What Is FAIR Plan Homeowners Insurance?

If living in a high-risk area makes it difficult for you to get homeowners insurance, you may turn to FAIR Plan insurance.

Stephanie Colestock
Stephanie Colestock

Stephanie is a DC-based freelance writer specializing in personal finance. Her work covers insurance, loans, real estate investing, retirement, and more.

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Chris Schafer
Edited byChris Schafer
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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Updated April 20, 2023

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Home insurance coverage is an important — and often mandatory — product for property owners to have. It protects your home against a range of perils. However, if you’re unable to buy homeowners insurance coverage in the standard marketplace because you live in a high-risk area, you may need to turn to a FAIR Plan instead.

This article is your guide to understanding what FAIR Plan insurance is, how it differs from traditional homeowners insurance, and what to expect if you need to purchase FAIR coverage for your property.

What is FAIR Plan insurance?

A Fair Access to Insurance Requirements, or FAIR, plan is a state-managed program designed to connect homeowners with insurance coverage that they may otherwise be unable to purchase on their own. These programs are individually created and managed by each state government. Taxpayers often subsidize them, though the FAIR plans don’t directly sell or underwrite insurance coverage to consumers.

To buy an insurance policy, you need to shop around for the coverage that suits your needs. This usually means starting your search with traditional insurance companies in the private marketplace. After finding the right coverage, you need to qualify for coverage from that insurer, based on factors such as your claims history, your location, and even your credit score.

But approval isn’t guaranteed, regardless of how much you need that policy or even if your lender requires you to maintain coverage. You may find yourself denied by multiple insurance companies and unable to find adequate coverage at an affordable price.

That’s where a Fair Access to Insurance Requirements, or FAIR, Plan may come into play.

With FAIR Plan insurance, people who have been denied coverage in the standard insurance market can access special insurance policies from a pool of private insurance companies. Participating insurers in this pool share the burden of issuing policies to high-risk homeowners and paying out subsequent claims. They also split any recognized profits from that consumer pool.

Unlike traditional homeowners insurance policies, FAIR Plans may be more limited in terms of the coverage they offer. They’re often more expensive than traditional policies, as well.

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Who needs FAIR Plan insurance?

FAIR Plan insurance is intended for homeowners — and in some states, business owners — who have been denied coverage in the standard marketplace.

People may be denied insurance coverage for a number of reasons, including:

What does FAIR Plan insurance cover?

Each state’s FAIR Plan is a bit different, and the coverage participating insurers will offer you can also vary.

For example, the Pennsylvania FAIR Plan has basic property insurance coverage that only protects your dwelling against fire- or lightning-related loss. If you want protection against other perils, you’ll need to purchase additional coverage.[1]

If you buy a FAIR Plan in Indiana, you’ll be limited to a maximum of $250,000 in residential coverage, which includes both the dwelling and your personal belongings.[2] In West Virginia, a standard FAIR Plan only covers fire damage, though you can add additional perils (excluding vandalism).[3] And in Texas, FAIR Plan policies don’t cover falling objects, like tree limbs, or damage due to freezing.[4]

This differs from traditional homeowners insurance coverage, such as an HO-3 policy, where a number of perils typically receive coverage under the standard policy.

Often, standard policies cover damage caused by:

  • Fire

  • Wind

  • Hail

  • Lightning

  • Electrical surges

  • Riots or civil unrest

  • Vandalism

  • Burglary

  • Leaks and broken water pipes

You may be able to purchase traditional coverage for perils like earthquakes, floods, and even water damage, too. And with traditional policies, coverage for your personal property (furniture, clothing, etc.) is often included.

Traditional policies, purchased through the standard market, will also offer higher maximum coverage options, depending on your home’s value and the coverages you choose. So when buying through a FAIR Plan, expect to be more limited in your property protection options.

How to qualify for a FAIR Plan policy

FAIR Plans aren’t accessible to everyone and are only intended as a last resort for those who can’t otherwise purchase coverage.

To purchase a FAIR Plan, you’ll usually need to show proof that you’ve already been denied coverage by multiple insurers. Each state has its own limits: In Indiana, you’ll only qualify if you’ve been denied by three or more unrelated insurers, while in Texas, you just need to be denied by two.[2],[4]

Some plans are limited to specific property types, such as single-family homes or multi-family properties with less than four units. Certain plans and carriers may require you to make certain improvements or repairs to the home, especially if you have outdated wiring or plumbing that could result in a covered issue.

Lastly, in order to qualify for a FAIR Plan policy, you usually can’t have any outstanding tax liens or open insurance claims on the property.

States that offer FAIR Plan homeowners insurance

There are currently 32 states, plus the District of Columbia, offering a FAIR Plan for homeowners insurance. Here’s a look at the ones that offer this access to coverage.

StateFAIR Plan WebsitePhone Number
AlabamaAIUA.org1 (334) 943-4029
CaliforniaCFPNET.com1 (213) 487-0111
ConnecticutCTFAIRPlan.com1 (860) 528-9546
DelawareDEFAIRPlan.com1 (215) 629-8800
Washington, D.C.DCPIF.org1 (202) 393-4640

Florida — 

1. Florida JUA

2. FL Windstorm Und. Assoc.

FMAP.org

1. 1 (850) 513-3700

2. 1 (904) 296-6105

GeorgiaGeorgiaUnderwriting.com1 (770) 923-7431
HawaiiHPIAinfo.com1 (808) 531-1311
IllinoisIllinoisFAIRPlan.com1 (312) 861-0385
IndianaIndianaFAIRPlan.com1 (317) 264-2310
IowaIowaFAIRPlan.com1 (515) 255-9531
KansasKSFAIRPlan.com1 (785) 271-2300
KentuckyKYFAIRPlan.com1 (502) 425-9998
LouisianaLACitizens.com1 (504) 831-6930
MarylandMDJIA.org1 (410) 539-6808
MassachusettsMPIUA.com1 (617) 723-3800
MichiganMBPIA.com1 (313) 877-7400
MinnesotaMNFAIRplan.org1 (612) 338-7584
MississippiMSplans.com/MRPIUA1 (601) 981-2915
MissouriMissouriFAIRplan.com1 (314) 421-0170
New Jerseyportal.NJIUA.org1 (973) 622-3838
New MexicoNMpropertyinsurance.com1 (505) 878-9563
New YorkNYPIUA.com1 (212) 208-9700
OhioOhioFAIRplan.com1 (614) 839-6446
OregonORFAIRplan.com1 (503) 643-5448
PennsylvaniaPAFAIRplan.com1 (215) 629-8800
Rhode IslandRIJRA.com1 (617) 723-3800
South CarolinaSCwind.com1 (803) 737-6180
TexasTexasFAIRplan.org1 (512) 899-4900
VirginiaVPIA.com1 (804) 358-0416
WashingtonWAFAIRplan.com1 (425) 745-9808
West VirginiaWVFAIRplan.com1 (215) 629-8800
WisconsinWisinsplan.com1 (414) 291-5353

FAIR Plan insurance pros and cons

While buying homeowners insurance through a FAIR Plan may feel like a last resort, you should keep in mind these advantages and disadvantages.

Pros
  • It can connect you with a pool of insurers willing to offer you coverage, even if you’ve been previously denied.

  • You’ll be able to purchase coverage for a home even if it’s older, outdated, in need of repair, or located in a high-risk area.

Cons
  • Coverage isn’t intended to be competitive, so premiums can be (and usually are) notably higher than traditional policies.

  • You may be subject to much lower coverage limits than with traditional homeowners insurance.

How to get homeowners insurance in a high-risk area

You might find it difficult to buy homeowners insurance coverage for many reasons, such as too many previous claims, an outdated property, existing tax liens, or living in a high-risk area.

High-risk areas are prone to storms, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, or other natural disasters. To limit losses, private insurance companies may charge exorbitant premiums or deny policies to many applicants, leaving you wondering how you might find coverage for your home.

One option for getting homeowners insurance in a high-risk area is to work with a broker. Brokers can shop your coverage needs around among a network of carriers, some you might not even be aware of. If you have other policy needs — such as auto insurance or life insurance — a broker may also be able to help you bundle your coverage and save money.

Another option is to turn to your state’s FAIR Plan or, in some states, a Beach Plan or Wind Underwriting Association. Depending on where your state is and the perils that threaten your home the most, these programs can give you access to coverage regardless of where you live. Just understand that the purpose of these programs is to put insurance coverage in your hand, not to find you the cheapest possible rates.

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FAIR Plan insurance FAQs

Have more questions about FAIR Plan insurance? Find your answers here.

  • How much does FAIR Plan insurance cost?

    Insurance purchased with the help of a FAIR Plan is generally much more expensive than a comparable, traditional insurance policy. The actual premiums will depend on the property’s location, age, condition, and the coverage options chosen.

  • What does the California FAIR Plan not cover?

    California FAIR Plan coverage is a fire insurance pool, helping Californians get access to basic fire coverage. If you need to purchase earthquake or flood coverage, you’ll need to work with a broker to find the right policy for you.

  • What if a high-risk home doesn’t qualify for a FAIR Plan policy?

    If you have a high-risk property and don’t qualify to purchase coverage through a FAIR Plan, you should first see whether your state has any other insurance programs available. Many states offer wind or flood coverage programs for coastal homes, and you may be able to qualify for one of these plans. You can also work with a broker to shop around for coverage through another insurer.

  • Where can you find your state’s FAIR Plan?

    Many states’ FAIR Plan websites are listed above. If you can’t find a FAIR Program for your area, try searching your state insurance commissioner’s site.

Sources

  1. Insurance Placement Facility of Pennsylvania. "Coverages Provided."
  2. Indiana FAIR Plan. "What Is the FAIR Plan?."
  3. West Virginia Essential Property Insurance Association. "Coverages Provided."
  4. Texas Fair Plan Association. "Coverage and Eligibility."
Stephanie Colestock
Stephanie Colestock

Stephanie is a DC-based freelance writer. She primarily covers personal finance topics such as insurance, loans, real estate investing, and retirement. Her work can be found on CBS, FOX Business, MSN, Yahoo! Finance, Business Insider, and more. When she isn't helping people plan for their financial futures, she is traveling, hiking with her kids, or writing for her own website, TomorrowsDollar.com. She can be reached on Twitter @stephcolestock

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris SchaferSenior Editor
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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