If you’re a current or potential homeowner in Baltimore, homeowners insurance should be a top priority. Charm City residents face threats like flooding, lead paint and burglary, but home insurance gives much-needed peace of mind. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best homeowners insurance in Baltimore to help you find the ideal coverage for your home.
Homeowners insurance isn’t mandatory in Maryland, but mortgage brokers won’t lend to you unless you have it. Regardless of that requirement, living in Baltimore without homeowners insurance is not advisable. Burglaries are a common risk, even in the more expensive neighborhoods.
Many houses in Baltimore were built before the 1970s, which means they could contain lead paint–something costly to repair, but Maryland requires homeowners insurance to cover it. Maryland’s Insurance Administration also publishes a comprehensive guide for homeowners.
Maryland requires insurers to offer optional flood protection, though you’ll have to pay extra for it. Rates vary, but considering how frequently Baltimore and the surrounding suburbs flood after heavy rain, it’s definitely worthwhile. Depending on how much coverage your homeowners insurance provides, you may want to look into an additional flood insurance policy if you live in southern Baltimore near the water.
Frozen pipes are another common issue that many insurers don’t cover fully. Typically, you’ll have to prove that your negligence didn’t cause the pipes to freeze–meaning that you took precautions like leaving your water running during especially cold weather.
With the high crime rate in Baltimore, burglary is a risk. While your homeowners insurance policy will likely cover theft and burglary, there’s a limit to how much you can claim. If you own a lot of expensive jewelry, fine art or other high-value items, consider taking out an additional policy to cover their potential theft.
How much does homeowners insurance cost in Baltimore?
On average, homeowners in Baltimore pay about $1,008 per year for their home insurance premiums, which is slightly less than the national average of $1,083. Part of the reason for the lower cost is that Baltimore has a much lower median home price ($117,100) than the national median ($218,000).
The value of your home has a big impact on the price of your insurance premiums. The most expensive homeowners premiums, on average, are in the 21216 ZIP code, which includes the neighborhoods of Winchester, Rosemont and Windsor Hills. These neighborhoods have a lot of single family homes with yards, which have a higher overall value and are costlier to insure than the row homes that Baltimore is known for.
As soon as you leave the city limits, annual premiums drop. Towson is a popular suburb of Baltimore, and the average premium there is almost $200 less than the average for the city.
Average home insurance rates in Baltimore
Canton, Greektown, Hopkins Bayview (21224)
Inner Harbor, Mt Vernon, Johnson Square (21202)
Federal Hill, South Baltimore, Locust Point (21230)
Charles Village, Johns Hopkins, Waverly (21218)
Mt. Washington, Cheswolde, Wellwood (21209)
Note: Based on dwelling coverage amounts above with a constant $1,000 deductible and $100,000 liability
Discounts for home insurance in Baltimore
Many insurance companies offer discounts for having multiple policies with them, for example, home and auto insurance. Often you can apply for a discount after installing protective devices like burglar alarms or fire sprinklers. Also, Maryland law requires insurers to give discounts to customers who repair or improve their home to protect against rainstorms and hurricanes, such as adding storm shutters or reinforced roof coverings.
In addition to their standard homeowners policies, Progressive offers water/sewer backup coverage and flood insurance at an additional cost. They offer standard discounts for alarm systems, newer homes and bundling multiple insurance policies. Progressive allows local insurance agents to repackage their services, so there aren’t any Progressive agents in Baltimore.
GEICO is one of the most popular insurance companies in Baltimore, and you’ll see their billboards all over the city. They offer discounts for multi-line policies, smoke alarms and home security systems. You’ll have to venture just outside the city to find local GEICO agents, but they’re all rated highly by customers for their low prices and specialized knowledge of common issues in Baltimore like flat roofs and poor drainage.
State Farm provides standard insurance packages and discounts, though their rates are consistently higher than average in Baltimore. One uncommon discount they offer is for certain roof upgrades, so that’s worth looking into if you’re planning to replace or reinforce your roof. State Farm has many local offices in Baltimore, and customer satisfaction seems to vary among the individual agents.
Baltimore Equitable Insurance
Baltimore Equitable Insurance offers something called Perpetual Insurance, which works differently from standard homeowners insurance. You pay a large deposit at the beginning of the policy, and then you’re covered indefinitely. The size of the deposit depends on the price of your home, and BEI offers discounts for burglar alarms and proximity to fire hydrants and fire stations. Since BEI has been in business for over 200 years, they are knowledgeable about local insurance issues.
Mason & Carter
Mason & Carter is a broker that repackages insurance policies from other brands, including Progressive. Specific discounts and coverage vary depending on the package. Mason & Carter has one office in downtown Baltimore, and it receives consistently high reviews from customers thanks to their quick response time and extensive local knowledge.