Wisconsin homeowners pay quite a bit less for home insurance than their counterparts in other states; the average rate is 36% below the national average. With a variety of places to live ranging from big cities to farms to lakefront property, the cost of home insurance can vary quite a bit. Finding the best home insurance for Wisconsin based on your personal needs means taking a little time to shop around – but our list of the best choices can help narrow it down.
The Basics of Wisconsin Home Insurance
Wisconsin home insurance policies follow the same standards as those in other states, with basic coverage and options that can be added on to customize a policy. A homeowner’s package policy includes a few standard components: dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, liability, and loss of use.
In addition to these basics, there are a wide variety of other options available. Some companies may add additional benefits to the standard policy, while others may offer them a la carte, allowing customers to choose and pay for only what they need.
While there is no law requiring homeowners to carry insurance in Wisconsin, it is required by lenders. As part of the mortgage contract, buyers agree to keep in place a homeowner’s insurance policy that meets lender standards, protecting the company’s investment in the property.
Should the homeowner fail to live up to that contract, the lender can legally take out its own policy and charge the cost of that policy along with the mortgage payment. Since this type of policy only provides coverage for the lender, it is not what a homeowner wants to be paying for – a homeowner’s insurance package policy provides a lot of protection for your investment and risks, and at a better price.
Specifics of Home Insurance in Wisconsin
Wisconsin home insurance policies do not differ much from those in other states, and there are no unusual laws to be aware of.
Some homeowners in the state, particularly those with homes in floodplains or near bodies of water, may need to carry flood insurance. Flood is not covered by a standard home insurance policy, which makes it a must for anyone is a high-risk flood zone.
Choosing the best options for home insurance means more than finding the best price. We looked for three main things in every company that made our top picks list.
Price, of course, is one of the factors. Most people are looking to save on their insurance costs, and no one wants to overpay for coverage. That said, the least expensive policy is not always the best. Cheap policies may cut coverage or leave out benefits that are standard elsewhere. It is important to look at what you are getting for the money rather than just how much you are paying.
Coverage, therefore, is the second factor that we looked at in order to choose the best home insurance companies. We looked for robust programs that include a lot of extras without an extra charge. Of particular importance is the availability of upgrades like extended replacement cost on the dwelling and replacement cost coverage for your personal property.
We also looked for companies that back their coverage with a good reputation. No matter what you pay for coverage or what it says on the policy document, if the company does not stand behind it, and provide you with the service you expect, it is not a good value. We looked for companies that rank highly in customer satisfaction, especially when it comes to claims service since claims are the main reason anyone buys insurance.
All of our top picks offer coverage across the state and have no specifics eligibility requirements to purchase a policy. That means that some highly rated companies like USAA are not on our list, but does not mean they aren’t a good choice for those that qualify. We simply chose to make a list that is useful to the largest portion of the population.
Our Top Picks
These three companies are our best choices for Wisconsin home insurance because they meet all of our criteria – offering customers a solid value.
This local company is one of the top choices for Wisconsin homeowners and has a high rating based on customer reviews. They are too small to appear on J.D. Power’s list, but their local reputation is excellent.
West Bend has what they call a Home and Highway policy, which covers both home and auto insurance in one, so they are only a good choice for those that want to bundle, but that policy is robust. It includes guaranteed replacement cost as a standard coverage and a blanket coverage limit as well.
From a small local company to the biggest company in the nation, State Farm makes our list for great rates and a solid policy that includes a lot of coverage as standard. They offer great bundling discounts as well, which can make their rates even better when you insure your car as well.
State Farm consistently maintains good ratings for customer service, ranking at number 5 nationwide in J.D. Power’s 2018 survey. They also provide the personal assistance of an agent and very solid financial backing.
Based in Wisconsin, Acuity is a fairly large regional insurance company with a homegrown feel. They offer award-winning service and have a good reputation for customer service and great claims handling.
They also offer solid policies at a good price, with lots of basic coverage and add-on options. A package endorsement is available that adds on a lot of coverage for just one additional cost, which makes getting a higher level of coverage easy.
Shopping for Home Insurance in Wisconsin
Wisconsin homeowners have a lot of choices for home insurance, and our top picks are a great place to start. Two of our picks do not currently have online quoting, which means working with an agent. That is not a bad thing when it comes to home insurance, which is more complex and has more options, endorsements, and exclusions that do auto insurance policies. An agent can help you to sort them out and find out what coverage you really need.
Since all insurance companies calculate replacement cost a little differently, it is a good idea to go in with your own idea of what you want that number to be. Check with your mortgage company to find out what they require, and spend a little time using objective calculators online. Remember that replacement cost and market value are not the same thing – and are not related.
It is also a good idea to know what deductible you feel comfortable with, and which options you want to add on if the policy doesn’t include the standard. That way all of your quotes will be as close to apples-to-apples as they can get.
The Bottom Line
Wisconsin has low rates on home insurance, and homeowners can choose between local companies and big, national names. Since each home and each homeowner is different, take the time to make sure the policy you are choosing meets your needs, and that the company writing it will be there for you if and when you need to file a claim.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.