Consumers Beware of Insurance Photo Estimates

Uh oh, your vehicle has collision damage and you filed a claim with the insurance company. After explaining the incident, they tell you to snap a few pictures with your smart phone. Send the photos and they will mail the check to you. No need to go to an auto body shop, get estimates or have one of their insurance adjusters survey the damage. Sounds great, right?Insurance Photo Estimates via Mobile Phone

While uploading photos of a damaged vehicle saves you time, it may not be in your best interest. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Is there damage underneath?
  • Are all your sensors working properly after the impact of a collision?
  • Were the onboard computers compromised during the collision?
  • Is the car safe to drive?
  • Are all your headlights and tail lights in working order?
  • Does your door or window open and close properly?

While photo estimates have taken off considerably in 2017, nothing compares to an experienced estimator inspecting your car.

Did You Know?

• Some insurance companies have people overseas reviewing photos of the damaged vehicle. What is their standard for safety and aesthetics?
• The person reviewing the photos are often not qualified to assess vehicle damage and certainly do not have the option of getting under the hood or the car itself.
• You may risk riding around in an unsafe vehicle.
• Incomplete vehicle repairs will impact you at lease return or trade-in.

A Recent Customer Experience:

A few weeks ago, a customer walked in with an insurance company check for $1500.00. The insurance company’s estimate included repair to the quarter panel and replacement of a bumper cover. The customer warned us that the insurance company missed a lot of damage. Once the vehicle was inspected and disassembled we found repairs and/or replacement required to the exhaust system, rear body panel, trunk lid, tail light and impact bar. Not only was all the damage not acknowledged on the original estimate, but the check would certainly not cover all the mandatory repairs.

Fortunately, this was no problem for Airpark Collision Center, we simply contacted the insurance carrier and showed them the additional damage. The supplement was approved and the customer’s vehicle was returned to pre-accident condition.

In conclusion, insurance photo estimates are definitely convenient, but should be used as a starting point. Before making a decision to cash the check and skip the repair, bring it to a skilled professional that can inspect your vehicle properly. After speaking with an estimator or repair planner, customers can make an educated decision. Estimates are free at Airpark Collision Center and no appointment is needed. We are happy to answer questions and assess your vehicle’s damage.

Airpark Collision Center

Tina Small has been part of the Airpark Collision Center team since 2006. Working directly with customers, her goal is to share frequent customer questions, and proper methods of collision repair.