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By Paul Reynolds
November 2, 2021
Close up of hand taking a photograph of a shattered car light with a smartphone
Getty Images

With your phone already cluttered with apps, do you really need one from your insurance company? You just might, given growing evidence of how useful these tools are.

You won’t use an Insurance app as often as many on your phone’s desktop, but they’re invaluable if and when disaster strikes. They typically allow you to immediately file a claim directly from the scene of an accident, house fire or other calamity. And new studies show that filing claims via mobile makes customers happier with the process, which goes more quickly than by other means.

The 2021 Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, released in late October by JD Power, revealed how satisfied users are with mobile claims, which the industry terms to be “low-touch” -- meaning the entire claims process takes place within the app.

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Such claims yielded the highest levels of satisfaction in the study, with consumers scoring the experience at a whopping 915 out of 1,000. By contrast, claimants who filed claims face-to-face, and engaged with three or more representatives during the process, had the lowest levels of customer satisfaction.

Another October study hints at why that satisfaction gap is so wide; It’s much faster to file a claim using an app. In a survey of U.S. insurance companies about processing auto and home claims, digital process specialist Lightico found companies that handle claims via app reported completing more than two-thirds of those (70%) in no more than a week -- and a quarter of them within just 3 days.

By contrast, 60% of claims submitted on insurance company websites are completed within a week, such insurers reported, and less than half of claims (46%) filed via phone call are processed so rapidly. (Claims submitted face to face were the slowest, with 80% taking one to two weeks to settle, and the remainder taking longer still.)

What you can do via app differs by insurer

You can start a claim right from most apps, including uploading photos or video of damage you shot on the phone’s camera. You can then use the tool to stay in touch with the company’s claims adjusters, and sometimes even with other parties, too, like the garage that’s carrying out the repairs. You can often have the claim paid via app, too, with the settlement directed to your bank account. (Paying your premiums via app is also a fairly standard feature.)

But not every app allows you to complete all of those tasks, at least easily. Check app reviews and the insurer’s website for what to expect from your company’s tool.

Several companies -- GEICO, State Farm and Allstate -- consistently appear towards the top of most rankings for insurance apps. All three are both auto and home insurers, and allow you to file claims for, and manage your account for, both types of coverage.

Like many of the best apps, these three also boast additional functions that might be useful to you, including Allstate’s Digital Locker home inventory too and GEICO Explore, which uses augmented reality to locate your parked car or pinpoint nearby attractions, such as restaurants.

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