On Your Side: Filing accident claims with your phone

Published: Aug. 2, 2018 at 8:29 PM EDT
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Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018

News 12 @ 6 O’clock / NBC 26 at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Beat up, crushed, and some are missing parts. Rows of vehicles sit motionless in an open lot like statues in a museum with a story to tell.

And like a curator of that museum, Steve Kendrick can tell you about each one.

"A lot of accidents," he said.

Standing before what resembles the front end of a truck, Kendrick begins to describe what happened. He said, "It was hit on the front in has some bumper damage headlight damage."

Steve Kendrick grew up in his grandfather's body shop in downtown Augusta. A lot changed since then; the cars, downtown, and even the way his customers file claims.

"Here the very front, every corner down both sides looking from this side and looking from the backside.”

Apps like Quick Foto Claim and Esurance allow drivers to quickly snap a pic of the damage and submit it to their insurance company.

"What it does do is get the process started, claim started and preliminary pictures started," he said.

From those pictures, the insurance company will cut a check to a shop to make the repairs.

"Nine times out of ten it's not going to cover all the damages on the car."

That's because drivers only take pictures of what they see.

"You have these reinforcement bars you have these plastic pieces that may be damaged that you can't really see," Kendrick said.

Then there is the possibility of mechanical damage.

"The body shop can repair things they see and things on the estimate but they may not necessarily repair things behind the scenes," said Aaron Clements, C&C Automotive.

That's when Aaron Clements gets to work. Body shops like Kendrick send cars his way when they notice damage under the hood.

"You may have hit something in the road and have cosmetic damage but you also may have a cracked oil pan or cracked transmission pan," Clements said.

So, pic or no pic?

"In some cases that could be a good thing it could be a time saver but other cases it could cost you more time and money," he said.

Good because a photo claim will get the process started right away and most body shops like Kendrick's will notify the insurance company if they find more damage. It's bad if you choose a body shop that doesn't catch hidden problems.

"If you find it soon enough you may still get it covered under insurance but if it's something you don't find for years to come you may have to flip the bill for that repair that was caused in that previous accident," said Clements.

So snap away, just use a little old school sense when choosing who to fix it.