Press Release: Study Finds Racial Disparity in Home Warranty Claims Approvals
Despite discrepancies in self-described claims approval experience, Americans are generally satisfied with their home warranty companies
Fort Mill, South Carolina — August 22, 2019 — A recent study commissioned by Reviews.com shows white Americans who have filed home warranty claims are 18 percentage points more likely than minorities to report all of their claims have been approved. Of the respondents, 73% of white Americans reported that all of their claims were approved, while only 55% of minorities — which include black, hispanic, Asian, Native American, middle-eastern, mixed, and other — reported the same. Overall, 65% of Americans said all of their claims were approved.
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“The reasons behind the disparity in self-reported claim approvals aren’t entirely clear and are no doubt complicated, but numbers don’t lie: the disparity exists,” said Pete Pachal. Editorial Director of Reviews.com. “As insurance industry experts have pointed out to us, this could be the result of what’s called ‘proxy discrimination,’ where a system that’s supposed to be unbiased and neutral ends up producing results that unintentionally cut across racial lines. I hope the results of this study will lead to others looking more closely at the issue.“
Of those who have filed claims, only 47% of younger Americans (ages 18-34), say they have had all their claims approved in contrast to 71% of 35-54 year olds and 77% of Americans age 55 and up. Self-reported approval ratings also correlated with income brackets and level of education. Americans with a household income of $80,000 or more were 18 percentage points more likely than Americans with lower incomes to report having all of their claims approved. And those with at least a four-year degree were 15 percentage points more likely than those who did some college or less, to report having all their claims approved.
Men were more likely to purchase a home warranty than women. 18% of men purchased one on their own and 16% purchased one included by the seller during a real estate transaction, compared to 10% and 12% of women, respectively. And older Americans were less likely to shop around. Of Americans age 55 and over, 38% considered one provided compared to 26% of Americans 35 to 54 who did the same.
While most Americans choose not to shop around for home warranties, satisfaction rates seem to not be impacted. Results show that 73% of U.S. adults who have purchased a home warranty and have filed a claim were satisfied with the outcome and 36% were “very satisfied.” The survey also found that despite having a significant difference of all claims being approved, minorities had similar satisfaction with their claim outcomes compared to Whites.
“If you look at online user reviews for home warranty companies, you’ll see some very unhappy people whose claims were denied,” says Adam Morgan, Reviews.com’s Senior Finance Editor. “This survey confirmed my suspicions that those unhappy customers, although vocal, represent a small fraction of home warranty buyers who in some cases may not have understood what their contract actually covered before submitting a claim.”
For more information, contact:
Megan Wilburn | Communications Associate, Reviews.com | email@example.com
Reviews.com commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,584 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken Aug. 1-4. The survey was carried out online and meets rigorous quality standards. It employed a non probability-based sample using both quotas upfront during collection and then a weighting scheme on the back end designed and proven to provide nationally representative results.
Reviews.com started as a small group of consumer advocates in 2013 and was acquired by Red Ventures in 2016. Today, its operations span the U.S., with testing facilities in Seattle, New York City and Fort Mill, South Carolina. Our mission is simple: to be a trusted purchase companion on everything you subscribe to. For more information, visit https://www.reviews.com/about/.