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Find the Best Homeowners Insurance in Buffalo, NY

While homeowners insurance is often mandatory, it’s worth it to spend time finding a policy that’s both affordable and comprehensive enough to cover your home. The Buffalo News has partnered with ConsumerAffairs to create this guide by comparing the national ratings and local customer reviews of more than 30 businesses and choosing five favorites from the top home insurance companies in Buffalo.

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What to know about homeowners insurance in Buffalo

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Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against the loss or damage of your home or property. Though New York law doesn’t mandate it, nearly all mortgage lenders require standard dwelling coverage that can cover repairing or rebuilding your home. Generally speaking, homeowners insurance protects you from monetary loss following an unexpected property-related event.

Policy terms vary widely, so you should think about your risks and discuss what policy your household might need with an insurance representative. For example, most policies cover interior water damage due to plumbing problems, but not water damage due to flooding. If you live in a flood plain, you should at least consider purchasing additional flood insurance. Some mortgage lenders may even require it.

Here are some of the different ways homeowners insurance can protect you in Buffalo:

  • Dwelling coverage: Dwelling coverage is the portion of homeowners insurance allocated to repairing or rebuilding your home in the event of damage or loss caused by a peril such as fire or theft. Homeowners insurance typically also applies to structures on your property that are not connected to your house, such as garages, gazebos, sheds and fences.
  • Personal property: You can insure your personal property as well, including your furniture, electronics, artwork or other valuable items.
  • Liability coverage: This covers legal defense costs and court awards. Most insurers limit liability coverage to $100,000, but you can purchase additional liability coverage or umbrella insurance if you feel it’s necessary.
  • Additional living expenses: If damage to your home makes it uninhabitable, some policies cover the costs of living away from home.

While liability coverage protects against lawsuits and court-awarded medical costs for other people, homeowner insurance does not cover bodily injuries to you or other members of your household. These situations require health insurance coverage.

Average home insurance costs in Buffalo

The average yearly home insurance premium in Buffalo is $630, according to Trusted Choice. Still, Buffalo residents can expect to pay $800 to $1,000 per year for a policy with a $1,000 deductible, $200,000 in dwelling coverage and $100,000 in liability coverage. Although these prices can vary, homeowners insurance tends to be cheaper in Buffalo compared with the state and national averages. For example, the national average for homeowners insurance costs is about double the Buffalo average.

Your home insurance cost is determined by your provider, your policy terms and other factors, including:

  • The claims history of the area
  • The age and condition of your home
  • Whether your home is made of brick or wood
  • The distance from the home to a fire department or water source

Be aware that insurance companies usually charge more to insure a vacation or second home because an unoccupied property is considered to have a higher risk of damages.

Ways to save on homeowners insurance in Buffalo

The cost of homeowners insurance can seem steep at first, but here are some strategies for finding cheaper homeowners insurance.

  • Compare all your options: We suggest comparing at least three different quotes. Start by looking at companies with high A.M. Best and S&P Global ratings.
  • Bundle and save: Many providers offer multiple types of insurance. Policyholders can sometimes save up to 15% by bundling more than one plan with the same company.
  • Disaster-proof your house: Talk to your agent or representative about how you can make your home more resistant to weather damage. Not only can this protect your house, but sometimes insurance companies will lower your premiums as a result.
  • Install security: Some insurers provide discounts of 5% or more for installing smoke detectors, burglar alarms or deadbolt locks. You may be able to cut as much as 15% of your premium by installing a fire sprinkler system and an alarm that alerts local law enforcement and first responders, too.
  • Improve your credit: By maintaining good credit history, you can actually lower your insurance costs, since many companies determine your rate using your credit score.
  • Raise your deductible: This makes monthly premiums cheaper and potentially deters you from filing claims that could raise your premium costs in the future. However, this obviously decreases the usefulness of your policy, too.
  • Ask for discounts: Sometimes club or group affiliations, such as being an AARP member, can provide insurance discounts. Additionally, some insurers offer retiree discounts for members ages 55 and up.

Buffalo homeowners insurance FAQ

What does homeowners insurance cover in Buffalo?

Homeowners insurance policies cover loss/damages due to accidents, vandalism, theft and, in some cases, severe weather. Most plans cover frozen or burst pipes, a common problem during Buffalo’s harsh winters, too. Generally, policies cover damage caused by:

  • Wind
  • Rain
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Ice
  • Falling objects

Most policies also cover some of your legal liability and between 50% to 70% of your dwelling’s value in personal property. Since policies vary, it’s important to review your specific coverage. High-value items (artwork, jewelry, musical instruments, etc.) may require additional coverage to insure fully.

What does homeowners insurance not cover in Buffalo?

A homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover damages caused by floods, earthquakes or nuclear war. It also does not cover damages to your car, even if it is damaged on your property. Commercial structures on your residential property are not covered either, but many home insurance companies also offer commercial property insurance.

How are homeowners insurance companies regulated in New York?

The New York State Department of Financial Services monitors insurance in the state.

What are the different types of homeowners insurance?

There are eight major types of homeowners insurance forms in the U.S, classified HO-1 to HO-8.

  • “Basic Form” HO-1 is the most limited — it only covers the actual cash value of your home and personal belongings.
  • HO-2 covers your home, its replacement cost and personal property.
  • HO-3 is the most common form in the U.S., and it provides “all-risks” coverage for your home and coverage against named perils for personal property. All-risks coverage protects against everything except the causes of loss specifically outlined in your policy.
  • HO-4 covers your liability and your living expenses.
  • HO-5 is very similar to the HO-3 form. It provides comprehensive coverage for your property, making it good for high-value properties in high-risk areas.
  • HO-6 is specially designed for condos.
  • HO-7 is for mobile homes.
  • HO-8 form policies cover homes and structures that don’t meet insurer’s standards — for instance, those with aluminum wiring or outdated plumbing.

What do I need to get homeowners insurance online?

To receive an online quote, you need to disclose information about you and your family, your insurance history and your home. Be aware that some companies let you actually complete the transaction online, while others require you to contact an agent either in person or on the phone.

Can I get homeowners insurance without an inspection in New York?

Maybe. The requirement for a home inspection depends on your provider and your circumstances. Usually, before your policy becomes active, a licensed home inspector surveys the condition of your house. However, some providers forgo an inspection if your house was recently built or there is little risk of weather-related damages.

Can I change my homeowners insurance at any time?

Technically, yes. It’s better to change homeowners insurance when your current policy term is coming to an end to avoid cancellation fees, but you can change policies at any time. If you are using an escrow account to pay your homeowners insurance, you need to contact your lender and discuss options with it.

Do homeowners insurance quotes affect credit score?

No, getting a homeowners insurance quote should not affect your credit score. Insurance companies use soft inquiries to look at your credit history.

Does having a trampoline increase homeowners insurance?

Yes, expect your premium to increase if you get a trampoline. Trampoline coverage varies between providers due to its high risk. Some insurers always exclude trampolines from coverage, and they may even cancel your coverage if you own one.

Buffalo home insurance company information

EverQuote

EverQuote is a free online insurance marketplace that connects consumers to car, home, renters and life insurance. Complete EverQuote’s survey to find and compare home insurance policies that apply to your situation. As an online marketplace, EverQuote does not have local offices, but it can connect consumers to insurance companies in the Buffalo metropolitan area.

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Allstate

Allstate’s House & Home policy covers your dwelling, personal property, liability, other structures, guest medical protection and additional living expenses. Policyholders have the option to include additional coverage into their plans, including garden insurance and musical instrument insurance. Allstate also carries condo, renters, automobile, motorcycle and life insurance. Allstate has multiple offices in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area, one of which is at 139 Grant St., Buffalo, NY 14213.

Allstate

AAA

AAA offers auto and homeowners insurance in Western and Central New York. This company serves more than 880,000 members throughout upstate New York, and policyholders can bundle home, condo and auto insurance. AAA has multiple offices in the Buffalo area, including one at 1737 Sheridan Drive, Tonawanda, NY 14223.

AAA

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual is a global insurance company that provides dwelling and liability homeowners insurance. Policyholders can add on coverage for hurricane damage, water damage and personal property replacement costs. The company also offers renters, condo and automobile insurance, as well as bundling packages. Liberty Mutual has agents in the Buffalo area at 400 Essjay Road, Ste. 300, Williamsville, NY 14221.

Liberty Mutual

Farmers Homeowners Insurance

Farmers Insurance is a nationwide insurer of properties, vehicles and small businesses. The company provides three customizable homeowners insurance packages: Standard, Enhanced and Premier. Farmers also offers condo, renter, mobile home, earthquake and flood packages. You can find a local office in Buffalo at 2462 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14214.

Farmers Homeowners Insurance