How to Document Damage for Car Insurance Claims

The easiest way to document damage for auto insurance claims is to take photos with your smartphone. Read our guide below for more advice on how to document damage for car insurance claims, including how to gather witness testimony and tips for getting repair estimates from multiple repair centers.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Nov 15, 2020

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If you are involved in an accident, taking a few minutes to get your documentation together can help you file a successful claim. Documenting damage for car insurance claims means gathering statements, taking pictures, and finding out what the costs are going to be.

If you are not charged in the accident and present documentation to back your claim, the process can be settled in only a few days, but not having the necessary documentation could stretch the claim out for long periods.

How to Document Damage for Car Insurance Claims

Take Pictures

Take pictures of the accident scene and resulting damage. If possible check with local merchants or other sources with security cameras which may have been filming the accident when it happened. Having pictures or video that backs up your claim is a very good way of getting the claim settled faster. Not only should you take pictures of the damage itself, but also of the other vehicles involved and any other conditions which may have contributed to the accident.

Get Witness Information

Take down the name and contact information of any witnesses who are willing to testify regarding the accident. You can either write down or record witness accounts. Witnesses who are not directly involved in the accident of related to you are the best ones, because they tend to be less biased.

Document the Case

Take notes as the case progresses. Keep track of the names and titles of people you speak with, including witnesses, police officers, insurance company representatives, and repair technicians. The more documentation you can provide about who said what and how they proposed to handle the situation will make filing the claim easier. Also, if you have everyone’s name on record, going back to them later and making sure they keep their word is easier as well.

Repair Estimates

Get repair estimates from at least two vehicle repair centers. Even if the insurance adjuster came out and looked at the damage and proclaimed a value, do not clear the claim until you have gotten estimates from unbiased parties. The insurance company cannot force you to accept the initial offer an adjuster, and doing so could limit your options later if the costs turn out to be more than the adjuster expected.

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