By Nicole Dieker

The Best California Homeowners Insurance Companies

The best California homeowners insurance companies should provide coverage against all the diverse challenges present in the Golden State, including wildfires, mudslides, earthquakes, and more. While that may translate to higher rates than what you can find in states with less complex needs, if you own a home in California or you’re thinking of moving to the Golden State, excellent coverage in your homeowners insurance is worth the higher premiums. We’ve put together a list of the top California homeowners insurance companies based on market share and evaluated the financial strength ratings and customer satisfaction score for each. In addition to this, we evaluated the various discounts and coverage policies for each and consulted with professionals to bring you our top picks. This review should take some of the guesswork out of the process and help you find the best California homeowners insurance provider for your home.

Why Trust This Review?

Since 2013, Reviews.com has helped millions of people find the best of the best when it comes to all sorts of products and services, including the best auto insurance companies in California. We’ve analyzed the auto insurance market in California, compared the top providers based on market share, consulted with financial professionals and insurance experts, and updated this review regularly in order to bring you the most current information in the Golden State. The author of this review does not own stock in any of the products or companies mentioned.

The Best California Homeowners Insurance Companies: Summed Up

*Rating for Auto Club of Southern California, one of AAA's local clubs.

The 6 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in California

Allstate

Best Companies For
California Homeowners Insurance
Allstate

Allstate

Allstate returned to the California insurance market in 2016 after nine years of not issuing any new policies in the state. We’re glad to see Allstate back on the list, because it’s at the top of ours. This company earns top industry ratings: An A+ from A.M. Best means that Allstate is financially stable enough to make good on all payouts, and Consumer Reports ranks its claims process and payments "Very Good." As for overall customer satisfaction, Allstate earned three out of five stars from J.D. Power — but only a small handful of insurers scored above three, so don’t take that as a vote of dissatisfaction.

In addition to high ratings, Allstate has some of the best homeowners insurance policies on the market. If you’re looking for extra coverage, you can add on water and sewer damage, identity theft protection, and umbrella liability coverage, among other options. We also love Allstate’s long list of discounts. You can expect a price cut for holding multiple insurance policies (like auto and home insurance), setting up autopay, and keeping a smoke-free home. Allstate even lowers premiums for new homes, newly renovated homes, and new roofs.

Allstate also stood out for one unique feature: This online tool that lists the most common and costly claims by ZIP code. If you live in Los Angeles’ 90004 ZIP code, for example, the most common insurance claim is theft and the most costly claim is smoke damage. Head north to Ojai (ZIP code 93023), and the most common claim is wind, while the most costly claim is liability. You can use this tool to determine which types of coverage you might need and whether you should install features like a home alarm system to deter would-be thieves. (And if you do add a burglar alarm, you’ll become eligible for another discount!)

Liberty Mutual

Best Companies For
California Homeowners Insurance
Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual received an A rating from A.M. Best; this is slightly lower than Allstate’s A+ but still reflects a very high level of financial stability. Like Allstate, Liberty Mutual received “Very Good” ratings from Consumer Reports and two out of five points from J.D. Power. While this somewhat lacklustre score lumps Liberty Mutual in with “the rest” as far as J.D. Power is concerned, it does not necessarily mean you will have a bad experience. At any rate, we ultimately gave Allstate the edge for California homeowners because Liberty Mutual advertises slightly fewer discount options. There’s nothing for people who autopay their premiums, for example, a standard discount with most providers.

However, Liberty Mutual surpasses Allstate with its resources and educational tools. The company’s MasterThis educational mini-courses were developed in partnership with HowStuffWorks to teach you everything you need to know about homeowners insurance. It also offers an amazing app that lets you manage your policy and file claims.

State Farm

Best Companies For
California Homeowners Insurance
State Farm

State Farm

State Farm dominates the ratings pool. It carries an A++ from A.M. Best, which is the highest of any provider on our list. It also received a "Very Good" ranking from Consumer Reports, and J.D. Power gave the company four out of five points for both its claims process and its overall satisfaction. If you purchase a policy through State Farm, you can expect exceptional customer service and financial stability.

However, we rank State Farm third for one big reason: It doesn’t advertise as many discounts as Allstate or Liberty Mutual, meaning there are fewer opportunities to lower the price of your policy if you're hit with a high quote.

AAA

Best Companies For
California Homeowners Insurance
AAA

AAA

One of the biggest homeowners insurance providers in California is better known for its auto insurance. AAA is unique in that it operates multiple clubs — and the club you're paired with depends on where in California you live. As such, it's hard to evaluate AAA as a whole; each club offers its own discounts and coverage options and earns different satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power.

That said, when we compared quotes using some of AAA's clubs, the company quoted us the most affordable premiums, with sample prices as low as $517 per year (our highest quotes, from Farmers, rang in above $1,500). However, while AAA might be the cheapest, the other insurers on our list typically offer more comprehensive coverage packages and more consistent customer service scores, so keep that in mind as you compare options.

Farmers

Best Companies For
California Homeowners Insurance
Farmers

Farmers

Farmers is highly rated by A.M. Best, J.D. Power, and Consumer Reports, so the company is solid — but you might be able to find better options from another provider. It’s near the bottom of our list primarily because of its high rates; when we compared insurers, Farmers’ premiums were consistently higher than those of the competition. Farmers does offer discounts for people who open multi-line policies, install burglar or fire alarms, or replace their roof, but it still has fewer total discounts than Allstate or Liberty Mutual.

We were also less than thrilled with Farmers’ website and app. Its website isn’t as informative as Allstate's or Liberty Mutual’s, and its app doesn’t include nearly as many features. You won’t be able to create a home inventory or upload claim damage photos, for instance; companies that offer these features take a little stress out of the claims process, and we're disappointed to see Farmers leave them out.

USAA

Best Companies For
California Homeowners Insurance
USAA

USAA

Special mention goes to USAA, which caters exclusively to active military service members and veterans, as well as their families. The Golden State is home to almost 160,000 active-duty military personnel — more than anywhere else in the country. If you’ve served or know someone who has, the company is definitely worth checking out.

USAA provides homeowners insurance that covers fire, theft, vandalism, and most weather-related events. The company is the second-highest-rated homeowners insurance provider on Consumer Reports, with the highest marks in all categories, including the claims process and the turnaround on claims settlement. USAA also holds a superior A++ score on A.M. Best, which means the company is financially stable enough to settle your claims.

Guide to California Homeowners Insurance

Compare rates

While you’ll still need to reach out to insurers for individual quotes, you can get an idea of how their rates stack up by using the California Department of Insurance Homeowners Insurance Comparison Tool. This tool lets you select your city and county, your home’s age, and the amount of insurance you need. Then it shows you estimated rates by provider and deductible.

Here are the rates it gave us for a new home in Altadena with $500,000 worth of coverage and a $1,000 deductible:

Insurance Company
Annual Premium
AAA
$517
Allstate
$745
Liberty Mutual
$955
State Farm
$983
Farmers
$1,748

Take some time to explore this tool; along with rates, it lets you view insurers’ optional coverages, discounts, and credits. You can also use it to search for earthquake coverage rates, which you’ll probably need to purchase in addition to your primary homeowners insurance policy.

If you can’t find coverage, try the California FAIR Plan

“Many California homeowners who live in areas with moderate or high wildfire risk won’t be eligible for homeowners insurance from most companies," according to Sean Harper, CEO and co-founder of Kin Insurance. "In fact, more than 42% of residences in the Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego metropolitan areas alone have high-to-extreme risk. Additionally, some customers aren’t eligible to renew their policies with their existing insurance company due to wildfire risk.

Some insurers have stopped writing policies in areas prone to wildfires or other risks. If your home isn’t covered by another provider, you still might be able to get a policy under the California FAIR Plan. This state-sponsored program provides insurance as a last resort, and only after you’ve made a good-faith effort to seek other insurers — but it’s there if you need it. You’ll get basic dwelling and property coverage (including fire), and you can also add on coverage for windstorms and other perils.

If you want to access the FAIR Plan, you’ll need to apply through an authorized broker and make an annual effort to find other providers; even though you might not have any private insurers in your area this year, that could change in the future.

Review before you renew

Review your policy every time you renew it to make sure you’re getting the best rates and coverage. California insurers sometimes change the terms of their insurance policies, so stay on top of your coverage and don’t be afraid to switch insurers if you don’t like what you have. It’s worth it to shop around for the best rates and the best providers.

California Homeowners Insurance FAQ

What is the best insurance company to protect a house?

In our run-down, Allstate is the best choice for homeowners looking for homeowners insurance in California. The company gave us the second-lowest rates in the state when we ran our home through the California Department of Insurance Homeowners Insurance Comparison Tool. On top of that, Allstate has excellent financial strength and a wide variety of resources and tools that help you determine just how much coverage you need. Of course, what we considered the best homeowners insurance may not be the best for you. It’s important to shop around and gather as many quotes as possible in order to find the best homeowners insurance for your home.

Is homeowners insurance required by law in California?

No. However, it is highly recommended. Unlike driving a car, you do not legally need to first have homeowners insurance before you can own a home. That being said, you’ll definitely want to look into it when living in a state known for so many natural disasters, including earthquakes, mudslides, and wildfires.

What does California homeowners insurance cover?

California is one of the most difficult states for homeowners insurance in the country. Some companies refuse to insure homes in damage-prone areas, and many have become selective following 2017’s widespread fires.

“The old song about how it never rains in California, but it pours isn’t just a lyric, it’s a solid tip on home insurance,” Sara E. Routhier, managing editor at 360 Quote says. “Flash flooding is common when rain finally hits the drought-ridden areas of the state. When that happens, water and mudslide damage to homes is disastrous, and standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover it.”

Since most policies won’t protect you from floods, earthquakes, or mudslides, it’s important to speak with your provider to make sure you’re getting the coverage you’re actually looking for. Here you’ll find a detailed breakdown of what’s covered under a typical homeowners policy.

How long does an insurance company have to pay a claim in California?

California homeowners insurance providers are required to acknowledge all claims made within 15 days. These companies are then required to accept or deny said claim within 40 days of receiving and verifying the proof of the claim. Once the claim is accepted, payment must be made within 30 days of the date of settlement. Most of the providers we covered in this review are notable for having very good turnaround when it comes to settling claims. This means you might not have to wait as long as 30 days for an insurance company to pay your claim.

What if my provider doesn’t offer earthquake coverage?

Unfortunately, many insurers in California won’t cover damage from earthquakes. In fact, only 13% of California homeowners had earthquake insurance in 2017. The good news is that you can buy separate earthquake insurance from the California Earthquake Authority. This state-managed program provides earthquake insurance to more than 1 million California households.

Are mudslides covered under flood damage?

California is prone to both floods and mudslides, and there’s an ongoing debate over whether recent mudslides should be considered fire damage or flood damage. Lawyers argue that the mudslides wouldn’t have happened if the wildfires hadn’t happened first, so they should be classified as fire damage — which most homeowner policies cover. Insurers argue that the damage is “flood-related,” because that means fewer payouts.

If your home is at risk for flood-related damage, talk to your insurer about flood insurance. If it doesn’t offer flood insurance directly, your provider can help you apply for a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program, a government initiative that provides coverage to people in at-risk areas.

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