So, J.D. Power and Associates have busted out another survey. This one is their 2010 U.S. National Homeowners Insurance Study that measures satisfaction with policies based on coverage offerings, price, billing and payment, customer interaction, and claims. I have to say — not surprised to find overall satisfaction is standing at the lowest level in five years. Why? Because people think in a recession, if what they have is perceived to be worth less — for instance the value of their home — their insurance premiums should also drop. It just doesn’t work that way.
About 50 percent of customers surveyed really didn’t understand what type of coverage they had on their homes, how much coverage they had, or what options were available to them. About a third of those surveyed had been in touch with their insurer and weren’t happy with the interaction. Again. Why? Because people take out their homeowners policy when they buy their home and then tend to ignore it. Just renew automatically and pay no attention unless the price jump is huge. Homeowners policies should be renewed annually, adjusted to cover changes in the home or its contest, and compared to what is available on the market.
The companies that ranked the highest, in order, were: Amica, Auto-Owners Insurance, Erie Insurance, and Cincinnati Insurance. Which goes to show some companies are getting it right. Amica scored high in all five focus areas. The study also revealed that customers who bundle auto and homeowners policies with one company consistently get better rates and are more satisfied with their coverage and company interaction.
In the middle of a recession, when money is tight, home values are dwindling, and tempers are running short, it is more important than ever to understand your homeowners coverage and to shop for better rates and a better policy if you aren’t satisfied with what you have. Think of your insurance as just another factor of home maintenance and review the policy annually. Your home may not have the same market value, but costs for major repairs or theft will be even more devastating in a tight economic picture. Make sure you can afford your coverage and that you are adequately protected. If you think you’re dissatisfied with your policy now, wait until you need it, you don’t get the benefits you expect, and you realize it’s basically your own fault!