Answers To Frequently-Asked Home Insurance Questions Amid COVID-19

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives has been profound. The worldwide death toll is nearing two million, and the economic impact has been quite devastating as well. Amidst all this, it’s but normal to wonder about the effect COVID-19 is having on our existing insurance policies. For homeowners, the biggest concern pertains to their home insurance. Some of the most frequently asked questions they have about homeowners insurance in the time of COVID-19 include the following:  

Will the coronavirus affect my home insurance coverage directly?

Since your home and personal belongings are non-living things that do not contract the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the pandemic will have no direct effect on your home insurance coverage. The absence of provisions about pandemic exposure in your homeowners insurance policy also points to the reduced likelihood of COVID-19 impacting your coverage.  

Will my home insurance rates rise because of the pandemic?

So far, we haven’t seen instances of insurers raising home insurance rates because of the pandemic. Then again, an increase will come soon enough, as it always had long before COVID-19 started upending our lives. There has already been a 47% increase in home insurance rates over the last ten years. An important thing to consider when concerned about the possibility of a rate hike is the fact that most states (and the rest of the world) still have stay-at-home orders in place. When people spend most of their day at home, it would be easier to prevent covered perils like fires and property crimes. With states still implementing restrictions, the likelihood of people filing claims for covered perils is reduced, giving insurance providers one less justification to send your home insurance rates skyrocketing.


Should I increase my liability coverage?  

Standard home insurance policies have a personal liability component, which will pay your medical and legal expenses if someone gets hurt within your property. With your neighbor’s kids staying at home with schools closed down, you might want to consider increasing your liability coverage, especially if you have dogs. Restless kids cooped up at home are likely to wander into your property and get bitten or injure themselves in a number of other ways. With the pandemic forcing us to rely on deliveries more than ever, there is also an increased risk of delivery persons getting hurt inside your property as well. If you want to assess your need for higher liability coverage, talk to your insurance agent.

I lost my job due to the pandemic, and now I couldn’t afford to pay my home insurance premiums. What are my options? 

Call your insurance company right away because it’s likely that they have a program to assist home insurance policyholders who lost their livelihood due to the pandemic. Their assistance could come in the form of a payment deferral, longer grace periods, or even credits and refunds on premiums.

What can new homeowners expect when buying home insurance for the first time, and during a global pandemic? 

Home inspections are an indispensable part of the home insurance policy-buying process. With most insurance companies prohibiting person-to-person interactions, a home inspection will likely be done using technologies such as aerial drones and video conference platforms. You can also expect to be asked to submit photos and videos of your property and belongings. For those that allow in-person inspections, don’t be surprised if the insurance company representative asks you to stay a safe distance away while they check out the house for assessment. 

How will home insurance claims processing go during COVID-19? 

Many insurance providers have already been inspecting and processing claims virtually long before the advent of COVID-19, so filing a claim shouldn’t be too difficult even as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc. Whatever virtual procedures your insurer has put in place, make sure you follow all of them to the letter for your claim to go smoothly. Whatever concerns you might have about home insurance, it’s always best to lay them at the feet of your insurance agent to get the information you need that will help you take the appropriate action. 

- Written by Rachael Harper

Published on Friday, January 22, 2021