While purchasing homeowners insurance isn’t a legal requirement like car insurance, it is required by your mortgage lender. Plus, given your house is your largest asset, having insurance protection should be a no-brainer for all homeowners.
When shopping for an insurance policy, consumers tend to use price as the primary consideration when comparing insurance companies. It’s human nature to want to find the best price for your coverage, but is saving $50 or $100 a year to go with a cheaper company really worth it if that company has a poor reputation for paying and servicing claim losses? How is a consumer supposed to know whether they can trust their insurance company?
No homeowner wants to be left fighting their insurance company after a major catastrophe leaves their home with significant damage, or worse, uninhabitable. Whether it’s a hurricane, fire, tornado or something smaller like a burst pipe, you want to be sure your insurance company will have your back when you need them most.
But how can you know if an insurance company is trustworthy when it comes to handling claims if you’ve never had one with them? Clearsurance has received more than 125,000 reviews on its platform from customers reviewing and rating their insurance experience. This data provides consumers with insights into a company before ever purchasing a policy.
Below are the claim rankings, based exclusively on consumer reviews of the top 10 largest homeowners insurance companies in the United States by market share. (Note: The claims rating doesn’t include companies that are grouped under the parent company. For example, Safeco’s data isn’t included for Liberty Mutual’s rating. Also, Chubb’s data is featured with an asterisk in the table below as its 12 claims reviews didn’t meet our minimum threshold of 100 reviews.)
See where your company ranks and use this information the next time you renew or shop for homeowners insurance. If you’re using an agent, ask your agent for a complete list of the insurance companies they represent and make sure you’re not receiving quotes, even cheap ones, from companies that rank poorly for claims paying. Not having peace of mind that your insurance company has your back is not worth saving a few bucks.
Top 10 homeowners insurers' claims rating
|Claims service rating
|# of claims reviews
What leads to a positive claims experience?
When it comes to whether a homeowner had a positive or negative claims experience, the biggest factor is, of course, whether or not the company actually paid the claim. But simply paying the claim isn’t enough for a positive experience — consumers also factor how easy and quick a company services a claim.
If you have to call your insurance company many times and it takes months for your claim to be approved, that isn’t a positive experience, even if the end result is the desired outcome. Based on the data, the speed and ease of the process are strong indicators of how a person rated their claims service experience.
Take USAA, for example. More than 25 percent of USAA’s reviews that describe a claims service experience use words relating to “ease” in their review — the highest of any company on the list. The same can be said about words describing the speed of the process. USAA had the highest percentage of reviews discussing speed and/or ease, and it's showcased in USAA's strong claims rating of 4.68 out of 5.
Whether the homeowner feels the payout was fair is also a key indicator. Companies with a higher percentage of reviews using words like fair and honest tend to have a higher overall claims service rating.
What leads to a negative claims experience?
Unsurprisingly, disagreements between the homeowner and their insurance company leads to a bad claims experience, and as a result, a poor claims rating for the company. The more reviews in which a consumer describes a “dispute” relative to the claims service experience, the lower the claims rating of the company.
Travelers had the highest percentage of reviews referencing a dispute at nearly 10 percent and it also had the lowest claims rating of any company on the list at 3.75 out of 5. Comparatively, USAA had the lowest percentage of reviews describing a claims dispute at just 2.4 percent.
There’s also a correlation between an insurance companies’ rating and whether the consumer describes a miscommunication or misunderstanding of expectations of the company or the policy’s coverage. An example of this would be if a homeowner believed they should be covered for damage that the insurance company said was not covered by the policy. Take this review of Travelers, for instance.
“I recently made a new claim for a toilet that caved into the bathroom floor and about a week later, someone came out to snap a picture of it. A few days more, the adjuster told me they would not cover it because a plumbing leak was the cause, yet they never looked at my pipes to verify it was the source of damage. I also had claims for sink repair and siding damage, again no dice with this company.”
This isn’t necessarily always an indication of something the insurance company did wrong — sometimes the onus falls on the consumer for not purchasing the correct coverage or simply not properly understanding the coverage they have. Still, insurance companies and agents have a responsibility to inform consumers of the coverage and help them understand what will and will not be covered in the event of an incident.
Customer feedback indicates that insurance companies that do a better job communicating this information tend to have a better claims rating.
Read reviews to learn more about policyholders’ homeowners claims experiences with a company
The above table and ratings provide an overall picture of how these insurance companies have handled their policyholders’ homeowners insurance claims. To gain more insight into a specific company and how they handle claims, visit their reviews page on Clearsurance to read about the experiences of others. On the reviews page, you can filter by tags, including claims experience, claims dispute, customer service, and much more.
Interested in seeing how other homeowners insurance companies stack up against these 10 insurers? Check out what other consumers rate as the best homeowners insurance companies
The content on this site is offered only as a public service to the web community and does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. This site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an insurance company or an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. You should always consult a suitably qualified attorney regarding any specific legal problem or matter. The comments and opinions expressed on this site are of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the insurance company or any individual attorney.