You don’t necessarily need homeowners insurance in Massachusetts. It isn’t legally required.
But when disaster strikes and you’re left facing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, you may wish you had it. Don’t let a disaster catch you off guard.
Homeowners insurance is among the best ways to protect the investment you’ve made in your home, and it could mean the difference between withstanding a disaster and dealing with the emotional fallout of losing a home you love.
What’s more, while homeowners insurance isn’t mandatory by law, many mortgage lenders make it a condition of the loan as a way to protect themselves.
The good news is that homeowners insurance is often relatively affordable compared to the cost of recovering from a disaster. There are a number of well-respected homeowners insurance companies in Massachusetts.
5 Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Massachusetts
1. Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual is among the top insurers in the country, offering a blend of home insurance options that let you develop the coverage plan that works for your needs.
The insurer can handle coverage for the dwelling itself, personal property, liability, added living expenses incurred during a covered event, and medical protection for guests.
Beyond a good reputation from a variety of sources, Liberty Mutual also provides a wide range of discount offers, including opportunities to lower your costs if you’re covering a newly purchased home, are a member of the military, go paperless for your interactions with the insurer, or install protective devices.
2. MAPFRE Insurance
NAIC data indicates that MAPFRE holds the largest market share for home insurance policies in Massachusetts. It is the 21st largest Property-Casualty Insurer and boasts an A rating from AM Best.
The insurer’s property protection plan covers the basics you’d expect, but can also incorporate water and sewer backup coverage, higher than normal coverage for personal liability, medical payments, and personal property.
MAPFRE is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and boasts a 4-star TrustPilot rating. Like most insurance providers, it offers a wide range of discount opportunities, but they can vary significantly depending on your specific circumstances, so you’ll want to ask about that when seeking a quote.
Another leading national provider, Travelers boasts an AA financial rating from Standard and Poor’s as well as an Aa2 rating from Moody’s. In terms of customer service, the Better Business Bureau gave Traveler’s an A+ grade.
Travelers offers a diverse range of coverage types, including a robust enhanced dwelling protection plan, as well as a multi-policy discount and reduced costs if your property includes home safety features.
Chubb stands as one of the largest publicly traded insurers in the world. The breadth and scale of its service options are considerable, giving you many options for standard home insurance coverage and specific options based on your needs.
Chubb stands out for its size and service offerings, but it has a TrustPilot score of 2.8 out of 10 and a B- grade from the BBB. Its financial ratings are much stronger, with an AA from Standard & Poor’s, an A3 from Moody’s, and an A++ from AM Best.
5. Bunker Hill Home Insurance
Bunker Hill Home Insurance operates as a part of the larger Plymouth Rock Insurance Group, which is among the organizations with the largest market share in Massachusetts, according to the NAIC.
The insurer specializes in flexible coverage options focused on high-value property. It also offers umbrella insurance that can provide as much as $2 million in coverage. Discounts available from Bunker Hill are fairly standard, but also includes special options for those who go all in on superior construction methods that protect against fire.
Additional Homeowners Insurance Considerations in Massachusetts
Homeowners insurance in Massachusetts covers many of the same standard areas that you would experience in other states. You’ll generally be insured against fire and similar emergencies that are not specific to any location.
Beyond that, you’ll need to consider flood insurance based on state flood maps, particularly if your home is near the coast.
The good news is that, according to the state government’s insurance frequently asked question page, most home insurance plans will cover any damages that occur due to ice dams that emerge due to the extreme winter weather common in the state.
However, it’s important to note that such plans only cover the initial damages. If you neglect repairs and the problem expands, you may end up paying for not moving quickly.
Special insurance types that are particularly important in the state
Many coastal regions of Massachusetts face significant flooding potential due to storm surges in hurricanes and blizzards. Snowmelt can also create high risks of flood in certain regions.
If your home features components or environmental issues that prevent you from getting insurance from a licensed company, the Massachusetts Property Insurance and Underwriting Association offers a FAIR Plan coverage option with coverage of up to $1 million.
As of 2017, the last time government data was available, the FAIR Plan covered 40 percent of all homeowners policies in the Cape and Islands market.
Specialty coverage for unique items
The Massachusetts homeowners insurance FAQ recommends that homeowners seeking to insure a dwelling with specialty items, such as hand-carved woodwork or stained glass windows, ask about specific coverage for those assets.
As a state featuring many older homes, it’s important to consider specific building elements that may require specialty coverage.
3 Tips for Buying Homeowners Insurance in Massachusetts
Before getting to specific tips for Massachusetts, one universal rule should be kept in mind: Shop around.
Homeowners insurance companies can offer significantly different rates for comparable coverage. Taking the time to obtain and compare quotes is critical. Beyond that, a few quick tips specific to Massachusetts include:
- Account for winter: Whether your home is on the coast or in the mountains, harsh winter weather can bring high winds, fallen trees, and related ice/water damage that you’ll want to ensure is covered.
- Consider value, not cost: The costs of home insurance in Massachusetts can be high, but the value depends on what you’d have to pay to make repairs in the aftermath of a disaster. Consider the high costs and complexity of construction in your region as you decide whether or not homeowners insurance is right for you.
- Be aware of coverage policies: Massachusetts law indicates that insurers can choose not to renew your policy, but they have to give you 45 days to seek alternative coverage. In the event you have trouble finding an insurer, the state’s FAIR Plan option may be worth pursuing.
Massachusetts Homeowners Insurance Bottom Line
All told, Massachusetts is a relatively expensive place to insure a home. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the national average premium for homeowners insurance was $1,173 in 2015, which represents the most recent data available. In Massachusetts, the state average premium was $1,451.
This may seem like a steep price to pay, but it may help to know that you aren’t paying a high cost because you’re likely to face a disaster. Based on data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency gathered by the NAIC, the state of Massachusetts only experienced one official disaster from 2013 through 2017, making it one of the safest states in the country.
Instead of paying against a disaster, you’re instead paying primarily because of the high value of homes in the state. The average home purchase price in the U.S. was $307,700 as of the first quarter of 2019, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found. According to Zillow, the average home price in Massachusetts was $409,600.
In Massachusetts, you aren’t paying a high insurance premium because a disaster is especially likely, you’re paying it because the cost of significant damages are typically high, meaning you may find yourself particularly appreciative of insurance if you do ever need it.*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that "timely" information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.