Idaho is best known for two things: its beautiful mountainous landscapes and potatoes. With acres of federally protected wilderness, towering ridgelines and river valleys, Idaho’s 1.6 million residents are fortunate to call this northwestern state home.
Living in this great wilderness state doesn’t come without a few natural events that can cause tremendous harm to property. Of all-natural disasters, floods and wildfires top the list with blizzards and earthquakes following close behind.
For more information about homeowners insurance, check out Benzinga’s Best Homeowners Insurance Companies.
The Best Homeowners Insurance in Idaho
Average Annual Premium in Idaho
There are many advantages to living in Idaho, besides growing the world’s best potatoes. Breathtaking vistas, a favorable tax climate and affordable housing usually rank high.
Often overlooked is Idaho’s average annual homeowners premium. Lowest in the nation, the average premium according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is only $644 per year.
Finding the Best Premium for Your Home
Although the state of Idaho boasts the lowest national average for homeowners premiums, it does take a little bit of legwork to ensure you are obtaining the broadest coverage for the best price.
If you work together with your insurance agent, you’ll have the opportunity to evaluate your exposures, determine your budget, and select the coverage right for you. While you or your mortgage company will determine the minimum coverage needed, there are controllable factors which may increase or decrease your premium:
While mortgage companies require your home to be insured, they do not require you to cover your personal belongings. Most insurance companies automatically include at least some coverage to protect your personal effects. Carefully consider whether this amount is enough, as in most instances it is not. Most of us don’t realize how much it would cost to replace everything we own if disaster struck. Take inventory of everything and price out the replacement cost to determine the limit you need.
Personal property coverage does have its limitations. Caps are put on certain items such as cameras, electronics, and jewelry. Coverage for these items can be scheduled onto your policy for an additional premium and provide enough funds in case of loss or theft.
Like health insurance, a homeowners insurance policy will contain a deductible. This is simply the amount of any loss you must pay for out of pocket before insurance becomes available. Higher deductibles mean you, as the homeowner, take on more risk and will therefore will lower your premium.
There are a few activities and items which have their own unique exposures and are excluded from a homeowners policy, but can be added on. For example, running a business from your home, owning a firearm, or having certain breeds of dogs will require you to specially request coverage from your insurance carrier, and of course will impact the premium.
There are other factors which contribute to your insurance premium besides those which you have a direct ability to alter. The three primary factors which attribute to your pricing outside of your control include:
- The property type insured,
- Types of perils covered by the insurance policy and
- Exposures specific to the property.
First, the type of property you own will lay the foundation of your premium rating. Frame structures carry higher fire insurance premiums. Roof shape may also play a role, as flat roofs may have a surcharge in snow-prone areas as well as gable roofs in high-wind regions.
Second, determine which perils to include in your homeowners policy or additional policies. The perils of fire, the weight of ice and snow and even asteroids are covered within a standard homeowners policy. However, most policies exclude direct damage from flood, earthquake, and wind-driven rain. It is good practice to speak with your insurance agent and obtain an insurance quote for all potential perils. Odds are you will find additional coverage will be within your budget.
Lastly, certain risk characteristics of the house will provide either additional credits or premiums to your policy. For example, a central station-monitored alarm reduces the premium associated with theft. Living close to a fire station reduces the fire insurance premium.
Insurance agents are well equipped to provide guidance on ways to not only reduce your premium, but also ways to increase your home’s safety for you and your family.
Inclement Weather in Idaho
If there is one natural disaster Idaho is no stranger to, it is flooding. The first recorded flood was by settlers in southern Idaho in July of 1862. The flood was so extensive it created a lake a couple of miles wide.
Located on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountain divide, late spring and early summer storms bring downpours heavy enough to flood rivers and cause lakes to pour over their banks. As recently as March 2017, flooding has caused the federal government to declare states of emergency.
Unfortunately, damage caused by flooding is specifically excluded from homeowners policies. However, with the creation of the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968, the federal government stepped in and provided the backing necessary for insurance companies to write flood insurance policies with affordable premiums.
Idaho is home to a number of natural springs, fault lines and mining activity, which contribute to potential earthquakes. Earthquake swarms have been recorded where a specific area is hit with dozens of low to mid-range quakes. Just like floods, earthquakes are also specifically excluded from homeowners policies. Fortunately, many insurance carriers offer the ability to purchase earthquake coverage, but usually with a higher deductible than the standard policy form.
Flooding and earthquakes are enough to frighten any homeowner. But then there are wildfires which are almost an annual event in the state. Fire is a covered peril in homeowners policies. However, their potential to cause complete devastation requires homeowners to carefully evaluate their structure limits, personal property and any property which could be scheduled.
Most Affordable Cities
We already know the state of Idaho has the lowest average homeowners premium in the entire country. But it is important to note which city in which you live will impact your premium, for better or worse.
How many police and fire stations are nearby or how close the river is from your home all play a critical role. There are 44 counties and hundreds of cities that make up the state of Idaho. Among the most affordable cities for homeowners insurance are:
- Twin Falls
Most Expensive Cities
On the more expensive side are the following cities in Idaho:
- Coeur d’Alene
- Idaho Falls
- Post Falls
Top Picks for Idaho
Eighty-plus years in business may make a company appear old, but Allstate is known for its online innovations. A.M. Best rated A+ and policies which can be tailored to your specific needs, the Good Hands company is a serious competitor in Idaho. So much so that it ranks as the state’s number-one insurer.
Allstate has been one of Fortune magazine’s most admired companies in 2015. The company continues to innovate with insurance products that meet the needs of today’s well-educated consumer.
In business since 1931, Allstate’s unique value propositions include:
- The Good Home digital tool which peers into the area you live in, or will live in, and advises you of the major claims threats in the area and how to protect against them.
- Plenty of discounts, including first time home buyers and claims-free.
- 24-hour representatives are just a phone call away.
2. State Farm
State Farm is the state’s third-largest homeowners insurer. Beyond just insurance, State Farm also promotes a vast range of financial products to help protect and grow your hard-earned dollar.
In business since 1922, State Farm’s unique value proposition includes:
- Being one of only a few insurance companies in the entire country to earn and maintain an A.M. Best rating of A++.
- Single deductible policies for all perils covered, including fire, wind, and hail damage.
- Online home index program to keep inventory records.
3. Idaho Farm Bureau
Timely service with viable solutions is Farm Bureau’s tried and true method of providing their customers the financial security they seek. Farmers and ranchers founded this strong, domestic insurer and it has grown to over 48 offices and more than 145 agents statewide.
The Farm Bureau was a pioneer of the “package” policy, which combined multiple coverages under a single policy form and policy number. This eased servicing and the claims handling process. Its stability as a company has earned Farm Bureau A ratings or better from A.M. Best for 25 years.
In business since 1947, the Farm Bureau Mutual of Idaho unique value propositions include:
- Guidewire products, providing real-time online processing for customers.
- Package discounts for combining multiple policy types.
With a unique risk calculator, Farmers can help determine your risk of wildfires.
This affects coverage availability, premiums, and your deductible, building a policy which provides both the proper coverage for a premium within your budget.
- Claims forgiveness program allows for a past claim to be forgiven after six months without another claim.
- Cosmetic damage coverage provides help to repair wear and tear cosmetic damage which takes place over years of use.
5. Liberty Mutual
The second-largest writer of insurance in Idaho, Liberty Mutual is commonly associated with the big cities of the northeast United States. But as one of the country’s oldest insurers at over 100 years old, Liberty Mutual is a national powerhouse with a history of doing right by their customers.
Liberty Mutual’s unique value propositions include:
- Discounts available by bundling products.
- Online quick quotes.
- Emergency home repair services to help you repair damage from a covered event as quickly as possible.
Become educated, prepared, and protected from the perils out there. Consider all the possible dangers you and your property may be exposed to and speak to an agent.
If you do your homework, you’ll understand the risks and understand your options so you can make an informed decision about which coverage is right for you. Quotes are free, but not asking for one could be a costly mistake.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q: What can I do to ensure that my home is properly covered?
The most important thing you can do is have a conversation with your agent or carrier to be sure you have the right amount of coverage. Avoid putting just the minimum coverage on your home: Remember, if your home is destroyed, you need to have enough coverage to rebuild the entire home, so you’ll want to insure it for more than just the market value. Also, notify your insurer of renovations or changes that you make to your home — and don’t forget to check to be sure you have enough liability coverage. Get the best quote today from our top providers.
2) Q: If my home is destroyed due to fire or weather, how long will it take for my insurance claim to be settled and my home to be repaired?
From start to finish, the process could take anywhere from 12 to 24 months. The variables that play the largest role are the size of the loss and the insurance company you choose. Check her for the cheapest homeowners insurance quote.
3) Q: What does home insurance cover?
Most modern home insurance policies cover your home for nearly all risks. However, every policy has exclusions, among which you’ll find things like neglect, wear and tear, and ordinance or law. Land movement, including earthquakes, and floods are excluded as well but can be insured with a separate policy. Personal property and liability coverage is also part of most home insurance policies. Get the best policy quote here.