Few people like the idea of using a mobile app for insurance purposes, but the insurance industry – from auto insurance to health insurance to home and renters insurance – has joined the mobile bandwagon in droves. Mobile phone and tablet users now have a near-full array of insurance app options across the field to streamline quotes, find providers and minimize hassles of accidents directly from their mobile devices. Whether you want to pay an installment or find a pharmacy that takes your prescription plan, you no longer need a laptop or PC to take care of your insurance issues.
Roadside assistance is one of the most-used options in auto insurance apps. Allstate, for instance, allows anyone – even motorists who aren’t policy holders – to contact the 24-hour roadside assistance team. The call is free, but the service sent may not be, depending on the service and your auto policy.
Proof of insurance is required upon request to law enforcement, and many car insurance apps provide that proof from a mobile phone app. Law enforcement officers may not be required to accept this electronic proof unless you live or are stopped in Idaho or Arizona, but more states are considering this highly convenient form of documentation. Don’t lose your wallet card, though, for any question regarding its viability must be reinforced with the standard documentation.
Many auto insurance apps provide the ability to find agents, repair facilities and even sketch and report an accident scene. Towing services are enhanced via a GPS feature in many apps.
Homeowners and Renters Apps
Most of these apps target inventory of your possessions on the property. If anything is damaged or stolen in a covered incident, reporting the loss to your insurance company is very easy: You simply activate the app, note the damaged property and file the claim from the app. Agent contact may follow for confirmation, but the process is already in the works.
Health Insurance Apps
Health insurance apps are in their infancy, but more insurance companies are expanding their presence from the real and ether worlds into the mobile arena. Earlier this year, for instance, Kaiser Permanente created an app through which patients can access their medical records at any time. Patients can find providers that accept their insurance plans, emergency care facilities and the closest in-plan pharmacies directly from their mobile phones. Some patients can make appointments with their providers, order medicine refills and check lab results or contact their doctors’ offices via email.
Aetna’s app is approximately two years old and enables patients to find doctors, dentists, hospitals or pharmacies where their plans are accepted. The mobile information is more up-to-date than published booklets and can reduce frustration and improve care. Aetna policy holders can check claims, medical or drug plan benefits and more.
Life Insurance Apps
Lagging behind the rest of the industry, life insurance companies are slow to adapt to a mobile world. More insurance applications apply to financial and retirement investments than to actual life insurance policies. AXA Equitable and New York Life, though, are the frontrunners in life insurance smartphone apps to date.
by Jaye Ryan, a freelance author who likes writing about mobile phones and apps.