Some insurance companies are offering the option of sending photos in for collision appraisal in an effort to cut out the middle man of appraisers. This insurance photo option obviously saves the insurance company money on both the appraisers salary and benefits as well as the repairs themselves.
However, body shops are not too keen on the idea as a photos can only convey the “surface” damage and not other underlying problems that may cause safety issues. There have been reports of damages being appraised in the high hundreds of dollars when the actual repairs for all damage to the vehicle totals thousands. This is difficult for body shops in performing complete repairs to their pre-accident condition as well as safety. It’s also unfair for consumers.
In addition to this surface damage, there may be peripheral damage such as tires being cut and weakened and the suspension of the vehicle being impacted which is not noticeable in a photograph but makes the car unsafe to drive.
For example, Allstate is an insurance company that has an insurance photo option. They have an app for claims called QuickFoto Claim . For certain minor collisions, the app allows consumers to install the app on their smartphone, take pictures of the damage and upload them to the app. The photos are then reviewed by someone in the claims department. The benefit, according to Allstate is that it “helps you get paid quicker so you can get back to normal faster.” This is great in theory for minor collision repairs, but even minor fender-benders can affect the vehicles overall performance and safety.
At this point, it’s still up to the consumer to have their collision damage appraised by a person the traditional way and as a body shop, we encourage you to do this. This way you can get all damage assessed as well as make sure the appraised costs include the correct parts—translated original manufactured equipment (OEM)— are put on for the assessed damage.
As with most other industries, insurance companies are trying to streamline and automate their processes with an insurance photo option in an effort to cut costs and be more efficient in serving their customers. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual consumer to decide whether or not they want to use this option. Some people will still use this option despite the fact that all damage to their vehicle may not be assessed correctly. As a body shop that strives to repair our customers vehicle to it’s pre-accident condition, we feel this may not be a good thing for consumers. The above stated reasons make a case for human appraisers. Technology isn’t always in the consumers best interest.
For thorough pre-accident estimates through the repairs and post-repair inspection, Orlando Auto Body always strives to use only OEM parts that were made for your vehicle. We want to repair it to it’s pre-accident condition. Call us today at (480) 418-4737.