Poll: Californians Don’t Act On Instinct For Financial Preparedness

October 3, 2007

A vast majority of Californians consider it their responsibility to keep their insurance current, but don’t bother to read their homeowners policies each year, a new study has found.

More than two-thirds of those surveyed in a statewide poll commissioned by the Insurance Information Network of California said that homeowners have the primary responsibility to keep their insurance policies current. Only 36 percent said they have read their homeowners policy in the past year, however.

These results could even overstate how many people actually read their policies, said IINC Executive Director Candysse Miller.

“It is possible that homeowners interpret reading their insurance policy as looking at the declarations page,” the cover letter summarizing coverages and costs that accompanies every homeowners policy in California, Miller said. “If they have not reviewed the policy or accompanying disclosures, they may overlook common exclusions for damages from earthquakes, floods and other perils.”

Past surveys by IINC revealed that far more Californians believed they had insurance for earthquake and flood damages than actually purchased the policies.

In 2006, an IINC poll found that 31 percent of Californians believed they had earthquake insurance, when sales trends indicated that fewer than 13 percent of California homeowners had earthquake coverage.

The new poll, commissioned in recognition of National Preparedness Month, asked specifically if respondents had a homeowners policy plus separate earthquake or flood insurance policies. The results came closer to reflecting the market, with 19 percent saying that they had purchased earthquake coverage.

“Financial preparedness is a key and often overlooked part of disaster readiness,” Miller said. “It may sound like a chore, but understanding your insurance coverage is a critical step in protecting your home and assets.”

For more information and poll results, visit the IINC Web site at www.iinc.org. The poll was conducted for IINC by Public Opinion Strategies September 5-9 with a plus/minus margin of error of 3.46 percent.

Source: IINC

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