More Home Insurers Might Start Shifting Costs to Consumers

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  • In recent years, homeowners across the country have likely grown increasingly worried about their ability to successfully handle paying for their home insurance premiums every month. Prices have risen steadily, and even sharply in some parts of the country, leading to discontentedness with this admittedly indispensable coverage option. However, some insurers now say that they might start doing more to keep monthly costs down, but would do so by increasing consumers’ deductibles. This is obviously a major shift in plans for many insurers, and agents may have to do a little more to explain to their clients what is happening with respect to their coverage costs, and why.

    It seems that a new trend in the home insurance industry involves policy issuers cutting annual premiums while also significantly increasing deductibles when claims have to be made, according to a report from Reuters. In the past, deductibles have typically been in the area of $500, which isn’t a lot of money in the grand scheme of things when assessing damage on a home, but can be onerous to many owners. However, now it seems that insurers are instead banking on consumers accepting a deductible of 1 percent (which can obviously stretch into the thousands of dollars) in exchange for that deep discount on premiums.

    How is this being received?
    Given the way consumers have generally been reacting to these kinds of issues in the past few years, the idea of paying more for anything on their home insurance may seem a bit iffy, the report said. However, experts generally say that accepting higher deductibles is often a great way to keep costs down, especially for those who think they don’t face much risk.

    “It’s a very smart move to buy high deductibles if you can afford it,” J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, told the news agency.

    The more insurance agents can do to smooth over these potential issues, the better off insurance agents are likely to be when it comes to keeping customer satisfaction as high as possible. Studies have shown that when it comes to costs, the concerns that can arise from them are often secondary to simply receiving high-quality customer service. Therefore, if agents can smooth over these concerns with simple explanations that are easy to understand, and also mix in additional discounts to further assuage fears, they might be able to keep their customer retention rates up even as these concerns may be valid.