Hayden Haskins | author
ICHQ | Site Author
They say a picture is worth a thousand words—and that’s especially true for storm-related insurance claims. While receipts, estimates, and engineer reports can be used to show the scope of necessary repairs, taking pictures is often the most powerful way to record damage and demonstrate the extent of your loss.
We would all love to believe that the adjusting process is always fair, but if that were the case lawyers like us would not have the extensive property casualty client base that we do. Photo evidence can strike an emotional chord with even the most hardened insurance adjusters. And beyond creating empathy for your tragic situation, photos serve a very practical purpose when applying for appropriate compensation after a loss.
Taking Pictures for Insurance Claims: The Essentials
It’s important to know what kinds of insurance photos to take after a storm, as well as how to safely store them and share them with your attorney. Here’s where to start:
1. Before Photos
Your insurance company needs to understand the state of your home prior to the loss. Without good “before” photos, the insurance adjuster may try to claim that your property damage was pre-existing and therefore not covered.
Be proactive and capture photos of your home in preparation for any rainy season. The more recent, the better. If you live in an area prone to storm damage, mark your calendar to take updated pictures for insurance purposes every year before storm season.
Be sure to include photos of your flooring, appliances, and basic room layouts. Snap some pictures of the outside of your home and your foundation, too. After a traumatizing event like a severe storm, it’s difficult to remember all the details of your home and belongings. These photos can act as an inventory of what was in your home prior to a disaster or loss.
If you’ve already experienced storm damage and were not prepared with photos from before, take some time to go through your phone or camera. Look for as many pictures as possible that might include these features of your home in the background—photos of family gatherings in your home, for example. Anything that shows the pre-damage state of your home will be helpful.
2. Detailed Photos of the Damage
Secondly and most importantly, document damage to your home and belongings. Detailed images are the most crucial piece of evidence to have when filing an insurance claim. Take photos of any external and internal damage that you think could have been caused by the storm. Having evidence of potential damage that turns out to be unrelated is better than missing something you may not have realized at the time.
Warped floorboards, mold, and other kinds of water damage should also be photographed in detail, as well as any damaged items of value if you have contents coverage. For electronics and appliances, capture the serial number or other identifying factors like make, model, and age. Don’t forget to capture any fences or outbuildings on your property that might be damaged.
Take more photos than you think are necessary – it’s better to have too many than realize too late that you missed something. Get as many pictures of as many different angles (wide-angle, close-up shots, etc.) as is safely possible.
3. Photos of Completed Work
As you begin the difficult cleanup process, make sure that you’re gathering photographic evidence of the hard work you and/or your contractor are performing. Installation and completed repairs can speak to the scope of work done, impacting your compensation from the insurance company.
Keep all receipts, agreements and proof of work. If you’re doing the work yourself, take before and after photos of the repairs and keep the receipts for any materials you have to purchase.
Keep Your Photos Organized
Once you have before, during, and after images captured, keep your pictures organized. If you’ve taken photos on your cell phone, use the albums feature to keep them readily accessible. Be sure they are backed up by a cloud service, just in case.
Photo collage apps, like Collage Maker or PicCollage, can help consolidate a series of similar images. Online file depositories, like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, can help retain space on your phone or computer. They also make sharing them with your attorney fast and easy.
If you took photos on conventional film, make sure they are backed up digitally. Libraries, shipping stores, or your attorney’s office can help if you have questions.
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Quick Tips and Reminders
Now that you know what kinds of photographs you need to take, here are a few extra tips to think about while taking photos to give yourself the best chance at a favorable outcome:
- Take the pictures as soon as possible after the damage occurred, and date them properly. The longer you wait, the more room the insurance company has to dispute the connection between the damage and the insurance claim.
- That being said, don’t do anything that puts your own health or safety in danger. If it’s too hazardous to
- You have an obligation to your insurance company to mitigate further damage to property after a storm (or other covered event), which means you likely will have to move items or schedule critical repairs as soon as possible. Make sure you get a few good pictures of an entire room, leaving damaged contents where they are, before you move anything or begin repairs.
- Remember, better to take too many photos than not enough. Your attorney can help you sort through what you truly need.
How a Property Casualty Attorney Can Help
The good news is once you’ve taken the photos and shared them with your attorney, they can take it from there. Combined with your receipts and invoices for out-of-pocket spending on your home repairs, property casualty lawyers will present a comprehensive report using your photos to help settle your claim.
In the worst-case scenario of having to go before a judge to hold your insurance company to its contractual obligation, photos are invaluable in court. While it is easy for your insurer to adjudicate your claim from the comfort of an office, compelling images of your hardship are hard to argue with.
At Insurance Claim HQ, our team of experience attorneys knows how to take the fight to the insurance companies and hold them accountable to keep their promises to their policyholders. Call or message our New Orleans property casualty attorneys at (844) 587-8395 for a free, no-obligation consultation today.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.