Heritage Home Insurance Review: Florida-Based Insurer Sells Basic Policies With Below-Standard Customer Service

Heritage Home Insurance Review: Florida-Based Insurer Sells Basic Policies With Below-Standard Customer Service

Heritage Property & Casualty Co. is one of the biggest home insurers in Florida, but its policies do nothing to stand out.

Good for

  • Florida homeowners who want to comparison-shop with one of the state's major insurers
  • Those aged 55 or older who can take advantage of the senior or retiree discount

Bad for

  • Shoppers who want a quick quote, given the lack of an online quote tool
  • Homeowners looking for a policy that covers events beyond standard dwelling, personal property and liability coverages
  • Those with home replacement values above $750,000

Editor's Rating

2.5/5.0

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Heritage Property and Casualty Co. offers conventional home insurance policies in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Heritage policies don't stand out from the competition, and there is little transparency about its pricing, given the company’s lack of online quote tool. However, Florida homeowners should get a quote for comparison purposes, since it is one of the largest insurance carriers in the state.

Heritage Home Insurance: Our Thoughts

Heritage offers home insurance in the southeastern United States, but its run-of-the-mill policies contain almost no exceptional features. All standard home insurance coverage is included, but beyond a unique endorsement covering risks to small farms, you can find the same coverage with most other insurance companies. Given its below-average customer service reputation, there is little reason to recommend Heritage Property and Casualty.

Bottom Line: Other home insurance companies offer all the features of Heritage with better customer service reputations and more competitive tools for comparison shopping. However, Florida homeowners might benefit from getting a quote from a Heritage agent, given its sizable presence in the state, to see if they can get a competitive rate. Shoppers in other states should start their home insurance search elsewhere.

Heritage Policy Coverage and Discounts

A Heritage policy provides the core coverages that you'll see in most HO-3 home insurance policies, but, compared to other insurers, the company does not offer much in the way of additional coverage features. Heritage also has few ways for policyholders to get a discount, meaning there aren't many opportunities for additional savings beyond standard rates.

The base Heritage home insurance policy—named the Preferred HO-3 Policy—offers fairly standard features, including the core dwelling, personal property and liability coverages.

Coverage featureCoverage details
Dwelling Coverage (Coverage A)Covers damage to the structure of your home in the event of a covered peril. Coverage is on a replacement cost basis, and limits range from $125,000 to $750,000, though higher-value homes may be approved upon request.
Other structuresCovers other structures on your property outside your primary dwelling like barns, sheds or patios. Coverage limits range from zero to 70% of Coverage A.
Personal belongingsCovers damage to or theft of the contents of your home. Coverage is on an actual cash value basis, and limits range from 25% to 75% of Coverage A. High-value items, like jewelry or business property, have separate sublimits.
Additional living expenses (ALE)Also called loss of use, this covers the costs above and beyond normal expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable, such as the price of staying in a hotel. Limits are set at 10% of Coverage A.
Personal liabilityCovers you and your family from the costs of lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage to others. Customers can choose limits of $100,000; $250,000; $300,000 or $500,000.
Medical paymentsCovers medical costs if guests are injured on your property, regardless of who is at fault. Customers can choose limits of $1,000; $2,500 or $5,000.

Beyond the standard features included in the Preferred Policy, Heritage customers have the option to increase coverage by selecting either a Pillar or Pillar Plus home insurance policy. At an additional cost, these upgraded policies expand coverage for unique events—like identity theft—and increase coverage for standard features through higher limits. However, these endorsements are fairly typical in the home insurance market, and shoppers can almost always get similar coverage elsewhere.

FeaturePreferred PolicyPillar policyPillar Plus policy
Personal property replacement cost coverageNot included50% of Coverage A75% of Coverage A
Water backup and sump overflowNot included$5,000 per occurrence$5,000 per occurrence
Loss of use extendedNot includedIncludedIncluded
Identity theft coverageNot includedIncludedIncluded
Service line coverageNot includedIncludedIncluded
Coverage for high-value itemsLowest coverage levels of the three policy typesIncreased sublimits for qualifying itemsHighest available sublimits for qualifying items
CostStandard policy costApproximately 15% more than a Preferred PolicyApproximately 20% more than a Preferred Policy

Heritage does offer one unique standalone coverage feature: its mini-farm endorsement. This feature will cover incidental farming operations (i.e., not working farms) on a policyholder's premises. Farming activities are limited to 20 acres or less and annual gross receipts of less than $5,000, but homeowners with small farming operations on their property should look into Heritage as a way to cover this property.

Heritage Homeowners Insurance Discounts

Heritage provides limited opportunities for customers to obtain discounts off its base premiums. The discounts reward safety, so homeowners who live in a secured community and install protective devices should look to take advantage. However, compared to other insurers, which often offer additional discounts for claims-free histories, or provide opportunities to save by bundling auto insurance policies, Heritage has limited ways for customers to lower their standard premiums.

Heritage home insurance discounts…

  • Secured community or building: Receive a discount if your building or community is protected by 24 hour security, manned gates or passkey gates.
  • Protective devices: Receive a discount for fire and burglar alarms—both local and central systems—and home sprinkler systems.
  • Senior or retiree: Receive a discount if a named insured is 55 or older.

As is standard in almost all home insurance policies, Heritage insurance also rewards homeowners that have newer homes or those fortified with stronger materials, like masonry veneer walls. The effect of all these discounts on your final premium will vary depending on multiple factors.

Heritage Insurance Lacks a Quote Comparison Tool

Unfortunately for insurance shoppers, Heritage does not have an online quote tool, and the state insurance regulators in which Heritage does business do not include it in their rate comparison tools. This means that shoppers looking for a Heritage home insurance policy will have to request a quote online or by phone and wait to hear back from an independent insurance agent, making it difficult to quickly compare the company's rates when you begin shopping.

Considering that Heritage is the fifth largest provider of Florida home insurance policies, we recommend that Florida homeowners request a quote early in the shopping process. That way, you can later compare rates from Heritage Insurance to those of other insurers in the state.

Heritage Customer Service Reviews and Financial Strength Ratings

Florida is Heritage's biggest individual market, and compared to the other major insurance companies in the state, Heritage Insurance grades as below average for customer service. Its complaint ratio, a measure of how often customers complain compared to the size of their market, ranks 14th of the largest 23 home insurance companies in Florida (those with at least 1% of market share.)

Though this ratio compares favorably to some of the other largest home insurance companies in Florida—like Universal Property and Citizens Property—it is poor compared to top performers like Chubb, USAA and AIG and some of the largest Florida insurers, like State Farm and Federated National.

CompanyMarket ShareComplaint Index
Chubb2.1%0.04
USAA4.2%0.07
AIG1.1%0.08
State Farm6.6%0.44
Federated National4.9%0.84
Heritage4.5%1.13
Universal Property8.9%1.26
Citizens Property4.9%2.65
A sample of the biggest home insurance companies in Florida and those with the best customer complaint ratios. Heritage Insurance has a customer complaint ratio of 1.13, higher than the state median of 1.0 and indicating poorer than average customer service.

Heritage Property and Casualty Co. does not receive an A.M. Best rating but has been graded with a financial stability rating of "A" from Demotech, a credit agency focused on regionally based insurers, indicating an exceptional ability to pay its claims regardless of economic conditions.

Heritage Insurance Co. Information and Claims Process

Founded in 2012, Heritage Property & Casualty Insurance Co. is owned by Heritage Insurance Holdings, a publicly traded company headquartered in Clearwater, Florida. Heritage Insurance Holdings also owns Zephyr Insurance Co., which writes windstorm-hurricane policies in Hawaii, and Narragansett Bay Insurance Co., which insures homes in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Heritage Property & Casualty has a 24/7 claims department which can be reached if you call its phone number at 855-415-7120. However, you cannot login on its website and file a claim online, adding some inconvenience to the Heritage Insurance claims process.

Comments and Questions

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.