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2012 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study Results

2012 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study Results

By Jeff Youngs, October 30, 2012
Claimants' overall satisfaction with their auto insurance claims experience has risen slightly from last year, according to the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.SM This increase is driven primarily by a perception of improved fairness of the settlement terms.

The study measures claimant satisfaction with the overall claims experience regarding physical damage to their vehicle. The study measures satisfaction in six factors: first notice of loss; service interaction; appraisal; repair process; rental experience; and settlement. Overall claimant satisfaction has increased to 852 index points (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2012, up 0.7% from 846 in 2011. Satisfaction has also increased in five of the six factors year over year, with settlement--the most important factor contributing to overall satisfaction--increasing by 1.1% to 846 points. Settlement satisfaction has increased by 16 points among claimants who experience a total vehicle loss. The average total loss settlement has increased by nearly $690, compared with 2011.

"As used-vehicle sale prices increase, the value of the loss settlement also increases," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "According to our Power Information Network, a database of vehicle sales transactions, used-vehicle sales prices peaked in May and June of this year, averaging nearly $18,500, compared with approximately $17,700 in January of this year."

Claimants' satisfaction with their settlement has improved from 2011, despite the finding that claimants paid more out of their own pocket, on average, in 2012. According to the study, claimants paid an average of $403 out of pocket in 2012, an increase of about 7% from 2011 ($377). (Out-of-pocket costs include claimants' deductible and any additional expenses incurred, such as rental car or repair costs.)

Also driving the increase in satisfaction is the improved ability of insurers to offer additional ways of keeping claimants informed of the progress of their claim. Nearly two-thirds, 64%, of claimants report having been offered options for monitoring progress of their claim, compared with 61% in 2011. Failing to adequately explain the progress of the claim and keeping claimants updated may lead to their questioning the settlement offer and potentially increase the rate of negotiations, which may negatively impact overall satisfaction.

For a fifth consecutive year, Auto-Owners Insurance ranks highest in overall satisfaction with a score of 887. Following Auto-Owners Insurance are Amica Mutual and Erie Insurance in a tie (876) and Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) and COUNTRY in a tie (874).

J.D. Power and Associates offers the following tips to consumers with regard to filing an auto insurance claim:

  • Always get a police report. Call 911 only if someone has been seriously injured, but do call the police for any incident that results in more than minor damage to a vehicle. Ask the police to file an accident report or at least an incident report, so you'll have something to show your insurance company.
  • Contact your insurer as soon as possible after damage has been incurred. Some insurers have operators available at all times of the day and night, so call from the location where the damage occurred, if possible. In any event, report the incident within 24 hours. Even if the other party is at fault, notify your insurer first. Your insurer will look after your interests more than the other party's insurer will. (Understand that the person you will talk to is not a claims adjuster. Don't try to get a settlement there and then, and don't argue your case.)
  • Write down the details of the incident as accurately as you can as soon as possible. The more accurate your report of what happened, and the more consistent you are in repeating it, the better. Keep records of all calls you make and receive with regard to the incident: calls to and from your insurer, the other party's insurer, mechanics, police, and any medical personnel.
  • If you feel you're not getting a fair shake from your adjuster, or if you have other problems, contact your agent directly: It will be in the agent's best interest to make sure that you've been well taken care of.

The 2012 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 12,500 auto insurance customers who settled a claim within the past 6 months. The study excludes claimants whose vehicle only incurred glass/windshield damage or was stolen, or who only filed roadside assistance claims. Survey data was collected between November 2011 and September 2012.

2012 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Ratings
Other Autos Ratings
Other Insurance Ratings

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