Making an auto insurance claim isn’t something that anyone really likes to do. However, if you do have to make a claim, it’s best to make sure that you do it as effectively as possible. One way to ensure that your claim goes off as smoothly as possible is to take plenty of pictures at the scene of the accident. Having photo documentation of the actual scene at the time of the accident can be invaluable when it comes to important issues like establishing liability. Photos are impartial everyone knows the old adage; the camera never lies. Here are a few tips for taking photos at the accident scene to gather as much information as possible:
Don’t be overly frugal when it comes to your pictures. Take a lot of them, even if you feel like you are taking redundant photos. Take pictures from as many angles as possible. Remember that you want more than just photos of the damage. You want pictures that depict the scene as well as the weather conditions. It’s also a good idea to take a picture of the other party’s drivers license and insurance documents.
When taking pictures of the scene of the accident, it’s important to document it from all angles. Take pictures looking out (away from the car) and into (towards the car) the accident scene for both cars. Get several angles of any damage and where the cars came to rest. If there are any witnesses, ask them if you can take a picture of them exactly where they were at the time of the accident. If they don’t want to have you take a photo of them, offer to have them tell you just where they were and stand in for them. Also remember to take pictures of the skid marks, if any. Remember, even if the police are on the scene, they will rarely take pictures of minor accidents. That means it’s up to you to make sure you gather as much information as possible.
It’s also a good idea to have a measuring tape on hand to provide the proper perspective to your photos. If you don’t have a measuring tape handy, use a common object that everyone knows the size of. A piece of paper is a good one, but there are a lot of things that will work in a pinch (like a coffee cup). Providing the picture with the proper perspective is important to make sure it’s clear exactly what the picture depicts.
It’s a good idea to have an accident kit handy in case you are involved in a collision. That way you’re sure to have everything on hand when you’re on the scene. There are great pre-made accident kits available, or you can make your own. That way being prepared is a snap.