Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2022

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While they’re still a minority of the mobile phones carried by people worldwide and within the United States, smart phones are quickly becoming a part of daily life for many people. A smart phone is used just like a dumb or feature phone: they make phone calls and receive text messages. But they also do much more, like offering a full HTML browser that replicates the desktop web experience on your phone. They also have applications. You can use a mobile app to check the weather, find the lowest price on gasoline, order pizza, report the locations of potholes on our roadways and even play games.

Smartphones should never be used while driving. However, many car insurance companies have developed applications for client services on smartphones. These apps provide customers of the car insurers to file claims on their policy and more. So what makes for a good smartphone application?

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Can you file a claim form on the app?

Any good auto insurance company smartphone application will have a function to allow you to file insurance claims. And since a claim can be as simple as broken automotive glass, a good app will offer a myriad of choices, including being able to file an accident claim, as well as simple claims, like broken glass.

Progressive's app claim functions.
Progressive’s app claim functions.

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How do you document auto accidents?

While claim filing is a given, auto insurance apps that allow you to document collisions and accidents are even better. You should be able to give details about the accident as well as providing pictures of the accident. There may be an accident checklist you can follow when filing your claim. Your insurer can provide much better service equipped with as much information about an accident as possible.

Nationwide's app allows you to upload pictures as well as provide other details about an accident.
Nationwide’s app allows you to upload pictures as well as provide other details about an accident.

Is roadside assistance available?

If you’ve been involved in a wreck, getting help quickly or getting roadside assistance is a must of a good app. This should include a one-touch call to 911 to save time and less urgent roadside assistance functions as well, such as gas delivery or help with a flat tire. Knowing you have roadside assistance available should you need it can give you peace of mind while you’re driving.

Geico's app offers roadside assistance functions
GEICO Insurance Agency’s app offers roadside assistance functions

What repair locations are available to you?

One of the reasons we have coverage is to allow us to get back to our normal lives after an accident or wreck. Good car insurance apps will feature locations of service providers you can use to repair the damages to your car.

State Farm's smart phone app offers a list of repair shops you can use to get back on the road
State Farm’s smartphone app offers a list of repair shops you can use to get back on the road

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How do you contact or find a local agent?

Some folks prefer to file claims with the agents they deal with. And if they’re away from home, they’d still prefer to have a human handle their claim. Thus, any good car insurance smartphone application should allow you to find and contact an agent directly.

Allstate's application allows you to search for agents
Allstate’s application allows you to search for agents

Do you get full policy service?

Finally, any good car insurance mobile app will allow you to do things that don’t involve an accident or a claim. You should be able to change your auto policy, add or replace vehicles, get quick access to your proof of insurance, and more. 

USAA's app allows you to change your policy, including adding or deleting vehicles
USAA’s app allows you to change your auto policies, including adding or deleting vehicles

While every car insurance app doesn’t include each of these six features, many of the smart phone apps from the larger insurers do allow you to do each of these things. Consider these apps a bonus feature of your coverage, and if your smart phone is never out of your reach, you may want to give your auto insurer’s version a try.

Can a car insurance app save you money?

Some auto insurance companies offer usage-based insurance programs that allow you to save money with a mobile app. For instance, Liberty Mutual offers the RightTrack program, and Allstate offers the DriveWise program. The usage-based app monitors your driving habits and your insurance provider issues a discount for safe driving. If you have higher than average auto insurance premiums because of a poor driving record or low credit score, insurance discounts can make a big difference. 

Check out the reviews of any auto insurance app you plan to use in the Android Play Store or iPhone App Store to get a sense of customer satisfaction and look into different companies’ usage-based insurance programs to find out about average savings.