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HOME INSURANCE INSIGHTS

The average home insurance rate in Massachusetts is $1,190 a year. Know who has the cheapest Massachusetts home insurance and how to buy the right amount of coverage.

Massachusetts

One of the biggest investments in most people's lives is their home. Whether you own a million-dollar mansion in Wellesley or a ranch home in Pittsfield, homeowners in the Commonwealth need to make sure to protect their investment with a Massachusetts homeowners policy.

Home insurance is a topic that might not get the blood flowing like home renovations, but it's a critical piece of homeownership.

On this page, we'll take you through the basics of home insurance and provide Massachusetts homeowners insurance by coverage level, ZIP code and by company. We have average rates ranked by price for six coverage levels for eight home insurance companies in Massachusetts (Amica, Arbella, MAPFRE, Allstate, Andover, Travelers, Safety and State Farm), so regardless of the type of home you have you can see what you can expect to pay for coverage. You'll be able to figure out how much others are spending for home insurance and see whether there is an opportunity to save on your policy when buying home insurance. We also explain how Massachusetts homeowners insurance laws work.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Getting quotes from different insurance companies can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
  • Massachusetts is at risk for many types of flooding. Make sure you purchase flood insurance policy because your homeowners policy may cover flood damage.
  • The Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association provides FAIR plans to homeowners who can't find coverage with any other company.
  • When it comes to filing a claim, the best thing you can do is let your insurance company know as quickly as possible.

Homeowners insurance: Massachusetts average cost

Now, it may seem like everything is more expensive in Massachusetts, but that's not the case when it comes to home insurance.

The average home insurance rate with $200,000 dwelling coverage that includes a $1,000 deductible and $100,000 liability costs $1,190. That's 3 percent below the national average. Florida, which has the highest average home insurance rate, is more than three times more expensive than the Bay State.

Before we dive into all of the state numbers, let's take a step back and talk briefly about home insurance.

First, here are the basic components of home insurance that you'll need to know when selecting coverage:

  • Dwelling
  • Liability
  • Medical payments

Also, policies usually have a set percentage of your dwelling coverage limit, including:

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

To make smart choices, there are several factors to consider when buying home insurance. 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.

In addition to choosing a coverage level, homeowners need to know how to select the right home insurance deductible amount. A deductible is what you pay before your insurer pays if you file a claim. So, let's say a storm causes $10,000 worth of damage. If you have a $1,000 deductible, you will pay that first before your insurance company pays the remaining $9,000.

Deductibles are often dollar amounts, but some policies' deductibles are based on a percentage of the property's value instead. So, if your home is worth $400,000 and your deductible is 2 percent, you would owe $8,000 before your insurance helps out.

Massachusetts homeowners insurance rates by ZIP code

Home insurance rates can vary widely depending on your community. How much of a swing? The most expensive Massachusetts home insurance ZIP codes for a policy with $200,000 dwelling coverage, a $1,000 deductible and $100,000 of liability protection belong to:

  • Nantucket -- $2,970
  • Siasconset -- $2,970
  • Aquinnah -- $2,652
  • West Tisbury -- $2,652

Do you know what all four of those ZIP codes have in common? They're all on either Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. One major reason why it's much costlier to insure a property there than say Woburn or Worcester is that there is a better chance of home damage in a strong coastal storm.

On the other side, the least expensive home insurance rates are in communities well off the coastline:

  • Housatonic -- $799
  • Hinsdale -- $800
  • Adams -- $801
  • Berkshire -- $802

All of those towns are in the Berkshires and much closer to the New York border than Boston and the East Coast.

Here are homeowners’ insurance average costs for some of Massachusetts’ largest cities:

  • Boston – $1,295
  • Worcester – $1,062
  • Springfield – $1,128
  • Cambridge – $1,011
  • Lowell – $1,062

Those are the most and least expensive communities and the average cost for some of the state’s largest cities, but you probably want to check out your area and compare your ZIP code to neighboring towns. You can do that by entering your ZIP code into the search box at the top of the table below. You'll see the average home insurance rates for each ZIP code, as well as the highest and lowest premiums for major insurance companies. Having these numbers will help you understand what others are paying and whether there's a chance to save on your policy.

For instance, if you search for Malden (02148), you'll see the average rate is $931. However, the range of the most and least expensive insurance policies vary from $733 to $1,256.

You can also change the coverage to figure out the average rate and range if you increase or decrease your dwelling, deductible and liability.

HOME INSURANCE CALCULATOR

Average home insurance rates in CALIFORNIA

$200,000
$1,000
$100,000
94404 - Foster City
Dwelling $200,000, Deductible $1,000 and Liability $100,000.

AVERAGE RATE: $669

HIGHEST RATE: $1,029 LOWEST RATE: $443
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Most & least expensive zip codes for homeowners insurance in California

Most Expensive

Zip CodeCityHighest Rate
92561Mountain Center$1,031
90210Beverly Hills$1,029
90069Los Angeles$1,020
90046Los Angeles$1,011

Least Expensive

Zip CodeCityLowest Rate
93445Oceano$606
93117Goleta$607
93111Goleta$610
93433Grover Beach$615

Massachusetts home insurance 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. If you don’t compare rates, you could 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

So, shop around for the right policy. The III 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.

III recommends that you get enough insurance to cover the costs to:

  • Repair or replace the structure of your home and personal possessions
  • Defend yourself against liability costs if someone is hurt on your property
  • Pay for a temporary place to live while your home is repaired or replaced

Who has the cheapest Massachusetts home insurance?

Below are home insurance rates by company for six coverage sets. Based on our rate analysis, you’ll see State Farm has the most affordable rates for the coverage levels analyzed.

$200,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$100,000 liabilityRates
State Farm$740
Andover$869
Arbella$966
MAPFRE$1,082
Travelers$1,260
Safety$1,318
Liberty Mutual$1,559
Allstate$1,728

 

$200,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$300,000 liabilityRates
State Farm$757
Andover$900
Arbella$999
MAPFRE$1,082
Travelers$1,267
Safety$1,334
Liberty Mutual$1,575
Allstate$1,773

 

$300,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$300,000 liabilityRates
State Farm$1,137
Andover$1,252
Arbella$1,304
MAPFRE$1,498
Safety$1,549
Travelers$1,786
Liberty Mutual$2,084
Allstate$2,182

 

$400,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$300,000 liabilityRates
State Farm$1,491
Arbella$1,600
Andover$1,626
MAPFRE$1,913
Safety$1,919
Travelers$2,268
Allstate$2,624
Liberty Mutual$2,741

 

$500,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$300,000 liabilityRates
State Farm$1,844
Arbella$1,915
Andover$1,989
MAPFRE$2,328
Safety$2,381
Travelers$2,876
Allstate$3,037
Liberty Mutual$3,511

 

$600,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$300,000 liabilityRates
State Farm$2,185
Arbella$2,256
Andover$2,312
MAPFRE$2,758
Safety$2,858
Allstate$3,447
Travelers$3,468
Liberty Mutual$4,172

Shopping for home insurance: Best home insurance companies in Massachusetts

Much like any major purchase, it's wise to shop around when buying home insurance. Insurers' rates differ. You should get quotes from at least three insurance companies. Doing so can save you hundreds of dollars each year.

The Massachusetts Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation has a web page that includes companies selling policies, home insurance company complaints, flood insurance facts and frequently asked questions about home insurance. That's a good place to start to see what's available to you as a Massachusetts resident.

Once you know your options, check out Insure's Best Home Insurance Companies, so you're comfortable with the home insurance companies. Then get at least three quotes for the same policies.

Once you're ready, get quotes from at least three home insurance companies. Make sure to ask for quotes for the same coverage so you can compare them. Also, remember the cheapest company isn't always the best. Here are how major home insurance companies in Massachusetts and the Northeast rank overall for claims handling, customer service, value and renewal recommendation, based on a 2017 survey of 3,160 customers. Scores out of 100.

CompanyOverall Score
USAA91
Chubb89
AIG89
Allstate88.7
Hartford87.6
Liberty Mutual87.5
Esurance87.2
State Farm87.1
Farmers87.1
Progressive86.5
Travelers84.6
Nationwide84.2
Safeco84.1
Erie83.5

Massachusetts home insurance laws and FAQ

Should I beware of frozen pipes?

Living in New England means frigid winters. As a homeowner, you should protect your house against one of the more common winter-related claims -- damage caused by frozen pipes.

Water damage is the most common type of home insurance claim.

Make sure to cover and insulate pipes coming into your home. Shut off exterior faucets. Also, it's a good idea to keep your home temperature a few degrees warmer than normal during cold snaps. You may also want to let water trickle continuously from faucets, so there is water flowing through the pipes.

If you leave your home unoccupied in the winter, make sure to keep your thermostat set to at least 60 degrees. You should also talk to a plumber about additional precautions to limit the chance of a burst pipe while you're gone, such as a low water cutoff switch. You may even want to shut off water to your home while you're away.

Make sure also to have someone check your home weekly for any issues. A burst water pipe can cause thousands of dollars in damages, so make sure you're protecting yourself and limiting home insurance claims for damage caused by the burst pipe. 

Do I need flood insurance?

One common misconception for homeowners is that they believe home insurance covers them for flood damage. It doesn't.

Instead, you need an additional flood insurance policy. Massachusetts is at risk for many type of flooding. The state ranks 10th among U.S. states in terms of the number of homes at risk of experiencing a storm surge, according to the Insurance Information Institute. A Category 5 hurricane would put nearly 152,000 homes at risk of storm surge.

Flooding can strike when you're inland too.

You can get flood insurance coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or through a home insurance company that works with the NFIP.

There is no need to shop around for flood insurance. All the companies offer the same quote since the insurance is through the NFIP.

A word of warning -- don't wait to get flood insurance. Flood insurance policies usually take 30 days to take effect. So, if you hear a major storm is coming or a springtime thaw melts 2 feet of snow in your yard, it's too late to get flood insurance.

Nationally, the average flood insurance premium was $642 in 2018, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

The average amount of flood coverage per policy in the U.S. was $257,000 in 2018, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

The average flood claim in 2018 in the U.S. was $42,580. That was down significantly from $91,735 in 2017, a year of several significant hurricane strikes in the U.S.

As of 2019, 58,079 flood insurance policies were active in Massachusetts, representing $15.5 billion in coverage.

That included 3,626 direct NFIP flood insurance policies representing nearly $858.5 million, and 54,453 write-your-own policies representing $14.6 billion. 

Massachusetts ranked 31st among all states and the District of Columbia in flood damage claims paid out during 2020. Claims totaled $774,809, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

 

Hurricane and windstorm deductibles

Living along the Massachusetts coast gives you fantastic views, but it also puts you on the frontlines of nor'easters and major storms, including hurricanes.

Massachusetts was in the path of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Irene in 2011. Those two events rank among the 10 costliest in U.S. history in terms of flood insurance payouts.

Your insurer will decide on whether your home is at risk and needs windstorm protection. Homes along the coast may have a hurricane deductible. This kicks in when damage is caused by a hurricane. There are 19 states in the U.S., mostly along the East Coast, with this deductible. Massachusetts is one of the states in this group. Hurricane deductibles are usually between 1% and 5%.

If the wind damage is caused by a storm not classified as a hurricane, you may pay a windstorm/hail deductible instead. The windstorm deductible is usually between 1% and 5% depending on the home's risk. So, if you live along the wind-whipped coastline, you will likely pay a higher deductible if there's damage.

Now, you might think that having an additional deductible on top of your regular home insurance deductible isn't fair. However, insurers view this differently. Insurers want to limit risk. If they find your home's location risky, they will look for ways to protect themselves. One way to do that is to add a second deductible.

You, as a homeowner, may be able to prevent these second deductibles. If your insurer wants to include a hurricane or windstorm/hail deductible on your policy, see what measures you might be able to take to lower your risk. For instance, maybe your insurer won't impose a second deductible if you protect your house with hurricane shutters. It's worth asking your insurer if there's anything you can do to avoid paying a second deductible -- and don't wait for a storm to ask.

 

What if no one will insure me?

Homes in high-risk areas might have trouble finding insurance. The good news is there's another alternative.

The Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association provides the FAIR Plan for properties where homeowners aren't able to find coverage elsewhere. This could include areas you see on the news each winter that get whacked by nor'easters.

FAIR plans are similar to other home insurance policies, but are geared for properties considered risky by private home insurance companies. It’s important to note that these plans often cost more than standard home insurance policies, and may offer less coverage.

 

How do I file a claim?

If you need to file a claim, make sure to notify your insurance company as soon as you can. Don't make repairs on your own unless you need to stop further damage. For instance, if a storm causes a hole in your roof, you can patch the hole, but don't perform more work before your insurer sends a claims adjuster to review the damage.

Make a list of the damage and take photos. Don't throw out the damaged property until a claims adjustor or insurer says you can. They will likely want to see the damage.

If you have a problem with what the insurer will give you for the repairs, you can demand an appraisal, file a complaint with the Massachusetts Division of Insurance or file a claim in small claims court.

 

How do I file a complaint?

If you're having trouble with an insurer, such as not paying your claim, the State of Massachusetts urges you to try to resolve the issue with your insurer. If that fails, you can notify the Massachusetts Division of Insurance's Consumer Service Unit at 617-521-7794 or 877-563-4467. Or, go to the Division of Insurance website where you can fill out a complaint form.

You'll want to include:

  • Name of insurance company
  • The policy number and claim number, if appropriate
  • Detailed information about the issue
  • Information about the company's actions during the process
  • Related documents, such as photos and letters

You can also file a complaint by mail:

Division of Insurance

Consumer Services Unit

1000 Washington Street, Suite 810

Boston, MA 02118-6200