States paying the most for home insurance
Being a homeowner can be difficult. 2018 was the fourth costliest year since 1980 in insured losses, according according to Munich Re. It is estimated that $160 billion was lost, of which $80 billion was insured. The largest driver of this was natural disasters, including Hurricanes Michael and Florence. Fifty-eight percent of all losses and 6 percent of insured losses were due to meteorological events, while 20% of all losses and 25% of insured losses were because of climatological factors.
Typically, frozen pipes, broken windows, and siding damage are the major homeowner insurance claims. However, disasters can and do strike. Wildfires, lightning strikes, floods, tornadoes, and ice storms have all impacted the nation last year, with homeowner insurance making the difference in how fast one can recover from these “Acts of God.”
For a homeowner, having to find the money needed to repair or replace a home when the unexpected happens may be an impossible burden. For most, homeowner insurance is a must. However, the amount a homeowner must pay for peace of mind depends on the risk the insurance companies have calculated for that home. This can be based on location, likelihood of meteorological calamities, crime rate, the insured party's wealth, and the prevalence of insurance claims in the region. Sometimes, it is impossible to ascertain why an insurance company may insure one house at one rate, and another at a different rate.
Stacker has looked at home insurance data from Value Penguin to determine which states pay the most in home insurance. For this study, we are looking at the state's average homeowner insurance cost, based on data accurate as of 2019. Our ranking is based on a national average home insurance annual premium of $1,083.
Per Value Penguin, wind and hail damage is accountable for 33.1% of all homeowner insurance claims. This is followed by water damage and freezing at 29.5% and fire and lightning at 26.8%.
Keep reading to learn how your state ranked and why owning a home in New York will cost you.
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Annual home insurance cost: $574 (47% below the national average)
From an actuarial standpoint, Oregon is the safest state in which to own a house. With the state having no major cities and with some of the lowest rates of property crimes and violent crimes in the country, it is relatively safe to live and own property in the state. The state has a low rate of property-damaging meteorological events and has weather that is largely predictable.
Annual home insurance cost: $590 (46% below the national average)
Like Oregon, Idaho is heavily rural. Idaho's largest city, Boise, has a population of 227,000, making it the 99th largest city in the nation. The rural and suburban nature of the state, along with its relatively low crime rates, makes the state one of the safest in the Union. The state also has predictable weather and a low rate of destructive weather.
Annual home insurance cost: $634 (41% below the national average)
Utah distinguishes itself from other states by the overwhelming presence of the Church of Jesus Christ in Latter-Day Saints. The state is notably religious, with a large percentage of the state's population being practicing Mormons. This may add to the feelings of safety and community pride that exist in the state. Utah also has low population density because the southern part of the state is mostly desert.
Annual home insurance cost: $686 (37% below the national average)
Wisconsin finishes in the middle of the pack in terms of safety. On the list of safest states by the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics on property and violent crimes, Wisconsin comes in 21st. Despite this, Wisconsin is quiet, weather-wise. Short of the occasional blizzard and ice storm, natural disasters are rare in the Badger State. This is enough to give the state a good actuarial rating for home insurance.
Annual home insurance cost: $695 (36% below the national average)
In 2014, Washington State had 20,136 violent crimes reported and 21,706 property crimes against a population of 7,061,530. This is favorable compared to a state like New York, that had 75,398 violent crimes and 339,282 property crimes against a population of 19,746,227. With Seattle being Washington's only significant metropolis, much of the state is rural or suburban, supporting a safe reputation. Washington is also monolithic, weather-wise, with natural disasters being rare.
Annual home insurance cost: $704 (35% below the national average)
Nevada is mostly desert, with a significant part of it owned by the federal government. Although the state has concentrations of population in the Las Vegas, Carson City, and the Reno/Lake Tahoe areas, much of the state is sparsely occupied. Combined with a climate that is largely predictable, this low population density makes Nevada an easy state in which to get homeowner insurance.
Annual home insurance cost: $736 (32% below the national average)
The lowest home insurance premium on the East Coast, Delaware—while a part of the Philadelphia metropolitan area—is largely pastoral. The sixth least-populous state—with a population of less than a million—the state is also the sixth most densely populated, with its residents crowded together within the state's narrow borders. As Delaware is mostly farmland, it is easy to understand why the state would have favorable home insurance rates.
Annual home insurance cost: $765 (29% below the national average)
There are variables that are common in states that have low homeowner insurance rates: a low occurrence of natural disasters or destructive weather, low property crime rates, high home values, and a low percentage of urbanized areas. Arizona meets all these requirements. With a quarter of the state being Native American reservations, Arizona is also home of the Grand Canyon National Park and significant stretches of desert. Since over two-thirds of the state's population lives in Phoenix or Flagstaff, and because Arizona is a popular destination for retirees and snowbirds, Arizona is logically a low premium state.
Annual home insurance cost: $797 (26% below the national average)
Ohio is the first largely urbanized state on this list. While Northeastern and Central Ohio are by far the most densely populous regions of the state, Ohio has a reasonable amount of municipal development throughout the state. However, with large swathes of the state being dedicated to farming and the Appalachian coalfields lying to the southeast, the state is less metropolitan in feeling than neighbors New York or Pennsylvania.
Annual home insurance cost: $811 (25% below the national average)
Maine is an odd state. It is the least populated state on the Atlantic Seaboard and the least populated state east of the Mississippi River. Forty percent of the state's population is in the Portland metropolitan area, which is within two hours' drive of Boston. With large swathes of uninhabited land in the state's interior and with the state having few natural disasters reported, along with high home values in southern Maine, the state's homeowner insurance premiums come in at 25% below the national average.
Annual home insurance cost: $844 (22% below the national average)
Like Maine, Vermont is lightly populated, with cold, but monolithic weather. The state's most populous city, Burlington, is the smallest city by population to be a state's most populous city; Vermont's capital Montpelier is the least populous state capital in the nation. Most of the state is dedicated to agricultural purposes. Despite this, Vermont is a highly affluent state with a cost-of-living higher than its neighbors New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Upstate New York.
Annual home insurance cost: $853 (21% below the national average)
In the last several decades, Iowa's agricultural economy has diversified to include insurance, banking, information technology, biotechnology, and advanced processing. With most of the state's population concentrated in the metropolitan areas of Des Moines and Omaha, Nebraska, Iowa is one of the safest states in the United States. The state is, however, storm-prone, with over 50 thunderstorms per year and the second-highest average number of tornadoes per year.
Annual home insurance cost: $865 (20% below the national average)
As the state with the most concentrated population, Michigan can brag about low homeowner insurance rates. Most of Michigan's residents live in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula, particularly in the Detroit and Ann Arbor areas. The rest of the state is largely committed to agriculture, forestry, and mining. With 20 of the U.S.' top 500 publicly traded companies are in the state, including General Motors, Ford, Dow, and Whirlpool, the state is highly affluent, as well. Weak infrastructure keeps the state from being higher on the list. The city of Flint has come to symbolize what can go wrong if a city's basic infrastructure is ignored for too long.
#38. West Virginia
Annual home insurance cost: $877 (19% below the national average)
While parts of West Virginia are in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, the state is mostly rural. The fourth-most impoverished state in the Union, the state has been hit hard by the collapse of the coal industry. Despite this, the rates of violent crime and property crime in West Virginia are in the lower half of the state crime rates in the U.S.
Annual home insurance cost: $893 (18% below the national average)
Another state with concentrated populations, Pennsylvania's residents are largely divided between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The state has the fourth-largest concentration of elderly residents. The state also has the sixth largest state GDP in the Union.
#36. New Hampshire
Annual home insurance cost: $905 (16% below the national average)
New Hampshire is another concentrated-population state. With most of the state's residents living within 50 miles of the Massachusetts border, New Hampshire is minimally populated. One county, Coos, makes up one-quarter of the state's area but has only 31,000 people. Generally considered an affluent state, New Hampshire had a median home value of $263,600 in 2017, compared to a national median of $217,600.
#35. New Mexico
Annual home insurance cost: $937 (13% below the national average)
New Mexico had a median home value of $171,300 in 2017, compared to a national average of $263,600. With a per capita income of $41,198 in 2018—compared to $53,712 for the nation—the state is also relatively poor. With a desert climate, the state is monolithically stable, which is a plus for insurance rates.
Annual home insurance cost: $944 (13% below the national average)
Indiana is a diverse state. The state's economy is dominated by a mix of agriculture and industry. The state also enjoys a distributed population, with the largest city, Indianapolis, located in the center of the state. The median home value is $141,100, or 65% of the national median, and the median per capita income is $46,646, or 89% of the national median.
Annual home insurance cost: $942 (13% below the national average)
Maryland is a largely urbanized state. Primarily resting in the Washington DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas, Maryland is highly affluent, buoyed by the high level of infrastructure development in the state and strong federal government presence. The state is not considered particularly safe, though. Baltimore has been reported to have the highest homicide rate of the nation's 50 largest cities.
Annual home insurance cost: $946 (13% below the national average)
Another affluent state, Virginia has benefited from its vicinity to Washington DC, the lucrative jobs offered by federal government offices and installations, and the state's natural beauty and resources. However, with most of the wealth concentrated along the DC-Maryland border and the Atlantic Seaboard, there is a high wealth disparity between Eastern and Western Virginia.
Annual home insurance cost: $976 (10% below the national average)
Alaska is the nation's largest state geographically, third smallest population-wise, and least densely inhabited. It is also the nation's 10th wealthiest state per capita (as of 2011). However, for homeowners located outside of the state's major towns and cities, there is a lack of basic rescue facilities and support services. This makes issues like fire and property crime problematic for insurers in the state of Alaska.
Annual home insurance cost: $974 (10% below the national average)
The largest state by population and the third-largest state by area, California has the largest state GDP in the nation. California's economy is larger than Texas' and Florida's combined. Despite this, the state's per capita wealth comes in 12th in the nation. The state's high rate of earthquakes and wildfires, as well as its relatively high crime rate, helps to explain the state's listing toward the middle of the national ranking.
Annual home insurance cost: $987 (9% below the national average)
Illinois is defined by its major city, Chicago. The Port of Chicago serves as the principal connector between the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Mississippi River. Chicago is a major transportation hub for the nation and the principal driver behind the Illinois economy, which is the fifth largest in the nation. More than 65% of the state's population lives in the Chicago metropolitan area. Because of this, the city's high crime rate—the city was responsible for almost half of the nation's murders in 2016—has cast a dark pall on the entire state.
#28. South Dakota
Annual home insurance cost: $995 (8% below the national average)
South Dakota has a small population spread across a lot of land. Fifth smallest in population, the state is the 17th largest geographically. While it is not as densely populated as most of its neighbors, it is more densely inhabited than North Dakota to the north and Montana to the northwest. The state is divided almost in half, with fertile farming lands to the east and mountainous terrain to the west. South Dakota also has median home values and per capita incomes below the national levels.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,003 (7% below the national average)
Speaking of Montana, the largely mountainous state is known for its farming and ranching lands. This is so much a part of the state's identity that the state is nicknamed “Big Sky Country.” Per capita income is in the lower half of the states and ranks 39th (as of 2014) in the State New Economy Index, which reflects a state economy's ability to adapt to the challenges of technical innovation.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,018 (6% below the national average)
Hawaii is the only American state that cannot be reached from another state by road transportation. The state—a hotspot for tourism—has been dealing with an extreme housing crisis, with housing costs significantly above the national median. This is despite a median per capita income on par with the national average. Largely urbanized, Hawaii has violent and property crime rates below the national average.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,023 (6% below the national average)
Kentucky is predominately rural, with the city's major population centers being the Cincinnati, Louisville, and Lexington metropolitan areas. Known for moonshine, bourbon, college basketball, and fried chicken, the state has also emerged as a hub for automotive manufacturing. Kentucky has the fifth-lowest median per capita income in the nation.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,021 (6% below the national average)
A mining and agriculture-dominant state, Wyoming is the second least populated state in the Union. The largest city in the state, Cheyenne, has a population of 64,000. With almost half of the state owned by the federal government, Wyoming has higher per capita incomes and home values than the national median.
#23. North Carolina
Annual home insurance cost: $1,056 (2% below the national average)
The last state to have homeowner premiums below the national average, North Carolina has seen a technological renaissance of late, with many new businesses starting or moving to the Research Triangle area. Despite this, North Carolina—particularly, the western half of the state—is notably rural. The state has a median per capita income and home value below the national median.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,089 (1% above the national average)
In 2018, Georgia had three cities among the worst 50 American cities to live in. This list, which looks at crime, demographics, economy, education, environment, health, housing, and infrastructure, ranked the 600 American cities with populations over 50,000. Three cities in Georgia–Albany, Atlanta, and Columbus—were noted for their weak job markets, high crime rates, and high poverty.
#21. New Jersey
Annual home insurance cost: $1,092 (1% above the national average)
New Jersey exists almost entirely in the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. The most urbanized state in the Union, New Jersey must deal with many of the issues modern metropolises face, including high property costs and crime. New Jersey, like most of the Mid-Atlantic states, has a median per capita income over the national median.
#20. North Dakota
Annual home insurance cost: $1,136 (5% above the national average)
One thing you should know about North Dakota is that it is mostly plains. Except for the Fargo metropolitan area, North Dakota has no major cities or population centers and only two cities with populations over 50,000—Bismarck and Grand Forks. The state has a population of less than one million. Despite this, the state's GDP has been on the rise, in part due to the discovery of shale oil in the Bakken Formation.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,139 (5% above the national average)
Tennessee is unusual among the Southern states in many ways. The Knoxville area, for example, is in the middle of a tech-job expansion, while the Nashville area is seeing significant economic growth. However, the state's median per capita income is only 87% of the national median which is typical of its neighbors. Memphis also has a high crime rate and high levels of poverty.
#18. Washington D.C.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,151 (6% above the national average)
While not a state, Washington D.C. is included in this list. The only entry on this list that is fully urbanized, D.C. has the highest median per capita income and home values of any state or territory in the United States. D.C. also has a high crime rate. While the crime rate has dropped to its lowest rate in 20 years, some areas, such as Ward 8, still have high rates of poverty and crime.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,199 (11% above the national average)
According to CBS News, Missouri's largest city, St. Louis, is the “most dangerous city” in the United States. St. Louis reportedly has a murder rate over ten times higher than the national murder rate. The situation, and the police's response to it, have received national attention in recent years with the police killing of Michael Brown in 2014 and Anthony Lamar Smith in 2017.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,219 (13% above the national average)
Minnesota is another state with a highly concentrated population. Most of the state's residents live within 50 miles of Minneapolis. The state, fueled by runaway job growth in the Twin Cities metro area, is seeing a significant economic boost. The flip side of this, however, is the current housing crush and strained infrastructure support.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,226 (13% above the national average)
Minnesota's neighbor, Nebraska, is also in the midst of an economic boom. Its largest city, Omaha, is seeing a growth in new financial and banking firms. Unlike Minnesota, which is monolithic in its weather, Nebraska is in “Tornado Alley.” The state is regularly subjected to violent thunderstorms and tornadoes in the spring and summer.
#14. South Carolina
Annual home insurance cost: $1,240 (14% above the national average)
South Carolina has low educational attainment—particularly in STEM fields—and a weak job market have driven personal income and home values well below national averages. The state is rural, with agriculture being a primary industry. A large coastline, subject to flooding and hurricanes, means insurance premiums rise above the national average.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,252 (16% above the national average)
Like South Carolina, Arkansas faces educational and infrastructural challenges to help its economy grow. The state is, however, also the home of six Fortune 500 companies and is recognized as one of the best states to do business in. The state has population centers in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, and Little Rock. At $128,500, only Mississippi has a lower median home value.
#12. New York
Annual home insurance cost: $1,256 (16% above the national average)
More than 40% of New York's population lives in New York City. While New York City is not the most dangerous city in the United States, nor the most expensive, the combination of relatively high crime rates and cost-of-living makes New York City a difficult place to own a home. With a large part of the state on the Atlantic Coast, New York is subject to hurricanes and other ocean storms. Upstate New York is also prone to tornadoes, ice storms, and blizzards. This reality, plus the understanding that much of Upstate New York—for example, Syracuse, which is one of the most poverty-stricken big cities in the nation—is in economic decline due to the de-industrialization of the nation, paints a picture of a state in which home ownership is a challenge.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,273 (18% above the national average)
A Rocky Mountain state, Colorado shares some of the problems of its neighbors Wyoming, Kansas, Utah, and Nebraska. Highly mountainous, the state has a concentrated population centered on its capital city, Denver. The eastern and western sections of the state are less populated—particularly the southeastern corner and the northwestern corner. Denver, notably, has violent and property crime rates above the national median. Unlike its neighbors, however, Colorado has a median income and home value far above the national average. With a high concentration of federal facilities in the state, Colorado has one of the largest economies in the nation.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,314 (21% above the national average)
Another affluent state, Massachusetts is divided between the Boston metropolitan area—which is the largest in New England and one of the largest in the nation—and western Massachusetts, home to mountainous terrain. As in many wealthy states, wealth disparity is a problem in Massachusetts, magnifying other issues like poverty and property crime. Massachusetts has one of the best educational systems in the nation, with its students scoring the highest in math and third-highest in reading.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,337 (23% above the national average)
Connecticut has the highest median per capita income in the nation. Despite this, no state has a larger income disparity than Connecticut besides New York. The difference between living in Hartford—Connecticut's poorest municipality—and New Canaan, the state's richest, is about $72,000 per capita, per 2000 Census data. This is more than the median household income in America.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,340 (24% above the national average)
Alabama has won some battles. The state has invested heavily to secure several automobile manufacturers to the state, and it has also seen growth in its aerospace, banking, and data-services industries. Despite this, Alabama is the sixth most-impoverished state in the Union, with an UN observer once stating that Alabama's rural poor is the poorest he ever saw in the developed world. Alabama sits in the Gulf of Mexico's hurricane path.
#7. Rhode Island
Annual home insurance cost: $1,398 (29% above the national average)
The highest home insurance rates in the Northeast can be found in Rhode Island. The smallest state geographically—it is smaller than the city of Anchorage, Alaska—Rhode Island is one of the most densely populated states in the country. Rhode Island also taxes income at one of the highest rates in the nation—25% of a person's federal taxes. The state has per capita incomes and home values in the top 50% of the nation.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,431 (32% above the national average)
Kansas is the breadbasket of the nation. Despite the presence of Wichita, Topeka, Overland Park, and Kansas City, most of the state is rural and agricultural. Almost 90 percent of Kansas' land is dedicated to farming, with the state possessing nearly 60,000 farms as of 2018. Like much of the central Midwest, Kansas sits in tornado country.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,447 (34% above the national average)
The poorest state in the Union by personal income, Mississippi also has the lowest cost-of-living. Only slightly more than half of the state's adult workforce actively work. This is caused by several factors, including a lack of enough infrastructure, poor educational attainment, significant income disparity, and a weak job market. Despite this, the state has secured several automotive plants, including the Toyota Mississippi Plant in Canton.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,772 (64% above the national average)
Known for cowboys and ranching, Oklahoma has emerged as an aviation, energy, and telecommunications hub. With two-thirds of the state's population living in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas, and with Oklahoma in “Tornado Alley,” Oklahoma presents many challenges for homeowners and insurers.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,847 (71% above the national average)
New Orleans is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, 14 years later. Local corruption and a weak federal response have left the Crescent City struggling to address its crumbling infrastructure. Infrastructure is a problem that the city shares with most of the state of Louisiana. With a high water table, much of the state's infrastructure—particularly, its roads—desperately needs replacement. Along with weak educational attainment, the state's job market has suffered, exasperating the state's poverty level.
Annual home insurance cost: $1,947 (80% above the national average)
The landfall of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 hit Houston hard. Making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, the storm flooded much of the city. The storm displaced 32,000 people and cost nearly $125 billion in damages. While hurricanes are rare in Texas, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are not. With most homes in the state not having a basement, home damage because of weather or property crime is more likely in Texas than in any other state, save Florida.
Annual home insurance cost: $2,055 (90% above the national average)
It is logical that Florida has the most expensive home insurance policies in the United States. With the high rates of hurricanes, sinkholes, and other natural disasters in the state, the risks to homeownership in the state are high. Couple that with the high crime rate that comes from being a tourist destination, and the state understandably would top all others on actuarial tables as the most expensive state in which to own property.