Research firm eMarketer expects 4.55 billion people worldwide to use a mobile phone in 2014. This figure is not lost in insurance circles as they continue to work with app developers to come up with consumer-friendly options.

Besides paying your insurance bills by mobile, smartphone cameras have made it easier to start the claims reporting process right away.

For example, State Farm Canada's Pocket Agent app for iPhone and Android allows you to start documenting an accident right away with photos and accident details, view your insurance card information, contact your agent and get a listing of nearby tow trucks, taxis, locksmiths, and rental cars.

There are also other apps that don't require any affiliation with an insurance company that will help you after a car crash. The appropriately named 'Help I Crashed My Car' provides a good to do/contact list you may require in case of an accident including calling police, ambulance, hospital, insurance company/agent, towing, rental car, and body shops. Equally as important is that the app, available for Android and iPhone, also contacts up to three family members and helps you to fill out an accident report (including photos) and send it to your insurance agent.

Interestingly, there's a popular start-up that works directly with insurance companies and customers and uses smartphone photos to speed up the entire claims process. Snapsheet has a claims solution designed to work with your smartphone from the moment a claim is filed to settlement. Basically, instead of driving to a body shop you can submit photos using your smartphone, receive an estimate within hours and either take a direct deposit payout or schedule an appointment at a body shop. The Chicago-based company is partnered with the Farmers Insurance Group, USAA, MetLife Inc. and National General and will use a recent $10 million in funding to expand operations in North America.

And for those that like to research and discuss various issues with an online community, of course, there's an app for that. With more than 54,000 members and about 800,000 posts on health insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, travel insurance and other personal finance topics, InsuranceForums.net is open for discussion.

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