Lemonade is quickly becoming one of our favorite homeowners insurance providers. Fast settlements, transparent pricing, great customer service – they check all the boxes California homeowners need.
A solid choice for Californians looking to get the best ROI on their policy, State Farm offers excellent protections, insurance bundles, and customer service.
Another well-respected name in home insurance, Nationwide offers comprehensive coverage across California and one of the best online quote tools we’ve seen.
In many ways, California homeowners need the same protections from their insurance provider that their neighbors across the country need. Sure, you’re probably more concerned about damage from a wildfire or an earthquake than you are a nor’easter, but the core concepts are universal.
That said, there are some special considerations to keep in mind when selecting a policy to protect your home, be it a lakehouse on Shasta or a bungalow in San Francisco. To help, we’ve rounded up the three best home insurance providers in California.
This six-year-old company is virtually brand new as far as insurers go, but Lemonade is looking to demystify homeowners insurance and make purchasing a policy — dare we say — fun.
When you’re shopping for a homeowners insurance policy, a lot of these websites and apps may feel a little … dated. We guess that makes sense, given that some of the top insurers in the country have been around for a century or more.
But just because a website isn’t sleek and modern, that doesn’t mean your service will suffer or the product is subpar. That said, in our countless hours of exploring homeowners insurance and reviewing providers, we’ve found that this stuffiness can translate to their overall approach.
Not so with Lemonade, our top pick for California homeowners.
When we reviewed Lemonade, we were immediately impressed by their fresh approach to homeowners insurance. Their website is intuitive, everything is explained in easy-to-understand language, and their AI-based quote-building tool named Maya is actually pretty fun to work with.
But does this digital-first approach amount to just a pretty face? Not at all. Lemonade offers the same powerful core protections as its older counterparts with some interesting add-on coverages, including:
Now we didn’t really like that their list of discounts was relatively short, but as you’ll see on our guide to Lemonade’s costs and plans, their premiums don’t require discounts to be affordable. We also didn’t really like that they’re currently available only in 22 states, but the good news is that California is included on that list. When you’re shopping around for the best home insurance policy, we certainly recommend giving Lemonade a look.
One of the most well-known names in the home insurance industry, State Farm offers some of the most affordable coverages available. But don’t let the price tag fool you — you’re purchasing one of the most comprehensive policies available.
There are two big takeaways when it comes to State Farm’s homeowners insurance: its total-home-coverage nature and its affordable pricing.
Generally speaking, when you pay less for something, you get less. That’s a universal concept, but it doesn’t hold true for State Farm. Although their policies tend to cost less than the average, we found in our State Farm review that their protections are generally stronger — even than those of some of their more expensive competitors.
While their prices aren’t rock bottom, our research shows they consistently perform better than their competitors in terms of premium affordability. And the coverage does not suffer for it.
State Farm’s standard policies include items like business property insurance, a building ordinance rider, and other powerful protections that other providers offer only as add-ons. And State Farm’s add-ons really put them above the competition. Identity restoration, computer protection, and, yes, earthquake coverage.
While you’ll still need to shop around for the right protections and the right prices for your specific situation, we’re pretty confident in saying that State Farm is very likely to end up on your shortlist.
Nationwide is a trusted name in the home insurance industry, offering exceptional coverage and customer service, although you might end up paying a little extra for it.
Nationwide is one of those workhorse insurance providers that you can tell is really looking out for its customers. They consistently have some of the best customer service ratings in the industry, and they offer standard protections that others don’t.
One of our favorites is that your policy is automatically tied to inflation. That means if you insure your home for $300,000, and it’s worth $500,000 by the time you make a major claim, you’re not on the hook for the difference. That protection comes standard, as does their credit card fraud protection, but what about their add-ons?
The list is pretty long. More on that in our Nationwide home insurance analysis, but some of our favorites include:
Pretty good stuff. Now for the not so good. While Nationwide is by no means expensive, their costs do tend to run a bit higher than those of their competitors. We’ve got more specifics in our guide to Nationwide’s prices, but keep in mind that they aren’t the cheapest provider. When you consider what you’re getting, though, we say the price is more than reasonable.
All right, we hope this list helps you streamline your selection process while shopping around for homeowners insurance. But for a deeper dive, here are a few more items for you to consider.
In all but a few very unique situations, you’re required to carry homeowners insurance to secure a mortgage. While that might seem like a frustrating box to check in the litany of boxes you’re checking while purchasing a home, you really should take the time to research homeowners insurance — like you’re doing now — to purchase the policy that fits your situation and budget best.
FYI: We recommend getting quotes from at least five different providers. Compare them on the coverages offered, not just the premium price. Cheaper isn’t always better!
At the most basic level, a homeowners insurance policy makes sure you’re not on the hook to cover the remainder of your mortgage should something catastrophic happen. However, modern policies are a lot more nuanced than that; they actually protect you from a whole lot more than running out of cash during a major home repair.
The most common policies — called HO-3 policies — cover six things:
Keep in mind that some insurance providers will call these protections different things and the limitations of those coverages will depend on your provider and how much you’re willing to pay for your premium. There are a few California-specific considerations to discuss when it comes to homeowners insurance, though. What about wildfires?
The short answer is yes. A standard homeowners insurance policy should protect you from damage caused by a wildfire. However, as wildfires continue to increase in frequency and severity, some insurers are trying to shield themselves from risk by excluding them from their policies and selling wildfire protection as an add-on.
As a rule of thumb, when it comes to insurance, it’s always better to be proactive than reactive. Ask your insurer if your home will be protected in the event of a wildfire, and if not, ask how much more it will cost. Homeowners insurance is an investment, and a few extra dollars per month now is a whole lot better than hundreds of thousands down the road.
That said, fires are covered by a standard policy. You know what’s never covered, though, unless you explicitly ask for it? Earthquakes.
Here’s a sobering fact. FEMA estimates that 90 percent of the earthquakes in this country occur in California, yet only 10 percent of California residents carry earthquake insurance.
It’s difficult to say why this is. We’d say most of these folks assume earthquake damage would be covered. It makes sense, right? Your home insurance covers the cost of a new roof if a tree falls through it during a storm, so why wouldn’t it cover a crack in your foundation from an earthquake?
Pro Tip: Most big providers use partners to underwrite earthquake insurance policies, meaning you’ll have to deal with that partner when filing a claim. The good news is that they usually aren’t that expensive.
Well, we didn’t write the rules. Earth events like earthquakes and sinkholes just aren’t covered by HO-3 policies. If you want protection — and you should consider your risk as a California resident — you’ll have to pay extra for it. Just how much depends on how threatened your home is.
Speaking of costs, exactly how much are we talking for home insurance in California? If you’ve never purchased homeowners insurance — or haven’t in a while — it’s a fair question.
Generally speaking, the average homeowners insurance policy costs about $105 per month. That said, this figure can fluctuate pretty drastically depending on a variety of factors, including:
And so on and so forth. For an average home in California — meaning one around $600,000 located in a decent neighborhood that is not in direct peril of natural disasters — you’re probably looking at north of $100 per month.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. Your home is a huge investment, and it’s likely your most important possession. You want to take the time and do the legwork to ensure it’s insured comprehensively.
Whether you choose Lemonade, State Farm, Nationwide, or any of the other home insurance providers, just be sure that you put some protections in place. Trust us, you’ll sleep a little easier at night.
Not convinced the insurance providers on our list are right for you? No problem. Head over to our list of the 10 best homeowners insurance providers of 2022 to learn about some other great options.