how simple the process is, how timely and fair payments are. And while Liberty Mutual’s score isn’t poor — dubbed “very good” across the board — it doesn’t quite compare to the “excellent” ratings brought home by our other picks. This is worth considering if you live in a disaster-prone area like the East Coast, where the likelihood that you’ll have to file a claim is high and it’s important to choose a provider that makes them as painless as possible.
Let’s say your home burns down and it’s now uninhabitable. While your home is being rebuilt, you’ll need to live elsewhere for a short while. Additional living expenses (ALE) covers any living away from home costs and eases the stress of being temporarily uprooted. These expenses may include lodging, meals at restaurants, storage fees, and other costs incurred while your home is being rebuilt.

When it comes to educating prospective buyers about the intricacies of homeowners insurance, Allstate stands out. Allstate’s website contains a library of best-in-class resources — everything from articles and videos to quizzes and infographics. Particularly impressive is the Common and Costly Claims tool that lets shoppers type in their ZIP code to see the most common claims in their region, complete with average dollar amounts for those claims. There’s also a startlingly realistic GoodHome home report that plays a Google Street View video of your home (or potential home) as it enumerates potential risks and gives local hazard data, plus prevention tips. Tools like this make it simple to understand which areas of coverage you may want to increase or supplement because of geographic or neighborhood risk.


Brokers are not appointed by insurers. They solicit insurance quotes and/or policies from insurers by submitting completed applications on behalf of buyers. Brokers don't have the authority to bind coverage. To initiate a policy, a broker must obtain a binder from the insurer. A binder is a legal document that serves as a temporary insurance policy. It usually applies for a short period, such as 30 or 60 days. A binder is not valid unless it has been signed by a representative of the insurer. A binder is replaced by a policy.

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Here are a few more important items to keep in mind when dealing with Agents and Health Insurance: * There is no cost to using a Broker or Independent agent. If an agent helps a client purchase a plan with a specific company, the insurance company will pay the agent a small stipend each month in which the health insurance plan is kept in place. * With Affordable Care Act - ACA in effect insurance companies are dropping the multiple network option for more specific smaller networks, or only one network. Agents, whom do their job correctly, will help to make sure that your doctor is in network with the insurance company that you choose. * If you work with a Captive Agent make sure to check other options with non-captive agents so that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. * Using an Agent as your personal representative should go beyond just purchasing a plan. When you have an issue with if a doctor is on a plan or if your medications are covered you should be able to refer back to your agent for help in getting these issues answered or resolved. A good agent will go above and beyond just "selling" a plan to you. * Agents are aware of the Open Enrollment times in which you can change plans. A good agent will send an email out reminding their clients each year that now is the time to move plans or insurance companies since there is only a small period of time (Open Enrollment in the Fall) in which you may move to a different insurance company each year for a Jan 1st effective date. * Each year when rates increase Brokers and Independent Agents will be able to see all the companies rates and plans for the new year and help you decide if you should move to a new insurance company or plan for the new year *Agents are aware of what a Qualifying Event is and if you can change plans each year, how to do that and what is required. With all the knowledge agents possess...why not take advantage of free!

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1 In Texas, the Auto Program is underwritten by Southern County Mutual Insurance Company through Hartford Fire General Agency. Hartford Fire Insurance Company and its affiliates are not financially responsible for insurance products underwritten and issued by Southern County Mutual Insurance Company. The Home Program is underwritten by Trumbull Insurance Company.

In the United States, insurance brokers are regulated by the individual U.S. states. Most states require anyone who sells, solicits, or negotiates insurance in that state to obtain an insurance broker license, with certain limited exceptions. This includes a business entity, the business entity's officers or directors (the "sublicensees" through whom the business entity operates), and individual employees. In order to obtain a broker's license, a person typically must take pre-licensing courses and pass an examination. An insurance broker also must submit an application (with an application fee) to the state insurance regulator in the state in which the applicant wishes to do business, who will determine whether the insurance broker has met all the state requirements and will typically do a background check to determine whether the applicant is considered trustworthy and competent. A criminal conviction, for example, may result in a state determining that the applicant is untrustworthy or incompetent. Some states also require applicants to submit fingerprints.
Homeowners insurance is there to protect you in the event of a disaster, not to cover normal wear and tear. A home warranty, on the other hand, covers the mechanical breakdown of appliances and systems in the home, like the refrigerator, the washing machine, and the electricity and plumbing that make them run. If that sounds like something you want, check out our review of the best home warranty. 

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