The COVID-19 pandemic caused a shift in the world we live in today. Where we moved, how we prioritize our time and what we value all have changed. We are spending more time closer to our relatives — most often in our family homes.
Research from Plymouth Rock Home Assurance indicates that during the pandemic, we became smarter about our insurance. Homeowners are more confident today about knowing what is covered under their policies than they were prior to the pandemic.
Did spending more time at home spur a desire for homeowners to better understand their coverages? We worked to answer that question and more, by polling homeowners pre- and post-pandemic. Here are some of the most notable findings.
Homeowners are more confident about what is included in their policies
Sixty-three percent of surveyed homeowners report that they know more about what’s included in their current insurance policy than they did before the pandemic. Our forced isolation seems to have accelerated our appreciation for what’s in the home and for protecting the shelter that protected us from the outside world.
Today, 78% of homeowners state that they buy home insurance in order to protect the investment in their property and belongings, rather than because it is required. This increase in confidence and care is an opportunity for agents. Agents who conduct regular policy reviews can inform clients of needed coverage updates, new coverage options or money-saving opportunities.
Even if nothing has physically changed about the home, the cost to repair it — and, if necessary, rebuild it — may have changed dramatically. This is in large part due to the inflation and supply chain travails that are being experienced worldwide. An agent adds value by evaluating policies on a regular basis, then helping customers adjust as circumstances change.
More homeowners have a positive sentiment towards policy shopping
What insurance you buy is important, but just as important is who you buy it from. Homeowners are now taking the time to carefully compare carriers. Before the pandemic, 25% of policyholders selected their carrier based off a family member or friend’s recommendation. Today, less than 10% rely on recommendatons for direction. Referrals are important, but this change in shopping behavior is an opportunity to tailor carrier and coverage to a particular client’s needs.
Many insurance carriers have been shifting to a greater emphasis on customer experience, and their investments — particularly in the claims and quoting processes — have reflected that new push. Carriers have developed new technologies to make their quoting and claims processes more seamless and efficient. As an example, think about the advances in home insurance claims apps. Before the pandemic, these apps were mostly ignored. But during the pandemic, when no one wanted to let anyone in (or out) of their homes, their popularity skyrocketed.
More policyholders are interested in receiving advice on how to build a resilient home
With a newfound appreciation for home insurance and an uptick in inclement weather, 10% more homeowners than before the pandemic indicated that they are now interested in receiving detailed advice from an agent on how to build a more resilient home. Perhaps the hurricane-force winds, cold snaps, wildfires and derechos had more of an impact on us because of the amount of additional time we spent in our own houses during the pandemic.
If you are an agent who truly wants to be a trusted adviser, this is a positive step. It means that clients are more amenable to your suggestions on investing in appropriate home upgrades and repairs.
The post-pandemic survey suggests that homeowners are more interested in understanding what their current policy contains than ever before. In turn, agents are serving more as educators, informing homeowners about what coverages are best for their particular situation. The end result is more properly insured homes and more appreciated agents.
Bill Martin is president and CEO of Plymouth Rock Home Assurance. He may be contacted at [email protected].