Furniture is what makes a house a home, however new research shows daily life leaves fixtures and fittings vulnerable to damage.
In its “Furniture Damage Survey,” Allstate Protection Plans found that more than 242 million Americans have damaged furniture, and 37% of damaged items were less than a year old. Here are some of the survey’s top findings, along with advice for saving time and money on repairs and replacements:
• The Financial Hit: An estimated $23.5 billion has been spent by 82 million Americans replacing and repairing damaged items. The average cost of furniture repairs runs at $287. Almost half (49%) of damaged furniture originally cost more than $500 and nearly a quarter (21%) cost more than $1,000. The majority of people who damaged furniture (51%) say they spent additional money repairing or replacing it.
• Hot Seats: Sofas are by far the most damaged item (34%), followed by dining room tables or chairs (11%), kitchen tables or chairs (9%), and recliners or other living room seating (8%). Most furniture (57%) was damaged in the living room, with 15% of incidents happening in the dining room, 9% in the master bedroom and 6% in the kitchen.
• No Thrills from Spills. The leading cause of damage is spills, accounting for 54% of furniture damage. Other top causes are breaks (20%), dents and scratches (18%), rips or tears (17%) and burns (6%). Beverages are the dominant offenders for spills (48%) followed by ink/paint/marker (16%) and food (10%).
• The Cover-Up: Almost half (46%) of people who have damaged furniture reported that they tried to fix or clean the items themselves. However, only 56% of those who took a DIY approach say their efforts were successful. Sixty-one percent of Americans have tried to hide or cover up damage.
• Don’t Blame the Kids or Cat: Adults in the household are the most likely to cause damage, with children only accounting for 26% of incidents. When it comes to four-legged friends, dogs are 2.4 times more likely to have damaged furniture than cats.
• Prevention and Cure: To prevent damage, Americans apply pre-stain treatments (37%), put towels or sheets over furniture (36%), and place slipcovers or plastic sheeting on furniture (28%). When the worst occurs, the majority of people say they are most likely to turn to their homeowners or renters insurance for help. Only 16% of respondents said their furniture was covered by a protection plan and fewer than half (48%) were aware such plans were available for furniture.
“People are used to investing in protection plans for their appliances and electronics, but they don’t give as much thought to protecting their furniture,” said Jason Siciliano, vice president and global creative director at Allstate Protection Plans. “This is surprising given the data behind how frequently people must repair furniture and how costly it is to do so. Investing in a protection plan at the point of purchase is only a fraction of the cost of a new couch.”
Furniture protection plans cover repairs or replacements without claims negatively impacting homeowners or renters insurance premiums. Beyond purchasing protection plans, Siciliano also recommends extending the life of furniture with such measures as pet-proofing and using the right cleaning solution for each type of upholstery or material. For more information on protecting prized possessions, visit: allstateprotectionplans.com.
Rips, spills and stains are part of life, but spending a fortune repairing and replacing furniture doesn’t have to be. With advance planning, those inevitable incidents and accidents won’t break the bank.