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The whole reason people buy homeowners insurance coverage is to protect themselves from the loss of their dwelling or personal property. In other words, so that when things go wrong, they can submit a claim and be made whole.

But the frequency and severity of home insurance claims greatly affects homeowners insurance companies and the greater property and casualty market. Those effects trickle down to homeowners across the country, mainly in the form of higher home insurance rates.

Below are the most important and interesting statistics and facts related to home insurance claims.

Claims Prevalence Statistics

The cost for property claims is expensive and on the rise. This has created the need for a lot of change in the insurance market overall with both premiums and non-renewals on the rise.

  • Insurance companies payout billions every year to cover insurance claims. (III)

  • Each year, about 5% of insured homeowners submit a property claim on average. (Insurance Information Institute, III)

  • Each year on average, about 2.5% of insured homeowners submit a property damage claim resulting from wind or hail. (III)

  • On average, about 2% of insured homeowners submit a property damage claim resulting from water damage or freezing. (III)

  • About 0.29% of insured homeowners submit a property damage claim resulting from fire and lightning each year on average. (III)

  • About 0.25% of insured homeowners submit a property damage claim resulting from theft each year on average. (III)

  • On average, about 0.11% of insured homeowners submit a property damage claim resulting from bodily injury lawsuits or property damage caused by the policyholder or their family. (III)

  • 5.7% of homeowners with insurance filed a claim in 2018. (III)

  • More than 98% of claims in 2018 were from property damage (theft included), not liability claims. (III)

  • Over the last 20 years, claim frequency has decreased. However, claim severity (average amount paid per claim) has increased significantly over that same period of time. (Insurance Research Council)

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Insurance Statistics by Types of Claims

The payout and ramifications of insurance claims varies greatly due to the type of claim. Understanding how different types of claims can affect your insurer can help you better understand how these claims affect your bottom line.

  • 25 million Americans required aid from a medical professional for an unintentional injury suffered in the home in 2018. (III)

  • Wind and hail account for the most frequent home insurance claims at 34% of all claims. (BankRate)

  • Fire and lightning cause the second most frequent home insurance claims with 32% of all claims. (BankRate)

  • Hail and wind cause the most frequent home insurance claims while fire and lightning are the costliest claims. (III)

  • Property damage accounts for 98.1% of all home insurance losses. (Insurance Services Office, ISO)

  • About 1 in 50 homes have a home insurance claim related to water and freezing damage every year. (III)

  • Over the last few decades there has been a long-term decreasing trend in regards to theft crimes. (III)

  • In 2019, fire and lightning property loss decreased 37% compared to 2018. (III)

  • As a percentage of total insured losses, here are the top home insurance claims:

  • Wind and hail 34%

  • Fire and lightning 32.7%

  • Water damage and freezing 23.8%

  • Other property damage (vandalism, etc) 6.2%

  • Liability for injury and property damage to others 1.8%

  • Theft 1%

  • Medical payments 0.1%

  • Credit card or other >0.1% (ISO)

Home Insurance Claims Statistics: Sinkholes

  • States with the most damage from sinkholes are Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. (United States Geological Survey)

  • In Tennessee, home insurance companies are required to offer sinkhole insurance. Elsewhere, coverage is typically excluded. and homeowners must purchase a separate policy. (III)

  • In Florida, home insurance companies are required to cover “catastrophic ground cover collapse,” though sinkhole coverage is optional. (III)

  • In Tampa, Florida an entire house fell into a large sinkhole in March, 2013. Though large sinkholes are rare, small sinkholes appear in the U.S. at a rate of thousands per year. (III)

Home Insurance Claims Statistics: Injury

  • The most common place for personal injuries requiring medical attention is at home. In fact, more injuries occur at home than in public places, the workplace, and automobile crashes combined. (National Safety Council, NSC)

  • Since 1999, rates for unintentional home injury have risen 150%, especially due to an increase in poisonings and falls. Drug overdoses and older adult falls have accounted for most of this increase. (NSC)

  • In 2018, unintentional home injuries resulting in death decreased by 1.4% compared to 2017. (NSC)

  • Unintentional deaths at home have remained steady for more than 100 years. In 1912, there were 28 unintentional deaths per 100,000 people. In 2018, there were 27.3 unintentional deaths per 100,000 people. (NSC)

Home Insurance Claims Statistics: Fire and Lightning

  • About $826 million was paid out for insurance claims related to lightning losses in 2016. (Statista)

  • 76,860 insurance claims were filed in 2019 related to lightning losses. (Statista)

  • The average payout for a fire and lightning claim is $80,000. (III)

  • Although fire is one of the least common events to result in a home insurance claim, fire claims account for 25% of all claims costs. (ValuePenguin)

Home Insurance Claims Statistics: Wind and Hail

  • 34.4% of home property losses result from wind and hail damage. (ISO)

  • Wind and hail claims may be related to tropical storms and hurricanes. (Policygenius)

  • Approximately, 1 in 40 homes have a home insurance claim related to wind and hail damage every year. (III)

Home Insurance Claims Statistics: Theft

  • About 1% of home property losses are the result of theft. (Enservio)

  • Jewelry is the most common item listed on a home insurance claim due to theft. (Enservio)

  • Electronics and apparel are also common items listed on a home insurance claim due to theft. (Enservio)

Home Insurance Claims Statistics: Dog Bites

  • In 2003, the average dog bite claim cost $19,162. (Policygenius)

  • In 2019, the average dog bite claim cost $44,760. (Policygenius)

  • Dog bite claim costs have risen steadily year over year, possibly due to the increased cost in medical care. (Policygenius)

  • Dog breeds considered high-risk are excluded from coverage with certain home insurance companies. Dogs considered high-risk may include Akitas, Rottweilers, German shepherds, and pitbulls. (Policygenius)

Data Viz: Homeowners Insurance Losses By Cause (in Infogram)

Insurance Literacy

Understanding the basics of homeowners insurance is the foundation to getting the right coverage at the lowest cost to you.

  • HO-1 and HO-2 policies are called “named peril” policies because they only cover damage resulting from perils named in the policy. (ValuePenguin)

  • HO-3 and HO-5 policies are called “open peril” policies because they exclude coverage only for perils named in the policy. (ValuePenguin)

  • HO-8 policies are designed for homes that are older and of higher value. (ValuePenguin)

  • Named peril policies typically include some or all of the following:

  • Fire and lightning

  • Smoke damage

  • Theft

  • Windstorm or hail

  • Freezing pipes

  • Damage from the weight of ice, sleet or snow

  • Falling objects

  • Explosions

  • Volcanic eruption

  • Riots

  • Vandalism

  • Damage from aircraft

  • Damage due to vehicles

  • Electrical current damage

  • Water damage from plumbing, heating or A/C overflow

  • Damage from a water heater cracking, tearing and burning (Insurify)

  • Open peril policies typically exclude some or all of the following:

  • Earthquakes

  • Earth movement

  • Sinkholes

  • Floods

  • Acts of war

  • Nuclear accidents (Insurify)

  • To cover exclusions, homeowners should purchase either a rider or seperate policy covering that peril. For example, many homeowners purchase a separate flood insurance policy. (Insurify)

Methodology & Sources

Statistics from the following institutions were incorporated onto this page: Insurify, Insurance Information Institute, Insurance Research Council, BankRate, Insurance Services Office, ValuePenguin, United States Geological Survey, National Safety Council, Policygenius, Statista, Enservio, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Marshall & Swift/Boeckh, J.D. Power, Corporate Finance Institute, S&P Global Market Intelligence, and LexisNexis.

Data Attribution: The information, statistics, and data visualizations on this page are free to use; we simply ask that you attribute any full or partial use to Insurify through a link to this page.

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JJ Starr
JJ StarrInsurance Writer

J.J. Starr is a health and finance writer with a background in banking, lending, and financial advising. She holds a Series 6, FINRA, and life insurance licensure and a master's degree from New York University. Through her writing, she strives to use her decade of experience to help consumers make sound financial choices. Connect with J.J. on LinkedIn.