Customer Satisfaction with Car Insurers Hits Record High

Fun on the roadDrivers reported record-high levels of satisfaction with their auto insurance companies despite recent premium increases, according to a recent J.D. Power study.

Based on a 1,000-point scale comparing five factors—interaction, policy offerings, price, billing and payment, and claims—customers reported a satisfaction level of 810 this year. It’s the highest point total since J.D. Power’s first U.S. Auto Insurance Study in 2000.

Here are the study’s point totals in overall satisfaction for the last four years.

2014: 810

2013: 794

2012: 804

2011: 790

Insurers ‘More Effectively Communicating’ with Customers

Almost 1 out of every 5 customers reported this year that their car insurer raised prices on them, which was about the same rate who said so in 2013.

However, the size of rate hikes shrunk. Among drivers who reported price increases in 2014, the average increase dropped from $153 last year to $86 this year.

The average rate increase in 2012 was $113.

Typical consumers will shop around for another car insurer when their prices increase around $50 or more, Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power, said in 2012.

However, he said that this year’s survey results show that fewer people are shopping, which highlights a larger trend in customer satisfaction.

“[T]his indicates that insurers are more effectively communicating with their customers, making them aware of the premium increases when they occur and why they’re necessary, and demonstrating the value of their coverage,” Bowler said in a statement.

In fact, of the five factors impacting customer satisfaction that J.D. Power measures in its study, a customer’s “interaction” with his or her auto insurer carries the most weight, the firm said.

According to J.D. Power, insurers have partly been able to minimize the blow of price increases because they have more often used customers’ “preferred communication channel” to notify them about price hikes.

Two out of every 5 customers surveyed said that they had only used digital channels—like their car insurer’s website or social media platforms—to communicate with their car insurer in the past year.

Another J.D. Power study released this month found that an auto insurance company’s website plays a significant role in whether or not a consumer picks it for coverage. The 2014 Website Evaluation study also ranked car insurers that best met consumers’ shopping and policy service needs.

Companies with the Highest Satisfaction Levels

Here are the top-performers among auto insurers, reported in J.D. Power’s latest satisfaction survey by region:

California: Wawanesa

Central: Auto-Owners

Florida: The Hartford

Mid-Atlantic: The Hartford

New England: Amica Mutual

New York: GEICO and State Farm

North Central: Auto-Owners

Northwest: PEMCO

Southeast: Tenneesee Farm Bureau

Southwest: State Farm

Texas: Texas Farm Bureau

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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