Military families have exclusive access to the best home insurer in reviews: The United Services Automobile Association, or USAA (it also tops our auto insurance rankings). USAA sweeps the ratings, with perfect scores for financial strength and nearly perfect scores for all aspects of customer service and claims handling. Customers also say USAA's prices are fair. Only Chubb (which caters to wealthy clients) and Amica Mutual (which is open to the general public) rate nearly as well. However, only current or former military personnel and their children are eligible for USAA homeowners insurance.
Thousands of homeowners policyholders rate USAA in surveys at J.D. Power and Associates and ConsumerReports.org. You'll find more data on customer complaints at the Better Business Bureau and National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Like other financial ratings agencies, Weiss Ratings gives USAA its highest possible score for financial strength.
1. J.D. Power and Associates
USAA earns perfect scores in J.D. Power and Associates' latest homeowners insurance survey. However, because it is only open to current and past military families only, it's not included in the rankings.
Review: 2010 National Homeowners Insurance Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Oct. 5, 2010
USAA is one of 16 home insurers rated here, based on ConsumerReports.org's survey of 10,700 homeowners. It gets subscores for claims problems and delayed payments, and whether policyholders said they received fair payment for their claims, as well as an overall score.
Review: Homeowners Insurance Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Sept 2009
3. Better Business Bureau
USAA gets the BBB's highest grade of A+ for trustworthiness. This report gives general information about the 364 complaints against USAA that the BBB has received in the past three years.
Review: BBB Reliability Report for USAA, Editors of Better Business Bureau
4. Weiss Ratings
USAA is one of only three home insurers to earn Weiss's highest rating of A+ for financial strength. USAA also gets perfect ratings from all four other major financial ratings agencies (A.M. Best, Fitch Ratings, Moody's and Standard & Poor's), but ConsumerReports.org says Weiss' ratings are the most stringent.
Review: Property and Casualty Insurers, Editors of Weiss Ratings, Jan. 1, 2011
5. National Association of Insurance Commissioners
USAA had 57 complaints by homeowners policyholders upheld against it by state insurance regulators in 2009, the most recent year of data available. When adjusted for market share (NAIC's complaint index does this), this translates into less than half the national median for complaints.
Review: Consumer Information Source, Editors of National Association of Insurance Commissioners