In order to satisfy yourself that you’re getting the best deal on car insurance, part of the equation – that is, part of your required research – is to check into how satisfied customers are, in general, with the car insurer. So, what are the best car insurance companies for customer service?

A recent article in Forbes discussed the subject and it’s worth relating that customer service ranks high on the list of what’s important to consumers. In its annual survey of auto insurers, J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 U.S. Insurance Shopping Survey, found that consumers said The Hartford was the most satisfying auto insurance shopping experience among all carriers.

What made The Hartford rank above all the others, achieving a perfect five circle (the J.D. Power highest award) score? Specifically, the auto insurer achieved its high marks for its policy offerings, pricing, and call center representatives.

Other car insurance companies in the top 10, rated an overall four circles (except Auto Owners Insurance) include:

Liberty Mutual – As for number two-ranked car insurance company for customer service, Liberty Mutual scored high marks (four circles) in the areas of policy offerings, price, local agent and call center representative.

American Family – In specific ratings, American Family got the highest marks for its local agents and policy offerings.

Auto Club Group – Policy offerings and price were each at four circles.

Nationwide – Online shopping services rated high among consumers who shopped Nationwide.

Amica Mutual – Here, the highest marks were for Amica Mutual’s policy offerings, price and call center representatives.

State Farm – Policy offerings and local agent each scored four circles for State Farm.

Erie Insurance – Standout marks for Erie Insurance came in the area of local agents.

Met Life – With four circles in two categories, Met Life stood out in the areas of price and local agent.

Auto Owners Insurance – Where Auto Owners Insurance really stood out was in the area of local agents.

It should also be noted that USAA also achieved a perfect five circle overall rating in the 2012 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study (five circles each in the areas of policy offerings, price, call center representative and insurer website), but since USAA isn’t open to the general public, it wasn’t included as the award winner.

Where does customer service factor in when it comes to selecting the car insurance company to meet your needs? Consider how you will interact with the insurer. Will you be doing most of your business online using their website? If so, you’ll want to choose a company rated highly for its website. If you like to interact with an insurer’s call center, look for high marks in that area of customer service.

Of course, broad policy offerings that suit your needs are high on the list of customer satisfiers, as is price. But don’t forget how satisfied customers say they are with the car insurance company’s local agent. In the end, when you’re weighing and balancing what each has to offer, the tipping point may well be how well the company satisfies its customer base. That means they’re likely to satisfy you, should you decide to become a customer.

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