Last year, auto insurers refunded more than $18 billion in premiums to policyholders who were stuck at home — thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic — instead of driving.
It appears those policyholders were less than impressed by that insurance company largesse.
After four straight years of improvement, overall customer satisfaction with insurers was flat in 2020, according to J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.
Customer satisfaction with U.S. auto insurance companies averaged 835 on a 1,000-point scale — unchanged from a year prior, according to the study, which is now in its 22nd year.
The fact that customers were so underwhelmed by insurance company performance is a sign of insurers “delivering with their actions but missing the mark on effective communication to their customers,” says Robert Lajdziak, senior consultant for insurance intelligence at J.D. Power.
In a press release, he comments:
“The refunds provided to customers during the pandemic were significant, representing nearly 7% of total industry premiums, but only half of customers were even aware of them. Worse, when customers needed to communicate with their insurers, either via phone, website or chat, many came away feeling less satisfied with the result than in the past.”
However, some auto insurers did break through and make a positive impression with policyholders.
The best auto insurer in every region
J.D. Power’s 2021 study is based on a poll of more than 38,000 car insurance customers. It evaluates five facets of customer satisfaction:
- Billing process and policy information
- Policy offerings
The following insurers ranked highest in the 11 regions included in the study:
- California: Wawanesa (which earned an overall customer satisfaction score of 853 out of 1,000)
- Central (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota): Shelter (856)
- Florida: State Farm (848)
- Mid-Atlantic (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia): NJM Insurance Co. (867)
- New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont): Amica Mutual (867)
- New York: State Farm (859)
- North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin): Erie Insurance (857)
- Northwest (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming): State Farm (844)
- Southeast (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee): Farm Bureau Insurance-Tennessee (883)
- Southwest (Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah): American Family (850)
- Texas: Texas Farm Bureau (850)
Some of these insurers rank highest in their regions year after year. Amica Mutual has held the top post in New England for nine years running, while Farm Bureau Insurance-Tennessee and Texas Farm Bureau have held the top posts in their regions for a decade.
Finding the right auto insurer for you
If you are unhappy with your car insurance company or rate, you have a great reason to shop around. Even if you are satisfied but it’s been a few years since you compared rates, you stand to save money by doing so.
These days, you have two options for shopping around for car insurance: the old-school route of calling multiple insurers or filling out forms on their websites for quotes, or the new-school route of letting a third-party service like The Zebra or Gabi do the legwork for you.
If you like the idea of someone else doing the comparison shopping for you so that all you have to do is select the quote you want, you can learn more about:
- The Zebra in “Find Cheaper Car Insurance in Just Minutes“
- Gabi in “How I Found $546 in Car Insurance Savings in Under 10 Minutes“
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