Life in general, and more specifically driving, certainly poses it's share of risks. We are fortunate (some may think otherwise!) to live in a world with amazing communication and technological capabilities to help lessen these risks. Consider it was not long ago we would have to find a pay phone to call police or hope for a friendly passing motorist following a car crash. Aside from using smart phones just for phone calls, texting and email, the benefits of effective smart phone use are endless and I'm sure we have only scratched the surface.
Consider some of the other significant advantages of smart phones -
- Even when locked some (most?) will allow emergency calls to 911.
- The "always handy" camera can be very useful at a moments notice such as at the scene of a car crash. Taking several pictures at the scene, the other vehicle(s), even the people in the other car may be helpful - "Here's a picture of him walking around...how can he say he was seriously injured?"
- At an accident scene you can use voice recorders to take down as much information as possible (faster than handwriting or keying in). Other drivers or witnesses might also be willing to make a recorded statement. Record the date, time, other vehicle information, anthing that might be useful. These recorders have many other useful applications. Like any other distraction though, DO NOT use while you are driving!
- Smartphone video features combine video with audio recording - a walking, talking movie with information you might need or can show to an adjuster following a crash (or just about any insurance loss situation).
- Time to update (or do) an inventory of all your personal possessions? Why not use the video camera and record everything you own with audio descriptions then store it safely away (and a back-up just in case).
- Store important emergency numbers for easy access. Local taxis, your own repair shop, towing companies, or emergency auto services. Just once "click" to dial.
- Having a data plan (for email as well) comes in handy if you need to search e.g. "google" for services even when out of town. You can easily find services in your immediate area (turn on location service) such as taxis or tow trucks and once found typically just one click to call them.
- Lost during a trip to a friends cottage? Check out map/GPS services often with audio instructions.
- The obvious - store your important contacts so they can be called, texted or emailed often with one click.
- Dark? Late at night? No flashlight? Most smartphones have a camera flash that can be left on with bright illumination. There are also various flashlight apps available that turn your smartphone into a flashlight.
- Take advantage of mobile insurance applications such as the Guthrie Insurance ICompanion
available on our website which, among other things, provides considerable information and steps to take following a loss.
- Once everything you can do has been done and the crash is not too serious you can always turn to your smartphone for music or a game while you're waiting.
Important Note: If you think you can unlock your car door, having left the keys inside, by calling home and having someone press the "unlock" button into your mobile phone speaker while holding it to the door you're going to be disappointed. This email circulated a few years ago and unfortunately, is a hoax. It cannot be done. The only thing you will be using your phone for is to call home or an emergency road service to come and open your door.
Editors note: This is written purely from the perspective of a smart-phone user and not an Information Techology expert. You have probably come across other useful insurance related smart-phone functions. If so, we'd love to hear them and would appreciate your comments below. Thanks.