Lauren Lewthwaite Last Updated On: August 23, 2023

Find the Best Home Insurance in California

The Golden State is home to over 39 million Americans and everything else you can imagine, from Disneyland to sports teams in every major league, primo beaches, and Hollywood—all under one state flag! With so many Americans calling California home, it makes sense that insurers offer competitive premiums and desirable home insurance options.

So, if you’ve been shopping around for home insurance, keep reading to discover the best homeowners insurance in California. 

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Table of Contents

Is Home Insurance Mandatory in California?

If you need a mortgage on your house, you’ll most likely need to take out home insurance as part of your lender’s agreement. Interestingly, the Golden State only requires homeowners to take out hazard insurance—a component of home insurance—on their dwelling. 

However, legally, you don’t have to take out home insurance if you do not need a mortgage. It may seem tempting for some to forgo home insurance, but do you really want to gamble with your financial future? For example, if a severe storm whips through your town and damages your house without home insurance, you’ll pay out of pocket for repairs. Home insurance shields you from that, and more. 

You can read more about mortgages and home insurance requirements here

What Are the Biggest Risks to Homes in California?

Californians can’t get enough of the cerulean skies and the endless nice weather. However, the price tag for all this sunshine is a variety of risks—or perils—that threaten the integrity of your home. 

These are the perils that California is vulnerable to:


California is sitting cozy near the San Andreas fault line, meaning the state is prone to earthquakes. Unfortunately, traditional home insurance like HO3 policies don’t cover earthquakes. If you, like many Californians, want to protect your house from earthquake damages, then you can take out earthquake home insurance through:

  • Your insurance company as a separate policy, or
  • The California Earthquake Authority.

Earthquake insurance is extra, but it’s well worth the price for many Californians. And stay tuned, because we’ll show you how to get affordable home insurance in California no matter what policy you have. 


Another peril California regularly experiences is flooding, thanks to its picturesque coasts and valleys. But like earthquakes, flooding is not covered by traditional home insurance policies. So, if you want to protect your most expensive investment from flooding damages, then you must take out separate flooding insurance through your insurer or the National Flood Insurance Program.


Traditional home insurance policies offer protection against fire damage (fire and smoke damage), unless you live in a county that’s prone to wildfires. But unlike earthquakes and flooding, you cannot take out an additional policy if you live in a high-risk county. 

Fortunately, if you live in a county prone to wildfires and have trouble finding home insurance, you can take out a policy through California’s FAIR Plan. Unfortunately, FAIR Plans are a last resort as they offer limited coverage on only four perils: fire, internal explosions, lightning, and smoke. There is a motion to force FAIR Plans to become comprehensive like traditional home insurance policies, but in the interim, there’s a “difference in conditions policy” to bridge the gap.

Another thing for Californians to consider is that many insurers offer discounts if you take steps to improve your home’s fire resistance, such as using fire-resistant roofing materials or clearing vegetation near your dwelling.

Traditional Home Insurance Perils

Traditional home insurance covers many perils that threaten the integrity of your home, like fires. But, since not every danger is covered by conventional insurance policies, it means you want to know what your home insurance policy protects against.

There are two primary types of home insurance: HO1, which offers limited protection against 10 named perils, and HO2, HO3, and HO5 policies, which offer much more dynamic coverage against 16 named perils.

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The 10 Named Perils in HO1 Policies Are:

  • Lightning or fire
  • Damaged caused by an aircraft
  • Damaged caused by a vehicle
  • Theft
  • Explosions 
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Windstorms or hail
  • Smoke
  • Riots 
  • Vandalism

HO2, HO3, and HO5 Covers 16 Perils:

These traditional home insurance policies offer protection against the same 10 perils that an HO1 plan covers, in addition to these 6 perils:

  • Accidental tearing, cracking, bulging, or burning of an A/C, hot water tank, or fire systems
  • Accidental damage caused by a short circuit
  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet damage
  • Accidental water, steam discharge, or water overflow
  • Freezing
  • Falling object damage

It’s important to note that regardless of which insurance plan you purchase, they do not protect against earthquakes, flooding, or wildfires—all well-known California threats. If your county is particularly vulnerable to one of these perils or you wish to protect yourself from paying out of pocket for non-covered damages, you should consider taking out an additional earthquake, flooding, or wildfire plan.

The Perils Not Covered by Traditional Home Insurance Plans

There are some common perils that your traditional homeowner’s insurance in California won’t cover regardless of which policy you take out, whether it’s an HO1 or HO3 plan. 

These are the perils your home insurance plan won’t cover:

  • Intentional loss
  • Nuclear 
  • Wear & tear
  • Sinkholes
  • Flooding
  • Earthquakes
  • Infestations (Vermin or insects)
  • Power failure

You’ll notice that earthquakes and flooding make the exclusion list, but wildfires aren’t on the list. For earthquakes and flooding, you’ll need a separate insurance plan, whereas your home insurance partially covers wildfires—unless you live in an area prone to them, in which case you can try a FAIR plan.

What Does Home Insurance Cover in California?

When we say home insurance in the Golden State covers damages to your home, what exactly does that mean? One factor all home insurance policies have in common is that if a peril like lightning damages your dwelling, you place a claim and your plan will cover the repair or replacement costs. 

Here’s what your home insurance plan covers:

  • Dwelling: If a named peril (like vandals) damages your dwelling, meaning the physical structure, insurance will pay to repair or replace it.
  • On-Site Structures: Outbuildings are sheds, separate garages, or your fence. If an outbuilding or on-site structure is damaged due to a covered peril, insurance pays to repair it.
  • Personal Property: If a named peril like theft damages your home and your personal belongings, like furniture or jewelry, your policy will repair or replace them.
  • Liability: Liability coverage offers you legal protection if someone is hurt on your property and sues, or it will pay for damages to others’ personal property or bodily injury that you’ve caused.
  • Medical Payments to Others: Medical payments to others are like health insurance, the difference being it only pays small medical claims to those injured on your property. Find out more here
  • Additional Living Expenses: If a peril damages your home and insurance is having it repaired, your insurance will also pick up your temporary accommodations tab. 

Remember, with many home insurance policies available, every plan offers different coverage limits, rules, or exemptions. For instance, an HO1 policy only protects your dwelling, so if you want total coverage, you’ll want a more robust plan like HO3 insurance.

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What's the Cost of Home Insurance in California?

California is home to the most national parks in the country, in one of which lives “General Sherman,” the most voluptuous tree in the world with a circumference of 102.6 feet in Sequoia National Park. Whether you live near dear old Sherman or the ocean, all residents want the best home insurance.

And the news is good: the average cost of home insurance in California is around $1,300 per year for $300,000 in dwelling coverage, coming in at less than the national average.

Home Insurance Options in California

Cruise the Pacific Coast Highway and take in the ocean views before you explore your home insurance options. You don’t want to regret taking out the wrong coverage for your home in Riverside or Ventura County because you’re in a rush.

These are the house insurance options in California:

  • HO1: HO1, or “basic coverage”, is offered by select insurers as it only protects against 10 named perils and covers only dwelling damage claims (at a depreciated rate). 
  • HO2: HO2, or “broad coverage”, offers greater protection than an HO1 policy as it protects against 16 named perils. Additionally, it covers claims to your dwelling, personal belongings, liability, loss of use, and medical payments to others.
  • HO3: HO3, or “special coverage”, is the most popular home insurance policy, especially for families, as it protects your dwelling, outbuildings and everything in between from all 16 named perils.
  • HO4: HO4, or “renters coverage”, protects a renter’s belongings, loss of use, and personal liability. Renter’s insurance in California will run you about $200 a year, just above the national average for renter’s insurance.
  • HO5: HO5, or “comprehensive coverage”, is ideal for high-risk or high-value homes that need higher replacement values. It covers any peril except any listed exclusions.
  • HO6: HO6, or “condo coverage”, is for condo owners as it protects the dwelling, belongings, liability, and loss of use. The average cost of condo insurance is slightly higher than the national average at $47 monthly.
  • HO7: HO7, or “mobile or manufactured home coverage”, has the same protection as an HO3 policy, except it’s for your mobile home. Mobile or manufactured home insurance in California ranges, depending on where you live and your coverage options. You can expect to pay anywhere from $500-$1,500 annually.
  • HO8: HO8, or “modified coverage”, protects old homes from 10 named perils.

This should help you narrow your search to find the right policy for you. If you live in a typical home, opt for HO3 or HO5 insurance if possible. 

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How to Get the Cheapest Homeowners Insurance in California

We browse to find the Hollywood movies we want to watch on any major streaming platform, so why not peruse which discounts you’re eligible for to reduce your home insurance rates? If you’re ready to shave some dollars off your house insurance in California, these are the most common discounts you will find:
  • Shop Around: Home insurance is not a one-price fits all; your premiums reflect your personal profile (like your age or zip code) and your coverage options (e.g., HO3 insurance), and to make things more complicated, every insurer calculates your rates differently! So, this means to get cheap home insurance in California, it pays to shop around. 
  • Get the Right Coverage: Everyone’s home insurance needs differ, so choose the policy that fits you. For instance, if you own an expensive home, take out an HO5 plan, whereas if you live in a condo, you’ll want HO6 insurance. But remember, HO1 and even HO2 policies are limited, so an HO3 is your best bet if you have a family.
  • Raise Your Deductible: Raising your deductible will shrink your premiums.
  • Ask About Discounts: It never hurts to ask your insurance company what discounts they offer that you’re eligible for, such as:
    • Bundling: If you have multiple insurance products like home and auto, you’ll save money if you bundle them together.
    • Safety Features: Ask your insurer which safety features, like smart home monitoring, will earn you a discount off your rates while making your home safer.
    • New Home: You’ll save on premiums for homes under 15 years old.
    • Green Home: If you live in a home constructed of environmentally-friendly materials that’s certified by a recognized green organization like LEED (Leadership Energy and Environmental Design), you’ll save on rates.
    • Fire Mitigation: Because California is prone to wildfires, installing fire mitigation measures like automatic sprinklers may earn you some savings.
The savings are out there, but you might need a little elbow grease to find them. Or, make it easier on yourself by getting access to free quotes, fast, just by clicking here.

Final Thoughts on House Insurance in California

The Golden State is home to millions of Americans, and with so many homes (condo, apartment, house, and mobile homes) to choose from, there is a need to find the best homeowners insurance in California. Finding the best home insurance is a matter of pairing your dwelling (such as a condo) with the right coverage (like HO6), and capitalizing on every available discount to drive down your premiums. 

But perhaps the two important things to consider are:

  • Never settle on the first quote; always get multiple quotes so you can compare and get the best homeowner insurance in California.
  • If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, flooding, or wildfires, you should strongly consider taking out an additional policy or endorsement (depending on the threat) to protect your home.

If you’re ready to get down to business, go ahead and get access to free quotes here.

When it matters, we’ve got you covered.

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