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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How To Document Property Damage for Insurance Claims

9/5/2023 (Permalink)

When unexpected damages strike your property such as water, fire, or mold damage, proper documentation is your strongest tool for a smooth insurance claim process. Join us as we provide step-by-step guidance on how to capture compelling visual evidence and navigate the do's and don'ts during the claims journey.

1. Safety First: Assess and Secure

Your safety and the safety of your family should always be the top priority. Before you even think about documenting damages, ensure that the area is safe to enter. If there are immediate risks such as structural damage or electrical hazards, evacuate the property and contact the necessary emergency services. Once you're certain it's safe to do so, take steps to secure the area to prevent further damage or accidents. This might involve putting up caution tape or barricading off dangerous zones.

2. Clear and Comprehensive Images

When it comes to documenting damages, clear and comprehensive images are invaluable. Use a camera or smartphone with a good resolution to capture high-quality photos. Begin by taking an overall view of the affected area. This will give a sense of the scale of the damage. After that, focus on specific damages. Take multiple shots from various angles to ensure you capture every angle of the damage. For example, if there's a crack in a wall, take shots from both up close and from a distance to provide context.

3. Video Walkthrough for Context

In addition to photographs, consider taking a video walkthrough of the affected area. This provides valuable context and can help paint a clearer picture of the damage for the insurance adjuster. Start your video from outside the property and slowly walk through each room, describing the damages as you go. Point out affected items and areas, and provide any relevant details. Videos can capture the extent and impact of the damage in a way that static images might not be able to.

4. Close-Ups for Detail

While overall views and videos are important, don't forget to capture close-up shots of individual damages. These close-ups can reveal important details that might be missed in broader shots. If there's a crack in the ceiling, a close-up can show its width and depth. If there are water stains, close-up shots can show their extent and any discoloration. These close-up shots serve as supporting evidence for your claims and help the insurance adjuster understand the severity of the damages.

5. Include Time-Stamp and Date

Most modern devices automatically include time stamps and dates on photos and videos. This feature is extremely useful when it comes to documenting damages for an insurance claim. It establishes a chronological record of the damages, which can be crucial in demonstrating the timeline of events to your insurance provider. Time stamps also add an additional layer of credibility to your documentation.

6. Notes for Clarity

Accompany your visual evidence with detailed notes. As you take photos and videos, simultaneously jot down notes describing the damages, their location, and any relevant information. Notes provide context that might not be immediately clear from the visuals alone. For example, if there's water damage on the ceiling, your notes could mention whether there's a leak directly above or if the damage seems to be spreading.

Guiding Your Claim

By following these steps, you're equipping yourself with the tools to navigate the insurance claim process with confidence. Your comprehensive documentation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim. Should you need assistance, remember that SERVPRO of San Ramon is here to help and guide you through the restoration and insurance claims journey.

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