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Filing an insurance claim represents a moment of truth for any policyholder, and the level of satisfaction about how the claim was handled ultimately drives either customer loyalty or discord. Policyholders often manifest their disappointment with negative ramblings to others and, in many cases, by severing the relationship altogether and seeking coverage with another insurer.

J.D. Power and Associates has been charting customer satisfaction levels associated with the auto physical damage claim process—from first notice of loss (FNOL) to settlement—for more than 10 years. Today the Westlake Village, Calif.-based company released its latest findings, in the form of the 2011 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, and the message is clear: total loss claims conjure more customer malcontent when compared to repairable auto claims.  

In the report, J.D. Power and Associates enumerates reasons why auto insurance claimants who incur a total vehicle loss are, overall, less satisfied with the claims experience than those initiating a repairable vehicle claim:

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