Clark Howard: The best and worst home insurers

A new ranking of home insurance companies shows that just focusing on premiums isn’t necessarily the smartest idea.

A July update of Consumer Reports names the best and worst home insurers in the business. Now, keep in mind that the best does not necessarily mean the one with the most affordable premium.

In the top spot, you have Amica Insurance followed very closely by USAA Property & Casualty, two of my longtime favorites. Just a hair behind them are Auto-Owners Insurance and Erie Insurance Group, two companies that have never much been on my radar.

Amica and USAA Mutual may not have the best premiums. But remember my rule, homeowners insurance is only for use in a catastrophic situation.

To lower the cost of going with a top-rated insurer, I recommend you take as high of a deductible as you can swallow and your mortgage holder will allow you to have.

The lowest-rated insurers in the country are Allstate Insurance and Farmers Insurance, in a near tie. Just a hair above them were American Family, California State Auto Group, Liberty Mutual, and Travelers.

Yahoo! Finance recently had a list of weird exclusions some insurers have. Some make sense — like dog attacks. But others are unexpected, like trampolines.

Mold is no longer covered by many homeowner insurance policies, nor is sewer backup. Fire is still covered. That seems to be a constant year over year, which is why people sometimes refer to homeowners policies as “fire policies.”

Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website

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