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Taking Photos for a Claim

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By Ryan Dedrick on July 28, 2020 in Insurance Basics

One major perk of using smartphones today, these phones can take high-quality claims photos. Taking photos after an accident might seem like a daunting first task, but it could help speed up your claims process by helping your adjuster determine if it will be repairable or a total loss. This means it’ll get to the appropriate adjuster faster.

Below we give you the steps to taking a good photo for a claim, but if you don’t get the perfect image, no sweat. The body shop will also take photos of the damage when you take it to them.

  1. Back up at least 10 feet. Be cautious of other drivers on the road while backing up and if the full 10 feet isn’t possible, just do your best. The goal is to capture the entire scene, so including as much of area as possible will be your key to success. If your car is drivable, you can take these in your own driveway – even the morning after the accident. Feel free to pretend the car is your model and grab different angles if you can.
  2. Include the entire car in the frame. This is a big one! Your tendency might be to get up close and personal with the back-left corner of your bumper that is now cracked and falling off, so we’re going to stop you there. Close up, detail shots aren’t very helpful to the adjusters because they can’t verify the vehicle being shown and they might notice damage that you don’t see initially. Stand and snap a photo of the entire car from each of its four corners and sides.
  3. Use your phone. You don’t have to stress about buying the latest Canon or Nikon DSLR camera, your iPhone or Android phone are great options. Plus, if you have a high-quality image, adjusters should be able to zoom in on any details they need to see. Make sure the area is well-lit. Natural light is ideal, but we know sometimes accidents happen at night, so just do the best you can. While you’re getting pictures, get ones of the VIN and the odometer – these will come in handy throughout the claims process.

Examples always help. Here are some do’s and don’ts.

DO: Be sure the entire car is in the frame.

DO: Take photos from each of the four corners and sides.

These are spot on. We backed up the full 10 feet, captured photos from all four corners, and made sure the entire car was in the frame. Winner, winner chicken dinner.

DON'T: Zoom in on the damaged area.

DON'T: Crop the photo to only show a portion of the damage.

If you need to file a claim, sign in to your My Say account or call our Say Service Squad at 1-800-225-5729. You can send your photos to your adjuster once they contact you.

If you need additional information about claims, check out this blog for the inside scoop.

Ryan Dedrick is a Manager in Home Office Claims. He is responsible for our PIP and Medical Payments Claims Department and also our Subrogation and Arbitration Department. Ryan has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Columbia College. He has spent the majority of his career working in Claims and enjoys it most because he has the opportunity to help people get back to normal during their time of need.