Wisconsin Homeowners Insurance

Fran
Fran Majidi
November 3, 2020

Homeowners Insurance in Wisconsin: A Complete Consumer Guide

For those considering homeownership in Wisconsin, we have some fun facts for you about the Badger State, the nickname given to the 30th state in the union. The nickname has little to do with the animal, only its burrowing habits. Miners used to cut into the hills of Wisconsin and sleep in the caves they created, just like the badger. The capital of Wisconsin is Madison and the largest city is Milwaukee. The name Wisconsin is believed to have come from the Native American word meeskonsing, which means “it lies red” or “this stream meanders through something red,” probably referring to the state’s sandstone, which is reddish in color. Wisconsin is famous for its cheese and even boasts a cheese museum. Dairy in general is pretty big in Wisconsin, where residents consume nearly 21 million gallons of ice cream each year. Legend also has it that Wisconsin has more ghosts per square mile than any other state.

Types of Homeowners Insurance Policies in Wisconsin

There are different types of policies, the broad form (HO-2) and Special Form (HO-3) being the most common.

HO-2 covers against fire, lightning, windstorm or hail, theft, explosion, smoke, damage from vehicles and aircraft, glass breakage, vandalism, malicious mischief, riot, civil commotion, building collapse, freezing of or accidental discharge of water or steam from plumbing, heating or air conditioning systems and appliances, falling objects, weight of ice, snow or sleet and the rupture of steam or hot water heating systems.

HO-3 insures the dwelling and attached structures against loss or damage except for excluded perils. And HO-15 can be added to extend an HO-3 for an even more comprehensive policy. There are other types of coverage, like the Comprehensive Form (HO-5), which insurers rarely use these days. There’s also a Modified Coverage Form (HO-8) that is for homes that do not meet all the requirements for other types of policies. HO-8 provides building and personal property coverage but is slightly more restrictive and has a replacement cost clause. This type of policy is best for homes that have suffered extensive depreciation.

You can see what types of coverage you have if you take a glance at the declarations page of your homeowners insurance policy. Most standard policies include the following, and riders are added on for expensive items. Sometimes, homeowners take out a personal umbrella policy to raise their liability limits, in case of lawsuits or accidents.

Dwelling and Personal Property Coverage. This type of coverage pays for damages to home and personal property. You are covered for 10% of losses on a detached garage, shed or other building(s) on the property. It will also cover belongings and personal items, usually about 50% of the limit. You have the option of buying actual cash value coverage for items destroyed or replacement value, which costs a little bit more but replaces your items with new ones. You’ll also have off-premises coverage, which means that items in storage or items stolen out of a car or anywhere outside the home are covered. You are also covered if a pet causes injury or damage to others or their possessions.

Personal Property Floater. Your basic homeowners policy may not provide enough coverage for more expensive items like jewelry or furs and silver. A personal property floater will itemize each belonging with a list of excluded perils.

Personal Liability Coverage. This protection covers all members of the household and pets should you cause non-auto accidents and damages to another person or their belongings on or off the property. This portion of your policy pays for court and legal fees as well as fines you may be responsible to pay.

In addition to optional coverages, you may need to buy separate policies that would cover your home in the case of state declared disasters. Flood Insurance and Earthquake Insurance are sold separately from a basic home insurance policy.

Medical Payments Coverage. If someone outside of your household is injured in your home regardless of fault, this coverage would pay for medical expenses incurred within one year from the event. The coverage does not apply to the insured and household members. But it will cover incidents outside of the home but under limited circumstances.

Additional Living Expenses. If a covered peril makes your home uninhabitable or if you need to live outside the home while repairs take place, you will be covered for reasonable and necessary living expenses. Usually, that amount is up to 20% of the policy limit, but you will not be paid for living with a friend or relative without extra expense.

Additional Coverages. You can buy debri removal, and you can insure trees, plants and shrubs. There is credit card coverage but these all have common exclusions. A standard homeowners insurance policy also does not cover flooding and earthquakes. Flood insurance and earthquake insurance are sold separately.

What Factors Affect Rates on Homeowners Insurance in Wisconsin?

Construction type is the biggest factor in determining home insurance rates. For example a brick structure will be more fire resistant than a wood framed structure. Certain construction types are also more expensive to replace. Also, newer homes tend to be cheaper to insure because they are built to withstand storms and fires. Another factor that determines rates is the location of the home and if it’s near good fire protection. Wisconsin is broken down into fire-protection rated territories with classifications ranging from 1 to 10. Crime rates in the neighborhood also impact rates.

Top 5 Disasters in the State of Wisconsin

Wisconsin has declared federal emergencies for severe storms more than any other type of disaster, with 20 counts since 1953. Severe storm counts are followed by flood, tornado, snow, and other natural disasters. Here are the top 5 disasters in the state of Wisconsin.

Rank Declaration Title Disaster Number
1 Severe Storms 20
2 Flood 19
3 Tornado 6
4 Snow 4
5 Biological 2

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

How Much is Homeowners Insurance in Wisconsin?

The average cost of homeowners insurance in Wisconsin is $903 a year. Several factors will determine your rate, such as construction type, certain breeds of dogs, swimming pools and trampolines and more.

Source: The average cost of homeowners insurance by state, Business Insider.

Crime Rate: Is Wisconsin a Safe State?

2019 Crime in Wisconsin Crime Number Crime Rate*
Property Crime 85,672 1,471.4
Burglary 12,667 217.6
Larceny-Theft 65,620 1,127.

*Rate per 100,000 inhabitants

Safest Cities in Wisconsin by Property Crime*

Hobart-Lawrence, WI has a population of 15,460 with a Property Crime rate of 2.8 per 1k. The city average home value is approximately $319,839.

Muskego, WI has a population of 25,224 with a Property Crime rate of 3.4 per 1k. The average home value there is about $358,040.

Oregon, WI came in third as the safest city in the state of Wisconsin and has a population of 10,677 with a Property Crime rate of 5 per 1k. Its home value averaged at about $316,263.

Caledonia, WI has a population of 25,123 with a Property Crime rate of 5.1 per 1k. Its average home value is $251,204.

Waupun, WI has a population of 11,315 with a Property Crime rate of 5.5 per 1k. The city home value averaged $142,876.

*Based on FBI Uniform Crime Reporting 2019, some cities have been eliminated because of changes in the state/local agency's reporting practices and cities with populations under 10,000. Zillow’s State/Cities average home value for a single family home or a condo as of Sept. 2020.

Compare Home Insurance Rates in Wisconsin

Top Homeowners Insurance Companies in Wisconsin

AAA has high ratings, which vary according to each club. The American Automobile Association (AAA) is less known for selling homeowners insurance but they’ve been supporting homeowners for over 100 years! You do need membership first to buy homeowners insurance first, however. You may also have to buy auto insurance first, depending on the club’s policies in your area. However, prices are low. American Family Insurance has an A from AM Best for financial strength was awarded 881 points from a 1,000-point scale. With an A rating from the BBB, you can count on American Family to handle customer relations professionally. Homeowners policies come with customizable coverage options and discounts that may apply. Allstate has an A+ from AM Best, an 882 out of 1,000 points from J.D. Power and an A+ from the BBB. Not only does Allstate offer various discounts, but they have self-service digital tools and above average customer service. Allstate is also very generous in providing up to $10,000 for accidental damage claims.

Wisconsin Home Insurance FAQs

Does geico offer home insurance in Wisconsin?

Yes, GEICO offers home insurance to Wisconsonites. They also offer discounts for military personnel, federal employees and members of certain professional societies, educational institutions and alumni associations.

What percentage of homeowners have flood insurance?

As of 2018, only 15% of Americans have flood insurance. However, since October 2016, 72 counties in Wisconsin have received federal disaster declarations due to flooding. The average FEMA relieve was less than $4000 while those with flood insurance received the total cost of damages.

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