Homeowners insurance: Studies show high satisfaction, but many gaps in knowledge
According to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study, insurance customer satisfaction has reached an all-time high, despite coinciding with a 10-year high in catastrophic events. But the study notes that despite the peak in satisfaction, there are still problem areas, such as "water-related and other complex claims that take a long time to settle and that cause significant lifestyle disruption."
Another recent study conducted by the Insurance Information Institute - the 2016 Consumer Insurance Survey Homeowners Insurance: Understanding, Attitudes and Shopping Practices (PDF) - reveals consumer attitudes to homeowners' insurance, how buyers comparison shop for home insurance, and their understanding about homeowners insurance coverage.
The study reveals that about 93% of all homeowners have homeowners coverage, and most view it as a fixed cost of owning a home. The number of Americans who view homeowners insurance as a financial burden has dropped to 31%, down from 49% in 2009.
Most homeowners policyholders do not comparison shop at renewal (53%). Of those who do, only 17% comparison shop online, with 29% turning to in-person visits with an agent and 24% shopping by phone.
While there is good awareness of the basics of homeowners policy coverage, there are many gaps in their understanding of what is and isn't covered.
Percent of policyholders who incorrectly think these perils are covered under a standard homeowners policy:
- 43% - damage from heavy rain flooding
- 28% - hurricane storm surge flood damage
- 29% - earthquake damage
- 31% - sinkhole damage
- 24% - mudslide damage
- 23% landslide
Conversely, many policyholders are unaware of coverage they do have under their standard homeowners policy.
Percent of policyholders who are aware that most standard homeowners policies provide coverage for the following perils:
- 57% - theft of possessions from your car
- 46% - theft of a camera while vacationing
- 30% - theft of a child's laptop at school
- 69% - medical payments for a visitor injured on your property
- 61% - defense costs if sued by someone injured on your property
- 54% = medical payments for a visitor bitten by your
- 48% - ALE coverage
These gaps in knowledge present opportunities for agents to educate and inform their customers - both so that they are aware of and take full advantage of coverage they do have, but also to fully understand coverage gaps that they are likely unaware of, so that they can make informed decisions about whether or not they want to purchase additional coverage to plug those gaps.