insurance companies

Vehicle Damage Insurance Instant Photos Claims – Is it a Good Idea or Not?

According to the Auto Body Repair Industry relying just on your photos of your vehicle accident to make a claim with your insurance company could prove to drastically shortchange your final estimate. Especially if something is damaged under the vehicle and is not apparent in the photos.  

According to insurance data, 2 out of 3 claims can be “underpaid” if the claims are paid within 48 hrs.  In an “I want it now” world it may seem super convenient to have the freedom to simply submit photos via a cell phone to your insurance company to speed up the estimate so that you can gain your repair quickly.

Auto body experts across the Country are cautioning people to allow your Auto Body shop experienced technician to offer your insurance company a firm estimate to be certain that you are not owed more money than the insurance estimate given from submission of only photos.

According to a CNBC.com article instant insurance crash claim cell phone apps are becoming popular and allow you to take photos or video and simply instantaneously send to your insurance claims department:

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“Insurers benefit, from, reduced costs of sending out adjusters to handle what turns out to be cosmetic damage, said Loretta Worters, a vice president at the Insurance Information Institute. "It helps to get the claims filed, and their resources are utilized where they're needed most," she said.  

The article goes on to explain that the apps are for minor fender benders and any claim that involves an injury or fault that is not certain will likely involve further investigation. Another thing to take note of is your cell phone camera/video quality. Most insurance companies require superior quality photos.

So, yes, taking photos of your accident scene is important but it is not the end all.  At Richards’ Collision Center, for example, we offer free estimates that we personally submit to your insurance company listing any other damages that the photos did not capture.  This can significantly increase your estimate value thereby gaining your vehicle a proper and efficient repair.

We want to be sure that our customers and customers around the Country are receiving all the money that is owed for their collision repairs.

Learn more about this important subject at Body Shop News

 

 

Watch out for Deer!

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That time of year is once again upon us, a time to be vigilant and aware of our white tailed woodland friends sprinting across highways and country roads.  As much as it might seem like an odd phenomenon it’s actually a normal part of a deer’s life and to be expected.  As the daylight hours quickly wane and temperatures begin to drop we all feel a sense of calm and serenity during those breezy, cooler autumn days amid yellow, orange and red tree lines.  Well, all of us except those magnificent forest dwellers - the deer.  While birds react to this seasonal change by flying south for winter and hibernating creatures such as the groundhog begin storing up fat to sleep the coming frost filled months away, these subtle changes in temperature and daylight set off a course of action of what can only be described as insanity for our Missouri white tailed deer.

A deer’s gestation period is 201 days, so it is imperative that her new fawns will be born at the perfect time in the spring to be large enough to survive the following winter. She sends this once a year mating signal to her male counterparts with a scent referred to as estrus which creates a month plus long game of hide and seek with the veracity of a sense of life or death in the minds of the mindless hormonally overloaded buck.  In the summertime bucks actually roam the forest and grasslands together much like a group of men searching for a brat and a Pale Ale at a summer craft festival. Come autumn it is each man for himself and even the hint of competition is likely to end in a bloody brawl. The winner gets the doe, and in Darwinian terms, it’s a gene thing.  The biggest strongest bucks get to pass their genes on to the healthiest does, and consequently the next generation.  Once the chase is on, nothing and I mean nothing stands in the way of the chasing buck or the running doe, including your car.  This crazy breeding season is referred to simply as… The Rut.

According to the Missouri Federation for Conservation the onset of the rut (pre-rut) begins around September 12th, with the peak of the rut occurring around the first week of November and not entirely ending until sometime in late November. The most recent report from the Missouri Highway Patrol from 2011 details deer involved traffic accidents at 3,563 with 376 injuries and 4 fatalities.  Most of these accidents occurred between 5:00 pm and 6:59 am. Per The Insurance Journal, the United States has 200 deaths per year that occur from car accidents involving deer at a cost of $4 billion dollars a year. According to the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration 2014 saw 3,720 deer related Missouri accidents- one every 2.4 hours.  The site offers advice on how to ensure your insurance covers any damage caused by such an accident after changes in Missouri vehicle insurance laws from House Bill 1022.  There is also the recommendation to not swerve to avoid hitting a deer when that could in turn create yet another accident.

So what do you do if you hit a deer? You treat it like any other accident, report it to your local police department and call your insurance company- though as mentioned earlier now is the time to make sure your insurance policy fully covers this type of accident.  If you would like to consume the deer or have it donated for food for the underprivileged, you must first contact your county conservation agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation for authorization. 

Bottom line- be vigilant, especially in the low light and dark hours of the day.  It doesn’t hurt to slow down a little during those hours which give you a better chance to avoid hitting a deer.  If you see a deer, expect there to be more to come.   Does especially travel together and fawns stay with their mothers for up to two years.

Here’s to safe and happy travels!

By Guest Blogger: Audrey Elder - See more of Audrey's blogs at Past to Present Research 

Auto Body Shops & Insurance Company Recommendations...

At Richards' Collision Center we often hear the question:  Am I required to use the Auto Body Shop that my insurance company recommends?  The answer is no, and, often times the insurance company claim representatives pressure consumers into using the body shop that they recommend.  

Steering is defined as the act of directing a consumers to or away from any specific auto body repair shop or requiring that repairs be made by a specific repair shop or individual.  In most states there is a law against Steering.

While there are networks of preferred providers for collision repair, and direct repair options presented to policyholders when they make a claim, the insured's right to choose MUST always be upheld.

 Angie's List reported an excellent article about this very subject and one of many statements on the site give pause:  

"The choice is yours — by law, in the majority of cases. Yet a question remains: Will you get a quality repair?

Of course you can gain a quality repair as long as you do your homework.   If you want to cut to the chase and find out the true grit behind the advertising hype, simply:  "Google" the name of the shop with a "+reviews" after the name to find out what other people have experienced.

A thoughtful set of various reviews is worth a thousand words and more.  

Richards' Collision Center

Richards' Collision Center