Auto insurance offers pandemic rebates, but customers are still unhappy

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  • The car insurance industry provided over $10 billion in rebates and discounts to consumers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Despite the discounts, customer satisfaction with car insurance providers is low.
  • Many customers indicate a likelihood of switching carriers as they were unaware of the discounts and rebates being offered.
  • Reach out to your insurance agents and providers to see if additional discounts are being offered.
  • See our picks for the best affordable car insurance companies for 2020 »

During the coronavirus pandemic, the auto insurance industry has offered over $10 billion in rebates on premiums for policyholders. But after all the rebates and discounts offered, customer satisfaction with car insurance providers has fallen, according to a study by J.D. Power Insurance Intelligence.

Most people only think about insurance when they need it. As a result, reads the study, “one of the biggest drivers of that decline in satisfaction is a general lack of awareness among customers” — that is, once people who had never really called their insurance companies started dealing with them during the pandemic, those customers were unhappy with the experience. The J.D. Power study found customers want “some level of personalization in every interaction,” and they weren’t getting it. 

The study found that as the pandemic worsened, so did customer satisfaction. Most customers said they never even received information about the COVID-19 related rebates. 

The study found that historically, customer satisfaction with car insurance providers is usually around 88% and a good indicator of loyalty and retention. In March 2020, before the COVID-19 lockdown, customer satisfaction with auto insurance providers was at 68%.

In June 2020, customer satisfaction dropped to 56% despite companies offering massive rebates. Instead of the auto insurance industry reaping the benefits of offering proactive discounts to customers, customers indicated that they would look for another provider. 

What to do if you’re unhappy with your auto insurance

The lesson for consumers is to ask your providers for discounts and rebates, even when there is no pandemic. A good rule of thumb is to reach out to your carrier if there are any major changes that could impact your coverage: illness, loss of job, a financial crisis, or a global pandemic.

As noted by Carrier Management, “price is king, but it’s not everything” because customers want to hear from providers. Somehow in the midst of companies giving customers massive discounts, many customers were unaware of the rebates, and now it looks like car insurance companies may lose customers over that miscommunication.

Most of the discounts and rebates originally offered in the Spring have expired. However, the threat of a second wave of coronavirus this fall could mean companies will re-offer promotions, or offer new ones. Whether there is an industry-wide discount or not, you should proactively reach out to your car insurance provider to ask about any promotions.

Remember that cheap doesn’t equal good quality customer service. If you are unhappy with your insurance provider, take a look at Business Insider’s picks for the best affordable auto insurance companies, in which we consider not only price, but customer service rankings as well.

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