First you need to find out what insurance companies are available in your state. California’s residential insurance companies. I don’t know where the other states lists are, but most states have a state level department of insurance.
Then you could see which of the top 5 from the September 2012 Consumer Reports Homeowners insurance company ratings is available to you. I’ve got them listed from best to worst by reader score, company, and on a scale of 5 (best) to 1 (worst): damage amount, agent availability, timely payment.
- 92, Amica Insurance amica.com, 5, 5, 5
- 92, USAA Property & Casualty www.usaa.com, 5, 5, 5
- 90, Auto-Owners Insurance, 5, 5, 5
- 86, Farm Bureau Property & Casualty Insurance, 4, 4, 4
- 84, Erie Insurance, 4, 4, 4
- 83, State Farm, 4, 4, 4
- 83, American Family Insurance, 4, 4, 4
- 83 Tower Hill, 3, 4, 4
- 82, Nationwide, 3, 4, 4
- 80, Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies, 3, 4, 4
- 78, Hartford Financial Services, 3, 3, 4
- 78, Travelers, 3, 3, 4
- 78, Metlife Auto & Home, 3, 3, 4
- 77, Farmers Insurance, 3, 3, 4
- 77, Allstate Insurance, 3, 3, 4
United Polilcyholders has a LOT of fantastic information.
Then go to Weiss Property and Casualty Insurers. Select the Homeowners Insurance link and sign up for Weiss Ratings (you don’t need to pay to see the ratings). You can see a list of the strongest (ranked by financial strength, which means they have the ability to pay, but look at consumer reports and state consumer complaints and so on to see if they actually pay claims).
You could also check
As you can see below, the state gives you other tools to evaluate residential insurance.
The California Department of Insurance (CDI) provides several tools to help consumers who are shopping for residential insurance. In addition to consumer information guides, you can use the Homeowners Premium Survey, the Consumer Complaint Study, and Insurance Company Profiles to gather valuable information on residential insurance companies. Also, you may want to investigate coverage through the California Fair Plan, if you are having difficulty obtaining residential property insurance.