Nearly 1 in 5 Americans Have $0 Set Aside to Cover an Unexpected Emergency Expense – HomeServe 4th Biannual State of the Home Survey

Guía de Regalos

  • Nearly 1 in 3 (31 percent) Americans don’t have at least $500 set
    aside to cover an unexpected emergency expense
  • Americans believe car repairs (52 percent), medical emergencies (49
    percent) or home repair emergencies (42 percent) could cause an
    unexpected expense for them in the next 12 months
  • If they had an extra $1,000, the top 3 things Americans would put the
    funds toward are paying down credit card debt or loans (24 percent),
    building personal savings (19 percent) or taking a vacation or trip
    (16 percent)

NORWALK, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A sizable portion of Americans are not prepared to cover the costs of an
unexpected emergency expense. Almost 1 in 5 Americans (19 percent)
reported having no money set aside for dealing with the costs of an
unexpected emergency expense – contributing to the nearly one third of
Americans (31 percent) who don’t have at least $500 set aside to cover
an unexpected expense. On the other end of the spectrum, over a quarter
of Americans (26 percent) said they had $8,000 or more set aside for
unexpected emergency expenses. The survey suggests Americans aged 65 and
over are likely to have the most money set aside for unplanned expenses,
with nearly half (48 percent) of Americans within the age group
reporting having $8,000+ in emergency funds (vs. 20 percent of those
ages 18-64). In comparison, Americans aged 18-34 were most likely (45
percent) to have $1,000 or less in emergency funds (vs. 24 percent of
those ages 35+), suggesting a notable gap in the state of finances
between older and younger generations.


HomeServe
USA
(HomeServe), a leading provider of home repair solutions,
announced these findings as part of its Winter 2017 edition of the HomeServe
Biannual State of the Home Survey
. The twice annual survey, now in
its fourth edition, reports on the financial impact of home repairs and
energy use facing Americans. The survey was conducted online by Harris
Poll on behalf of HomeServe from March 6-8, 2017, among over 2,000 U.S.
adults ages 18 and older.

The Emergencies Americans Anticipate

Beyond the ability to cover their costs, HomeServe also surveyed
Americans on the types of unexpected expenses they believe could
be a challenge for them in the next year. Over half of Americans (52
percent) cited car or vehicle repairs could cause them an unplanned
expense in the next 12 months. This finding could be a potential result
of today’s consumers holding onto their vehicles longer than ever.
According to IHS Markit, the average length of vehicle ownership in the
U.S. measured a
record 79.3 months
at the end of 2015 – nearly doubling the same
measure from Q1 2005
.

Nearly half of Americans (49 percent) cited medical emergencies as a
potential unexpected expense for them in the next 12 months– a finding
with added significance given the level of national attention and
political debate around the topic of healthcare in recent months.

Among the different types of anticipated emergencies, over 2 in 5
Americans (42 percent) noted home repair emergencies as a likely
potential cause of an unexpected expense in the next 12 months. However,
when asked specifically about the likelihood of actually experiencing a
major home repair emergency in the next year, 71 percent of Americans
believed it was not likely. This was in contrast to the 54 percent of
Americans reporting that they had dealt with a home emergency repair in
the past year. These findings remain roughly consistent with data from
HomeServe’s Summer
2016
and Winter
2016
editions of the survey, suggesting that most Americans continue
to believe they will not experience a home repair emergency in
the year ahead, yet over half consistently recall experiencing
one in the past 12 months.

Preparing for Emergency Home Repair Costs

While Americans’ expectations and reality in regard to home repair
emergencies are not aligned, the HomeServe survey found that homeowners
are saving more, which may aid in being better prepared for unexpected
home repair costs. Just under half of homeowners with money set aside
for home repair emergencies (48 percent) reported having $5,000 or more
in funds – a nearly 20 percent increase from the Summer
2015
edition of the survey (29 percent in Summer 2015).

The increase in homeowners with a sizable home repair emergency fund
likely explains why – among homeowners who had some money set aside –
the percentage with $1,000 or less fell from 52 percent over the
approximately 20 months since the Summer
2015
survey to 35 percent in the Winter 2017 edition. Furthermore,
16 percent of homeowners cited having no money set aside to cover the
costs of a home repair emergency, down from the 25 percent found in the Summer
2015
survey. Overall, these survey findings suggest that since the
summer of 2015, the state of household finances among American
homeowners has steadily improved.

“While the new survey suggests that American homeowners are steadily
enhancing their financial position for dealing with unexpected home
emergency repairs, spending savings in this way may not be their
preferred use of available funds,” said Tom Rusin, CEO of HomeServe USA.
“The bill that comes with repairs or replacements of a damaged water
service line, malfunctioning HVAC system or blocked sewer pipe can rise
well into the thousands of dollars. As anyone might expect, the new
edition of the survey shows people would prefer to use available savings
toward something more enjoyable, such as a vacation.”

How Americans Would Use Extra Funds

Service plans from HomeServe can provide a low-cost line of defense for
homeowners, protecting them in the event of a repair emergency such as a
leaking water service line, which can cost $2,500 on average to replace
nationally. Given the choice, homeowners would want to use their money
in different ways – especially if the savings from avoided costs could
be put to use as extra funds for other, more productive needs.

When asked how they might utilize an extra $1,000, 24 percent said they
would use the money to pay down debt from credit cards or loans, while
19 percent of Americans said they would put the funds towards building
their personal savings. Sixteen percent of Americans would use the extra
funds to take a vacation or trip. Notably, parents of children under 18
were less likely than those who do not have children under 18 to opt for
building out personal savings (10 percent vs. 22 percent, respectively),
but more likely than those who do not have children under 18 to use the
extra $1,000 towards a vacation or trip (21 percent vs. 14 percent,
respectively).

However, the HomeServe survey found that older Americans aged 65 and
over were more likely than younger age groups to use the money towards
home repairs or renovations (13 percent vs. 5 percent of those ages
18-44 and 7% of those ages 55-64). This finding reinforces findings from
a 2015
HomeServe survey
, which saw older homeowners expressing plans to
live in their current homes till well into their retirement and beyond.

“Whether it’s their ability to take on the financial burden of home
repairs, or other types of unplanned expenses that may come their way,
Americans have many considerations to make as they assess their
household finances,” added Rusin. “With a good portion of Americans
insufficiently prepared to take on unexpected financial hardships, it’s
more important than ever for businesses like ours to serve as an
advocate to support the needs of everyday homeowners. We hope to help
Americans put more of their hard earned money towards the things they want
to prioritize – and less to things they wish they didn’t have to.”

Survey Methodology

The HomeServe Biannual State of the Home Winter 2017 survey was
conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of
HomeServe from March 6-8, 2017 among 2,178 adults ages 18 and older. The
Summer 2016 survey was conducted online within the United States by
Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from August 3-5, 2016
among 2,027 adults ages 18 and older. The Winter 2016 survey was
conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of
HomeServe from February 3-5, 2016 among 2,178 adults ages 18 and older.
The Summer 2015 survey was conducted online within the United States by
Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from July 17-21, 2015 among 2,024
adults ages 18 and older. The March 2015 survey was conducted online
within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from
March 20-24, 2015 among 2,021 adults ages 18 and older. This online
survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of
theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey
methodology, including weighting variables, please contact hsusa@icrinc.com.

About Harris Poll

Over the last 5 decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With
comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion
polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers’
motivations and behaviors, The Harris Poll has gained strong brand
recognition around the world. Contact us for more information.

About HomeServe

HomeServe USA Corp (HomeServe) is a leading provider of home repair
solutions serving over 2.8 million customers across the US and Canada
under the HomeServe, Home Emergency Insurance Solutions, Service Line
Warranties of America (SLWA) and Service Line Warranties of Canada
(SLWC) names. Since 2003, HomeServe has been protecting homeowners
against the expense and inconvenience of water, sewer, electrical, HVAC
and other home repair emergencies by providing affordable repair
coverage and quality local service. As an A+ rated Better Business
Bureau Accredited Business, HomeServe is dedicated to being a
customer-focused company supplying best-in-class repair plans and other
services to consumers directly and through over 400 leading municipal,
utility and association partners. For more information about HomeServe,
a 2016 Connecticut Top Workplace winner and recipient of seventeen 2017
Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, please go to www.homeserveusa.com. For
information on SLWA visit www.slwofa.com
and for SLWC visit www.slwofc.ca.
To connect with HomeServe on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.twitter.com/homeserveusa and
www.facebook.com/HomeServeUSA.

Contacts

MEDIA:
HomeServe USA
Myles Meehan, 203-356-4259
Myles.Meehan@homeserveusa.com
or
ICR,
Inc. for HomeServe USA
Sourav Das, 203-682-8283
hsusa@icrinc.com