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Pennsylvania homeowners insurance

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Being a homeowner in Pennsylvania means that you have to deal with many weather-related issues. Blizzards, flooding, hurricanes and an occasional tornado are all reasons why it's important to choose the right home insurance policy.

To make smart choices, there are several factors to consider when buying home insurance. On this page, we'll explain the basics of home insurance and walk through Pennsylvania homeowners insurance by coverage level, ZIP code and company. We'll go over how much other Pennsylvanians are paying for their home insurance and you'll get to see if there is a chance to save money on your policy.

Home insurance: PA rates by coverage level and deductible, ZIP code and company

On this page, you'll learn:

  • Homeowners insurance: PA rates for 75 coverage levels
  • Pennsylvania homeowners insurance rates by ZIP code
  • Pennsylvania home insurance rates by company
  • Which insurer offers the cheapest home insurance rates in Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania home insurance rates by company for six coverage levels
  • Best home insurance companies
  • PA home insurance laws and FAQ

 

What is the average cost of home insurance in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania's average home insurance rate with $200,000 dwelling coverage that includes a $1,000 deductible and $100,000 liability is $801, which is 35 percent below the national average. That's a savings of $427.

Before we take a look at local numbers, let's first talk about the basic components of home insurance. 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 percent
  • Personal property -- 50 percent
  • Loss of use -- 20 percent

 

A factor as to how much you'll spend depends on your deductible. A deductible is what you as a homeowner pay before your insurer pays a claim.

Here's an example: Say a storm caused $10,000 worth of damage. You have a $1,500 deductible, so you would pay that before the insurer picks up the remainder $8,500.

When choosing a deductible, homeowners should choose an amount that they can pay if they need to file a claim. However, don't make it so small that you're more apt to file more claims.

Insurers don't like when you file too many claims. They may think you're a risk. In turn, they could raise your rates or even drop you if you file multiple claims over a year or two.

A second way an insurer may figure out a deductible is basing it on the property's value. This means that your deductible would be a percentage. So, if your home is worth $300,000 and you have a 2 percent deductible, you would pay a $6,000 deductible before the insurance company pays your claim.

In addition to choosing the right deductible for your home insurance, you’ll need to select a liability amount for your policy. 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.

 

 

Pennsylvania homeowners insurance rates by ZIP code

Pennsylvania has some of the cheapest home insurance in the country, but that doesn't mean you'll pay little for your policy. Your area, home, claims history, coverage level and deductible all play a role in the cost of a home insurance policy.

Let's check out the most expensive and least expensive ZIP codes in Pennsylvania for a policy with $200,000 dwelling coverage, a $1,000 deductible and $100,000 of liability protection.

Most expensive ZIP codes

  • Philadelphia (East Germantown) -- $1,493
  • Philadelphia (Ogontz) -- $1,460
  • Philadelphia (East Oak Lane) -- $1,459
  • Philadelphia (West Torresdale) -- $1,430

 

Least expensive ZIP codes

  • Willow Street -- $578
  • Gordonville -- $579
  • New Holland -- $580
  • Lancaster -- $580

 

All five of the least expensive ZIP codes are in Lancaster County. As the most expensive and cheapest home insurance lists show, home insurance companies often have similar rates for geographic areas.

Here are rates for some of Pennsylvania’s largest cities:

  • Philadelphia – $1,358
  • Pittsburgh – $933
  • Allentown – $671
  • Erie – $783
  • Scranton -- $815

Now that you've seen the cost for the state’s big cities and the most and least expensive, let's take a look at your ZIP code. You can enter your ZIP code into the search box at the top of the table below. You'll find the average home insurance rates for your ZIP, as well as the range of what home insurance companies are charging.

Here's an example. Let's say we wanted to check out ZIP code 16802 in State College. Let's see the average cost for $200,000 dwelling coverage with a $1,000 deductible and $100,000 liability. (You can increase or decrease those amounts to see how those numbers fluctuate.)

The average rate is $642, cheaper than the state average, but you'll see there's a range of $426 to $813 depending on the insurer. That shows how much you can save by shopping around.

Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania home insurance?

Below are home insurance rates by company for six coverage sets. Based on our rate analysis, you’ll see Farmers and Erie have the most affordable rates for the coverage levels analyzed.

$200,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$100,000 liabilityRates
Farmers$550
Erie$656
Nationwide$874
Allstate$894
Travelers$901
State Farm$934

 

$200,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$300,000 liabilityRates
Farmers$562
Erie$668
Nationwide$888
Allstate$914
Travelers$922
State Farm$949

 

$300,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$300,000 liabilityRates
Farmers$778
Erie$973
Nationwide$1,249
State Farm$1,288
Travelers$1,311
Allstate$1,503

 

$400,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$300,000 liabilityRates
Farmers$965
Erie$1,284
State Farm$1,668
Nationwide$1,672
Travelers$1,682
Allstate$2,168

 

$500,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$300,000 liabilityRates
Farmers$1,246
Erie$1,540
Nationwide$2,052
State Farm$2,088
Travelers$2,153
Allstate$2,834

 

$600,000 dwelling/$1,000 deductible/$300,000 liabilityRates
Farmers$1,372
Erie$1,915
State Farm$2,380
Nationwide$2,535
Travelers$2,550
Allstate$3,501

 

 

Best PA home insurance companies

Depending on your location, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by shopping around for home insurance.

How should you shop around? Figure out the coverage level and deductibles that you want. Check into the companies, so you're comfortable with them. You can start by looking at Insure's Best Home Insurance Companies.

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 Pennsylvania 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

Pennsylvania home insurance laws and FAQ

Flood insurance

One common misconception about home insurance is flood coverage. The average home insurance policy does not cover you if your home is damaged by a flood.

Instead, you need to buy a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a home insurer that works with the NFIP.

Unlike other types of insurance, flood insurance rates are standard for your property. This means that you'll pay the same premiums regardless of how you get flood insurance.

Now, you might think that you don't need flood insurance because you live a long way from the East Coast and major rivers. However, your home could still be at risk regardless as to whether you live in a flood zone.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates the average flood insurance policy costs about $700. How much you specifically pay depends on your property's risk, type of coverage, amount and deductible. You could pay closer to $100 depending on your situation.

One word of warning: If you want flood insurance, don't wait until a hurricane or blizzard is barreling toward Pennsylvania. Flood insurance policies don't usually take effect for 30 days. So, make sure to get flood insurance at least a month before you'll need it.

 

Brutal winters can lead to home insurance claims

Living in Pennsylvania means suffering through long, bitter and snowy winters. Wintertime weather often leads to home insurance claims.

Here's what your home insurance protects you for:

  • Water damage from burst pipes
  • Roof damage and collapse
  • Ice dams
  • Burner blowbacks
  • Damage caused by animals, such as bears and raccoons

 

Home insurance will likely approve claims to pay for damage caused by any of the above. That said, they won't like if this is a continual problem. Insurance companies expect you to fix the problem.

For instance, if your basement pipes burst each winter and damage your home, your insurer may ask why you didn't insulate and protect your pipes after the first problem.

The same goes for ice dams. If an ice dam releases winter into your home, the insurer will expect you to take precautions to prevent it from happening again. That could include insulating your attic, so heat doesn't escape and help create ice dams.

Home insurance companies expect you to take care of your home and prevent potential problems. If you keep having issues and file claims, your insurer will likely raise your rates and may even drop you.

 

Hurricane and windstorm deductibles

As a Pennsylvania homeowner, you're likely more concerned about a blizzard's power than a hurricane. However, Pennsylvania is one of 19 states that allow insurers to put a hurricane deductible on policies. This would happen if the insurance company felt your home is at risk during a hurricane.

Hurricane deductibles are between 1 percent and 5 percent. If a hurricane damages your home, you would have to pay the deductible before home insurance pays the claim.

It works this way: Let's say you have a $300,000 home and a 2 percent hurricane deductible. You would pay the $6,000 deductible before the insurance company pays for the rest of the damage.

If you find your insurer wants to include a hurricane deductible on your policy, talk to the company about whether you can install hurricane shutters or something similar to avoid having that deductible.

Your insurer will also decide if your home should have a windstorm deductible. That deductible is also between 1 percent and 5 percent depending on risk. You'd have to pay that deductible if wind from a non-hurricane damaged your home.

Home insurance companies want to prevent risk. If an insurer feels your home is at risk, you can be sure the company will want to protect itself whether that's higher premiums or special deductibles.

 

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