Travelers has released the findings of its second annual Consumer Risk Index, which measures Americans’ general perception of risk in daily life.
Conducted in late July by Hart Research, Travelers’ survey of 801 adults found that 1 in 4 U.S. consumers believe that today’s world is very risky, with 6 in 10 respondents reporting their feeling that the world is growing riskier. Only 1 in 8 people feels the world is becoming less risky.
Many respondents said they are preparing for uncertainty and are being proactive in managing their risk. When asked about steps they are taking to mitigate risk, 82% of respondents have installed smoke detectors in their home and 64% indicated they had stored food and water in their home to prepare for extreme weather. Perhaps not surprisingly, one-third of Millennials feel their overall risk level is low compared to that of older demographics, and also were found to be less likely than other age groups to have a clear plan for what to do before and after an extreme weather event.
“We expected to see many of these risks among the top concerns for consumers,” Patrick Gee, Senior Vice President, Claim at Travelers, said in a statement. “What’s interesting is the disparity between the perception of risk and the mindset that ‘it can’t happen to me’ when it comes to issues such as distracted driving and severe weather.”
Click through to discover the greatest worries of American consumers.
Severe Weather Events
Nearly two-thirds, or 64%, of respondents say they perceive severe weather events to be happening with more frequency in the U.S. Only 39%, however, feel that severe weather is becoming more frequent in their own region. Only 34% think that severe weather increases the likelihood of damage to their own property.
The results point to a notable change in perception of the frequency of severe weather for individuals from the Northeast, which was heavily impacted by storms in 2013. Fifty-five percent of those respondents living in the Northeast say they feel severe weather is becoming more frequent in their region, up from 36% last year—the largest increase in any area when it comes to the perception of severe weather.
Distracted Driving (But …)
Survey respondents were more concerned with other people’s distracted driving more than their own.
An overwhelming 89% percent of survey participants believe that getting into an auto accident due to others’ distracted driving is a concern, yet 51% of respondents are not at all concerned about getting into an auto accident due to their own distraction.
Incredibly, 1 in 5 respondents are not concerned at all about the 16-to-21-year old drivers in their household getting into an auto accident due to their own distracted driving. Ponder that.
Personal Privacy Loss/Identity Theft
The loss of personal privacy is a top concern for consumers, with 82% reporting some level of worry about this risk. In fact, the same percentage of consumers surveyed say they worry about the loss of personal privacy as much as they do about the risk of a serious health problem.
Yet when asked specifically about identity theft, consumers seem to be less concerned about it as compared to a year ago. In this year’s survey, 23% reported worrying a great deal about this risk compared to 31% last year, despite recent headlines about data breaches.
In general, Millennials are less concerned with computer and technology risks and the loss of personal privacy. About half (53%) of Millennials surveyed do not worry at all about computer and technology risks, compared to 34% of other age groups.
Some things never change: Financial risk was the top worry among respondents, with 65% saying they worry “some” or “a great deal” about money.
When it comes to paying for insurance, however, consumers that have both home and auto insurance mostly feel they are well covered. Sixty-nine percent of respondents feel they are extremely or very well covered by their insurance policies.
Of those surveyed, 64% say they review their insurance every year and 35% talk to their insurance agent to get information about their policies.