The year 2020 will forever be remembered for the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has upended countless people's lives the world over.
More than 200,000 Americans have already succumbed to the disease. While many parts of the US have already reopened, many areas still implement restrictions, which continue to affect various sectors. San Diego, for example, is implementing new and complex COVID-19 restrictions that are perplexing and frustrating residents.
With COVID-19-related restrictions still in place in many areas, questions about their effect on home insurance policies still linger.
If you’re concerned about your homeowners insurance coverage, it will help if you reach out to your home insurance advisor. To get an idea of what issues to bring up, let’s look at the possible ways COVID-19 might affect your home insurance.
Home Insurance Rates
One of the primary worries homeowners have about their coverage is the possibility that the pandemic could send their rates skyrocketing.
Then again, rates have always been rising long before the pandemic. Over the last decade, we have already seen a 47% increase in home insurance rates.
Keep in mind, insurance companies are businesses that worry about profit margins, especially when they have to pay out a lot of claims. Raising premiums is their way of becoming profitable again. You can be sure that premiums will continue to increase, with or without COVID-19.
Then again, covered perils like fires are easier to prevent when people are home most of the time. The same goes for property crimes, which, incidentally, has dipped to a 40-year low in San Diego.
While restrictions are still in place, the likelihood of making claims tends to be lower, which means insurers have one less excuse to arbitrarily raise home insurance rates.
Personal Liability Coverage
One aspect of your home insurance policy that might feel the effects of the pandemic is your liability coverage.
An integral component of all standard policies, personal liability coverage will take care of your medical and legal expenses should somebody suffer an injury while inside your property.
The thing is, the likelihood of that happening is higher with people—specifically kids—spending more time in their homes than they ever did. You might want to consider buying more liability coverage while the pandemic rages on.
It doesn’t require much imagination to see the possibility of your neighbors children stumbling onto your home and ending up getting bitten by your dog if you have one.
Our ever-growing dependence on deliveries also raises the risk of people getting hurt inside your property while making their runs.
Talk to your insurance agent about this issue to determine if you really need to increase your liability coverage.
Inability To Keep Up With Premiums
Millions of Americans lost their jobs at the height of the pandemic, making it hard for them to keep up with their bills and payments, home insurance premiums included.
Thankfully, many insurers have seen fit to lend their financially-burdened policyholders a hand in the form of payment deferrals, credits, and refunds, among other things.
Contact your insurance company and ask how you can avail of their COVID-19-related support programs.
Unoccupied or Vacant Home
Many countries implemented lockdowns of their own, rendering foreigners visiting them unable to return home. Others may have been caught by lockdowns somewhere else, forcing them to stay there.
A common consequence of being stuck someplace else during the pandemic is that no one will be home, particularly if you live alone. Naturally, you might worry about your home insurance coverage, as an unoccupied or vacant property is always at higher risk of getting hit by a fire, among other things.
Fortunately, most home insurers chose to ensure complete coverage for a vacant property, even if it has been in that state for a period longer than what their policy allows. Then again, you still have to confirm this with your insurance provider.
Home Inspections & Claims Processing
You might be concerned about how home inspections and claims processing will go if you decide to file a claim in the time of COVID-19.
Most insurers have already been inspecting homes and processing claims virtually even before the pandemic, so this should not be a concern. File a claim if you need to, and you can rest assured that the whole process will proceed as usual, except that it’s virtual this time.
Still, it wouldn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the procedures set by your insurer, so don’t hesitate to contact them for information.
If you want to lay all your concerns about everything we shared above to rest, contact your insurance provider now. You can also stay updated on everything related to home insurance here.