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Auto Claims Satisfaction Dips, Expenses Also Rise

Auto Claims Satisfaction Dips, Expenses Also Rise

By Jeff Youngs, April 19, 2013
When you have a fender bender and need to fix your vehicle it can be very frustrating and time consuming to file and settle an auto insurance claim and schedule repairs. And, according to J.D. Power research, it seems that bad weather may also have an effect on customer satisfaction with the auto claims process.

According to findings in the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Auto Claims Satisfaction StudySM--Wave 2, which is based on responses from auto insurance customers who settled a claim in the past 6 months, customer satisfaction with the experience of filing and settling an auto claim dropped from the previous period, partly due to higher out-of-pocket costs (including the deductible and car rental), according to the study. Consumers who filed and settled an auto insurance claim with their provider in the latest period paid an average of $499 for their repairs, up $30 from $469 in 2012.

Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates, suggests that satisfaction tends to slip during the winter months. He points out that when consumers have an accident and need to repair their vehicle during winter holidays, it's not only an inconvenience, but it's frustrating to dip into holiday savings to pay for repairs.

He also said, "Road conditions tend to batch accidents in the winter, causing volume peaks for the repair industry." This shows up in longer appraisal, settlement and repair times. On average, claimants wait 3.3 days for an insurance appraisal, up from 2.9 days in the study's Wave 1, while settlements take an average of 6.6 days, up from 5.8 days in Wave 1. Settlement payments also are taking longer, averaging 14.9 days vs. 13.9 days in Wave 1.

Tips to Follow Before and when Filing a Claim
To avoid frustration and time delay, J.D. Power offers tips to follow after an accident and when filing a claim:

  • In the event of a multiple-vehicle accident, get a copy of the police report.
  • Only dial 911 if someone involved in the accident has a serious injury, but do call the police to file an accident report, or at least an incident report.
  • Take photos of the vehicle(s) and scene right after the accident.
  • Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible after the accident--in the first 24 hours--even if the other party may be at fault. Some insurers have contact center personnel available around the clock.
  • As soon as possible, document the accident details.
  • Keep records of all calls made or received in regard to the incident. Using a shop that is in your insurer's network may speed up the auto claim and repair process because insurance companies have priority at network shops.
  • If you believe your adjuster is not being fair, or if you have other problems, contact your agent directly.

The 2013 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study--Wave 2 is based on 2,878 responses from auto insurance customers who settled a claim within the past 6 months. The study excludes claimants whose vehicle incurred glass/windshield damage, or who only filed roadside assistance claims, as well as claims for stolen vehicles.

Additional Research:

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