How COVID-19 Has Affected The Home Improvement Industry and Home Insurance
Even with COVID-19 dealing a financial blow to so many, many home improvement companies have seen an uptick in business while people have been spending more time in their homes and wanting this experience to be more comfortable, safer, and/or more efficient. In fact, the industry has seen a 33% increase in sales since February, particularly in states like Virginia where home improvement businesses are considered essential.
So what accounts for this upswing in sales besides “cabin fever?” Experts believe three factors are key:
- Without a place to spend summer vacation funds, homeowners are using these monies to upgrade their “staycation” location.
- The Federal stimulus check has afforded many homeowners the chance to make home improvements.
- Federal interest rate cuts and cash-out refinancing have given homeowners extra funds for additions, renovations, and repairs.
According to Google Trends, several search terms support the home improvement business uptick during COVID-19.
The term Home Improvement has shown higher than average use since the beginning of March:
Best Contractor Near Me has been the most used term in Virginia in the home improvement category.
When it comes to the type of home improvement, Sunroom Addition is the most specific type searched by Virginians:
The following terms have also shown higher than average use, particularly in the past month (mid-June to mid-July 2020):
What About Do-It-Yourselfers?
According to Bank of America, Millennials are spending the most on home improvement projects at stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot, while older generations are using contractors more often. We are betting that Millennials haven’t yet learned that trusting professionals in some cases is the wiser choice. Seriously, though, Millennials are buying older homes that they can afford and which often need renovation. For a generation that has been slow to move into the home buying market, this is a positive trend for communities and area businesses. 
How Is Your Insurance Impacted?
Many are calling the surge in purchases for home improvement and technology “Lockdown Purchases.” There has been an increase in sales of electronics and gaming equipment, as well as home exercise equipment and bikes. Garden furniture, hot tubs, and pools sales have also increased as vacation travel has been suspended.
Repairs and updates like painting, a new roof, or other cosmetic work will not impact home insurance coverage. If you have made any big changes (like an addition or basement finishing) or purchased items to make your home more bearable during lockdown, it is important to make sure the updates and items are covered under your home’s insurance and Umbrella policies.
Before starting a renovation, verify that any contractors that you use have adequate insurance in case workers get injured or damage your home. It’s a good idea to call your insurer to see what’s covered during a renovation and consider additional options or an increase in your limits.
Your Mutual Assurance representative is always happy to talk to you about your policy whether you’ve renovated, upgraded, or have a coverage question.