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Consumers report more satisfaction with auto insurance claims
By Insure.com staff

Overall customer satisfaction with auto insurance claims increased in the second quarter over the first quarter of this year, returning to a level similar to those in the second half of 2011, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates.

The study measures customer satisfaction with the claims process for vehicle damage. Overall satisfaction increased by 10 points on a 1,000-point scale to 852 from the first quarter. Satisfaction with settlement improved by 12 points -- the largest gain of any of the six factors measured in the claims process.

The study found that the average amount of money customers paid out of pocket -- above their deductible -- decreased from the first quarter by $36 to an average of $218. Settlment satisfaction was significantly lower among customers who paid more than $300 above their deductible.

"The amount spent out-of-pocket most definitely affects the perception of fairness of a settlement, further influencing satisfaction with the overall auto claims process," Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates, said in a press statement. "Additionally, the settlement factor is influenced highly by the clarity and thoroughness of the settlement explanation given to the customer by the insurance company. If the customer understands the process and what they are paying for, they tend to have higher satisfaction with their experience."

Meanwhile, the average duration of a claim for a repairable vehicle -- from reporting the claim to the vehicle's return to the customer -- is 13.7 days, a slight improvement from 14 days in the first quarter, according to the study. Most of this improvement is due to customers taking their vehicle to the repair shop more quickly.

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