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Online Auto Insurance: Survey Highlights Uncertainty in Total-Loss Situations

(EMAILWIRE.COM, November 09, 2011 ) Rancho Cucamonga, CA -- A new JD Power and Associates study that finds greater dissatisfaction with claims handling among car insurance policyholders whose vehicles are totaled in crashes than among those whose providers pay for repairs highlights the importance of making sure consumers understand the settlement process, according to Online Auto Insurance (OAI).

The extent of damage a vehicle sustains in an accident affects auto insurance companies’ decision to either foot the bill for repairs or declare it a total loss and pay the owner what the company believes believes it is worth. Most policies won’t pay repair costs that exceed the value assigned to a car as determined by insurers.

The study, released last week, says a main reason for discontent was that most owners of totaled vehicles thought their settlement amount was insufficient to replace their car with a similar make and model. But the fact is insurers in most states are not required to provide compensation that would enable the policyholder to buy a vehicle of a similar make and model; they are required to provide the value of the auto as of the date of loss.

According to the study, satisfaction with the claims process was significantly greater—more than 40 points higher on a 1,000-point scale—among respondents whose cars were repaired than among those who were paid to replace their vehicle.

After you file a claim for damages from an accident, your coverage provider will forward it to a claims adjuster whose job it is to verify the loss and put a price tag on either fixing your car or paying you what it’s worth.

Value is determined based on factors such as the retail price for vehicles that are of the same type and in similar condition, any improvements made to the vehicle, any damage unrelated to the crash and depreciation based on mileage.

Policyholders whose vehicles are declared total losses are owed the amount those vehicles were worth before an accident.


Consumers who feel their settlement is too low and want to challenge the settlement must prove a higher value. That can be done by submitting documentation such as mileage records, service history and affidavits from mechanics, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

To learn more about this and other coverage issues, go to where you will find further information on how accidents affect coverage.

About Us: supplies informative resources for consumers seeking to understand the finer points of coverage and quote-comparison services for shoppers looking for the best rates on a policy.

Press Release Courtesy of Online PR Media:

Gregor McGavin

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