Insurance Photo Estimates
Has your insurance company asked you to send pictures for an Insurance Photo Estimate? Insurance companies are taking advantage of the fact that most of their customers have a smartphone and can easily upload photos. This has allowed more and more insurance companies to write preliminary estimates based on these photos to expedite the claims process. At Frederick Auto Body, we have seen more and more of these photo estimates at our shop – and we find most of them to be entirely inadequate for repairing the vehicle properly.
There is no substitute for seeing the damage to a vehicle in person. Pictures can not show the damage properly for a variety of reasons. Dents are often very difficult to see unless the lighting is just right or seen at the correct angle. The severity of the pattern is also very hard to see in photos – it may look minor in the picture, but it will look much worse in person. Often, there is hidden damage that will not be seen in the pictures, either because parts need to be removed or an additional photo needs to be taken. In addition, the quality of the estimate is only as good as the quality of the pictures. Unfortunately, most customers do not know how to take photos that accurately depict the severity of damage to the vehicle. And even with the very best images, it is still sometimes almost impossible to write a thorough estimate.
So why does the insurance company do it? The answer is simple – TO SAVE THEM MONEY! The insurance company will tell you they do it to save time and expedite the claim, but that is not their real motivation. Photo estimates allow the company to pay much fewer labor costs for adjusters on the ground. It is far cheaper to have a group of clerks processing claims in a call center than having a trained professional in his car looking at a few cars each day. The second cost savings is a bit more insidious. By writing an obviously low estimate, the customer may take the lesser amount without question – even if there is no way this will cover the actual damage to their vehicle. They will either keep the lower amount and not fix their car (which is well within their rights if they choose) or take the vehicle to a low-quality shop to have a substandard repair. Either way, the insurance company saves money by paying less than the cost of a proper repair.
The best thing a customer can do is take the photo estimate and their vehicle to a quality repair shop like Frederick Auto Body to have the estimate properly re-written. We have had many of these low photo estimates come through our shop; in some cases, our estimate is 2 to 3 times higher than theirs! Our estimators are certified and trained to look for all the related damage to every vehicle. Sometimes, light disassembly is needed to see all the hidden damage, which we usually do at the beginning of the repair process. We work for our customers, NOT the insurance company. They must repair your vehicle properly, and we make sure they do. So if you have an estimate written by an insurance company, bring it to our shop. We will inspect the vehicle the RIGHT way and ensure your car is as good as new.
Need more information about insurance photo claim estimates: Please click on this link, and we can answer all your questions https://www.frederickautobody.com/contact-us/
Here is a very informative video about how inaccurate these photo claims can be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-L5WdDWMlY