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New York is undoubtedly one of the most popular states in the USA, and the reasons for that are akin to the reasons it can make a great place to own property, whether as a landlord or just somewhere that you plan to live.

Sadly, unexpected and unfortunate things can happen to your home and suddenly, your investment has gone up in smoke. How do you protect yourself and your investment in these kinds of scenarios?

Well, if you wait until it happens to do something, all you will be doing is counting your losses. Your best bet is to opt for an insurance policy. Is homeowners insurance required in New York? To be fair, no law says that as a homeowner, you must have an insurance policy.

Be that as it may, it wouldn't be in your best interest to use that as a reason to not be insured. By having the right policy in place, the coverage will give you a way to recoup your losses, whether this refers to the structure or to the valuables that you may have inside.

So, what can you hope to learn from this guide? First, we'll go over some of the fundamentals to ensure you're on the right page where the right kind of insurance is concerned. From there, you'll get to see some of the considerations that should be on your mind as you look to become insured, followed by a rundown of five of the best homeowners insurance companies in New York.

Understanding New York Homeowners Insurance

While there are some great New York homeowners insurance companies out there that we'll get to, having an agreement with one of them is not enough to ensure that you'll be taken care of if unfortunate events are to strike.

We don't want you to find yourself in the position others have where they don't fully grasp what they're covered for, only to realize that they have no claim when something happens.

With that said, this whole section is meant to demystify a few elements of how this form of insurance works.

Average New York Home Insurance Costs

While the cheapest homeowners insurance company is not always the best one, cost is going to be one of the big factors in your eventual choice. With that said, you have concerns about what the average cost is since that can help you to mentally and financially prepare.

Realistically, it's not as straightforward as you may think, which is why two homes in the same area that bear similar characteristics can attract two wildly different insurance premiums.

The average annual cost in New York is between $1,300 and $1,700 annually. With that being said, what are some of the things that will come together to indicate the specific rate that you'll encounter? Here are some of the big ones:

  1. The age of the home
  2. The value of the home
  3. The extent to which you've made insurance claims in the past
  4. The condition of the home
  5. The security features that have been implemented
  6. Your choice or lack thereof to have multiple insurance companies
  7. The specific hazards that apply to your location and how at risk your home is
  8. Additional coverage options that you may need

Remember that when you're in the contemplation process, it's the perfect time to ask the right questions to get an idea of what you'll be dealing with. We've found that insurance can be quite cumbersome to understand, and this may cause you to not want to bother to worry about the finer details. However, such a decision may be the reason why you end up in a bad position later on.

Homeowners Insurance Vs. Landlord Insurance

Apart from understanding the average cost and how the figure works, the next area of concern is the choice between homeowner and landlord insurance. As a landlord, you may be tempted to go with a standard cheap home insurance policy, but this may not be the wisest idea.

Standard homeowners insurance policies are meant to cover structures and personal belongings to some extent. It doesn't account for some of the variables that doing business with tenants can introduce to the mix.

Getting a landlord insurance policy allows you access to a more tailored form of coverage that is specifically designed for the business case that applies to you. Apart from covering the structure, you get liability coverage to protect you from incidents that may arise involving your tenants, and you can even get coverage for rental income losses.

A common homeowners policy isn't comprehensive enough to give this level of coverage. Furthermore, you'll notice that there are certain rules you need to abide by to prevent yourself from forfeiting your right to a claim. Using the insured property for reward when you have homeowners insurance in New York may just be something you're not allowed to do.

Many situations can be unique though, and you'll find that these more basic offerings can work for you. The best course of action is always to discuss with the insurance company, including your plans for the property, which will better allow you to get a recommendation that suits your needs.

For example, you may have a rental property that is going to be vacant for some time. In such a case, then having landlord insurance may be overkill and an unnecessary expense. Bear in mind that once you operate within the confines of the stipulations, you are allowed to switch policies.

Therefore, it may be a good idea to use a homeowners insurance policy to maintain the structure and the belongings within.

Another example is a case in which you primarily live at a property but you have plans to be away for some time and rent it out. This could be because you'll be traveling, working, etc. Depending on the situation, a homeowners policy could be the way to go here. With that being said, you'll definitely want to discuss this one with the insurance company first.

Maybe you don't plan on coming back and are just living there until you make it a rental property permanently. Why have a landlord policy before you need it if that is the case? Use homeowners insurance first and make the switch when the time is right.

These are just a few scenarios, but there are others in which one type of insurance may be more appropriate than another or where you may want to switch between the two for whatever reason. As we've said quite a few times now, discuss with the provider you're considering to get an idea of what the best option for you may be based on your needs.

Choosing a New York Home Insurance Company

So, you have a basic working understanding of what having insurance means for your safety and peace of mind. Additionally, you now have a bit of direction to help you ensure that you're looking to get the right kind of policy.

While you are going to be getting some guidance from the insurance agent you speak to, it's essential to understand what the considerations are that go into meeting your needs.

Specifics for a New York Homeowners Insurance Policy

You can break down insurance requirements into two parts. The first involves things that you will need to give you the right amount of protection in your unique scenario. One of the biggest examples of this is your location. Being in New York means that there are some things you won't have to worry about as much as other states.

For example, while Florida is pretty high risk for hurricanes, only a handful of tropical storms will ever make it to New York. On the flip side, however, there are things that you do need to be concerned about because you're in New York. So let's jump into them for a moment, shall we?

Identity Theft Protection

Let us remember the sheer popularity and population of New York. Realistically, the more people there are around you, the higher the chance of there being malicious individuals in the lot that may want to commit criminal acts against you such as identity theft.

While you'll often need to get identity theft protection as an add-on, it is offered by insurance companies. Essentially, you get to offset the expensive costs that tend to come with restoring a stolen identity.

Personal Property Replacement Cost

Apart from the natural disasters that could be a problem for your personal property, remember that other potential occurrences could lead to vandalism. Again, replacing these out of pocket could be a nightmare that no one wants to have to deal with.

Depending on the kind of policy you get, you may be able to secure a replacement for the actual cash value of the item or the replacement cost value. The latter would mean getting new items to replace the ones affected, regardless of depreciation considerations.

Flood Insurance

Flooding is a reality in New York, and this is something that's also not covered under a typical policy, meaning that you'd need to get an add-on. You have a couple of options for flood insurance. The first is to go through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is a federal initiative, while the second is to go the route of a private flood insurer.

While the federal option will usually be cheaper, the extent of coverage is not as broad and it's overall a much less flexible option than its non-federal counterparts.

Other Elements of New York Homeowners Insurance Policies To Consider

With the specific items based on the state out of the way, the last thing before looking at the companies themselves is to go over considerations that are on a more general level as you try to make your choice. These are:

  1. Cost - Of course, you don't want to have to deal with exorbitant costs for your insurance policy. At the same time, you don't want to try to get things to be as cheap as possible, since you could be missing out on better value elsewhere. Your best bet is to get quotes from different companies that include the elements of coverage you need.
  2. Customer service - In other contexts, you may be able to forego the customer service element of things since it may not have too much of an impact. However, if you're talking about insurance, the customer service directly translates to the assistance you get with claims and the clarity of communication that you may depend on. Check out reviews to get an idea of what to expect.
  3. Financial stability - How useful is an insurance company when it is simply unable to meet its claim obligations financially? Thankfully, you have external body options such as AM that can provide you with rating information on the financial state of the company before you begin using it.
  4. Coverage allocations - Depending on your unique situation, you'll need certain elements of coverage while you may not need others. Remember that one insurance company may not offer some of the coverage you need, another may offer most of it as add-ons, while another may have a good standard combination. The coverage you need should be a guiding factor in your decision.
  5. Discounts - The savings or other benefits that you can recoup from discounts can really add up over time, which is why many homeowners try to use them up as much as possible. You'll typically need to meet some criteria to access each discount type, such as having an empty claims history record.
  6. Conditions - Even when a policy seems to have all the coverage elements you need, it may not be as good as it seems. One thing you should never leave to chance is how favorable the terms and conditions are. There may be specific ways you can't use your property, deductibles, actions that void the policy, and more!

You can see, therefore, that it takes quite a bit of patience and careful consideration to choose the right New York insurance policy. It's the failure to think about these things that leads to situations where people don't find out they're not covered until the last minute.

Best Home Insurance Companies in New York

We've covered quite a bit up until now. The last thing you need to know is which insurance companies you should be looking to as you put everything else into practice. There are undoubtedly several solid options out there, but these are the five that we have determined to be at the top of the proverbial pile.

Amica

Amica

Founded in 1907, Amica has demonstrated and continues to demonstrate the extent to which it can satisfy the coverage needs of its clients. With an A+ Am rating, you know that you're dealing with a company that is financially able to handle your claims. While not available in locations such as Hawaii or Alaska, you can access Amica insurance options in New York.

Essentially, there are two policy types that you can choose from. The first is the standard policy, with the second being the platinum choice policy. Depending on which of these you choose, your coverage options will vary.

Bear in mind too that there's a dividend policy offering in some states, which allows for anywhere between 5% - 20% returns on your annual premium, complete with different convenient methods to receive your payment, unless you wish to simply have it applied to the next year's premium.

Coverage and Features

Under the standard policy, you get basic coverage for your home, which includes the following:

  • Dwelling
  • Personal property
  • Loss of use
  • Liability
  • Other structures

The platinum choice policy includes everything that you get at the basic tier plus a few extras. Here, you can get:

  • Dwelling replacement cost
  • Personal property replacement cost
  • Liability and medical payments
  • Valuable items extended coverage
  • Business property coverage
  • Water backup/sump overflow
  • Loss assessment plan
  • Special computer coverage
  • Credit card coverage

Note that you can also choose to purchase a standard policy and opt to do a la carte purchases of the coverage options under the platinum choice umbrella.

Discounts

Amica offers the following discounts to its clients:

  • Claim free
  • E-discount
  • Alarm system
  • New/remodeled home credit
  • Automatic detection devices
  • Loyalty
  • Multi-line
  • Autopay

Lemonade

Lemonade

While the name Lemonade may be strange, there's nothing weird about the way the company does business and provides its clients with useful and appropriate insurance coverage options. The way the Lemonade app and site are integrated with the backend system is seamless, meaning that customers can easily use either of the two to do business with the company.

Social responsibility happens to be important to the company as it has what is known as the Giveback program, which donates any unclaimed money annually to whichever charity is chosen following a fixed premium percentage being taken by the company.

Coverage and Features

There are six typical coverage options that you'll see being offered by Lemonade, which are:

  • Dwelling coverage
  • Personal property
  • Medical payments
  • Loss of use
  • Liability coverage
  • Other structures
  • Medical expenses

Apart from that, there's a pretty solid array of additional coverage options that the company offers including:

  • Equipment breakdown
  • Water backup
  • Buried utility
  • Extended reconstruction cost
  • Extra coverage for valuables
  • Swimming pool coverage
  • Foundation water backup

Discounts

As far as discounts go, you can access the following as a Lemonade customer:

  • Protective devices
  • Annual payment plan
  • Bundling

State Farm

State Farm

State Farm is next on the list and it potentially needs no introduction as it stands as one of the more popular options across the United States. As far as AM Best is concerned, State Farm has an A++ financial strength rating, which means you have no worries about the company being able to honor your claims when the time comes.

The standard policies offered will give you a baseline of coverage, but you're also allowed to customize and expand policies as needed. On top of all this State Farm happens to have one of the lowest set of prices available.

Coverage and Features

Here are the standard coverage options that you can look forward to as a State Farm customer:

  • Dwelling coverage
  • Other structures
  • Personal property
  • Medical expenses
  • Personal liability
  • Additional living expenses (ALE)

Note that for personal property, your home, and other structures, State Farm offers optional replacement cost coverage. If you should take up this offer for personal property, for example, the replacement cost will be calculated at today's market value, meaning depreciation will not affect your payout.

Additional coverage is also offered in the following areas:

  • Inflation guard
  • Valuable possessions
  • Ordinance or law
  • Identity restoration coverage
  • Cyber event, restoration, and fraud loss (CEIDR)

It's a good idea to speak to a State Farm representative if you are interested in coverage options since the specific optional coverages can vary by state.

Discounts

On the discount side of the spectrum, expect the following:

  • Roofing
  • Claims free
  • Home security
  • Multi-policy
  • Automatic sprinkler
  • Utility rating plan

Nationwide

Nationwide

Nationwide is a particularly good option for those who own high-value homes. If you're home is in Manhattan, for example, this may be a great insurance company to go with. There are the standard coverage options, but thankfully, you can pile on other endorsements to enhance the policy.

Even with the name, the company doesn't offer insurance across the country, only having offerings in 43 states. Thankfully, New York happens to be one of the supported states.

Coverage and Features

Your typical coverage will include:

  • Personal property
  • Dwelling
  • Other structures
  • Loss of use
  • Credit card insurance
  • Guest medical payments
  • Ordinance or law insurance coverage
  • Other structures

Additional coverage options include:

  • Valuables plus
  • Earthquake insurance
  • Brand new belongings
  • Identity theft protection
  • Flood insurance
  • Dwelling replacement

Discounts

Note that you can benefit from the following discounts from Nationwide:

  • Gated community
  • Multi-policy
  • Claims free
  • New home purchase
  • Smart home
  • Protective devices
  • Prior insurance with a prior insurance

Allstate

Allstate

Allstate is the final option here, and it also allows customers to use special options to extend the typical coverage to meet their needs. AM Best gives it an A+ financial strength rating, meaning there's no need for you to be concerned with a lack of ability to honor your claims.

One of the standout elements of the company is the fact that it's on an eco-friendly mission. This is great because it means that there are optional coverage allowances that you can take advantage of to make your property more "green."

There's even a home-sharing option that you can use in situations where you're renting a part of your primary residence.

Coverage and Features

What kind of coverage can you look forward to from Allstate?

  • Liability coverage
  • Guest medical protection
  • Personal property coverage
  • Dwelling coverage

Additionally, you can get access to:

  • Flood insurance
  • Identity theft restoration
  • Water backup
  • Scheduled personal property
  • Business property
  • Personal umbrella policy
  • Yard and garden
  • Electronic data recovery
  • Musical instruments
  • Green improvement reimbursement

Discounts

On the discount side of the fence, the following offerings are available:

  • Multi-policy discount
  • Early signing discount
  • Welcome and loyalty discount
  • Claim free discount
  • Responsible payment discount
  • Easy pay plan

Conclusion

While a property in New York can represent an excellent investment, you do need to ensure that you are protected in the event of unexpected occurrences.

Not only does this mean choosing the right company, but it also means getting the elements of coverage that are most appropriate.

As you make your decision, consider the insights that you were given above, as they are meant to help you tailor your choice effectively.

Don't forget to be honest and take the time to ask for clarification where necessary as you correspond with potential insurance companies.

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!

Legal Disclaimer

The information on this website is from public sources, for informational purposes only and not intended for legal or accounting advice. DoorLoop does not guarantee its accuracy and is not liable for any damages or inaccuracies.

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