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Increased Value of Used Cars Drives Increased Satisfaction with Auto Insurers

Increased Value of Used Cars Drives Increased Satisfaction with Auto Insurers

By Jeff Youngs, October 30, 2012
It might not occur to the average vehicle owner, but the higher the transaction prices for used vehicles, the more generous insurance companies are when it comes to repairing a vehicle after a claim is made. That is a key finding of the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study,SM which measures claimant satisfaction with the claims experience for auto physical damage loss.

"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."

J.D. Power and Associates reports that overall claimant satisfaction has increased significantly from 2011, driven by increases in settlement satisfaction, particularly in cases of a total vehicle loss. In 2012, claimants received more money for their vehicle when it was totaled.

This is not the only reason vehicle owners are more satisfied with their insurance company this year. According to J.D. Power, claimant satisfaction with the settlement has risen despite the fact that out-of-pocket expenses increased by an average of $26, to $403, to pay for deductibles, rental cars, and other costs. Because settlement satisfaction relies heavily on claimants' perceptions of the fairness of the settlement, J.D. Power says the significant increase in that factor of overall claimant satisfaction is also attributable to more effective management of claimants' expectations.

"Providing exceptional customer service is an important element in driving the perception of being treated fairly," said Bowler "Claimants' perception of fairness is more than just the amount of the settlement, especially for repairable vehicles, where claimants are more focused on their vehicle being returned in its pre-accident condition. Focusing on keeping claimants updated and quickly communicating what will be covered in the claim also have a major impact on their perceptions of how fairly they are treated."

The five highest-ranked insurance companies in the 2012 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study are, in rank order: Auto-Owners Insurance; Amica Mutual and Erie Insurance (in a tie); Automobile Club of Southern California and COUNTRY (in a tie).

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

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