Survey: Insurance Ranks No. 2 as Most Important Bill to Pay On-Time

December 30, 2008

Insurance bills rank as the second highest priority bill for Americans to pay on time, according to a new survey on the bill payment patterns of U.S. households.

The third in a series, the survey of more than 1,000 nationally representative U.S. households finds that Americans are not only putting less money into savings, but are dipping into their savings to pay for everyday, necessary living expenses. Under growing constraints, consumers must continue to prioritize among their bills by creating a “delinquency budget.”

Key findings show how different bills rank in consumers’ stacks, in order of priority:

* Mortgage – Though the number of households with delinquent mortgage payments are up 67 percent over last year, this bill remains at the top of the stack;

* Insurance – Of all major bills, insurance premiums have the lowest delinquency rate at 2 percent;

* Loans – In just one year, households with overdue loan payments have increased 58 percent;

* Utilities – Delinquent utility payments are up 18 percent since last year;

* Healthcare – Emergency medical care bills are most delinquent with 34 percent of respondents late;

* Phone – More Americans say they can do without phone service, and 26 percent of households put this bill on the bottom of the stack; and

* Credit Card – 1 in 3 of the households that are late paying their credit card bill continue to use their card, thereby increasing their outstanding balance.

Across industries, survey results show that one in three households was contacted by a collector in the past year. Preference for resolving delinquencies online has increased by 18 percent over the past year, but only one percent of delinquent households were contacted via the Internet. In addition, households that set up recurring payments had a significantly lower likelihood of becoming delinquent in the first place.

“With continuing economic tightness, companies from all industries must compete harder to get paid in a timely manner,” said Robert R. Craig, executive vice president and general manager of eCommerce Services for Online Resources. “Consumers are clearly indicating their preferences by choosing which bills they pay, when they pay them and how they would like to work out their delinquencies. Billers who take these cues from this research can gain a distinct advantage in this difficult economic environment.”

Source: Online Resources,

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