Total Auto Loss Claims Deliver A Lower J.D. Power Rating

 Sunday’s Post 11/6/11 –  A recent study by J.D. Power reports that those depending on their auto insurance to pay for a total loss are much less satisfied than those auto insurance customers filing a claim for a mere repair only.  In th J.D. Power 2011 Auto insurance Claims Satisfaction Study for the U.S. was assembled from nearly 12,000 auto insurance claimants. It excludes claims for total theft of a vehicle, Windshield Claims and Motor Club or auto insurance policy paid roadside assistance.   On a point scale the satisfaction customers averaged only 811 out of 100 compared with 853 for others.  This reduced satisfaction is due half of claimants finding the claim amount received being not enough to pay for the new or used car lost. Bottom line, it’s impossible to locate a car of equal value. 

The senior director involved in this J.D. Power study, stating there is a complexity when it comes to a total loss claims compared to those cars which are to be repaired.  There are Loan GAP issues which places the owner in a deficit position on a car loan or lease.  He went on to say that the management of client expectations and continuing communication is vital throughout the claims process when it comes to a total loss.  Time is a factor.  Total Loss Claims take on average 18 days to cut a claim payment check to the customer while  a  vehicle repair takes 12 days. 

The study recommends that insurance companies address the following key needs during a claim process to increase satisfaction levels:

  • Speed— Insurers must realise customers need their claims processed as quickly as possible.   Claims with a total loss report a delay of an average four days between damage appraisal and receiving settlement. 
  • Fairness—Treating claimants fairly in respect of a settlement without surprises of extra costs or delays. Ensuring claimants fully understand the claim process and limitations of their policy will reduce dissatisfaction.
  • Communication—The clear explanation of the claims process and keeping customers informed is vital alongside prompt responses to enquiries.

For the fourth year Auto-Owners Insurance ranked highest for satisfaction in the study with a score of 890 performing well in all aspects.  Second was State Farm with 878 a considerable improvement from their 2010 score.  Third place with 865 was Amica Mutual.


Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 602