Drivers 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.
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:
Florida: The Hartford
Mid-Atlantic: The Hartford
New England: Amica Mutual
New York: GEICO and State Farm
North Central: Auto-Owners
Southeast: Tenneesee Farm Bureau
Southwest: State Farm
Texas: Texas Farm Bureau