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Simplifying Your Car Insurance Claim Using Your Smartphone

Oct. 31, 2014
2 mins
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To no one's surprise, many auto collisions or crashes with other vehicles occur with greater frequency during the winter months. The challenge and concentration required to drive in inclement weather or icy road conditions can put even the safest or most experienced drivers at risk.

Leading car insurance provider, Aviva Canada reports nearly a 49 percent increase in vehicle collision claims from December to January, which is an increase from 3.1 percent on average to 4.7 percent during winter months.

Should you find yourself in one of these fender benders, there are certain things to focus on in spite of the mental disarray that often follows one of these unfortunate incidents.

First, you should only get out of the vehicle if it's safe to do so. If this is not possible turn on your hazard lights and dial 911 if you detect any sign of the other driver or passengers being injured. If this is not the case, you should get out the smartphone and turn on 'location services' if that setting is available, as it will assign GPS coordinates to the photos you are about to take. That's right, taking photos of the accident scene and the cars involved in the crash is the first order of business.

You should get the other driver's licence/contact information, licence plate, tires, and different angles of the car, paying closer attention to the point of impact. It's possible that the other driver hasn't installed winter tires or the tread of the existing tires is worn down, which may factor into the cause of the crash. Also, occasionally some other drivers have expired stickers, which is good information to share with car insurance companies.

Don't hesitate to use video if there are witnesses who don't mind sharing their version of what happened. Also, it's advisable to get pictures of the road conditions especially if it's rainy, snowy or foggy. Having faulty bulbs or not having special fog lights in your vehicle may have played a role in the crash. If there are road signs nearby, it's worth getting a picture or two as sometimes visibility is an issue.

Once you're certain you've documented the accident scene well, you can place a call to your car insurance company to start your claim, as all the pertinent information is readily available.

Interestingly, a few car insurance companies now allow claimants to send in photos during the appraisal process. Chicago-based Snapsheet has developed an app that helps insurance companies handle claims via photos. In a similar vein, Esurance, an Allstate company, allows you to video chat with an appraiser to expedite your claim and possibly even obtain payment while online.

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