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Homeowners Insurance Washington

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Washington Homeowners Insurance

Insurance.com’s team of experts reviewed Washington home insurance companies to find the best ones, and also analyzed rates to identify the average homeowners insurance cost for various coverage levels, ZIP codes and major cities. You’ll have all the information you need to make confident choices when deciding what coverage to buy to protect your home and belongings in the Evergreen State.

Here we provide information on:

What is the average home insurance cost in Washington?

The average home insurance cost in Washington is $1,514. That makes it one of the least expensive states for home insurance, compared to the average rates for homeowners insurance by state . Washington is the eigth least expensive state in the country for home insurance. Its average cost is $791 less (34 % lower) than the national average of $2,305 for the coverage level of:

  • $300,000 dwelling coverage
  • $1,000 deductible
  • $300,000 liability

Best home insurance companies in Washington

The homeowners insurance company with the cheapest rates isn’t necessarily the best. Other factors to consider are customer service and claims processing. Insurance.com’s 2020 Best Home Insurance Companies report ranks major insurers on feedback from 3,700 customers. They are asked about the value for the price, customer service, claims service and if they’d recommend the company.

Here are how home insurance companies in Washington ranked on the survey. Scores are out of 100.

RankingCompanyScore
1Chubb (ACE INA Group / Ace Limited)94.46
2USAA90.324
3Safeco88.51
4AIG (American International Group)86.6
5Liberty Mutual86.17
6Nationwide85.77
7Hartford85.22
8State Farm85.04
9Esurance84.81
10Allstate83.85
11Progressive82.69
12Farmers81.54
13American Family81.21
14Travelers79.16

Homeowners insurance in Washington: How it works and how much you need

Before we dive into the other research on costs and companies, you need to know what you’re buying and why, and how much you need.  So, let's talk about the basic components of home insurance, and how much to get to make sure you’re not underinsured. A home insurance policy includes coverage for:

  • Dwelling
  • Liability
  • Medical payments

Policies also usually have a set percentage of your dwelling coverage for:

  • Other structures – 10%
  • Personal property – 50%
  • Loss of use – 20%

Liability insurance applies to incidents in which you’re at fault and the result is that a guest in your home or on your property is injured. It covers medical expenses, as well as damage caused to neighbors’ property. Personal liability also covers legal fees if you are sued, as well as any resulting judgments from a lawsuit, up to your policy limits.

Most home insurance policies come with $100,000 in personal liability insurance but this is rarely enough coverage. The cost to defend a lawsuit or to pay for medical expenses for a serious injury can easily exceed that amount. Most experts recommend upping your limits to at least $300,000.

Medical payments also pays for injuries to guests in your home but differs from liability in that it applies to injuries regardless of who is at fault. It is for minor incidents as it comes with much lower coverage limits than liability insurance. Medical payments coverage is typically for $1,000 or $5,000.

Dwelling coverage pays to repair your home. When buying home insurance, you should insure your home based on its replacement cost. That’s the amount you need to rebuild it if damaged or destroyed, and not its market value, which is what you could sell your home for in its current condition. Replacement cost offers more protection because the cost of building a home often exceeds its market value.

When shopping for a policy, you will have to choose a “dwelling coverage” amount. You should select a dwelling coverage limit that best matches the cost to repair damage to your home or rebuild it completely at equal quality — at current prices. You can calculate your replacement cost by using online calculators or hiring an appraiser to give you a replacement cost valuation or by doing it yourself.

How much is homeowners insurance in Washington by coverage level?

Now that you know how different components of a policy work to protect you, here we show the average cost of Washington homeowners insurance for 10 coverage levels, based on a rate analysis by Insurance.com.

Enter a dwelling coverage of $200,000, $300,000, $400,000, $500,000 or $600,000 to see annual average rates based on a $1,000 deductible for each liability limit of $100,000, $300,000. As you can see, the difference in price between low liability limits and the recommended higher amount is negligible, less than $20.

Coverage SetAverage Premium
$ 200000 with $100,000 Liability$1,105
$200,000 with $300,000 Liability$1,122
$300,000 with $100,000 Liability$1,494
$300,000 with $300,000 Liability$1,514
$400,000 with$100,000 Liability$1,900
$400,000 with $300,000 Liability$1,921
$500,000 with$100,000 Liability$2,158
$500,000 with $300,000 Liability$2,175
$600,000 with $100,000 Liability$2,488
$600,000 with $300,000 Liability$2,495

Homeowners Insurance in Washington comparison by ZIP code

By entering your ZIP code in the search box, you’ll see the average home insurance rate for that area, as well as the highest and lowest premium fielded from major insurers. This will give you an idea of how much you can save by comparing home insurance rates. The difference between the highest the highest rate and the lowest rate is how much you can save by shopping your policy.

Cheap homeowners insurance in Washington: Rates by company

It's crucial to shop around for the best home insurance rate, because prices for the same coverage vary by hundreds of dollars. That means, if you don’t compare rates, you may wind up overpaying.

Many factors affect home insurance rates. Among others, the Insurance Information Institute (III) cites the following:

  • Your home's square footage
  • Building costs in your area, and your own home's construction, materials and features
  • Local crime rates
  • The likelihood of certain types of disasters, such as hurricanes

Each carrier uses its own method for deciding what you pay, which is why prices differ so much. Insurance.com Senior Consumer Analyst Penny Gusner suggests getting at least three price quotes when shopping for coverage, and says that doing so can save you up to hundreds of dollars annually.

Below are average home insurance rates, ranked by company for a policy with $300,000 in dwelling and liability coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

CompanyAverage Premium
Crestbrook$582
Pemco$1,005
Nationwide$1,012
Allstate$1,021
Safeco$1,053
Allied$1,075
Depositors$1,195
Travelers$1,254
Liberty Mutual$1,313
USAA$1,489
First Liberty$1,529
Garrison$1,577
Farmers$1,767
State Farm$2,101
Foremost$2,628
Fire Insurance Exchange$2,748

Cost of Washington homeowners insurance by city

Though you can see how much coverage costs for your neighborhood by using our average rates tool above, you may want to know the cost of a policy in your city, and how it compares to others. Below we provide rates for Seattle homeowners insurance, as well as nine others in Washington.

CityAverage Rate$ Difference from state average
Seattle$1,423$91 Less
Spokane$1,46549 Less
Tacoma$1,614$100 More
Vancouver$1,43480 Less
Bellevue$1,42391 Less
Kent$1,46648 Less
Everett$1,46450 Less
Spokane Valley$1,46945 Less
Renton$1,48430 Less
Federal Way$1,47143 Less

Washington home insurance discounts

There are several ways to reduce your Washington home insurance costs. Many insurers will lower your bill if you purchase more than one type of insurance policy from them. This process – known as "bundling" – can cut your costs by up to 19%, on average, according to Insurance.com’s discount data analysis.

You can also cut your costs by making your home more disaster-resistant. Installing hurricane glass or accordion shutters might net you a discount.

Other possible home insurance discounts include:

  • Installing smoke detectors, a burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks -- 5% each
  • Installing a sprinkler system, and a fire and burglar alarm -- 15% to 20% percent
  • Loyalty discounts – about 4%  on average, after three to five years, and  6% for six years or more

Washington home insurance FAQ

The Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) protects insurance consumers and oversees the insurance industry. They make sure insurance companies follow the rules and people get the coverage they've paid for. Each year, the OIC answers questions and investigate problems for nearly 100,000 people. Additionally, they maintain a statewide network of volunteers who advise consumers on health-coverage issues.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner can be contacted at 800-562-6900, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday or at https://www.insurance.wa.gov/ask-mike. The insurance commissioner is Mike Kreidler.

How to file a home insurance claim

There is a good chance that at some point you will have to file a claim on your insurance policy. Here are a few tips for filing a claim:

  • Notify your insurer as soon as you can: Contact your insurer as soon as possible to file a claim. Once you have made contact, your insurer should help guide you regarding the next steps.
  • Make temporary repairs to your home: Insurers sometimes deny claims for damage that happened after the initial claim if you don't make temporary repairs to secure your home. This is why it is important to make temporary repairs if your home is damaged during a storm or other event. As an example, if your roof has been damaged and is leaking, you should try to put a tarp over it or temporarily patch it to ensure it doesn't cause further damage to your home. Never attempt a temporary repair if it is not safe to do so.
  • Document all the damage: You should document all damage to your home. Take photos and video of the damage from multiple angles, this will help the adjuster with your claim.
  • Keep your receipts: You should keep your receipts that are related to the damage to your home as well as any temporary repairs you need to make. If your policy includes additional living expenses coverage it should cover expenses related to hotels, restaurants and other daily expenses if you are not able to stay in your home due to the damage.

Do I need flood insurance?

If your property is located in a flood-prone area (a "Special Flood Hazard Area"), your lender will likely require that you carry flood insurance. Even if you live in a minimal or moderate flood hazard area, you may still want to consider a flood insurance policy.

Flood insurance can be purchased in the private market or is widely available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) (www.fema.gov). Check your flood risk by contacting your local insurance agent.

Flood insurance policy rates (through the NFIP) are standardized so there is no reason to shop on price, you will pay the same rate regardless of the insurance agency.

There are limits to federal flood insurance. For residential properties, the limit is $250,000 while the limits for commercial structures are $500,000 for the building and $500,000 for the contents.

Flood insurance costs vary but according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the average home insurance policy costs around $700. The exact price will depend on your location, your specific home's risk factors as well as the coverage limits and coverage type you choose.

Flood insurance policies come with a 30-day waiting period which means there is no coverage in the first 30 days. Do not wait until a storm is headed your way to purchase coverage.

Earthquake insurance

While certainly not a daily event, Washington State does get its share of earthquakes and some of them have been fairly severe.

A standard homeowner policy does not protect against earthquake damage. It is possible to buy a separate earthquake policy or add an earthquake endorsement to your homeowner policy. The OIC's website offers the following tips related to earthquake coverage:

  • It provides coverage if your home is destroyed by an earthquake
  • It's a separate endorsement you must buy and add to your homeowner or renter policy
  • You can also buy a stand-alone policy separate from your homeowner policy
  • It's usually sold with deductibles equaling 10 to 25% of the structure's policy limit
  • It only pays for damages that exceed the deductible
  • There may be a separate deductible for contents, structure and unattached structures like garages, sheds, driveways, or retaining walls
  • Generally, this coverage isn't available to buy for a period of time after an earthquake

Landslide insurance

According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Washington is one of the most landslide-prone states in the country. Hundreds to thousands of events happen each year. The Washington Department of Transportation routinely budgets $15 million a year for cleanup of landslides on highways.

A standard homeowner policy will not cover damage caused by land movement or a landslide due to:

  • Rain runoff
  • Snowmelt
  • Flooding
  • Earthquakes

When it comes to landslide insurance, there are a couple of options:

Contents coverage:

This special rider for homeowner policies includes coverage for the contents of your home from all perils, including earth movement. This specific rider only covers your contents, not the structure of your home.

Separate earth-movement coverage

This additional coverage will protect structures on your property such as your house or any other unattached buildings on your property. This coverage is commonly called a "Difference in Conditions" (DIC) policy. DIC policies include coverage for landslide, mudflow, earthquake and flood.

Contact your agent in regard to purchasing earth movement coverage.

Volcano insurance

Washington has five major volcanoes: Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams. Many of the volcanoes in Washington are active and have had recent eruptions. Due to the fact that volcanoes do not erupt at regular intervals, it is difficult to know exactly when or where the next eruption will happen.

There are numerous hazards with living near volcanoes. Volcanic eruptions often shoot ash and volcanic debris into the air which can cause damage to your home and vehicle. Heat from the volcano can cause dangerous mudflows and debris flows called lahars. Molten lava can erupt and flow downhill, destroying everything in its path.

Luckily, the majority of standard homeowner policies do offer coverage from volcanic damage. It is always a good idea to check your policy to verify coverage and look for any exclusions related to volcano damage.

Most policies should cover damage from:

  • Ash
  • Dust
  • Particle matter
  • Lava flow

Is mold covered by standard policies?

The majority of standard homeowner policies do not cover damage caused by mold, fungi, rust or rot. Insurers generally consider mold a home-maintenance issue. However, some policies do provide limited mold coverage so check with your insurer if you discover a mold problem in your home.

It is possible to buy mold coverage by adding an endorsement, contact your agent for details.

The following agencies offer information on what causes mold in Washington State, its health effects, and how to prevent mold:

Washington State Department of Health

Office of Environmental Health, Safety, & Toxicology (www.doh.wa.gov)

P.O. Box 47825

Olympia, WA 98504-7825

Call 360-236-3385 or 877-485-7316

Credit freezes and insurance

Due to large scale breaches of consumers' personal information and identity theft some consumers are placing freezes on their credit information.

The OIC heard from some consumers that after placing a credit freeze, it's affected their insurance premiums. The OIC has asked any consumers who get an adverse action notice from their personal auto, homeowner, condo, mobile and manufactured home and/or renter insurance company telling them that their premium was being increased due to freezing of credit to file a complaint with the OIC who will investigate.

If your insurer is raising your rate they must:

  • Notify you via an adverse action notice
  • Tell you specifically why they're raising your premiums

According to the OIC website: As of September 2018, the federal government passed a protective law (15 U.S.C. § 1681) that does not allow credit reporting agencies to charge you for placing a security credit freeze on your credit report. The new law also allows insurance companies to review your credit report for underwriting insurance purposes without lifting the security freeze.

Washington Fair Plan:  Insurer of last resort

If you are unable to find coverage in the private market, the Washington FAIR ("Fair Access to Insurance Requirements") plan is the state's insurer of last resort. According the FAIR plan website, their mission is as follows:

"The mission of the Washington FAIR Plan is to provide basic property insurance on dwellings and commercial buildings to applicants who have difficulty obtaining a policy in the standard insurance market. Policies are available anywhere in Washington, providing the property is occupied and is reasonably maintained."

"The FAIR Plan does not receive any funding from taxpayers or the State of Washington. Although it is not a state agency, the FAIR Plan is subject to the supervision of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner of the State of Washington."

It should be noted that these policies offer very limited coverage and should only be able used if you have no other options. According to the OIC website:

"The FAIR Plan provides basic fire insurance coverage for owner and tenant occupied dwellings, apartment buildings and commercial structures. Coverage may also be obtained for personal property and the contents of those structures. Extended Coverage and Vandalism are available. Coverage for liability, theft, and most types of water-related losses are not available through the Plan. In most cases, fewer coverage options are available from the FAIR Plan than from companies in the standard insurance market."

How to file a complaint

If you have a problem with your insurance company, the OIC can require it to explain its actions and make sure it followed Washington state laws and your policy.

Complaints can be filed over the phone, or via their website: If you need to submit documents please fax them to 360-586-2018 or upload electronic copies to our contact form. Call in a complaint at 1-800-562-6900 or submit your complaint online at https://www.insurance.wa.gov/file-complaint-or-check-your-complaint-status.