April 14, 2021
Whether homeowners made improvements, drove less, or got a dog, the impact of COVID-19 will continue to affect personal lines insurance, according to a recent survey by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), a division of the Insurance Information Institute.
Two-thirds of surveyed respondents reported working from home at some point since the start of the pandemic, with nearly one-third saying they worked from home all the time. Of respondents working from home in October 2020, half said they expected to continue working remotely in some capacity after the pandemic, per IRC.
One-third of surveyed homeowners indicated more time spent at home led to an increased number of home improvements, and nearly 25 percent of respondents estimated improvement costs more than $100,000. Of these respondents, only 56 percent had reported the home improvements to their insurer.
Many household improvements that boost your home’s value could render your home insurance coverage inadequate.
“After a long renovation, the last thing you want to be is underinsured or vulnerable to losses,” said Lauren Gordon, CPRIA, Director of Personal Insurance for Avery Insurance. “Reporting these improvements to your home insurance carrier may not cross your mind, but it should.”
Some upgrades could trigger lower premiums — like a new roof or security system— savings you can take advantage of by notifying your agent of any changes you have made.
Pet acquisition was also common among consumers. Nearly one-third of respondents had acquired a new pet since the start of the pandemic, while 21 percent had gotten a new dog. In 2019, dog bites and related injuries cost $797 million—a number that could go up with the increased number of adoptions, according to IRC.
Thirteen percent of respondents also reported buying a gun—9 percent for the first time. This could result in increased liability exposure, especially among less experienced gun owners.
A negative economic outlook was expressed by many (4 in 10 said their personal financial situation was worse since the start of the pandemic), causing many survey respondents to cut personal costs by reducing spending, canceling or delaying purchases, applying for aid, and reducing spending on insurance costs.
Of the survey respondents, 8 percent had taken steps to decrease spending on insurance coverage, including bundling policies for better rates, raising deductibles, and reducing limits.
Let Avery customize insurance coverage unique to your situation. Call today to schedule a free review of your current program.